Shaking hands with the King and Queen of the Netherlands

Shaking hands with the King and Queen of the Netherlands

If someone had told me that one day, I would shake hands with the King and the Queen of the Netherlands, I would not have believed them…

Yet, this happened on the 25th h May 2018… During a 3-day state visit in Luxembourg, King Willem-Alexander and Queen Maxima came to the Dutch Embassy in Luxembourg City.

It all started approximately two months ago. My husband, being Dutch, had received an email asking if we wanted to attend this event. Only Dutch citizens residing in Luxembourg were invited and they could bring their partner along. We both had to apply to an official website, so that a full background screening could take place. And a few weeks later, we got the confirmation: we were allowed to join the event to go and shake hands with the King and the Queen of the Netherlands.

I found it hard to believe that they would both take time to shake hands with 300 selected guests… We had received some guidelines regarding the dress code, but I had other questions in mind: how do we address them? How do we greet them? We did not have the answers but we thought we would hear everything on that day.

‘D-day’ arrived quickly. When we arrived at the Dutch Embassy, a lot of people were already there in the garden. It was a gorgeous sunny day and everybody was dressed well. We started to mingle and soon after, a gentleman came on stage to do the announcement. He mentioned that King Willem-Alexander and Queen Maxima had arrived and that we could go and greet them in one of the rooms of the Embassy.

As a coincidence, my husband had also been chosen to be part of a ‘round table’. The participants of these round tables would get a chance to speak for a few minutes with the King or the Queen afterwards. These participants had to come forward first to meet the royal couple. And so here we were, standing in line, waiting to meet them.

As we were standing, I was trying to look and check what people were doing, how they were greeting them, as we had not been told anything. To my surprise, everybody was shaking hands normally with the King and the Queen! And before we knew it, it was already our turn. A man mentioned our names out loud and off we were. We were standing in front of King Willem-Alexander, King of the Netherlands and his wife, Queen Maxima. We first shook hands with the King and then the Queen. I smiled and addressed them as ‘Your Majesty’.

It was such an intense moment. I felt so blessed and so grateful to have met them. Both of them were tall and so humble. I was really impressed by their simplicity and their approachability. And before I knew it, it was already over…

My husband then proceeded to one of the round tables. After a few minutes, the King and the Queen were following the Dutch Ambassador and walked passed me.  Both of them went to spend a few minutes at each table and talked to the participants. When I was standing there, observing them both, I could not help but think: how many kings or queens in the world would shake hands with 300 people? How many of them would then spend time to speak to people as if they were attending a party and being ‘normal people’? I could not come up with any other names…

I was feeling once again so thankful that I had had the chance to shake their hands. Me, this little girl from Northern France, who had survived a terrible car accident, had just been face-to-face with some of the most famous people on the planet. The only thing I wished was that I could have had a picture to remember this once-in-a-lifetime experience…

And it is as if my wish got granted. Our picture was taken: my husband is shaking hands with King Willem-Alexander, and I’m just walking beside him. The best however came the next day. One of my good friends sent me a link of the Dutch news, showing a 3-minutes reportage of the visit of the Royal couple at the Dutch Embassy in Luxembourg… In this short video, I can be seen shaking hands with Queen Maxima! There is no words that can express how blessed, grateful and happy I was / am. This is truly an event I will never forget and will cherish it for the rest of my life…

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