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Queen Beatrix returns to public duty after her son's accident

08 MARCH 2012

Visibly trying to put her personal grief to one side, Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands appeared on her first public engagement since son Johan Friso's accident.

The royal matriarch visited a military facility in the town of Soesterberg on Wednesday. 

 

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She was shown around by Colonel Kathman who touched on the tragedy in his speech, conveying the Army's support for ther queen over "Prince Friso's worrying situation". 

The second of her three sons, 43-year-old Friso, has been in a coma since being buried in an avalanche in the Austrian resort of Lech.

For several weeks after the accident the devoted mother kept a vigil by his beside, accompanied by his wife Mabel.

With the stricken royal now transferred to a hospital in London for long-term care, the queen has felt able to take up her duties once more.

She recently thanked supporters for their kind messages.

 

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In statement, she said: "I express my gratitude for the enormous number of messages and kind expressions of sympathy we have received.

"It means a lot to know that so many people are thinking about us."

Beatrix has very much relied on her heir, Willem-Alexander, Friso's older brother, and his wife Maxima to get through this difficult time.

The family has signalled that they will continue to fulfill their obligations and there are no plans to cancel the annual Queen's Day celebrations on April 30.

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