Queen Máxima and King Willem-Alexander enjoy family time skiing with their three beautiful girls

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It was fun and games for the Dutch royal family as Queen Máxima and King Willem-Alexander hit the slopes in Austria with their three daughters this week.The popular monarch and his wife were skiing in the picture-perfect resort of Lech, where they've been going for years, along with Princess Catharina-Amalia, 11, Princess Alexia, nine, and Princess Ariane, who is seven.

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Máxima and Willem-Alexander are in Lech, Austria

Argentine-born Máxima was in high spirits, giving Ariane an improvised skiing lesson during the photocall. Willem-Alexander's mother Princess Beatrix had also joined them on the break.

Since stepping down from the throne two years ago, the doting grandmother has been able to spend even more time with the little princesses.

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Princess Beatrix with Alexia, Ariane and Amalia

The bond she has with the girls was evident as the 77-year-old cuddled them on the holiday. During their father's inauguration in 2013, the former queen could be seen holding hands and whispering gently to the girls as she guided them through the proceedings, with the result that they behaved charmingly.

No wonder she's so proud of them. Even at 11, Amalia is quite the big sister taking the lead in front of photographers. On Willem-Alexander's coronation in April 2013, she became the Princess of Orange, a title similar to the Prince of Wales in Britain. Meanwhile, Alexia appears to be the image of her vivacious Latin mother.

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At 11, Amalia, the future queen is already quite the leader

The happy family scenes this week are poignant since it's three years since the King's brother Johan Friso was buried in an avalanche while on a break in the same resort. He eventually died of his injuries in August 2013, aged 44, a year and a half after his accident. The prince left behind a widow Princess Mabel and their two little girls.

While Friso won't have been far from their thoughts, the king and queen were determined to enjoy their traditional break and make sure their nearest and dearest did too.

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