More money to the royal family, is that explainable in economically difficult times?

According to the Millions Memorandum, Willem-Alexander and Máxima will receive an additional 5% in salary next year; on balance, that is EUR 68,000. The couple will receive 7.2 million euro in income and compensation for ‘personnel and material expenses’.

For the first time, daughter Amalia‘s constitutional allowance and reimbursement of expenses will also be included in the budget. As the crown princess turns eighteen in December next year, she will receive it for one month in 2021: a total of EUR 111,000. An amount of EUR 1.6 million has been set aside for her for 2022.

The usual criticism of the King’s budget has continued this year. Although it is often limited to indignation on social media. Politics tends to keep a low profile.

The Prime Minister is going to explain it again during next month‘s budget debate: the benefits of the members of the Royal House are laid down in the constitution and follow the salary increases of civil servants and the Vice-President of the Council of State. That is what is agreed by the House of Representatives, is invariably Rutte’s defence.

Formally, he is right, but the King warned against it in the speech from the throne itself: The Netherlands must brace itself for the consequences of a severe economic setback. A salary increase of EUR 68,000, almost twice the average income, and an annual salary of tons for an 18-year-old would then be difficult to explain. It is up to the members of the House of Representatives to review agreements made, but there will not be a political majority in favour of this.

The agreements on the income of the King and his family are laid down in the Financial Statute Act of the Royal House of Representatives (WFSKH). This dates back to 1972, before that time there were no formally established agreements. Successor to the throne Beatrix was 34 when the creators of the statute debated the amount of the allowance for the heir to the throne.

When Willem-Alexander turned eighteen, a similar indignation arose about the amount of the allowance as Amalia does now. For a moment, the idea arose to raise the age limit for the kingship from 18 to 21, so that the crown prince could later receive an allowance.

This discussion could be reopened during the King‘s budgetary discussion in October. We do not know what the King himself thinks of his income.

Major clean-up

This summer, however, we saw the king and queen on the Greek sea in a new EUR 2 million speedboat. Willem-Alexander seems to feel the spirit of the times on a number of other points. He seems to be doing a big clean-up.

For example, during the state visit to Indonesia in March, he unexpectedly apologised for violent derailments during the decolonisation wars. On 4 May he started unannounced about the undisputed role of his great-grandmother Wilhelmina, who was in London during the Second World War.

Last week the king announced through the Rijksvoorlichtingsdienst that after years of restoration the Golden Coach will not be on display on Prinsjesdag next year, but will be temporarily exhibited in the Amsterdam Museum. Few people still believe that the carriage with the ‘slave panel‘ will then be used by the Head of State.

There are plenty of other subjects left for Willem-Alexander’s cleaning list. Take the great lack of clarity about the art foundations of the royal family, in the news following the controversial sale of a Rubens by the now deceased aunt of the king.

Or the opening of Kroondomein Het Loo. The Chamber wants the park to remain open all year round, but the subsidy decree states that the King is exempt from this.

This year, Willem-Alexander has shown that he does not shy away from sensitive issues. That creates expectations for the future. During the discussion of the king‘s budget next month, the House of Representatives will discuss his family’s increased benefits. But nothing or no one stands in the way of the King taking a first step and thanking him for the increased benefits.