Dutch Queen Beatrix calls headscarf row 'nonsense'

Queen Beatrix visiting the Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque in Oman (12 Jan 2012) The queen was said to have heaved a deep sigh over the row

Related Stories

Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands has dismissed as "real nonsense" a domestic political row over her wearing of a headscarf while on a trip to the Gulf.

She was reacting to questions in parliament tabled by Geert Wilders's Freedom Party (PVV) which claimed she "legitimises the oppression of women".

Queen Beatrix wore a gown and headscarf first on Sunday at a mosque in Abu Dhabi and again on Thursday in Oman.

Her officials said she had acted out of respect for Islamic tradition.

During Thursday's visit to the Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque in the Omani capital, Muscat, the queen wore a red shawl over her hat while Princess Maxima who was accompanying her also had her head covered.

Dutch TV said that by also wearing gloves, the queen had covered herself even more than in Abu Dhabi.

The PVV, an anti-Islam party that props up the Dutch minority government without being part of the coalition, described her wearing of a headscarf on Sunday as a "sad spectacle".

In a written parliamentary answer, Prime Minister Mark Rutte said that when "Her Majesty visits a house of worship, the dress requirements are respected".

Reporters with the royal party in Muscat on Thursday described the queen as heaving a deep sigh, while saying she was not surprised by the row.

Princess Maxima also spoke out, according to Dutch media, pointing out that two-thirds of students in Abu Dhabi were women.

Although the queen regularly speaks to the Dutch press at the end of a royal tour, her frank remarks about a domestic political party are being seen as unprecedented.

The Dutch Labour party responded by suggesting that the monarch's remarks were a slip of the tongue. MP Jeroen Recourt said the comments were politically sensitive and awkward.

More on This Story

Related Stories

More Europe stories



  • The Duchess and Duke of Cambridge and Prince GeorgeGorgeous George

    Baby steals show as tour reveals rise in support for monarchy

  • Houses of ParliamentBig impact?

    How a Scottish Yes vote would change the UK Parliament

  • Kim Jong-un visits a children's campThe Notepad Men

    Who are the people who take down Kim Jong-un's every word?

  • Donald Tusk7 days quiz

    What made Poland's prime minister become an internet hit?

  • Beebcoins logoMaking money

    How easy is to coin your own virtual currency?

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.