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Queen Beatrix, festive in a bright fuchsia hat, greets some of her younger subjects, equally colourful for the occasion in fancy dress
Photo: © AFP
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It was a busy day for her son Prince Willem, who at one point showed off some fancy footwork to a local basketball team
Photo: © AFP

The royal matriarch throws her hands in the air to enthusiastically thank the inhabitants of Den Bosch for their efforts in helping her mark her special day
Photo: © AFP

Dutch royals lead energetic Queens Day celebrations

1 MAY 2007

Members of the Dutch royal family threw themselves into some very special festivities this week as they joined their subjects in marking a date close to their hearts - Queens Day. Both the Dutch monarch and her son Prince Willem-Alexander got into the carnival spirit of the activities, which celebrate Queen Beatrix's official birthday and the anniversary of her acension to the throne.

In line with tradition the royal matriarch chooses two centres for the celebrations, visiting both to share the colourful proceedings with her subjects. This year it was the turn of the historical town of Den Bosch, in the south of the country. And the Queen joined in the celebrations with gusto, enthusiastically throwing her arms in the air to thank the town's inhabitants - including a group of colourfully dressed youngsters - for their efforts.

Prince Willem was also throwing himself wholeheartedly into the festivities. The 40-year-old - who recently became a dad for the third time to daugher, Princess Ariane Wilhelmina - showed off his sporty side by demonstrating his ball skills with the members of a young basketball team and then pulling on a pair of boxing gloves to tackle a punch bag.

The heir to the throne also joined locals for a game of vishappen, a traditional pursuit in which the blindfolded participant has to locate a fake fish, before kicking up his heels on the dance floor with a pretty local lass.

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