(VIDEO) TMs King Willem-Alexander and Queen Maxima of the Netherlands Host a Glamorous Gala State Dinner in Amsterdam.

On the evening of Tuesday, April 5, 2022, Their Majesties King Willem-Alexander and Queen Maxima of the Netherlands along with Her Royal Highness Princess Beatrix of the Netherlands hosted a gala state dinner at the Koninklijk Paleis in Amsterdam.

The glamourous gala dinner was held in honor of the President of India, Mr. Ram Nath Kovind, and First Lady Savita Kovind, three-day state visit to the Netherlands.

During this evening’s gala state dinner His Majesty The King gave a speech:

“Mr. President, Your Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen, Namasté.

We are honored by your visit to the Netherlands. I would like to begin by asking you all to stand for a minute’s silence to reflect on all the victims of the war in Ukraine.

At a time when a terrible nightmare is unfolding nearby, it’s crucial that we stay in close contact with our partners around the world. India is a key partner for the Netherlands. And dialogue with India is of great value, especially at a time like this.

This is a special year for your country. Seventy-five years ago, India gained its independence. The international community welcomed a new, self-assured country full of amazing potential and talented people.

Mr. President, you have experienced the entire history of independent India firsthand. You are a symbol of India’s rise and of the opportunities that have come. Including those sections of society that once suffered exclusion. In your long career, you have actively contributed to these advances.

We feel privileged to celebrate the 75th anniversary of independence with you, and we congratulate the people of India on all their diversity. Two-and-a-half years ago, in October 2019, we were your guests. It’s hard to believe how much has changed since then. A few months after our last meeting the world was hit by a pandemic that has sorely tested us all. I know how severe the impact has been in India. And in the Netherlands, too, we have struggled with the terrible effects of this crisis.

I’m grateful that we were able to support each other actively in that difficult time. Once again, we have seen the great value of cooperation between India and Europe, in good times and bad.

That’s certainly still true today. The Russian invasion of Ukraine, a free and democratic nation, has threatened peace in Europe, security in the wider world, and the future of the rules-based international order. It’s essential that we, as free countries, stand together at this time when the international legal order is at stake.

Mr. President, in August 1947 the Netherlands was among the first countries to establish diplomatic relations with independent India. Our ambassador was present in the Indian parliament when Nehru proclaimed independence.

We are proud that our friendship has only deepened in the past 75 years. And we are grateful that, over the years, we’ve been able to welcome so many Indians to our country, as students, researchers, IT specialists, and entrepreneurs. A number of them are here with us this evening.

Every year, the population of India increases by more than the total population of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. One in six people on our planet is Indian. And our admiration for all you have achieved in your immense country is therefore all the greater.

The Queen, who supports the UN Secretary-General as Special Advocate for Inclusive Finance for Development, has told me about your impressive achievements in combating poverty. Hundreds of millions of people have gained access to financial services. An incredible leap forward.

As an economic power, India has a decisive role in global efforts to reach the UN Sustainable Development Goals. The eyes of the world are on India, and they’re full of expectations. We look forward to your Presidency of the G20, which begins in December. The Netherlands is keen to help make it a success.

During our state visit to your country in 2019, my wife and I saw how much India and the Netherlands have in common.

Together, we are working to address the effects of climate change, which is damaging our living environment. The earth’s natural resources are under threat, and our economies are under pressure. Agriculture, in particular, is feeling the impact.

The Netherlands has the technology to ensure that, in times of drought, not a single drop of water is wasted. And we’re proud we can share it with you.

Obviously, it’s just as important that we tackle the cause of climate change and transition together to renewable energy. That’s an area in which we can learn a lot from you. Over a third of the electricity in your vast country now comes from renewable sources. I’m confident that we can strengthen each other further. For example offshore wind energy.

Mr. President, your country’s cultural riches and diversity never fail to impress. That diversity deserves to be cherished and protected.

India is the land of Bollywood and brilliant scientists. Of the Himalayas and high-tech. Of Mahatma Gandhi and megacities. Of the Ramayana the rule of law. But above all, India is a land of incredible energy and neverending optimism.

In this year when India celebrates its independence, I wish the Indian people all the best for the future. I wish you a future of peace, freedom, and prosperity. A future in which the voice of reason and tolerance continues to inspire people. A future in which India finds friendship and receives admiration all over the world. A future in which all countries, each respecting the other, uphold the agreements we’ve made.

Freedom, security, and democracy cannot be taken for granted. But if we work together, we can defend these values that unite us.

May I now ask you to raise your glasses.

Mr. President, Mrs Kovind: To your good health and happiness. And to India.

Please click the link below to view a photo gallery from the Dutch news agency, PPE.

Photos courtesy of RVD

(VIDEO) His Majesty King Felipe VI of Spain Opens the 2022 WindEurope Annual Conference and Exhibition.

On Tuesday, April 5, 2022, His Majesty King Felipe VI of Spain opened the 2022 WindEurope: The European Wind Industry’s Annual Exhibition held at the Bilbao Exhibition Center in Barakaldo, Spain.

The European wind industry’s annual three-day conference and exhibition features 300 speakers, 350 exhibiting companies, and more than 8,000 attendees to address wind energy issues. During the conference, a “…wide representation of companies and professionals in the wind energy sector will address various issues such as streamlining the processes of wind farms, the competitiveness of the European supply chain, and energy prices…” according the official website for the WindEurope conference. 

Her Royal Highness The Princess Royal and Vice Admiral Sir Timothy Laurence Attend a Special Service at St. Paul’s Cathedral.

On Tuesday, April 5, 2022, Her Royal Highness The Princess Royal and Vice Admiral Sir Timothy Laurence attended a special service in remembrance of the 40th anniversary of the liberation of the Falkland Islands at St. Paul’s Cathedral in London.

Please click here and here to view photos from the newspaper, The Standard, and The Press Association.

Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Cornwall Meets with British Author, Professor Bernardine Evaristo.

Photo courtesy of PA/V.Jones

On Tuesday, April 5, 2022, Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Cornwall met with British author, academic, and 2019 Booker Prize winner, Professor Bernardine Evaristo, at Clarence House in London, England. On November 30, 2021, Professor Evaristo became the new President of the Royal Society of Literature (RSL) after it was announced that Professor Dame Marina Warner would be retiring. Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Cornwall is Patron of the Royal Society of Literature.

According to a press release via the RSL, Professor Evaristo was:

“…elected a Fellow of the RSL in 2004 and has been a pivotal part of a wide range of the Society’s programmes and committees, from chairing events to running workshops for young people. She served as Vice-Chair of the RSL’s governing Council, as Chair of its Programmes Committee (with oversight of public events, publications and outreach programmes) and most recently as Vice-President since November 2020. Evaristo is currently the Chair of the RSL’s Open Fellowship recruitment panel in its first year; she also took part in the 40 Under 40 Fellowship initiative as a panellist. In 2021, Evaristo was appointed a Sky Arts Ambassador and launched the Sky Arts RSL Writers Awards providing mentoring with RSL Fellows to emerging writers of colour.”

To learn more about Ms. Evaristo please click here to read an article about her life from The New Yorker magazine.

(VIDEOS) Her Majesty Queen Letizia of Spain and HRH The Prince of Wales View an Art Collection by Francisco de Zurbarán.

On Tuesday, April 5, 2022, Her Majesty Queen Letizia of Spain and His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales arrived at Auckland Castle in Bishop Auckland, County Durham, England to view the famous thirteen art masterpieces, Jacob and His Twelve Sons, Francisco de Zurbarán  (1598–1664).

According to a past press release regarding the collection, Zurbarán’s paintings were:

“…intended for a monastery, church, or a wealthy client in Latin America, where Jacob and his sons could be viewed as the remote ancestors of the native people. Two similar series are found today in Lima, Peru, and Puebla, Mexico, respectively. However, the original destination of the present set is not known, leaving Zurbarán’s purpose in creating these monumental paintings, as well as their early history, wrapped in mystery. The series is first recorded in England in the 1720s, when it was purchased at auction by a Jewish merchant, James Mendez. In 1756, all but one of the paintings passed into the hands of Bishop Richard Trevor of Auckland Castle, County Durham, an advocate for the rights of Jews in England. The paintings have remained in Auckland Castle ever since…”

For more information about this exhibit please visit the official website for Auckland Castle here.

(VIDEOS) TMs King Willem-Alexander and Queen Maxima of the Netherlands Attend A Welcoming Ceremony in Amsterdam.

On Tuesday, April 5, 2022, Their Majesties King Willem-Alexander and Queen Maxima of the Netherlands welcomed the President of India, Ram Nath Kovind and his wife, First Lady Savita Kovind, at Op de Dam in Amsterdam. President Kovind and his wife are on a three-day state visit to the Netherlands at the invitation of His Majesty The King.

According to RVD, the state visit is a:

“…follow-up to the state visit of Their Majesties to India in 2019. The arrival of the president takes place in the year that the Netherlands and India are celebrating 75 years of diplomatic relations.

The state visit offers the opportunity to further broaden and deepen the cooperation between the two countries, including in the field of water and agriculture and innovation cooperation in these fields. In view of the current security situation in Europe, the government considers it important that both countries have a broad dialogue at the highest level about the challenges the world is facing.”

After the inspection of the guard of honor in the Op de Dam (Dam Square) Their Majesties hosted a reception at the Koninklijk Paleis in Amsterdam for the President and First Lady of India. After the reception, President Kovind laid a wreath at the National Monument on the Op de Dam. 

This evening, Their Majesties will host a gala state dinner — tiara alert — at the Koninklijk Paleis in honor of the President and the First Lady’s state visit.