AMSTERDAM — Princess Maxima Zorreguieta, the wife of Dutch Crown Prince Willem-Alexander, gave birth to a girl on Sunday, the couple's first child. She is second-in-line to the throne after her father and the latest in a long line of queens in the Netherlands.
Born at 5.01pm, the girl, whose name is yet to be announced, automatically gains the titles Princess of Orange and Princess of the Netherlands.
The government information service RVD said in a statement that the baby was in perfect health and that Willem-Alexander was 'grateful and happy'. The baby weighs 3.31 kg (7.3 lb) and is 52cm long.
There was speculation in the media in recent days that the birth was imminent, but then Maxima was pictured shopping in The Hague and the rumours subsided slightly.
She was admitted to the Bronovo Hospital in the Hague at 9.10am on Sunday and the media immediately took up station outside to await news of the birth.
Television station RTL 4 showed live pictures of Queen Beatrix and other members of the Royal Family arriving at the hospital shortly after 5pm to see her latest grandchild.
The cameras also showed Mabel Wisse-Smit, the fiancee of Princess Johan Friso, arriving at the hospital. Prince Johan Friso, the second eldest of the Queen's three sons, was until the birth of baby on Sunday the second-in-line to the throne.
However, the Prince and Mabel were plunged into controversy recently when it emerged Mabel had lied to the government about her relationship with drug baron Klaas Bruinsma, who was gunned down in Amsterdam in 1991.
The Cabinet has decided not to ask Parliament to sanction the marriage between Mabel and Prince Johan Friso. The couple say they intend to marry in 2004, an act which will result in Johan Friso losing his succession rights.
Crown Prince Willem-Alexander will take the throne when Beatrix steps down on dies, and he will become the first King in the Netherlands since the 19th century. Beatrix was preceded by her mother Juliana, and before her, Wilhelmina and Emma reigned.
Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende addressed the nation about the birth of the future queen at 6.15pm on Sunday. He said mother, daughter and father were doing well. He wished them a peaceful time over the next few days to give their full attention of the child.
"The loving thoughts and prayers of the Dutch people will be with them," the prime minister said.
Shortly after the announcement of the birth an 101-gun salute was fired by the military in honour of the new princess in all three countries of the Kingdom of the Netherlands.
The salute, which lasted for 17 minutes, was sounded in The Hague and the naval city of Den Helder, as well as on the former Dutch colonies of Curacao, the main island of the Netherlands Antilles, and the nearby island of Aruba in the Caribbean.
The tradition of the 101-gun salute to herald the birth of a Crown Prince or Princess was started by King Willem I in 1818. Originally, the birth of a girl was celebrated by 52 shots, but now equality reigns.
Royal birth: it's a girl!
вся страна несколько пьяна :) ещё бы, принцессочки не каждый день рождаются :)