Dutch royals apologise after Princess Amalia invites 21 guests to her 18th birthday in palace grounds despite government telling citizens to restrict gatherings to four
The Dutch royal family has apologised after Crown Princess Amalia invited 21 guests to her 18th birthday party held on palace grounds, despite the government telling citizens to restrict their gatherings to four in the face of surging Covid-19 cases.
The heir to the Dutch throne, who had cancelled indoor festivities because of the pandemic, held a last-minute gathering in the palace gardens, Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte wrote to parliament on Wednesday.
The eldest daughter of King Willem-Alexander had been expected to quietly celebrate her birthday last Tuesday.
The Dutch royal family has apologised after Crown Princess Amalia (pictured centre last week with the King and Queen visiting the Council of State in The Hague for her introduction) invited 21 guests to her 18th birthday party held on palace grounds, despite the government telling citizens to restrict their gatherings to four in the face of surging Covid-19 cases
Although no rules appear to have been broken, the event came as hospitals struggled to find beds for a surge in COVID-19 patients and concerns about the new Omicron variant.
Social-distancing restrictions were in place nationwide, including the early closing of restaurants and non-essential shops.
Professional sporting events were closed to the public and households had been asked not to have more than four guests.
‘The family strived to treat the coronavirus rules responsibly with this outdoor gathering and by taking precautions’ Rutte’s letter to lawmakers said in reference to the party.
‘Guests were asked to take a test. All were vaccinated. The assumption was that they would keep an acceptable distance.’
But King Willem-Alexander ‘informed me that in hindsight, it was not such a good idea. I think that’s a sensible reaction,’ Rutte wrote.
According to De Telegraaf, the party was hosted in the Huis Ten Bosch royal palace in The Huage (pictured on December 7) – one of the three official residents of the Dutch monarch
Pictured: Queen Maxima of The Netherlands and Princess Amalia of The Netherlands arrive at Huis ten Bosch Palace on December 7, 2021 in The Hague, Netherlands – ahead of the party
According to De Telegraaf, the party was hosted in the Huis Ten Bosch royal palace in The Huage – one of the three official residents of the Dutch monarch.
The newspaper reported that two open canopies were placed against the house in the palace gardens, which were used to protect guests against the rain.
Sources told the newspaper that about 100 people attended, although the Dutch government maintained 21 people were invited, saying not everyone turned up.
On Tuesday, the Netherlands said it will extend a night-time lockdown and close primary schools early for the Christmas holidays as concern grows over the Omicron Covid-19 variant.
The party is the latest in a string of faux pas committed by the Dutch royal household during the pandemic that have dented its popularity.
In October 2020 the royals were forced to cut short a holiday in Greece following an outcry when details were published and the Netherlands had just gone into a partial lockdown. The general population had been advised against going abroad.
Pictured: King Willem-Alexander and Queen Maxima with Princess Amalia of the Netherlands where the Princess gets a seat on The Council of State, an advisory body that advises on legislation and dispenses administrative justice, and plants a tree due to her 18th Birthday, at Kneuterdijk Palace in The Hague
Members of the ‘Orange Association of Katwijk aan Zee’ have souvenir photos taken of themselves by a Marechaussee Gendarmerie officer as they bring a present to the ‘Huis ten Bosch’ on the occasion of Dutch Princess Amalia’s 18th birthday, in The Hague, The Netherlands, 07 December 2021
A photograph during last summer’s UEFA European Football Championship saw the King – Willem-Alexander (right) – greeting football fans in the street without a mask. This, in addition to other instances, had led to citizens question the Royal’s attitude towards the pandemic
The Royal family also took delivery of a capital racing boat, De Telegraaf reported, which caused upset as the country was going through the struggles of the pandemic.
A photograph during last summer’s UEFA European Football Championship also saw the King – Willem-Alexander – greeting football fans in the street without a mask.
The incidents have resulted in the country’s royals lose popularity, polls show.
Amalia, the heir to the throne, made headlines in June when she gave up her right to a 1.6 million euros (£1.36 million) annual income.
She celebrated her 18th birthday on December 7, and was elevated to the Dutch Council of State, the government’s highest advisory body, by virtue of reaching the age of majority.
On the same day, The Netherlands reported 17,981 new Covid-19 cases, and 69 deaths. The country has seen a spike in cases in recent weeks, which appeared to peak in mid-November, averaging over 20,000 per-day.
Numbers have been going down in the run-up to Christmas.