Princess Amalia, the heir to the Dutch throne, has written to the prime minister to waive her right to €1.6m (£1.4m) a year in income and personal and household expenses because accepting it would make her feel “uncomfortable”.
Amalia, the eldest daughter of King Willem-Alexander, who on Thursday passed her school-leaving exams with distinction – and flew her school rucksack from the palace flagpole to celebrate – said in a handwritten letter to Mark Rutte that she did not want to take up her allowance until she had proper royal duties.
“On 7 December 2021 I will be 18 and, according to the law, receive an allowance,” Amalia wrote in a letter published by the Dutch public broadcaster, NOS. “I find that uncomfortable as long as I do not do anything for it in return, and while other students have a much tougher time of it, particularly in this period of coronavirus.”
Amalia said she intended to take a gap year and then begin her undergraduate studies. She said she would repay the €300,000 a year income she was entitled to as long as she was still a student, and would not claim €1.3m in expenses “until I incur high costs in my role as Princess of Orange”.
NOS said her decision marked the first time a member of the royal family had declined to claim their tax-free salary and expenses allowance. The Dutch monarchy has overtaken Britain’s as the most expensive in Europe, according to a 2012 study.
The Dutch government last year agreed a royal budget of €47.5m for 2021, not including the cost of state visits or palace upkeep, with King Willem-Alexander receiving a €998,000 salary and €5.1m in official expenses.
His wife, Maxima, was allocated €1.1m, the former Queen Beatrix €1.7m, and Amalia €1.6m. Under pressure from opposition parties, Rutte agreed to a review of the annual cost but warned of the “populist” dangers of such a discussion.