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Last Updated: Monday, 8 December, 2003, 15:43 GMT
Dutch celebrate royal baby birth
New-born Dutch princess
The princess has not yet been named
Dutch Crown Prince Willem-Alexander and Princess Maxima are celebrating the birth of their first child, who is second in line to the throne.

The Argentine-born princess gave birth on Sunday to the 3.3kg (7.3lb) girl.

Prince Willem-Alexander showed off his new baby to the media at a news conference shown live on Dutch television.

"Although many babies are born each day, we believe this is the most beautiful baby in the world," he said.

The baby has not yet been named.

Father barred

The couple married in Amsterdam in February 2002. The bride's father was not permitted to attend because he had held a government position during Argentina's military dictatorship.

Prince Willem-Alexander shows off his new baby daughter
Prince Willem-Alexander showed off his new-born daughter to the media
Dutch Queen Beatrix was among visitors to the Bronovo hospital in The Hague to see her grandchild.

Wellwishers waiting outside the hospital cheered and applauded as she arrived.

The royal birth was formally greeted with a 101-gun salute fired by mounted artillery troops.

Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende congratulated the family in an address broadcast live on television.

As TV shows were interrupted with the news of the birth, one studio audience sang the national anthem to celebrate.

The royal couple's easy-going manner has made them a big hit with fans of the royal family. Tens of thousands thronged the centre of Amsterdam for the wedding.

The girl will be second in line to the throne because of the Netherlands' policy of having equal succession rights for boys and girls.

Prince Willem-Alexander's younger brother, Prince Johan Friso, has given up his right to the throne in a controversy over his fiancee's previous contacts with a criminal.

The decision followed other blows to the family including the death in October 2002 of the Queen's husband, Prince Claus, and a series of embarrassing royal revelations by the Queen's niece Princess Margarita.

Dutch prince renounces throne
10 Oct 03  |  Europe
Dutch royal row 'damages PM'
13 Mar 03  |  Europe

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