27 FEBRUARY 2006

A fit of the giggles might not be the first response one would expect to have when presented with a literary encyclopaedia, but two of Europe's favourite princesses seemed to be having a whale of a time last week when they met up for exactly that.

The Netherlands' Crown Princess Maxima was photographed laughing heartily when she joined Belgium's future Queen, Crown Princess Mathilde, for a ceremony in the picturesque town of Breda. She and her fellow royal were guests of honour at the event, which was staged to promote the newly reissued History Of Dutch Literature.

Well-wishers who had gathered to greet the VIP pair when they arrived at Grote Kirk church would no doubt have loved to know what was causing their mirth. But despite the fact that the joke seems to have remained a secret, the crowd was more than satisfied with the princesses' warm response to its cheers.

And despite their sober appearance - Maxima sailed up the red carpet in a tailored burgundy jacket and matching skirt, while Mathilde had opted for a fitted grey coat with black detailing - the two royals seemed positively giddy as they shook hands with fans and acknowledged the greetings shouted by those gathered outside.

Photo: ©
Mathilde (left) seemed to be thoroughly enjoying herself as she shared a joke with Maxima inside Grote Kirk churchPhoto: © Rex
Photo: ©
The two women were on equally exuberant form as they shook hands with well-wishers outside the venuePhoto: © Rex
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