King Willem-Alexander and Queen Maxima of the Netherlands began their Greek holiday on Friday. But the Dutch royals returned just a day later after the trip sparked criticism.
While King Willem-Alexander and Queen Maxima did not break any of the Netherlands’ coronavirus rules, their holiday came as a partial lockdown was ordered this week.
In a statement, they said: “We see the reactions by people to reports in the media.
“We wish to leave no doubt that it’s necessary to follow the guidelines in order to get the COVID-19 virus under control.
“The discussion over our vacation is not contributing to that.”
King Willem-Alexander and Queen Maxima flew out on a government plane and returned on a scheduled KLM flight.
The royal standard was flying at the palace in The Hague on Saturday evening.
It is not clear if Dutch prime minister Mark Rutte gave any advice on the holiday.
Joost Sneller of the D66 party was quoted by the ANP news agency as saying: “This is unwise and incomprehensible.”
Peter Rehwinkel of the PvdA party said: “If Rutte had said that this was a bad idea, you can assume that the king would have changed his plans.”
The GroenLinks leader branded the holiday “an error in judgment”, adding that cutting it short was the “only correct decision”.
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King Willem-Alexander and Queen Maxima were previously pictured breaking social distancing rules during another trip to Greece in August.
The row over the royals’ holiday comes as the Netherlands reported a record 8,114 coronavirus cases on Saturday.
A partial lockdown came into force on Thursday in a bid to get a grip on the spread of the virus.
In a televised statement on Tuesday, Mr Rutte said: “Today we are announcing new and sturdy measures and in fact we are going to a partial lockdown.”
The measures include bars and restaurants being ordered to close, but schools and public transport will remain open.
The new measures will be in place for at least four weeks.