King Willem-Alexander and Queen Máxima of the Netherlands Pay Tribute to Martin Luther King Jr.

On Monday, the King and Queen of the Netherlands began their four-day visit to the U.S. in Atlanta, Georgia, where they honored the legacy of civil rights leader Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., who was assassinated in 1968.

King Willem-Alexander and Queen Máxima began their day by visiting the Martin Luther King, Jr. Center for Nonviolent Social Change, a non-profit landmark honoring his legacy. MLK's daughter, Bernice King, greeted the couple, and walked the Dutch royals to a marble crypt where father and mother, Coretta Scott King, were laid to rest, and set a wreath on the crypt. The former mayor of Atlanta and civil rights leader Andrew Young was also present during the visit.

At the King Center, King Willem-Alexander shared some remarks, stating his deep appreciation for the visit and how the "drive for emancipation among people of color" was a story of "pain and anger, but also one of pride, solidarity and the steadfast belief in peace and reconciliation." He then connected the U.S. to the Netherlands, saying, "in the Netherlands, too, the fight against discrimination and racism continues to command our full attention."

Last year, during an event commemorating 150th anniversary of abolition in Amsterdam, the King apologized for his country's history in slavery in a moving and historic speech, saying, "Today, as your king and as a member of the government, I make this apology myself. And I feel the weight of the words in my heart and my soul.”

georgia governor brian kemp and georgia first lady marty kemp welcome king willem alexander and queen maxima of the netherlands
Georgia Governor Brian Kemp and Georgia First Lady Marty Kemp Welcome the King and Queen of the Netherlands.Nykieria Chaney - Getty Images

Also today, the Dutch King and Queen met with the governor of Georgia, Brian Kemp, to discuss economic cooperation alongside a delegation of Dutch business leaders. Per the Royal House of the Netherlands, "The working visit will highlight the strong bilateral ties between the Kingdom of the Netherlands and the United States, and its economic relations with Georgia and New York State. The US is the Netherlands’ biggest non-EU partner in regard to economic and security cooperation."

Tomorrow, King Willem-Alexander and Queen Máxima are scheduled to visit Savannah State University, which is the oldest public, historically Black university in Georgia. They will also visit the port of Savannah before heading to New York City for the rest of their trip this week.

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