Pardon or dessert for prisoners

May 19, 2008 7:43:56 AM PDT
When she left the throne in 1980, Queen Juliana of the Netherlands wanted to mark the occasion by having a serving of cake given to all prisoners in the country, according to a book published Monday.

The story was related in the new biography of Dries van Agt, who served as prime minister from 1977 to 1982.

Mass pardons during major events were once common among European royalty, and Queen Juliana wanted to do that for all petty criminals when she abdicated to her daughter, Queen Beatrix.

When the Cabinet told Juliana such a pardon was impossible in the modern era, she had difficulty accepting it, and asked whether all prisoners could at least be served cake instead.

"An outstanding idea, your majesty," responded then-Vice Prime Minister Hans Wiegel. "And we'll write a message in whipped cream on each cake: 'and many more years'."

The idea was scrapped.

Queen Juliana died in 2004.


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