The sky was blue and filled with ticker tape – it was the perfect atmosphere for a party.
And during their country”s national holiday, the Dutch royals threw themselves wholeheartedly into the spirit of the festivities.
“Orange fever” traditionally sweeps the Netherlands on Koninginnedag or Queen”s Day – held annually on April 30 in honour of the monarch.
Making a monumental effort to put their grief over Prince Johan Friso”s accident to one side, Beatrix and her family joined in the madcap activities associated with the occasion.
For her exuberant daughter-in-law Maxima there was some wheely fun as she took part in a cycle “boat” race.
The Argentine-born princess then joined her husband for a tug of war, seemingly not hindered by her high heels.
The afternoon of jollity in the province of Utrecht – each year the monarch visits a different town to celebrate – had clearly lifted their spirits.
Since February Friso, 43, the queen”s middle son, has been in a coma. He is now receiving specialist care in a top London clinic.
Touching on the tragedy, the monarch spoke of the family”s gratitude for their people”s support.
She told the crowds: “It is sad that our family is not complete, but we will pass on all the good wishes we have felt and heard.”