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Dutch Queen Beatrix starts state visit to Germany

Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands has met German Chancellor Angela Merkel as she starts her first state visit to Germany in nearly three decades.

German President Christian Wulff welcomed the 73-year-old Beatrix to his Bellevue palace with military honors on a wet, blustery Tuesday. She was accompanied by the heir to the throne, Crown Prince Willem-Alexander, and his wife, Princess Maxima.

Merkel later received Beatrix at the chancellery.

The monarch's four-day visit to Germany also features trips to the eastern state of Saxony and to western North Rhine-Westphalia, which borders the Netherlands.

It's the first state visit to the country since 1982 by Beatrix, whose late husband Prince Claus was German-born.