On Oct. 16, the couple and their daughters – Princess Amalia, 16, Princess Alexia, 15, and 13-year-old Princess Ariane – left to go to their private villa in southern Greece after the Netherlands' COVID-19 restrictions tightened. The king, queen and Ariane returned the next day. Their eldest two daughters reportedly returned later because they were unable to secure plane tickets straight away.
The Dutch royals made a heartfelt apology from their royal residence in The Hague, Huis ten Bosch, on Oct. 21. In the two-minute address, the King spoke as Máxima sat at his side. He discussed the coronavirus pandemic and they were deeply affected by the public comments surrounding the holiday, despite their trip being with the Netherlands' regulations.
According to HELLO! UK, the message translated from Dutch touched on navigating the coronavirus, "normal life," uncertainty and the impact it has had on everyone.
"It hurts to have betrayed your trust in us," Willem-Alexander said.
"Even though the trip was in line with the regulations, it was very unwise not to take into account the impact of the new restrictions on our society.
"Our own decision to return was made with the realization that we should not have gone."
He pledged they would do their part to help everyone return to their normal routines.
"We will continue to work with you to get the coronavirus under control," he said, "so that everyone in our country can then resume normal life as soon as possible.
"That is the most important thing now and we will continue to do so, to the best of our ability. We are involved, but not infallible."
Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte has also admitted he "made the wrong assessment" by not intervening in the Dutch royals' holiday plans after the Netherlands went into partial lockdown.
Originally, the Dutch royals released a statement on Oct. 16 saying they would abandon their Greek holiday.
"We will abandon our vacation," the statement read at the time. "We have seen people's reactions to media reports. And they are intense, and they have affected us."
According to BBC News, the Netherlands closed restaurants and bars after a surge in COVID-19 cases. Hospitals in western Germany were even making preparations to take Dutch patients, if necessary, as they had previously done. The Netherlands reported nearly 3,000 daily infections in their nation of over 17.28 million people on the week of Sept. 28.
As of this writing, Johns Hopkins University of Medicine reports there have been nearly 41 million cases of COVID-19 confirmed worldwide. More than 259,000 of those cases have been in the Netherlands.
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