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European RoyalsThe Netherlands

King Willem-Alexander talks about his reign’s “biggest error in judgement”


On the eighth episode of the podcast “Through the Eyes of the King,” King Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands discussed what he believes has been the biggest judgement error in his years on the throne. 

His Majesty talked at length about his decision to travel abroad to Greece in the early fall of 2020, when most of his country was going back into lockdown – a decision that cost him and his family a lot of backlash and a loss of popularity. 

The family cut their holiday short and flew back to the Netherlands on separate flights after only a few days away. Once back home, the King and Queen issued a video apology through their social media channels.

King Willem-Alexander said that people felt rightly abandoned by him on that occasion. Many people “did not have autumn holidays and were locked up again. […] People had nowhere to go, and I happily went abroad,” he told host Edwin Evers. 

His Majesty explained that it was his intention to demonstrate what people could do despite the restrictions in place and that he often checked whether or not the holiday could still happen, even with the rules and restrictions on travelling changing every day at the time. 

He said that he wasn’t told in advance to forego his holiday plans, nor that his decision could cause this big of a backlash, and that “serious talks” were held afterwards. 

This incident happened while the public was still scrutinising the royal couple for breaching social distancing rules in another trip to Greece in August of that same year, as well as the Royal Household’s finance being under review from the government upon pressures from the opposition. 

The episode of the podcast also talked about the passing of the organ donation law, and King Willem-Alexander revealed that he is an organ donor, although he is barred from donating blood because he lived in Wales between 1983 and 1985; anyone who lived in the UK for more than six months between 1980 and 1996 is prevented from donating blood in the Netherlands, due to the increased risk of mad cow disease. 

The podcast “Door de ogen van de Koning” (“Through the eyes of the King”), which Tonny Media created on behalf of the National Information Service, features conversations between King Willem-Alexander and host DJ Edwin Evers on His Majesty’s ten years on the throne. 

The publishing schedule is one episode a week, every Thursday morning. Releases started on the 6th of April, and Episode Ten will be published on the 25th of May. Each episode covers one year of the King’s reign.