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European RoyalsThe Netherlands

Dutch royals hold summer photo call with mixed feelings


© RVD / Mischa Schoemaker

King Willem-Alexander, Queen Máxima and their daughters Princesses Amalia, Alexia and Ariane duly appeared for their annual summer photocall but there were mixed feelings all around.

© RVD / Mischa Schoemaker
© RVD / Mischa Schoemaker

At the photo call, King Willem-Alexander said: “I would like to start by saying that we are here with mixed feelings today. It’s a day after the death of Peter R. de Vries, who fought for his life for over a week. It’s a horror for many people.” He addressed to reporters directly and said: “And I know that there are many of you who also have mixed feelings right now. Our sympathies extend to you as well.” Peter R. de Vries was an investigative journalist who was shot in the head on 6 July after leaving a television studio. He died on 15 July.

But the King’s mind was also in the southern province of Limburg, which he also visited yesterday. He said: “As we stand here, people are being evacuated in the north of Limburg. I wish everyone who has to deal with these floods much strength. Of course, also to those in Belgium and Germany, where there have already been so many fatalities. We sympathise with them immensely.” The visit to the city of Valkenburg left an impression of King Willem-Alexander. He said: “You see the images, but the reality is so much more of a disaster. You see people who had just made a fresh start after a year and a half of corona. Heartbreaking.” The province of Limburg is most affected by the floods that are devastating western Europe right now. Although there have been no fatalities in the Netherlands so far, the damage is immense.

He ended the photo call on a lighter note, joking that he would not say where the family would be going on holiday – a reference to last year’s holiday to Greece when the government had advised against going abroad. Queen Máxima added: “A different environment, a little bit of peace. I want everyone to have a little bit of peace.”