Elegant, poised and smiling widely, Crown Princess Masako of Japan, 49, is the picture of health as she and husband Crown Prince Naruhito, 53, prepare to travel to Amsterdam.
The royal has been undergoing treatment for stress-related illness for over a decade, but she put her troubles to one side as she made her way to the Dutch inauguration, where Prince Willem-Alexander will be crowned king on Tuesday.
PHOTO FOR GALLERY
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.
They were the first royals due to arrive in Amsterdam, 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.
As guests prepared to descend on the Dutch capital, the incoming king and queen were seen putting their young daughters – Amalia, nine, Alexia, seven, and Ariane, six – through their paces during rehearsals at the Royal Palace.
In a recent TV interview, Maxima said it was important her daughters “know what to do at all times” adding, “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.
As well as Masako and Nahurito, the red carpet was also being rolled out for 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.
It is a double celebration for Spanish couple Crown Prince Felipe and Princess Letizia, who were celebrating the sixth birthday of their youngest daughter Sofia before catching their flight to the Netherlands.
Scandinavia”s royals were also due to arrive and watch their close friends become the first of their generation to ascend the throne.
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.