King, queen of Netherlands visit Atlanta, pay tribute to Martin Luther King, Jr.

The Dutch King Willem-Alexander and his wife Maxima stand laughing in front of the State Chancellery. (Photo by Jens Büttner/picture alliance via Getty Images)

Atlanta is hosting some special royal visitors this week.

His Majesty King Willem-Alexander and Her Majesty Queen Máxima of the Netherlands began a four-day visit to the United States in Georgia on Monday.

The royal couple and Dutch CEOs were welcomed by Gov. Brian Kemp at the Georgia Capitol before going on a whirlwind tour throughout the city.

ATLANTA, GEORGIA - JUNE 10: (L-R) King Willem-Alexander of The Netherlands, Queen Maxima of The Netherlands, Georgia First Lady Marty Kemp and Governor Brian Kemp at Georgia State Capitol on June 10, 2024 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Nykieria Chane

They started with a visit to the King Center where Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s daughter, Bernice King, greeted them. The royal couple laid a wreath at the grave of King and his wife, Coretta Scott King. Civil rights leader and former Atlanta Mayor Andrew Young also attended the event.

Willem-Alexander called the visit "deeply moving" for the couple and said the "drive for emancipation among people of color" was a story of "pain and anger, but also one of pride, solidarity and the steadfast belief in peace and reconciliation."

"In the Netherlands, too, the fight against discrimination and racism continues to command our full attention," he said, reading from prepared remarks. "Martin Luther King inspires us never to give up. His voice continues to resonate even across the Atlantic."

Then, they met with Black students at the historic Ebenezer Baptist Church where they learned about the church’s role in the civil rights movement and the fight for racial justice. On Tuesday, they are scheduled to visit Savannah State University, the oldest public historically Black college or university in Georgia.

After that, the king and queen took a tour of the Atlanta BeltLine with Mayor Andre Dickens to discuss affordable housing.

You can't visit Atlanta without taking in a bit of the city's cultural legacy, so the couple visited Patchwerk Recording Studios, a famous Atlanta studio where artists such as OutKast, 2Pac, Beyoncé and Madonna have recorded albums.

The couple is scheduled to visit the Atlanta headquarters of NewCold, a Dutch cold-storage warehouse company, followed by a trip to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to discuss efforts to combat malaria.

To end their visit, the couple will visit the High Museum for a guided tour of the exhibition "Dutch Art in the Global Age" with a reception to follow. 

Atlanta's not the only Georgia stop on their U.S. trip. The royal couple will also visit Savannah before heading to New York.

The Associated Press' Sudhin Thanawala contributed to this report.