27 JUNE 2007

The daughter Princess Maxima and Prince Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands celebrated her second birthday on Tuesday with a party fit for a princess, complete with balloons, family celebrations and a teddy-bear-pinic cake.

The family gathered at their rural estate in Wassenaar, a town in the west of the country, to mark little Princess Alexia's special day. There a colourful tea party was laid on for the birthday girl whose elder sister, three-year-old Princess Amalia, clapped her hands in delight as the candles were lit on the cake. Also on hand was the newest addition to the family, two-month-old baby Ariane, who spent the celebrations cradled in the arms of her proud father Willem-Alexander.

An excited Amalia later hopped on her bicycle to pedal around the palace, showing off to the gathered photographers as she lifted both hands off the handlebars to fearlessly wave to the crowds. Alexia was equally happy to soak up the attention, standing tall to smile at the cameras with a poise and confidence well beyond her years.

Sharing a happy afternoon of family fun was presumably all the more important for busy mother Maxima, who has spoken of how she values time with her brood and finds it difficult to leave her young family to fulfill commitments to overseas projects. And she no doubt appreciated the opportunity to spend time with her children all the more, as she's soon to be parted from them. The princess leaves for Kenya later this week as part of her work for the UN promoting microcredit for small businesses in developing countries.

Photo: © Alphapress.com
Proud parents Willem-Alexander and Maxima had arranged a colourful birthday treat to celebrate Alexia's (right) second birthdayPhoto: © AFPClick on photos for gallery
Photo: © Alphapress.com
The family had gone to great trouble decorating the house for Alexia's big day, filling the room with streamers and balloonsPhoto: © AFP
Photo: © Alphapress.com
Maxima looks on proudly as a confident Alexia - with a little reassurance from daddy - smiles for the cameras Photo: © AFP
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