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The Netherlands

Queen Máxima showers young cancer patients with love on Valentine’s Day

Queen Máxima showered children with love on her latest visit to a pediatric oncology centre in Utrecht. 

On Valentine’s Day, Her Majesty arrived at the Princess Máxima Centre for a visit that had the double purpose of celebrating the facility’s 5th anniversary and World Children’s Cancer Day. 

The Queen firstly met with members of the staff, which include nurses and doctors, but also researchers and data analysts, to discuss the latest innovation in the facility, and how they align with the ever-evolving research on cancer treatments. The focus of this roundtable specifically was the treatment of Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia. 

One key aspect of this fast evolution is international cooperation, not just in the sharing of data about how to offer better and faster care, but also in welcoming patients from other nations that need medical attention. 

One example were the more than 60 children that came from Ukraine in 2022; their treatment facilities were either destroyed or in danger of being shelled in their home country, so, as their families set in the Netherlands, they had an opportunity to continue their life-saving treatments. 

But by far the most touching part of the visit was seeing Queen Máxima interact with some of the patients that are currently being cared for in the Centre. Her Majesty shook a teenage girl’s hand, who became visibly emotional and later revealed to journalists that she was planning on never washing said hand again. 

She posed for a selfie with another little patient in a wheelchair, bending down to fit her face in the frame of the photograph. The child was wearing an outfit full of smiley faces, a fitting tribute to the resilience of all patients and family members. 

In another image released by the Palace, Queen Máxima is seen holding a baby, who is grabbing her face with their little hand. 

To conclude the visit, The Queen sat down at a table and wrote the first of the digital cards that are traditionally sent out on February 15 to mark World Children’s Cancer Day; she addressed her letter to one of the patients, Ege. 

Princess Máxima Centre is a leading children oncology facility in Utrecht, leader in research and care, as well as international cooperation in the field of children cancer treatments. It was opened in 2018 by Queen Máxima herself. 

World Children’s Cancer Day falls on the 15th of February, and is celebrated around the country with the initiative “Heart under the belt” (the expression coming from a Dutch proverb), which sees a digital card being sent to all children battling cancer.