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Everything you need to know about King Willem-Alexander and Queen Maxima

Willem-Alexander and Maxima at the wedding of Prince Albert II of Monaco. Credit: PA

The King and Queen of the Netherlands are making a state visit to the UK.

King Willem-Alexander and Queen Maxima are staying with the Queen at Buckingham Palace for two days from Tuesday.

But who exactly are the Dutch royals?

The King

Willem-Alexander and Maxima at Westminster Abbey for the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s wedding Credit: Lewis Whyld/PA

In his younger days, Willem-Alexander, who became monarch in 2013, had a reputation as a partying royal and a bit of a Romeo.

He studied in Wales for a few years in the 1980s and, as a young man, after being snapped clutching a pint of beer, was nicknamed Prince Pils - and the nickname stuck.

As a boy, he once shouted, "All press, p**s off" at a royal photo session, and used to deploy his catapult against photographers who followed the family when on ski holidays.

King Willem Alexander. Credit: Chris Jackson/PA

Known to his friends as Alex, the fast car-loving royal once drove his own vehicle into a ditch.

He settled down, marrying Maxima in 2002, and they now have three daughters, Princesses Catharina-Amalia, Alexia and Ariane.

Willem-Alexander worked part-time for more than 20 years as a guest pilot with KLM’s fleet of Fokker 70 planes.

The 51-year-old monarch and his family live at Villa Eikenhorst in the forested De Horsten estate in Wassenaar near The Hague, a former royal hunting ground which covers around 400 acres.

The Dutch Royal Family. Credit: Instagram/koninklijkhuis

Holland’s royal family enjoy a relaxed relationship with the people of the Netherlands.

They released a series of modern portraits to mark the King’s fifth anniversary on the throne, showing the King, Queen and their children walking in line, mid stride.

The Queen

Maxima and Willem-Alexander try to catch a bouquet thrown by the Netherlands Women’s freestyle team at the London Olympics. Credit: Andrew Milligan/PA

Gregarious and vivacious Queen Maxima is a popular figure in the Netherlands.

The Argentinian is a former investment banker and her financial background has led to her becoming the UN Secretary General’s special advocate for inclusive finance.

The 47-year-old has learnt Dutch, been involved in domestic debates on immigration and integration, and is a prominent supporter of gay rights.

She once donned a wet-suit and plunged into the freezing canals of Amsterdam for a charity swim.

There was initially uproar over her relationship with Willem-Alexander.

Maxima’s father Jorge Zorreguieta had been a senior minister during Argentina’s brutal junta regime which ruled from 1976 to 1983 and under which thousands of people were killed or disappeared.

The then Princess Maxima arriving for the wedding of Prince Albert II of Monaco. Credit: Dominic Lipinski/PA

Willem-Alexander’s mother Queen Beatrix supported the couple, praising Maxima as "an intelligent, modern woman" when the couple’s engagement was announced.

On the orders of the Dutch government, Maxima’s father stayed away from their 2002 wedding ceremony, watching it on television instead.

Maxima is proud of her Latin heritage, once saying: "I am Latin and I will continue being Latin. I dance, I sing and I will keep on dancing and singing."

But she said of her husband’s dancing ability: "I keep trying to push him. His hips are a little rigid."

She was left devastated after her sister Ines killed herself in Argentina earlier this year.

The abdications

Queen Maxima, King Willem-Alexander, the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh prior to the Remembrance Day Service Credit: Jonathan Brady/PA

Abdications are the norm for the Dutch royals.

King Willem-Alexander became monarch in 2013 when his mother, Queen Beatrix, abdicated in favour of her son after a 33-year reign.

Beatrix’s mother Queen Juliana of the Netherlands abdicated in 1980 on her 71st birthday.

What’s the Dutch royal family’s connection to the British Royal Family?

The Queen and Queen Beatrix. Credit: Ian Jones/PA

The British Royal Family are related to many of Europe’s royal houses and they have similar ties with Dutch royalty.

Queen Beatrix is a distant cousin of Elizabeth II and they are fond of one another, always greeting each other warmly with a kiss on the cheek and large smiles.

The Duchess of Cambridge met King Willem-Alexander when she visited Holland in 2016 for her first solo overseas visit.

The Duchess of Cambridge meets King Willem Alexander of the Netherlands at Villa Eikenhorst in The Hague, Netherlands. Credit: Samir Hussein/PA