King Philippe and Queen Mathilde of Belgium accompanied by Grand Duke Henri, with Corinne Cahen, at the train station in Luxembourg City. Photo: SIP / Charles Caratini
The three-day state visit of King Philippe and Queen Mathilde of Belgium began in the rain on Tuesday morning.
The royal couple were met on the royal train at Luxembourg’s main railway station by Grand Duke Henri and minister for the greater region Corinne Cahen (in the absence of Grand Duchess Maria Teresa, who was incapacitated after her knee operation). Later, outside the grand ducal palace, they met cabinet ministers and mingled briefly with crowds who had waited in the rain to catch a glimpse of the royal visitors.
After there was a ceremony at the national monument of solidarity on the Kanounenhiwwel, where King Philippe laid a wreath and dipped a ceremonial sword in the eternal flame in remembrance of victims of WWII and the resistance to the Nazi occupation.
Following a private luncheon, prime minister Xavier Bettel, accompanied by Corinne Cahen, was granted an audience with the king and queen at the grand ducal palace. Meanwhile, cabinet minister dined with Belgian deputy prime minister Didier Reynders as well as regional government leaders. The royal couple then visited Luxembourg City’s hôtel de ville where, they were welcomed by mayor Lydie Polfer before attending a gala dinner at the palace.
On Wednesday the state visit programme includes visit to the military academy in Diekirch and to the SES headquarters in Betzdorf.