Dutch King Willem-Alexander and Queen Maxima are in hot water with their royal subjects after taking an ill-timed vacation to Greece last week, even as the Netherlands was in the midst of a partial lockdown.
On Friday, the royal couple and their three teenage daughters left Amsterdam on a government jet to enjoy some time away at their private Grecian villa. In the meantime, coronavirus cases in the Netherlands had doubled over the previous two weeks, and the government advised citizens to travel as little as possible. In response to the backlash, the King, Queen, and their youngest daughter, Princess Ariane, flew back home via a scheduled flight the very next day, while their two eldest daughters, Princess Alexia and Princess Catharina-Amalia, returned Tuesday. On Wednesday, the royals released a video apologizing for the poorly-planned family holiday.
In the video, King Willem-Alexander says, “It hurts to have betrayed your faith in us. Even though the trip was in accordance with regulations, it was very unwise to not take into account the impact of the new constraints on our society. Our own decision to return was made from the realization that we should not have gone. From the beginning of the corona crisis, we have done our best to stay within the confines of the corona policy, to find space, and to be there as much as possible for everyone who seeks support in uncertain times. It is a difficult time for everyone, a time of limitations, concerns, fear, anger, and uncertainty. We will continue to work with you to fight the coronavirus and get it under control so that everyone in our country can resume normal life as soon as possible.”
In a letter to parliament on Sunday, the country’s Prime Minister Mark Rutte admitted that he was also culpable for the incident, as he was aware of the King’s plans but “realized too late” that the royal holiday “could no longer be reconciled with the increasing infections and the stricter measures,” adding, “This should have prompted me to reconsider the intended holiday. I bear full ministerial responsibility.”
This is actually the second time a Greek vacation has come back to bite the Dutch royals. In August, the King and Queen also had to apologize after a photo of them standing shoulder-to-shoulder with a restaurant owner on the Greek island of Milos emerged in violation of social-distancing guidelines. The King and Queen wrote in a tweet at the time, “In the spontaneity of the moment, we did not pay enough attention to that. Of course we should have. Because compliance with corona rules is also essential on vacations to get the virus under control.”
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