A lot of journalists, photographers and plenty of posing: it is a regular fixture at the summer photo session of the royal family every year. How’s that going? A look behind the scenes.
The photo shoot and the press moment afterwards is often planned on the day the family goes on vacation. This time it was different: Princess Alexia is studying in Wales and Princess Amalia is on a gap year, so she is not always at home. So the photo session is planned at a time when everyone is in the Netherlands and this time it will take place a bit earlier in the year.
That may also be the reason why the photo session was not organized at their home this time. The photos were actually supposed to be taken on the Zuiderstrand in The Hague at beach club La Cantina, but the bad weather forecasts threw a spanner in the works. At the end of the morning the message was sent that we still had to go to Noordeinde Palace, the royal couple’s working palace. In retrospect, not a drop has fallen, but it is understandable that you would rather not risk a photo session with rain-soaked hairstyles and thunder clouds in the background.
The journalists, cameramen and photographers gather at the back entrance of the palace. Now you may expect strict security before you can enter the site, but that is not the case. The Palace Gardens are located around Noordeinde Palace, and they are accessible to everyone. In fact, all the people who were there this afternoon around 2.30 pm could secretly peek from afar to the interview moment with King Willem-Alexander, Queen Máxima and their daughter, Crown Princess Amalia.
Everything for the perfect photo
The photographers are set up on the first floor of the (very warm) palace so that they can take the ultimate shot of the royal family. Last year, during the summer photo session in the gardens of Huis ten Bosch, this was still in separate ‘cubicles’ due to corona, so that the photographers could keep their distance from each other. Everyone had plenty of space and there was not much pushing. This year those boxes had disappeared and it seemed a little more fighting for the perfect spot. But don’t expect arguing photographers or a tense atmosphere: everyone knows each other well from ‘the world’ and allows each other a nice photo.
The members of the family are told in which position they should be photographed (“Amalia, now you can!”), so that all kinds of different pictures can be taken. Because it’s also nice to have some images of Alexia alone, for example, or a sweet photo of Willem-Alexander and Máxima together. That will come in handy with all the articles that will be published about the royal family later in the year. It’s also nice to see the family warm and wrap their arms around each other in between photos.
A joke between the king and his daughter.
Humor runs in the family
Someone from the Government Information Service steers everything in the right direction and guides the press downstairs. There the written press gathers and the journalists, accompanied by a cameraman, ask a question to Willem-Alexander, Máxima and Amalia. Since she is now eighteen, the princess now also answers questions. A first for the summer photo session, and many journalists (and yours truly) seized the opportunity and came up with something for Amalia. She got by far the most questions today, about which she joked a few times (‘again?’).
She does that with gusto, by the way. She takes the time with everyone, doesn’t rush through answers (except for one question that was asked twice – about joining a sorority), and she comes across as if she’s been speaking to the press for years. And like her mother and father, she regularly throws in a joke or gives a humorous twist to her answers. Her parents didn’t miss that either. The royal couple remarked several times how proud they are of their daughter.