Japan's crown prince, princess attend coronation of new Dutch king

Japan's Crown Prince Naruhito and Crown Princess Masako attended Tuesday the coronation of the new Dutch king at a historic church with members of other royal families.

Prince Willem-Alexander became the Netherland's first king in more than a century after his mother Queen Beatrix abdicated following 33 years on the throne.

For the ceremony, the 49-year-old Japanese crown princess, who has been struggling with a stress-induced illness for a long time, made her first official overseas trip in 11 years.

In addition to government officials and key parliamentary figures, members of royal families from about 20 countries across Europe, the Middle East, Asia and elsewhere were among those attending the ceremony at the Nieuwe Kerk, a Protestant church which has been the site for Dutch royal inaugurations.

After the new Dutch king takes his vow at the Nieuwe Kerk, the royal families from across the globe were scheduled to pose for photos and then move to the Royal Palace nearby for a reception.

In Tokyo, Japan's Imperial Household Agency said Emperor Akihito has sent a congratulatory telegram to the new Dutch king.

Ahead of the coronation, Crown Prince Naruhito attended a banquet on Monday organized by the Dutch queen but his wife skipped the banquet to reduce her workload.

The crown prince went to the banquet held at a national museum with Swedish Crown Princess Victoria.

The crown prince and princess are expected to leave the Netherlands on May 2 and return home the following day.