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International Royals

"It hurts to have betrayed your trust in us": King Willem Alexander & Queen Maxima of the Netherlands make an unprecedented apology

The Dutch royals have come under fire this week.

By Jess Pullar
The King and Queen of The Netherlands have come under fire this week after appearing ignorant to COVID-19's limitations - and they've released an unprecedented statement in response.
King Willem-Alexander and Queen Maxima sat down in a short clip published internationally to apologise for their decision to take a holiday after the Prime Minister had specifically urged the country to avoid travel.
As the country remains in a partial lockdown as Europe's second COVID wave hits, Prime Minister Mark Rutte had made a strong recommendation for its citizens to avoid any travel.
But the royals still travelled to Greece where they holidayed for a short time before cutting their trip short after coming under fire for the questionable decision.
"Our own decision to return was made with the realisation that we should not have gone," they said in the clip. (Getty)
In an unprecedented move, the pair later made a personal video message where they delivered an apology for their decision.
"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," The King said in their statement.
"Our own decision to return was made with the realisation that we should not have gone."
He continued: "From the start of the coronavirus crisis, we have done our best to find space - within the limits of the coronavirus policy - and to be there as much as possible for everyone who is looking for support in uncertain times."
He added that this was a "difficult" time for everyone, but he and his wife felt connected with their country and "all those people who have been directly or indirectly affected."
The Queen and her husband issued their sincere regret at travelling amidst the COVID-19 crisis.
Directly or not, there's no denying the heavy influence royal family members have on the public - so when the pair travelled to Greece earlier this month, they were immediately scrutinised for setting a poor example.
The reports pertaining to the decision sparked the royals to take action. In a statement, they said: "We will abandon our vacation. We have seen people's reactions to media reports. And they are intense, and they have affected us."
They're not the first royals to apologise in the wake of the COVID-19 crisis.
Back in August, Crown Princess Mary issued a personal apology after shaking hands with a dignitary at an event.
Sharing her heartfelt apology on Instagram, the Danish royal wrote: "Yesterday I was in Grenaa for my first official visit after the summer holidays. At sea and in the air it went fine, but on land it slipped for me and I unfortunately came to shake hands.
"It reminded me how important it is that we help each other live up to the recommendations. Take care of yourself, and take care of each other."

While it's disappointing to see people of such a high influence slip up, it's encouraging to see them take responsibility, and then use their profile to raise better awareness for respecting the restrictions around COVID-19.
It's a long road settling into this strange new normal - but we're all learning to take the lessons as they come, even if they are from those in very high places.
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