Prince Willem-Alexander does not ascend to the Dutch throne for another two weeks, but pressure is already growing on him to take a pay cut in these times of austerity, with a survey showing that 70 per cent of people think he should earn less than his mother.
Queen Beatrix, who officially abdicates on 30 April, takes home €850,000 a year. But most people surveyed by RTL news thought that between €250,000 and €500,000 would be a more appropriate salary for her son. About 17 per cent said he should get less than €100,000.
Republicans have started a campaign to lower the monarch’s pay, and are trying to get the 40,000 signatures needed to trigger a debate in parliament. They also want to force royals to pay taxes – a stance 83 per cent of those surveyed agreed with.
“If you look at the demands of the job, it’s totally out of proportion,” said Hans Maessen of the New Republican Fellowship, which wants to abolish the monarchy. “We are asked to live more simply and save money, but the Queen isn’t part of that deal,” he added.
They want the monarch to get €150,00 a year, in line with the Prime Minister’s salary.
The 75-year-old Queen enjoys broad support in the Netherlands. She announced in January that – like her mother before her – she was giving up the throne to the next generation. But in another hitch, organisers have been forced to abandon plans to release 150,000 helium balloons to mark the coronation after environmental groups complained that they could harm local wildlife.