Sep 6, 2022 - Politics

San Francisco welcomes Dutch royalty

Queen Máxima of the Netherlands sitting at a table with SF Mayor London Breed.
Queen Máxima of the Netherlands discusses issues facing the LGBTQ+ community with SF Mayor London Breed, SF D8 Supervisor Rafael Mandelman and community leaders at Twin Peaks Tavern in the Castro. Photo: Megan Rose Dickey/Axios

Queen Máxima of the Netherlands visited San Francisco Tuesday, where she met with Mayor London Breed, toured the Castro and attended a seminar on transportation and other urban challenges.

State of play: The visit marks the first royal trip to San Francisco in 17 years.

  • In 2005, British royalty Prince Charles and Camila, Duchess of Cornwall, made a four-day trip to San Francisco.
  • Royal visits serve as an opportunity to acknowledge the accomplishments of a particular community.

Details: Queen Máxima visited the GLBT Historical Society Museum, the Castro Theatre and met with community leaders at the historic Twin Peaks Tavern.

  • During her visit, the queen spoke with community leaders about issues ranging from LGBTQ rights to the city's drug crisis to living with HIV.

The big picture: The Netherlands was the first country in the world to legalize same-sex marriage in 2001.

  • In 2004, then-San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom began issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples, despite a federal law saying marriage was only legal between a man and a woman.

What they're saying: "The Netherlands and San Francisco share so many things in common, but the support to the LGBT community, it is something we feel so strongly about," Queen Máxima said at a press event outside the Twin Peaks Tavern. "And I'm here to not only learn about your history but also to learn from each other."

  • "We have to still lead by example," she said. "We have to make our world equal for everybody so that everybody feels at home wherever they live."

Of note: The Castro is in turmoil, with local businesses threatening to withhold taxes if the city does not better address the homelessness and drug abuse crises in the neighborhood.

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