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Dutch royals unite for Prince Friso's funeral

August 16, 2013
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The funeral of Prince Johan Friso of the Netherlands took place on Friday afternoon in the small village of Lage Vuursche near Hilversum. The 44-year-old royal had been in a coma since February 2012 following a skiing accident.The highly private funeral was attended by around 80 people including Prince Friso's widow Mabel, his two daughters Luana, 8, and Zaria, 7, his mother Beatrix and his two brothers King Willem-Alexander and Prince Constantijn. With the adults dressed in black and children in white, the Dutch royals were unified for the sombre occasion. 

Flags were lowered to half-mast on government buildings ahead of the occasion.

In a break with tradition, the Dutch Prince was buried in the churchyard of the village's Stulpkerk rather than placed in the family crypt in Delft's Oude Kerk.

The Lage Vuursche church adjoins the Drakensteyn castle estate, where the Prince grew up and where former Queen Beatrix plans to return now that she has retired. "After a service in the Stulpkerk in Lage Vuursche the Prince will be laid to rest in the adjacent cemetery," stated the Dutch royal family's website.

It also said that "A memorial service for Prince Friso will be held later in the year."

According to Nos, Beatrix once donated land to the church so that the graveyard could be extended.

The younger brother of King Willem-Alexander tragically died aged 44 on Monday after being in a coma for almost a year and a half following a skiing accident in Lech, Austria.

The father-of-two was skiing off-piste when he was buried in an avalanche and trapped under the snow for 15 minutes. His brain was starved of oxygen while rescuers tried to locate him. Emergency workers were able to reach Prince Friso quickly and airlift him to safety as he was wearing a beeper. >

Prince Friso with his and Mabel's two daughters Luana and Zaria
Prince Friso with his and Mabel's two daughters Luana and Zaria

He passed away at the Palace Huis ten Bosch in the Hague where he was being cared for, the day after his wife Mabel’s 45th birthday. She is said to have spent the day at his bedside.

King Willem-Alexander, who cut short his family holiday in Greece to fly home to be with his family, spoke about his younger brother's condition, which he described as "a great tragedy", in a candid interview ahead of becoming King in April.

"For over a year, we've been living with this terrible situation during which my mother and [Prince Friso's wife] Mabel have been doing everything humanly possible to be by my brother's side."

"Every day, they are waiting for him. For my part, all I can do is support them – and make sure I do my best…" said the then-king-to-be, while his wife Maxima held back her tears.

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