30 JUNE 2006

Queen Elizabeth is famous for her love of corgis, but it would appear her counterpart in the Netherlands has an affinity for rather more formidable creatures. Queen Beatrix, who recently celebrated 26 years on the throne of her European homeland, got up close and personal with a majestic bird of prey this week.

She met the buzzard during a visit to Muiderslot Castle just outside Amsterdam to mark its reopening after extensive renovations. And the monarch soon discovered that, although her new feathered friend was not quite so given to the kind of tail-wagging displays of affection offered by other animals, it was no less dutiful. No sooner had the VIP arrived at the historic site than the hawk came swooping across the fields and alighted gently on her arm to deliver a key.

Beatrix, who showed her national pride by wearing an orange hat with her white and orange suit, was clearly delighted by the encounter. Some might find the close proximity of razor sharp talons a little nerve-wracking but the Dutch royal obviously wasn't the least bit worried, smiling broadly and chatting warmly to the bird's handler throughout.

Photo: © Alphapress.com
Beatrix comes face to face with the majestic bird of prey. The buzzard dutifully delivered a key to the visiting royal upon her arrival at Muiderslot CastlePhoto: RexClick on photo to enlarge
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