Coronavirus: Dutch PM concedes 'wrong assessment' over royal holiday
October 19, 2020 5:14 am
Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte
Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte has conceded he “made the wrong assessment” by not intervening against plans by the royal family to holiday in Greece.
King Willem-Alexander and Queen Maxima headed off on Friday but flew back a day later, following a public backlash.
They left as the Dutch government introduced a new partial lockdown – which included discouraging unnecessary travel – but did not break any rules.
Mr Rutte has acknowledged that he had been aware of the royal plans.
In a letter to parliament, the prime minister said he had “realised too late” that the holiday “could no longer be reconciled with the increasing infections and the stricter measures.
“This should have prompted me to reconsider the intended holiday. I bear full ministerial responsibility,” he added.
The royals flew out on a government plane but were immediately criticised for going on holiday when people were being advised to stay at home as much as possible to curb the spread of Covid-19.
They flew back on a scheduled KLM flight on Saturday evening.
In a statement, the royals said: “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.”