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Princess Amalia: did you notice this big difference to the royal's appearance?

The 16-year-old is the eldest child of King Willem-Alexander and Queen Maxima

Gemma Strong

Princess Amalia of the Netherlands had a surprise in store for royal watchers as she joined her family for their annual skiing holiday photocall on Tuesday. Although only a subtle change, eagle-eyed fans noticed that the 16-year-old has had her ears pierced. Amalia - the eldest of King Willem-Alexander and Queen Maxima's three daughters – could be seen with gold hoops in her ears as she posed for photos with her younger sisters, Princess Alexia, 14, and Princess Ariane, 12, and their parents in Lech, Austria.

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Princess Amalia of the Netherlands has had her ears pierced

Perhaps the piercing was in celebration of Amalia’s 16 birthday on 7 December. A portrait photograph of the teenager was posted on the family’s official Instagram page to mark the happy occasion. Amalia is heir apparent to the Dutch royal throne – something her father is acutely aware of, having himself succeeded his mother as monarch. In a rare interview in 2013, the king shared his approach to parenting Amalia, in the knowledge that she will one day reign.

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Maxima and Willem-Alexander - a Dutch match made in Spain

"You must first get to know yourself through and through. That's what I am constantly emphasizing with Amalia," Willem-Alexander told Dutch author Wilfried de Jong. "I keep saying: know your own limits. Go everywhere. Make mistakes, as far as possible out of the eyes of the public. I did that, a lot. Festivals, parties everything and more - find your boundaries. It is a good thing to do, without doing it in the public domain."

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The king further noted that he does not want to know his daughters' every movement, and that he has an arrangement with the princesses' security guards. He explained: "It's about the safety of my children, not about us knowing what they're doing or whether things are good or bad. Otherwise you can never develop yourself. If they want to share things about Amalia, I would rather not know."

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