Princesses stayed longer in Greece, it was a private matter says Rutte

The king, queen and one daughter arrive back in The Hague on Saturday evening. Photo: Phil Nijhuis ANP
The king, queen and one daughter arrive back in The Hague on Saturday evening. Photo: Phil Nijhuis ANP

The controversy over the Dutch king’s autumn holiday in Greece has taken a new turn, now it has emerged two of his daughters had stayed behind and only returned on Tuesday night.

The state information service RVD said there was not enough room on Saturday’s KLM flight to bring the entire family back and the two older girls Amalia and Alexia had stayed on at the family’s holiday home.

But MPs are again angry that prime minister Mark Rutte did not mention the fact in his weekend statement in which he took full blame for the royal family’s decision to go away during the partial lockdown.

Commentators have also pointed out that subsequent flights were not full and the girls, aged 16 and 15, could have left earlier.

The decision to leave the two girls for a few more days was a ‘private issue’, Rutte now says, and has admitted he was aware they were staying behind.

Socialist MP Ronald van Raak described the decision to let the two girls stay longer as ‘ignorant provocation which unfortunately only makes the damage worse.’

In a statement released at the weekend, the king and queen said they had cut short their holiday in response to public criticism. ‘We don’t want there to be any doubt: it is crucial to follow the guidelines in order to get Covid-19 under control and discussion about our holiday is not contributing to that,’ they wrote.

The family had travelled to Greece on Friday afternoon in the government jet.

The area is code yellow, which means there are no restrictions on travel. However news of the holiday generated a furious reaction from both MPs and the public because Rutte had said on Tuesday people should travel as little as possible, including during the holidays.

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