MPs from across the political spectrum have called for answers to claims in Wednesday’s Volkskrant newspaper that anti-Islam campaigner Geert Wilders was sidelined during the investiture of king Willem-Alexander.
The paper said master of ceremonies and senate leader Fred de Graaf had taken steps to ensure Wilders was not part of the official escort for the new king, despite his seniority as a politician.
De Graaf told the paper he had tried to ensure the escort reflected the make-up of parliament, was divided between men and women and focused on long-serving MPs.
However, he also kept in mind the prospective attention which would be paid to Wilders if he was in close proximity to the king, De Graaf said. Wilders is one of the longest-serving Dutch MPs.
The senate leader later denied he had deliberately manoevered Wilders out of the limelight.
Wilders is not only a controversial figure abroad for his anti-islam campaigning but has been a harsh critic of Willem-Alexander’s mother, the former queen Beatrix.
Last year Wilders was very vocal in his criticism of the queen for wearing a headscarf over her hat during a visit to a mosque during a state visit to Oman.