Royals break Covid rules: Too many guests at Amalia's birthday party
Princess Amalia celebrated her 18th birthday in the Huis ten Bosch Palace garden on Saturday, and there were more people present than the maximum of four people allowed under the coronavirus rules. A spokesperson for government information service RVD confirmed this after a report by De Telegraaf.
It is not clear exactly how many guests were involved. Sources told De Telegraaf there were dozens of guests. In a letter to parliament, caretaker Prime Minister Mark Rutte said that 21 guests were invited and "not all came." "The King has informed me that, on reflection, it was not good to organize it in this way," Rutte said in the letter. "I think that's a sensible response."
The RVD and Rutte emphasized that all guests had been vaccinated and had taken a coronavirus test. "They also observed an appropriate distance. The family was convinced that they responsibly handled the coronavirus advice with this gathering outside and all the precautions taken."
The information service and Prime Minister said that Amalia's 18th birthday is "an important moment in her life." Most of the Princess of Oranje's birthday festivities were canceled due to the coronavirus measures. Some things had been "planned at home," but those were canceled "well before the birthday." On Saturday, the party was organized "at the last minute" in the palace garden.
Several politicians criticized the crown princess's party. Parliamentarian Eva van Esch (PvdD) believes that all 18-year-olds must adhere to the measures, including Amalia. "If we make exceptions for the royal family, all our measures can go overboard." BBB leader Caroline van der Plas understands that Amalia wanted to celebrate her birthday. "But a lot of birthdays are postponed." She finds the royal family "human, but not aware enough of their exemplary role." CrhistenUnie MP Mirjam Bikker said that the same rules apply to everyone.
This is not the first time that the Oranjes struggled to respect the coronavirus advice of the caretaker Cabinet. Previously, the Royal family failed to maintain social distancing during a trip to Greece, and Willem-Alexander visited a working-class neighborhood during a match of the Dutch national team. Here too, no distance was kept.
The royal family also came under fire last October after an attempted vacation to Greece just days after the Netherlands entered a partial lockdown because of the escalating coronavirus crisis. The King later delivered a video message to the public where he expressed his regret over the incident
Reporting by ANP and NL Times