Early in 2013, Maxima accompanied her husband and mother in law on a short tour of Brunei, immediately followed by a trip to Singapore (which will be featured in the next post). This tour would be deeply significant as just a week after setting off, Beatrix would go on to announce her intention to abdicate. As such, the visits to Brunei and Singapore were to prove one of the last chances for the Queen to pass on her State Visit wisdom to her successor and his wife. Fortunately, the tour was a grand occasion with a huge welcome from the nation’s leader, the Sultan of Brunei. They family were welcomed by him before a trip on the Brunei river and a visit to the traditional water village of Kampong Ayer which is built on stilts. Amsterdam is known for being largely built on stilts initially so it was a quirky bond between the nations. On their second day they would visit the headquarters of Shell- a key site as the country makes 90% of it’s GDP from oil and gas- and the beautiful jungles of Borneo. The visit also gave Maxima a glimpse of the parade of tiaras and gowns she would become accustomed to as Queen as she attended two State Banquets and wore a tiara on both occasions. The visit was without a doubt one which would be remembered fondly for both its personal and professional significance.