• Kyodo

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Crown Prince Naruhito and his family, on a private two-week trip to the Netherlands, visited former royal stables with Queen Beatrix and her family Friday in the eastern Dutch city of Apeldoorn.

The event, held at the Royal Stables adjacent to Het Loo Palace in the northwestern part of the city, was open to dozens of local and Japanese reporters.

Just after 11 a.m., the Crown Prince, Crown Princess Masako and their 4-year-old daughter, Princess Aiko, appeared from the main stable and walked with Queen Beatrix, her son, Crown Prince Willem Alexander, his wife, Princess Maxima, and their two daughters, Princess Catharina-Amalia, 2, and Princess Alexia, 1.

The Crown Princess, wearing a cream jacket and pants, took Princess Aiko’s hand and chatted with Queen Beatrix as they walked under the building’s extended roof.

Princess Aiko and Princess Catharina-Amalia, both wearing light blue dresses, held each other’s hand, while their other hand was held by their mothers.

Princess Aiko looked curiously at a peacock roaming the garden nearby as her parents chatted with the Dutch queen, crown prince and princess.

The three little princesses were pulled up by their parents onto a brown carriage nearby and smiled and waved at reporters before they re-entered the building.

The carriage was the one used by Queen Wilhelmina, the current queen’s grandmother, to fetch milk from a farm when she was little, and so is known as the “milk car.”

“We are very proud to have them here,” Eelco Elzenga, head curator at the Het Loo Palace National Museum, said of the Japanese royal family after watching the royalty of both countries mingle in a friendly manner.

About 30 Dutch reporters covered the 10-minute event, in addition to 20 journalists from Japanese news outlets.

The Crown Prince’s family arrived in Apeldoorn, about 80 km east of Amsterdam, via car Thursday evening after flying into Amsterdam’s Schiphol airport from Tokyo.

They are staying at Het Oude Loo, a 15th-century castle that stands next to the palace, as guests of the Dutch royal family.

The summer vacation is aimed at helping Crown Princess Masako recover from a stress-related illness.

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