somewhat optimistic royalty post: Dutch prince Friso showing signs of improvement

Dutch Prince Friso, brain-damaged and in a coma after being caught in an avalanche eight months ago, is showing some signs of improvement, the palace says.

"Recently, Prince Friso has been showing small signs of consciousness. This condition is referred to as 'minimal consciousness," the palace said in a statement yesterday.

"The prognosis however remains very uncertain and the medical team is still very worried. It will still take many months before there is any clarity on his condition."

Prince Friso, 44, was transferred to London's Wellington Hospital in March from Austria after being buried by an avalanche on February 17. Doctors at the time said he might never regain consciousness.

The father of two, and the second of the three sons of Queen Beatrix, was skiing off piste in the Lech resort with a friend when the avalanche struck.

At the time the avalanche alert level was at the second highest, meaning there was a particular risk away from the prepared ski slopes.

The Dutch royal family had been vacationing in Lech, where it regularly spends its skiing holiday, when the accident happened, and members of the family made daily visits to the prince's bedside in Innsbruck before his transfer.

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