Why was Queen Maxima crying at her first royal engagement after summer vacation?

The emotion of the moment all became too much for Queen Maxima of the Netherlands as she attended a military event with her husband King Willem-Alexander. The Argentina-born royal couldn’t hold back her tears at one point and dabbed at her eyes – and shortly afterwards she put on sunglasses to conceal her sadness. The blonde royal was center stage at the presentation of a military honor in The Hague - a city on the western coast of the Netherlands and the capital of the province of South Holland. Her husband was on hand to present the Military Willems-Orde to Major-flyer Roy de Ruiter, a 37-year-old serviceman with the national army.

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The Dutch Queen couldn't contain her emotions during the presentation of a military honour Photo: WENN

King Willem-Alexander paid tribute to the helicopter pilot in a moving speech, during which he praised his heroic actions while serving in Afghanistan. Mayor-flyer Roy – who is married with children - was deployed there twice in 2004, and again in the three consecutive years following. His last deployment was 2009.

More: Queen Maxima accepts Queen Elizabeth's invite for first state visit to the UK

Once the medal-giving ceremony was over, and after drying her tears, Maxima was seen laughing and smiling with the man of the moment – though her sunglasses were still firmly in place. The Dutch Queen was as stylish as ever in a taupe pink shift dress with oversize sleeves and matching wide-brimmed hat for the engagement – which marked a return to royal duties for the 47-year-old royal and her husband after their summer vacation.

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Maxima later recovered her composure and was seen laughing with her honoree, Mayor-flyer Roy de Ruiter Phoro: WENN

The couple and their daughters Princess Amalia, 14, Princess Alexia, 13, and 11-year-old Princess Ariane were last seen in front of the cameras in mid-July as they posed for their traditional summer photoshoot at their home, Villa Eikenhorst in Wassenaar. With school out and their diaries cleared of royal engagements, the family enjoyed some down time together.

This year has been a difficult one for Maxima, who lost her younger sister Inez Zorreguita to suicide in June. The government worker, who lived in Buenos Aires, was godmother to Maxima’s youngest Ariane. The family travelled to Argentina for the funeral and the Dutch Queen took two weeks off royal duties to privately grieve the loss of her sister.

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