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Kate sparkles as the pearly queen of the Netherlands

Published 11/10/2016

The Duchess of Cambridge will spend the day in The Hague and Rotterdam
The Duchess of Cambridge will spend the day in The Hague and Rotterdam

Life imitated art when the Duchess of Cambridge wore a pair of pearl earrings to see a famous Dutch old master painting - showing a young woman wearing the same jewellery.

During a tour of an art museum Kate mirrored the well-known artwork by 17th century artist Vermeer, which depicts a young woman with a distinctive earring, made from a large pearl.

The royal trip to the Netherlands was the Duchess' first official solo overseas visit and some commentators believe Kate will be an asset in helping to safeguard the UK's relations with its European neighbours as Brexit takes shape in the coming years.

The visit comes a day after Prime Minister Theresa May was in the Netherlands for talks with her Dutch counterpart, Mark Rutte, to put forward her case for a fair deal for the UK with the European Union.

Mrs May also visited Denmark for talks with Prime Minister Lars-Lokke Rasmussen as part of her diplomatic offensive ahead of the formal beginning of the Brexit process.

Kate, who was dressed in a Catherine Walker suit, was wearing earrings loaned by the Queen when she saw the Vermeer during a visit to the Mauritshuis art museum in The Hague, for the opening of the exhibition 'At Home in Holland: Vermeer and his Contemporaries from the British Royal Collection'.

One of the Queen's most senior aides, her private secretary Sir Christopher Geidt, joined Kate's small entourage - which may be interpreted by some as reflecting the importance of the trip.

But a Buckingham Palace spokesman said: "The Duchess' visit centred on an exhibition featuring works from the Royal Collection. Sir Christopher attended in his capacity as a trustee of the Royal Collection."

Royal sources dismissed the speculation that Sir Christopher's presence was Brexit related, and said his joining the Duchess also reflected the close ties between the British and Dutch royal families.

Earlier Kate was welcomed to the Netherlands by the country's head of state King Willem-Alexander and she curtseyed to the foreign monarch before they had lunch at his royal residence Villa Eikenhorst near The Hague.

Kate toured the exhibition with Emilie Gordenker, one of the Mauritshuis' two directors, and stopped to admire Vermeer's Girl with a Pearl Earring.

The Duchess lingered in front of the Dutch masterpiece, made famous by the film of the same name starring Colin Firth and Scarlett Johansson, to ensure that photographers had ample time to take their pictures of the girls in pearls.

The earrings were not the only things loaned by the Queen that were on display, as the main purpose of the Duchess's visit was to promote the exhibition of Dutch paintings from the Royal Collection.

As a graduate in history of art, the Duchess regarded the visit as "a real treat" according to Ms Gordenker, who showed her around the permanent collection as well as the Queen's paintings. She, too, had chosen pearl earrings for the occasion.

She said: "She didn't mention the earrings she was wearing but she was interested in the painting. She asked if it had become a lot more popular since the film came out, and I said it definitely had.

"The Duchess seemed to particularly enjoy seeing The Goldfinch, by Carel Fabritius, but she asked a lot of questions about the presentation of the paintings, because although she is familiar with a lot of the Queen's paintings she has never seen them in this setting before, which gives them a different context." mfl

Press Association

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