‘The holidays are sacred to the royal family’


Orange historian Gerard Aalders had to laugh when he heard the news on Friday evening about the royal family’s holiday trip to Greece. Better advertisements for his Wednesday appeared Orange black book, the shocking history of our royal family is not there, he says. Aalders sent immediately a tweet to thank the king.

Also read: King Willem-Alexander breaks off after a critical holiday

Aalders is not surprised that the royal family took no notice of the urgent corona advice from the cabinet. According to him, the family has often cared about rules and advice, knowing that the responsible ministers would justify their behavior. “When Prime Minister Kok advised Queen Beatrix against going on holiday in Austria because of the ultra-right Haider taking office, he was spoiled for choice. Rutte will now also justify it, that is his job. ”

The news about the holiday came out on Friday, thanks to plane spotters who saw the PH-GOV – the government plane with which the royal family always flies – take off. Until a year ago, Aalders says, the movements of the government aircraft could be followed with the most important tracker apps. This is no longer possible since September 2019. KLM, which maintains the PH-GOV, has made this impossible at the request of the government. Aalders: “In an English-language statement, the airline stated that they had ‘sought solutions in the interest of the customer not to disclose the exact location of the aircraft'”

‘Regularly a long weekend up and down’

According to royalty reporter Rick Evers, the royal family is very regular in Greece. “They take every opportunity to travel to their home there. The holidays are sacred. With winter sports to Lech, for Christmas to Argentina. And the other holidays are celebrated in Greece. Regular long weekends up and down. It is also common for them to get on a plane immediately after the celebration of King’s Day, to return just before Remembrance Day. ”

A foreign holiday immediately after the government advice to stay in your own country as much as possible is not a legal violation, according to Evers. According to him, it does testify to “an incredibly poorly developed social antenna”. Just look at the reactions on social media, says Evers. “A middle finger to the Netherlands came several times.”

Historian Daniela Hooghiemstra, who wrote several books about the House of Orange together with Dorine Hermans, thought on Friday evening “Oh dear, here we go again”. So shortly after the parliamentary discussion about increasing the king’s income, the symbolic value of the royal family is under pressure, she says.

Hooghiemstra: “It is a sum. A family that enjoys certain advantages through birth, while the rest of the Netherlands has been leveled, that is increasingly difficult. By taking such good care of himself, the king puts the symbol value of his function at risk. Those two compete with each other, that is less and less accepted by society.

‘It is a task for Rutte’

According to Hooghiemstra, Prime Minister Rutte should have told the king that it was unwise to go on holiday to Greece now. “It is Rutte’s job to keep the king involved in society.”

A few hours after the PH-GOV landed in Athens, the RVD announced that the royal family would abort its vacation. The reason: “We see people’s reactions to media reports. And they are intense, and they affect us. ”

Not very strong, says Hooghiemstra. “Social media makes things bigger. But the media belong to society. The family should be aware of that. Blaming the messenger is too easy. ”

Update (October 17, 5:30 p.m.): An earlier version of this article stated that then Prime Minister Kok advised Juliana and Bernhard against going on vacation to Austria. What was meant: Queen Beatrix. That has been adjusted above.

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