The state visit to the Holey See underlines the bilateral and multilateral ties between the Netherlands and the Vatican. Pope Franciscus represents 1.2 billion followers of the Catholic Church. The church is embedded globally in local civil society. From that position, the Holy See can provide diplomatic efforts in international societal challenges such as conflict, climate, poverty and migration.
In the morning, the Royal Couple first visited the Frisian church. This 1140-based god house is in the place where pilgrims gathered from the low countries in the 8th century. The King and Queen were received by the rector, Bishop Hurkmans. The church is a symbol of ancient history between the Netherlands and the Holy See and is an introduction to the visit of Pope Franciscus.
The state visit to the Holy See then officially commenced with an audience at Pope Franciscus. Upon arrival, the Swiss Guard was set up, after which King Willem-Alexander and Queen Máxima have an interview with the church leader in the Papal Departures. Subsequently, the King and Queen had a conversation with the Vatican government leader, State Secretary Cardinal Pietro Parolin.
Afterwards, the King was handed over a commander of Willem van Oranje in the Biblioteca Apostolica. The Catholic Spaniards won this commanding post after their victory on Protestant Dutch insurgents at the battle of the Mookerheide (1574). This baton is given by the Catalan Jesuit convent Sant Cugat and carries the weapon of Willem van Oranje. From April to October 2018, the staff can be seen at the National Military Museum in Soesterberg, during an exhibition about Willem van Oranje.