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Dutch royals cut short Greek holiday after virus criticism

The Dutch king and queen said they will cut short a holiday in Greece Saturday after facing criticism for taking a vacation when the Netherlands is under a partial coronavirus lockdown

King Willem-Alexander and Queen Maxima said they had taken on board the “intense” public reaction when news emerged of their holiday.

“We will abort our vacation. We see people’s reactions to media reports, and they are intense, and they affect us,” the king and queen said in a statement late Friday.

“We do not want to leave any doubts about it: in order to get the Covid-19 virus under control, it is necessary that the guidelines are followed. The debate over our holiday does not contribute to that.”

Ministers were caught unaware when news of the holiday broke, leading to public broadcaster NOS saying Prime Minister Mark Rutte had “little control” over the king.

It also comes as Willem-Alexander faces growing criticism for being out of touch, with the Rutte recently ordering a review of the annual budget for the royal family, under pressure from opposition lawmakers.

The king and queen apologised in August after they were pictured breaking social distancing rules with a restaurant owner during another holiday in Greece.

Bars, restaurants and cannabis “coffeeshops” across the Netherlands were this week ordered to close except for takeaway service for around four weeks under what Rutte called a “partial lockdown”.

Agence France-Presse

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