Dutch magazine pays €1,000 fine for publishing royal photos

10-year-old heir to Netherlands’ throne was photographed playing hockey

Dutch King Willem-Alexander, Queen Maxima and Princess Amalia and Princess Alexia: Dutch media have agreed not to invade their privacy. Photograph: EPA/Sander Koning

Dutch King Willem-Alexander, Queen Maxima and Princess Amalia and Princess Alexia: Dutch media have agreed not to invade their privacy. Photograph: EPA/Sander Koning

Wed, Jul 2, 2014, 01:01

A Dutch gossip magazine has been ordered to pay damages of €1,000 to the 10-year-old heir to the Netherlands’ throne after it published photographs of her playing hockey – breaking an agreement that aims to ensure the royals reasonable privacy outside public engagements.

The money will be donated to charity but more importantly, the Amsterdam court also ruled that the five-page spread in Nieuwe Revu magazine was unlawful and constituted an “intolerable invasion of privacy”, issuing an order banning all further publication of the pictures in print or online.

It’s the first public clash between the media and the royal family since Willem-Alexander (47) and his Argentinian wife, Maxima, became king and queen last year, following the abdication of Willem-Alexander’s mother, Queen Beatrix, monarch for 33 years and a darling of the glossies.

Three daughters

At the time, there were warnings that the royal couple’s three daughters, Amalia (10), Alexia (9) and Ariane (7) – affectionately known as “the Triple As”, in a nod to the country’s gilt-edged international credit rating – could come in for much more tabloid attention as they reached their teenage years.

For that reason, the legal action taken by the state information service, RVD, on behalf of Amalia, is regarded as a warning to the media as a whole that breaches of the code of ethics tacitly agreed between them and the royals in 2005 will not go unchallenged.

Last night, an RVD spokesman said the king and queen welcomed the ruling which he added acknowledged their wish “to protect their family against breaches of privacy so that their children, like their peers, can enjoy their youth undisturbed as much as possible”.

However, the royal code of privacy is under pressure. In April, when this row first emerged, Nieuwe Revu denied it had published the pictures simply to boost circulation, saying it wanted to test the agreement in public because it had “no place in a modern democracy”.

Under the deal, media outlets have agreed not to take photos of the royal family outside pre-arranged public occasions, and, in return, the royals have agreed to pose twice a year – once at the start of their annual skiing holiday and again during the summer.

That arrangement has been largely successful up to now and the girls attend their local public primary school in a suburb of the Hague, but there are concerns as to how well it can continue to work when the girls become young adults and are seen more in uncontrolled public venues with their friends.