Tag: Greece

Public Outcry Forces King Willem-Alexander of Netherlands to ‘Abort’ Greece Vacation After One Day

King Willem-Alexander and Queen Maxima

King Willem-Alexander of The Netherlands is regretting his choice of fall vacation.

The 53-year-old Dutch monarch and his wife Queen Maxima, 49, have been forced to return from their holiday villa in Greece after being out of the country for just one day.

Their trip, which started on Friday and ended in disgrace on Saturday, caused an uproar in The Netherlands as it came just three days after the Dutch government advised locals to spend the fall vacations at home to contain the spread of COVID-19.

“We will abort our vacation,” a statement posted on behalf of King Willem and Queen Maxima said Friday, shortly after the public became aware of the royal vacation.

“We see people’s reactions to media reports. And they are intense, and they affect us,” he added.

“We do not want to leave any doubts about it: in order to get the COVID19 virus under control, it is necessary that the guidelines are followed. The discussion following our vacation does not contribute to that.”

The royal family’s decision to fly out of the country with daughters Princess Catharina, 16, Princess Alexia, 15, and Princess Ariane, 13, — who recently returned to school — has also caused deep embarrassment for Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte.

Mark Cuthbert/UK Press via Getty King Willem-Alexander and Queen Maxima with Princess Catharina, Princess Alexia, and Princess Ariane

As the head of the Dutch government, he is responsible for assessing whether the royal family’s private trips abroad are in the public interest.

In a letter to the Dutch parliament on Sunday, Rutte said that while he was aware of the king’s vacation plans he “realized too late” that they didn’t match up with the recent tightening of the country’s COVID-19 measures, reports Dutch public broadcaster NOS.

“This should have prompted me to reconsider the intended holiday,” he added.

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This is the second time this year that a Greek holiday has caused problems for King Willem-Alexander and Queen Maxima.

In August, they were forced to apologize after a photo emerged of them ignoring social distancing rules and standing shoulder-to-shoulder with a restaurant owner on the Greek island of Milos.

“A photo appeared in the media in which we don’t keep enough distance,” the King and Queen posted on Twitter.

“In the spontaneity of the moment, we did not pay enough attention to that,” they added. “Of course we should have. Because compliance with corona rules is also essential on vacations to get the virus under control’ -WA & Máxima.”

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The Dutch king and queen cut their Greece vacation short after facing backlash for traveling amid a partial lockdown

  • The Netherlands’ King Willem-Alexander and Queen Maxima returned home Saturday after cutting short a vacation in Greece.
  • “We see the reactions by people to reports in the media,” the Dutch king and queen said in a statement on Friday from the Royal House of the Netherlands after the trip sparked widespread backlash.
  • The Dutch government imposed a partial lockdown on Wednesday that closed bars and restaurants and discourages unnecessary travel.
  • Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte wrote that he “made the wrong assessment” about letting the royal couple travel, according to the BBC.

The Dutch king and queen returned home early from a trip after being seemingly travel-shamed for their planned vacation to Greece.

King Willem-Alexander and Queen Maxima returned to the Netherlands on Saturday after spending one day in southern Greece, where the king has a private villa, Reuters reported.

The Dutch royal couple left for their trip amid an uptick of positive COVID-19 cases in the Netherlands, which prompted the government to impose a partial lockdown last week that closed bars and restaurants for at least four weeks, according to the Associated Press.

While traveling to Greece from the Netherlands is permitted, the Dutch government discourages unnecessary travel as part of the new partial lockdown rules, according to the BBC.

Not long into their vacation, the royal couple was apparently made aware of public backlash about their travels that became prevalent in Dutch media, based on a statement they made on Friday.

“We see the reactions by people to reports in the media,” the Dutch royal couple said in a statement published Friday by the Royal House of the Netherlands. “We wish to leave no doubt that it’s necessary to follow the guidelines in order to get the COVID-19 virus under control. The discussion over our vacation is not contributing to that.”



Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands wearing sunglasses and a hat


© Patrick van Katwijk/WireImage


In response to the backlash targeted at the royal couple, Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte wrote a letter to the parliament saying that he was aware of the king and queen’s plans to travel, but that he “made the wrong assessment” about allowing them to go through with the trip.

Rutte wrote that he “realized too late” that the royal couple’s holiday “could no longer be reconciled with the increasing infections and the stricter measures.”

“This should have prompted me to reconsider the intended holiday. I bear full ministerial responsibility,” Rutte said in a letter obtained by the BBC.

In the Netherlands, the seven-day rolling average of daily new COVID-19 cases has more than doubled over the past two weeks, according to the Associated Press.

On October 6, the country hit a record number of new daily cases, reporting 9,155 positive cases that day, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. Since Saturday, the country has reported 8,149 new cases.

Representatives for the Royal House of the Netherlands did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.

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Dutch king cuts short vacation in Greece after criticism

AMSTERDAM (Reuters) – The Netherlands’ King Willem-Alexander and his wife cut short a vacation to Greece on Friday after coming under criticism for travelling during the coronavirus pandemic.

FILE PHOTO: King Willem-Alexander and Queen Maxima of the Dutch Royal family pose during an official photo session in The Hague, Netherlands July 17, 2020. REUTERS/Piroschka van de Wouw/Pool

“We see the reactions by people to reports in the media,” Willem-Alexander and his wife Queen Maxima said in a statement published by the Royal House late on Friday.

“We wish to leave no doubt that it’s necessary to follow the guidelines in order to get the COVID-19 virus under control. The discussion over our vacation is not contributing to that.”

Though the king’s vacation in Greece did not break any of the Netherlands’ lockdown rules, including new restrictions introduced this week amid one of Europe’s biggest coronavirus outbreaks, the government has discouraged unnecessary travel.

“This is unwise and incomprehensible,” the ANP news agency quoted lawmaker Joost Sneller of the D-66 party, one of the coalition partners in Prime Minister Mark Rutte’s governing coalition, as saying of the King’s vacation.

Rutte had urged the nation in an televised address on Tuesday “not to test the boundaries of the rules.”

“You can go on vacation, but then go to the place where you’ve booked your cottage or hotel room and don’t move around,” the prime minister said. “If you do go abroad — well your options are limited as there are few countries that want to have us anymore.”

Willem-Alexander, who has a private villa in southern Greece, travelled by government jet, ANP reported.

The Netherlands reported nearly 8,000 new coronavirus cases on Friday, a record.

Willem-Alexander and his wife Queen Maxima issued an apology after a previous vacation to Greece, in August, after a photo was published showing them breaking social distancing guidelines on the island of Milos.

Reporting by Toby Sterling; Editing by Toby Chopra and Chizu Nomiyama

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