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International Guests Arrive For Dutch Royal Banquet

posted 30 Apr 2013, 01:04 by Mpelembe   [ updated 30 Apr 2013, 01:05 ]

International guests arrive for Dutch royal banquet to mark Queen Beatrix's abdication.

AMSTERDAMTHE NETHERLANDS (APRIL 29, 2013) (REUTERS) -  A stream of royals, international dignitaries and Dutch politicians arrived on Monday evening (April 29) in Amsterdam for a banquet to mark Beatrix's last evening as queen of the Netherlands.

The banquet took place in Amsterdam's world famous newly renovated Rijksmuseum.

Wearing a light purple gown, Queen Beatrix was flanked by her son, future kingWillem-Alexander and his wife Princess Maxima in a bright red gown.

Tomorrow, on April 30, at 0800 GMT Beatrix will sign an instrument of abdication, whereupon Willem-Alexander immediately becomes King and his wife Maxima, a popular former investment banker from Argentina, becomes Queen.

The three were followed by a mix of royals, including British Prince Charles, Swedish Crown Princess Viktoria and Spanish Crown Prince Filipe. Japanese Crown Prince Naruhito also attended the banquet, but his wife Crown Princess Masako had to cancel at the last minute.

Former United Nations General Secretary Kofi Annan and EU politicians Herman Van Rompuy and Jose Manuel Barroso were also among the guests.

After tomorrow's abdication ceremony, the new King and Queen and the Princess Beatrix will appear on the palace balcony to wave and address crowds of about 20,000 in Dam Square.

They will then head from the palace, to the 600-year-old Nieuwe Kerk, or New Church, next door where the new King will swear an oath to uphold the Dutch constitution before the assembled lawmakers.

The partying will continue through the evening with a water pageant along the Ij,Amsterdam's historic waterfront.