Royal Family: Sorry for Princess's Birthday Bash

Dutch heir Amalia welcomed 21 guests for celebration amid rising COVID-19 cases
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 16, 2021 9:35 AM CST
Dutch Royals Admit Princess's Party Was 'Not a Good Idea'
Heir to the Dutch throne Princess Amalia, center, is seen with her mother, Queen Maxima, left, and father, King Willem-Alexander, at the Hague, Netherlands, on Dec. 8.   (AP Photo/Peter Dejong, Pool)

The Dutch royal family says it regrets hosting an 18th birthday party for future queen Princess Amalia amid rising cases of COVID-19. Prime Minister Mark Rutte says 21 people attended Saturday's party in the gardens of the Huis ten Bosch royal palace in the Hague, where canopies were erected as protection against the rain, though some media reports suggested there were more than 100 attendees, per the BBC. A rep for the family said they believed the event was carried out in "a responsible manner" in compliance with COVID-19 restrictions, which forbid indoor gatherings that includes more than four guests.

All guests were vaccinated, tested, and required to social distance, per the BBC. Still, King Willem-Alexander later admitted the gathering was ill-advised. "The King informed me that on reflection it was not a good idea," Rutte wrote in a Wednesday letter to parliament, though he added the family "strived to treat the coronavirus rules responsibly with this outdoor gathering and by taking precautions." His letter came a day after the Netherlands extended a nighttime lockdown and closed primary schools early for Christmas holidays in response to the omicron coronavirus variant, per the Guardian.

The king saw his popularity plummet last year after a series of gaffes tied to the coronavirus pandemic, per NL Times. Namely, the family flew in October to their holiday villa outside Athens days after the Netherlands entered a partial lockdown. They later apologized for betraying the public's trust. Amalia's party marked her Dec. 7 birthday, which was a special one. In turning 18, the eldest child of Willem-Alexander and Queen Maxima officially ascended as her father's heir. She also received a seat in the Council of State, the government's highest advisory body, of which her father is president, per the Guardian. However, she won't have a vote, per Royal Central, which notes she's expected to pursue post-secondary education next year. (Read more Dutch royal family stories.)

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