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The last rehearsal before Prince Willem-Alexander becomes King

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As guests prepared to descend on the Dutch capital, Crown Prince Willem-Alexander and his wife Princess Maxima were seen putting their young daughters – Amalia, nine, Alexia, seven, and Ariane, six – through their paces during rehearsals at the Royal Palace. Just a few steps away from becoming Europe's youngest king and queen, Willem-Alexander and Maxima have run through every stage of the historical day's programme, when Queen Beatrix will abdicate in favour of her son.


Maxima and her husband have been accompanied by their three young daughters at several of the rehearsals, and she has spoken candidly of the importance that they "know what to do at all times." In a recent TV interview with Dutch journalists she explained: "It's not very complicated, but they have to do well." On Tuesday, an array of royals from around the world will be watching the family's every move in what is the biggest regal gathering since the Queen's Diamond Jubilee celebrations last year. The red carpet is being rolled out for royals from all corners, including British representatives Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall. Of all the heirs attending, the inauguration will perhaps resonate most with Charles, who is Britain's longest-waiting heir to the throne and has in the past suggested he is "impatient" to fulfil his destiny.


Meanwhile, elegant, poised and smiling widely, Crown Princess Masako of Japan, 49, is the picture of health as she and husband Crown Prince Naruhito, 53, are the first royals to arrive in Amsterdam. The Princess has been undergoing treatment for stress-related illness for over a decade, but she put her troubles to one side as touched down in Amsterdam, where Prince Willem-Alexander will be crowned king on Tuesday.

It is the Princess's first trip abroad in nearly seven years and she looked delighted to be back on the international royal scene as she and Naruhito waved to photographers gathered at Tokyo's Haneda airport. 

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They were the first royals to arrive in the Netherlands, where Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands will abdicate in favour of her son Willem-Alexander and his wife Princess Maxima, who will be styled queen consort. Spain's Crown Prince Felipe and Princess Letizia will also be attending after celebrating the sixth birthday of their youngest daughter Sofia. Scandinavia's royals were also due to arrive and watch their close friends become the first of their generation to ascend the throne.

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Denmark's Crown Prince Frederik and his glamorous wife Princess Mary were a last-minute addition to the guest list, as were Haakon and Mette-Marit of Norway, and Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden, who is attending with her husband Prince Daniel. Monaco's Prince Albert will be arriving without his wife Princess Charlene, and Luxembourg's newlyweds Prince Guillaume and Princess Stephanie are attending their most prominent engagement since they wed in October last year.

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