Queen Máxima resumes public duties, speaks of 'dear, sick' sister

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Queen Maxima of the Netherlands has paid emotional tribute to her sister while speaking publicly about her death for the first time.

The queen, 47, returned to her royal duties on Tuesday after she took time off following her sister Inés Zorreguieta's June 6 death.

The queen said how pleased she was to visit the centre, which gave hope to people with cancer.

"My little, darling, talented sister Ines was sick". She was unable to find happiness and sadly couldn't get better.

Maxima continued, "Our only comfort is that she has now at last found peace".

The queen added the "countless letters" she had received had been a real help and thanked everyone "for the respect that people have shown my family during this very tough time".

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The youngest sister of Maxima, a native Argentinian, worked for the country's Ministry of Social Development.

Queen Maxima said she was left "shocked and sad" following the death of her younger sister, who was found found dead at her apartment in Argentina earlier this month.

Zorreguieta was bridesmaid at her older sister's wedding to then-Crown Prince Willem-Alexander in 2002, and was named godmother of Princess Ariane - the third and youngest daughter of the Dutch royals.

It's been a hard 12 months for Queen Maxima's family, with her father Jorge Horacio Zorreguieta having passed away past year in Buenos Aires at age 89.

Queen Maxima's husband King Willem-Alexander is now on a state visit to Baltic countries, Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia alone after his wife cancelled a string of engagements to fly home to her native Argentina.



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