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Maxima and Willem escape from the snow with a family Christmas in Argentina

23 DECEMBER 2010

She speaks fluent Dutch and is hugely popular in her adopted homeland Netherlands.

But there are times when Crown Princess Maxima must feel the call of home, especially at this time of year when summer is just beginning in Argentina and northern Europe is under a blanket of snow.

So, the charismatic royal and her husband Willem-Alexander are escaping the chill by spending Christmas in Patagonia.

And Maxima looked thrilled to be back on native turf as the couple posed for pictures with their adorable daughters Amalia, Alexia and Ariane.

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The photoshoot in the spectacular setting of the Residencia El Messidor – the official mansion of the province's governor, which is located in Nahuel Huapi national park – was held amidst a playful atmosphere, with the girls picking daisies to offer their mum.

The trip means the girls can spend time with their maternal grandparents, Jorge Zorreguieta and Maria del Carmen Cerruti, who are flying in from the capital Buenos Aires.

There is a suggestion that Queen Beatrix will join them for some southern sunshine – although that has not been confirmed by the Dutch royal family.

Enamoured of the breathtaking scenery in the area just near the Chilean border, the royals bought a $3.5 million ranch there a few years ago.

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Set in tranquil countryside on the banks of River Pichi Leufu, Maxima's estancia or estate is an ideal spot for fishing and kayaking.

It's the perfect retreat for a couple craving some peace and quiet away from the hurly burly of public life.

The location also allows them to catch up with her brother Martin, the owner of a gourmet restaurant in a nearby town, who found the property for them.

 

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