Dutch King Willem-Alexander and Queen Maxima cut short holiday to Greece after huge public backlash as people in Netherlands are told to stay at home during lockdown
- The couple jetted off on Friday but returned after only one day due to backlash
- They left as the Netherlands were implementing new lockdown measures
- The Prime Minister said he should have advised the couple not to leave
The Dutch King Willem-Alexander and Queen Maxima have returned home from their Greece holiday after just one day after a huge public backlash.
The royal couple returned to the Netherlands on Saturday after they faced criticism for jetting off while people were being urged to stay at home due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The pair said in in a statement that they saw the reactions of people, ‘which are intense, and they touch us.’
The Dutch King Willem-Alexander and Queen Maxima have returned home from their Greece holiday after just one day after a huge public backlash
The royal couple returned to the Netherlands on Saturday (pictured) after they faced criticism for jetting off during new lockdown rules
As a result they said they would cancel the rest of their vacation.
The couple left as the Dutch government introduced new lockdown measures which included discouraging unnecessary travel, but they did not break any rules.
They said: ‘Let there be no doubt: To beat the COVID-19 virus it is necessary to follow the rules. The discussion caused by our vacation does not contribute to that.’
Prime Minister Mark Rutte said he made the ‘wrong assessment’ by not intervening and stopping their holiday.
In a letter to parliament, he said he ‘realised too late’ that the holiday ‘could no longer be reconciled with the increasing infections and the stricter measures’.
The couple left as the Dutch government introduced new lockdown measures which included discouraging unnecessary travel, but they did not break any rules
He added: ‘This should have prompted me to reconsider the intended holiday. I bear full ministerial responsibility.’
The monarchy in the Netherlands is not involved in the day-to-day running of the country but the Ministry of General Affairs, which is headed by the prime minister, is responsible for what they say and do.
It has led many MPs to question Mr Rutte’s decision not to warn the royals against going on holiday.
It comes as he said the nation needed to move a step closer to a full lockdown because otherwise hospitals would become so overburdened that people with other urgent needs would be unable to get treatment.
Prime Minister Mark Rutte said he made the ‘wrong assessment’ by not intervening and stopping their holiday
‘We have to be tougher on ourselves,’ Rutte said in an address to the nation.
‘The vacation shows the wide gap between the king and society,’ headlined the public broadcaster NOS.
The seven-day rolling average of daily new cases in the Netherlands has more than doubled over the past two weeks, to 42 cases per 100,000 people on Friday.
Dutch bars and restaurants were closed as of Wednesday as part of a partial lockdown that will last at least four weeks to counter the sustained surge in coronavirus cases across the Netherlands.