The traditional ceremonies marking the start of the parliamentary year in the Netherlands looked very different in 2020. The coronavirus crisis, which dominated the speech given by King Willem-Alexander to start the new session, meant the traditional celebrations of Prinsjesdag were replaced by a much more low key event. However, despite restrictions, physical distancing and a muted approach to ceremonial, there was still much to enjoy on the third Tuesday of September, the day always chosen for Prinsjesdag. Here, Royal Central shares the best images of this very different royal event.
Departure from the Noordeinde PalaceEmbed from Getty Images
King Willem-Alexander and Queen Maxima began Prinsjesdag as usual, by departing Noordeinde Palace in The Hague. However, this year there was no carriage ride for the royal couple who instead made their way to the ceremony by car.Embed from Getty Images
A new venue with no chance of crowdsEmbed from Getty Images
They made their way to the Grote Kerk in The Hague for the ceremony. Usually, Prinsjesdag takes place in the Hall of the Knights but in 2020, it was moved to the church which offers more opportunity for social distancing. Screens were erected to stop crowds gathering to try and catch a glimpse of the royals. The guest list was severely curtailed and those attending all sat well away from each other to try and stem the spread of coronavirus.Embed from Getty Images
The Royal PartyEmbed from Getty Images
King Willem-Alexander’s youngest brother, Prince Constantijn, and his wife, Princess Laurentien, joined the royal party for the event. The pair were allowed to sit together, the only people in the room not required to observe strict social distancing apart from the King and Queen.Embed from Getty Images
The Speech from the ThroneEmbed from Getty Images
King Willem-Alexander’s speech touched on many of the challenges presented by the coronavirus pandemic. The Dutch Monarch praised the way people across the country had come together as they faced the many difficulties they had experienced over the past months and he urged them to take that kindness and confidence forward with them in the coming months.Embed from Getty Images
The Curtain Falls on a Prinsjesdag like no otherEmbed from Getty Images
After a discreet salute to King Willem-Alexander at the end of his speech, Prinjesdag came to an end for 2020. There was no balcony appearance and no crowds to watch the royals depart. They headed home quietly, no doubt hoping for happier times ahead in 2021.