For the first time in almost 40 years, the King and Queen of Netherlands will make an official state visit to the U.K. in October after accepting an invitation from Queen Elizabeth.
This will be the first official state visit to Buckingham Palace by King Willem-Alexander, 51, and Queen Maxima, 47. Willem’s parents, Queen Beatrix and Prince Claus, were the last royal Dutch couple to visit the U.K. on an official visit in 1982.
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The royal couple’s visit is also sadly marked by a recent death in the family. Queen Maxima’s sister was found dead of apparent suicide in her apartment in Buenos Aires on June 6. Inés Zorreguieta was 33.
According to reports, Queen Maxima was “shocked and devastated” by the news. She canceled all her appearances until about three weeks ago, when she first spoke publicly about her family’s tragedy after visiting a cancer treatment center.
“My dear, gifted little sister Inés was sick, too. She could find no joy, and she could not be cured,” she said. “Our only comfort is that she has now at last found peace. And I would like to say how very grateful we are for the countless letters, messages and tokens of sympathy that we have received. They have really helped us. I’d also like to say thank you for the respect that everyone has shown my family in this very dark period. Thank you, thank you, thank you.”
Maxima grew up in Argentina along with their two brothers, three half-sisters and Inés, the youngest. When Maxima married Willem, Inés agreed to be Maxima’s bridesmaid even though neither of their parents attended for political reasons. Although she suffered from depression, Ines was a talented musician and was working for Argentina’s Ministry of Social Development when she died. She was also the godmother to the King and Queen’s youngest daughter, Ariane.
If you or someone you know is considering suicide, please contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).