Historical Highlights

The Netherlands' Queen Beatrix's Address to a Joint Meeting of Congress

April 21, 1982
The Netherlands' Queen Beatrix's Address to a Joint Meeting of Congress Image courtesy of U.S. House of Representatives Photography Office Presided over by Speaker of the House Thomas (Tip) O'Neill and Vice President George H.W. Bush, Queen Beatrix addressed the House Chamber.
On this date, Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands addressed a Joint Meeting of Congress to celebrate 200 years of unbroken diplomatic relations between the United States and the Netherlands. The Queen commented on the growing nuclear arms race among the world super powers and expressed her people’s wish for arms reduction. “Nothing would seem to us more desirable than achieving a balanced, controlled reduction of arms on all sides, particularly a reduction in all those weapons that threaten to destroy civilization itself, indeed all life on this planet.” Queen Beatrix was the third member of her family to address Congress. The Queen’s mother, Queen Juliana addressed a Joint Meeting in 1952, discussing peace in the post World War II era, and her grandmother, Queen Wilhelmina, addressed an informal gathering of the House and Senate in the Senate Chamber in 1942, pledging her country’s intent to fight against the Nazis in Europe. Although the royals are symbolic leaders, the Dutch have never sent a non-royal to address the Congress.

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