Royal Greek villa: Sun, sand and Sean Connery – What the papers say

King Juan Carlos of Spain’s latest tumble landed the monarchy in a great deal of trouble recently. The king had to be flown back post-haste with a broken hip from Botswana where, it turned out, he had been killing elephants for sport. Holiday home shopping crown prince Willem Alexander has learned his lesson and steered clear of Africa and, indeed, elephants, but has he now committed a similar royal blunder in Greece? What the papers say.

NRC’s columnist H.J.A Hofland thinks royals should be able to don their bathing suits and splash about in the sea to their heart’s content, just like other mortals. ‘When people point their cameras at them they are not in a position to shout ‘bugger off!’, Hofland writes. And because nobody in this media-ridden age will leave them alone, royals and other celebrities need private holiday homes, Hofland contends. In other words, it’s our own fault for being a nation of snoops.
But, says Hofland, with a cabinet that has been taking decisions behind closed door for the last seven weeks while the crisis is ravaging the land, people are getting thoroughly fed up and news about princes buying €4.5m second homes tends not to go down well, and reflects badly on an institution that we need.
Cool head
‘I am not a monarchist but I think we should count ourselves lucky that in Beatrix we have a monarch who keeps a cool head. Think of the political hell that would break loose if we had to have presidential elections! The monarchy must stay, and it has to be as stable as possible. That is why the purchase of this holiday home in jet set surroundings was not a very good decision’, Hofland concludes.
Both the Volkskrant and NRC went to have a chat with the locals at the ‘Liechtenstein of Greece’, as the unnamed head of the Greek fiscal fraud detection unit calls Kranidi. ‘Corruption is rife. The fiscal fraud team discovered that as many as 170 villas are registered to companies in the Seychelles and the Cayman Islands. They have probably been bought with black money and backhanders’, the paper quotes officials.
Waiter Alexis Andrikopoulis, whose much humbler house is not far from the villas of Willem Alexander and actor Sean Connery, thinks, like Hofland, that the prince should probably have waited before he bought the house but not quite for the same reason. ‘If he’d waited prices would have dropped even more’, he tells NRC. Apparently, German photographer Manfred Rieker wanted €8m for the house to start with. Things are difficult, even in the Liechtenstein of Greece, the paper writes.
Some hope the royals will be good for local business. ‘The prince will surely come and have a lemonade at a bar every once in a while. Even the dust those people leave behind will do us some good’, the Volkskrant quotes local fisherman Keriakos.
Meanwhile, reports that according to a Maurice de Hond poll it commissioned 76% of the Dutch population doesn’t care what the prince does with his money. 74% think, however, that he, not the state, should pay for his security in Greece.

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