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Dutch royals take poignant winter holiday a year after Prince Friso's accident

18 FEBRUARY 2013

The Dutch royal family's winter photocall in Lech, Austria has taken place one year after Prince Johan Friso's tragic skiing accident left him in a coma.

Queen Beatrix and her eldest son Willem-Alexander led the gathering on the resort's idyllic slopes while Princess Maxima and young royals Amalia, Alexia and Ariana completed the picture.

 

Princess Maxima

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Prince Friso and his wife Mabel were notably absent from the family scene. Exactly one year ago, Queen Beatrix's second son was buried by an avalanche in the Austrian Alps.

The 44-year-old was trapped under the snow for 15 minutes and his brain was starved of oxygen while rescuers tried to locate him off-piste. He remains in a coma at London's Wellington hospital where he continues to receive specialist care.

His wife Mabel decided to spend the tragic anniversary away from the public eye. She and Friso's two daughters, below, are also in Lech, but decided not to be photographed "for personal reasons". 

The occasion also marked the last time Beatrix will head the Dutch royals' break to Austria , where the family has spent its winters for more than 50 years.

The Dutch monarch will abdicate in favour of her eldest son on April 30. When Willem-Alexander is inaugurated, his wife, Maxima, will become Queen consort.

 

Johan Friso



In accordance with the country's constitution the couple's eldest daughter Princess Amalia, who is nine-years-old, will then become heir apparent.

Speaking in the train station before arriving in Austria, Willem-Alexander said he was looking forward to enjoying the snow and tranquility of the Alps before facing one of the most important moments of his life, becoming King of the Netherlands.

The trip will, however, be tinged with sadness. On Sunday February 24 the entire family are expected to attend a religious ceremony which will be held for Prince Friso.

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