Amid COVID-19 surge, Dutch Princess Amalia had a birthday party, royal family expresses regret
Although no rules were broken, the incident came at a time when hospitals struggled to find beds due to an influx of COVID-19 patients and concerns about the new Omicron variant
Despite the government's requests not to have more than four guests at COVID-19 cases surging, Crown Dutch Princess Amalia invited 21 people to her 18th birthday party last week.
The Dutch royal family has expressed regret over the incident.
Although no rules were broken, the incident came at a time when hospitals struggled to find beds due to an influx of COVID-19 patients and concerns about the new Omicron variant.
It was expected that Princess Amalia, eldest daughter of King Willem-Alexander, would celebrate her birthday in a quiet fashion last Tuesday.
Throughout the country, residents were subject to social-distancing restrictions, including early closings of restaurants and non-essential shops. There were no public sporting events, and even households were asked to have no more than four guests.
As a result of the pandemic, Amalia had cancelled indoor festivities, but decided to hold an event anyway in the palace gardens, Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte wrote in a letter to parliament.
"The family strived to treat the coronavirus rules responsibly with this outdoor gathering and by taking precautions" including tests and social distancing.
"The king informed me that on reflection it was not a good idea to organise (the gathering)."
Royal affairs are usually quiet affairs. The public disclosure of this royal affair came days after came just days after British Prime Minister Boris Johnson faced pressure over allegations that his communications chief attended a party at Downing Street residence during a lockdown.
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This party is the latest in a series of faux pas committed by the Dutch royal household during the pandemic that has negatively impacted its popularity.
Earlier, an October 2020 vacation to the Dutch royal family's holiday home in Greece was also cut short. The decision was made after being criticised for travelling abroad during the pandemic while the general population was told not to go abroad.