19 JUNE 2003

Crown Prince Willem-Alexander and Princess Maxima of the Netherlands spoke of their happiness on Wednesday, after it was announced the couple is expecting in January.

Thirty-two-year-old Maxima revealed she had two thoughts when she found out she was pregnant with her first child. "I was so happy, I couldn't believe it," Maxima said, flashing her trademark smile. "My second reaction was, 'Where's Alexander?'."

When his wife told him he was going to be a first-time dad, the crown prince says, "I threw my arms around her." And as to whether they'd find out the sex of the baby early, he said they'd prefer to "let themselves be surprised".

The announcement was welcome news for Queen Beatrix's family, who mourned the passing of the queen's husband, Prince Claus, last October. "She's gone through so much that when she heard (about the pregnancy), she was so happy she just started dancing," said the crown prince of his mother. The new arrival will be the Dutch monarch's second grandchild, and will be second in line to the throne.

Prime Minister Jan-Peter Balkenende was among the public figures to offer his congratulations to the royal couple, saying: "The country is simply very, very happy with this splendid news."

Photo: © Alphapress.com
Crown Prince Willem-Alexander and his wife Princess Maxima at the Hague as the couple announced their special news on Wednesday Photo: © AFP
Photo: © Alphapress.com
The happy couple were smiling ear-to-ear as it was revealed the princess is expecting in January Photo: © AFP
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