New York City welcomed royalty yesterday, as Crown Prince Willem-Alexander of Orange and Crown Princess Maxima were greeted by a 21-gun salute and welcomed by Mayor Bloomberg and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in a ceremony at the USS Intrepid. It's all part of the 400th anniversary celebration of Henry Hudson's arrival in the New York Harbor; the Crown Prince said, "It's an honor to be welcomed here by the Secretary of State and the mayor of this great city. Arriving in New York is always a great pleasure, and the pleasure increases with every visit."
He also said, "It is wonderful to still be able to see the Dutch influences across the City, from transportation and art to music and food. This great city was built on the values of the early Dutch-American pioneers in New Amsterdam that we still share with you today: a passion for liberty, an entrepreneurial spirit, freedom of conscience, and the unwavering belief that everyone has the right to the pursuit of happiness. We are looking forward to experiencing a bit of home in all of this week's festivities." Willem-Alexander and Maxima met in Manhattan, where she was working as a banker; CityRoom reports, "The royal couple declined through a spokesman to share any of their favorite city spots, citing concern that they would be swarmed by the Dutch news media."
After their Manhattan welcome yesterday, the royals visited West Point, discussing Afghanistan with cadets, and Albany, receiving a key to the city and meeting with Governor Paterson. Today they will open the New Amsterdam Pavilion, which has been under construction in The Battery. More details on the many quadri-centennial events can be found at NY400.