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Tributes have been paid to Dutch Prince Johan Friso who has died at the age of 44.

The younger brother of the new Dutch king, Willem-Alexander had been in a coma for 18 months after a skiing accident.

Dozens of people left messages of condolence outside the royal palace in The Hague.

“It’s still a shock because despite him being in a coma from which you thought he would never recover, it’s still a shock when it happens,” said Marieke de Vries.

Senior citizen Jan de Router said: “This must have been so hard for his family and especially for his mother Queen Beatrix. Although she’s a princess, she will always be the queen for me.”

“I think it must be very difficult now for Princess Beatrix, Mabel and her children. A very difficult period,” said local resident Wil van Ess.

Prince Friso never regained consciousness after his off-piste skiing accident in Austria last year.

In a statement, the government said he died of complications arising from brain damage caused by oxygen deprivation.

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