Willem-Alexander steps in as Queen cancels her engagements to be with his ailing brother

Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands has cancelled her engagements for the week to stay close to her critically ill son Johan Friso.

He is fighting for his life after being buried under an avalanche in Lech, Austria.

Since his accident, the monarch, his distraught wife Mabel and older brother Prince Willem-Alexander have been visiting him daily.

Together with Willem-Alexander's wife Princess Maxima, they have been taking turns at his bedside.

The queen was due to attend a summit on crime in the The Hague. She was also expected at a ceremony where the ambassadors of Mozambique and Djibouti present their credentials.

On Monday, Willem-Alexander, who is the heir to the throne, stepped in to attend an event commemorating the 70th anniversary of the battle of Java, a former Dutch colony.

He was given flowers by concerned well-wishers.


The royal family has expressed their gratitude for the outpouring of public support as they band together to support 43-year-old Friso.

The prince, who is the second of Beatrix's three sons, was buried under the snow for at least 15 minutes and remains in a coma with doctors unsure if he will ever wake up.