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Dutch Prince Friso starting to show signs of movement

Dutch Prince Johan Friso, who has been in a coma since being struck by an avalanche in March, is showing signs of "minimal consciousness".

The Dutch royal house says that "the prognosis, however, remains very uncertain and the medical team is still very concerned".

Prince Friso, aged 44, was buried under snow in Lech, in the western Vorarlberg province of Austria.for about 15 minutes before being rescued. He had been skiing off piste.

He is the second son of Queen Beatrix, but is not in line for the throne since marrying in 2004 without the government's permission.

In a statement, the Dutch royal house said that "it will take many months before there is more clarity" about the prince's chances of recovery.

It gave no further details, but urged the media "to continue to respect the privacy of the family".

The prince's wife, Mabel, also thanked the public for messages of support during "the worst period of my life".

The Prince was buried by an avalanche reportedly measuring about 30m (yards) wide by 40m long.

A beeper he was wearing allowed rescuers to locate him quickly. No-one else was hurt.

MRI scans later revealed that his brain had suffered "massive damage".

Medics said Prince Friso had been deprived of oxygen owing to the amount of time spent under the snow. This resulted in a heart attack.

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