Forty years after her grandmother's historic speech, and 30 years after her mother's, another queen will go before a joint meeting of the U.S. Congress, this time to mark two centuries of peaceful diplomacy between the Netherlands and the United States.
She is Beatrix Wilhelmina Armgard, queen of the Netherlands, princess of Orange-Nassau, princess of Lippe-Biesterfeld, whose appearance on April 21 will be the third time a reigning queen has been accorded the distinction.
The queen's four-day state visit at President Reagan's invitation begins Monday, April 19. It will be the 44-year-old monarch's first trip here since coming to the throne two years ago on April 30 when her mother, Queen Juliana, abdicated. The visit, which includes later stops in Philadelphia, New Haven and New York, will signal the start on both sides of the Atlantic of bicentennial activities celebrating historic and contemporary links of the United States and the Netherlands.
In Washington, where a fireworks display will include a blooming tulip, two centuries of uninterrupted friendship will also be highlighted by concerts, symposiums, conferences, seminars and art exhibits.
Officially, that friendship began on April 19, 1782, when the states general of the Dutch Republic recognized John Adams as minister plenipotentiary of the United States. The Netherlands was the second nation after France to diplomatically legitimize the fledgling country.
Six months later, through Adams' efforts, the Treaty of Amity and Commerce was signed, paving the way for a commercial relationship. Two years ago, according to the Netherlands-American Bicentennial Commission, commerce between the two nations resulted in a $6.76 billion favorable balance of trade, the largest the United States enjoyed with any of its trading partners.
The Washington visit by Beatrix, accompanied by her husband, Prince Claus, begins with a White House welcome by President and Mrs. Reagan. After that, there will be a State Department luncheon with Secretary of State and Mrs. Alexander Haig, a wreath-laying at Arlington National Cemetery and a visit to the Netherlands Carillon.
Also on April 19, Beatrix will open one of several important exhibitions of Dutch art on view here, "De Stijl: 1917-1931, Visions of Utopia," at the Smithsonian's Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden.
That evening, the Reagans will host a state dinner and guests will include such Hollywood names as Charlton Heston, Zsa Zsa Gabor and Ann Miller. The featured entertainer will be pianist George Shearing. The queen's musical tastes are not public record although her brother-in-law, Pieter van Vollenhoven, married to her sister, Princess Margriet, is a well-known jazz pianist and recording star.
On Tuesday, April 20, Beatrix will address a National Press Club luncheon, then attend the dedication at of the new Dutch Flentrop organ at St. Columba's Episcopal Church. Later, with Postmaster General William F. Bolger, she will attend an exchange of U.S. and Netherlands bicentennial commemorative postage stamps at Meridian House International.
That night prior to a formal dinner she will host at the National Gallery of Art, Queen Beatrix will attend the gala opening there of 40 Dutch paintings from The Mauritshuis, the royal picture gallery of the Netherlands. It is an exhibit that will include Johannes Vermeer's "Head of a Young Girl," Carl Fabritius' "Goldfinch," Frans Hals' "Laughing Boy" as well as works by Rembrandt, Jan Steen, Jan van Goyen and other 17th-century masters.
On Wednesday, April 21, Beatrix will visit the Children's Museum. Later, Federal Reserve Board chairman Paul Volcker will escort her through the Reserve Board's gallery to see "The Hague School and its American Legacy."
That afternoon at the U.S. Capitol, the queen will continue a tradition begun by her grandmother, Queen Wilhelmina, whom President Franklin D. Roosevelt invited to the United States in 1942. Roosevelt, like his cousin Theodore and another president, Martin Van Buren, was of Dutch origin.
Wilhelmina became the first reigning queen of any nation to address the U.S. Congress in a joint meeting (only the president addresses a joint session). Ten years later her daughter--Beatrix's mother, Queen Juliana--was similarly honored.
Wednesday evening at his residence, Vice President George Bush, as honorary chairman of the Netherlands-American Bicentennial Commission (NABC), will host a reception for her and members of the commission.
Later that night, at the outdoor Sylvan Theater next to the Washington Monument, there will be a joint concert by the U.S. Marine Band and the Marine Band of the Royal Netherlands Navy. The fireworks spectacle, sponsored by the 57-member NABC to conclude Amity Day, will light up the Washington sky to prerecorded synchronized music broadcast over the Sylvan Theater sound system.
The queen's official program does not include that event, according to the Netherlands Embassy.