Dutch prince insults Mexicans by mistake



I bet it was an honest mistake, but I’m sure it sounded estúpido when Prince Willem Alexander, currently on a state visit of Mexico, unknowingly bungled a Mexican proverb in a speech by using the dirty version rather than the clean one.

I’m prepared to bet you muchos pesos that the speech writer punched up Wikipedia and picked the wrong proverb.

“Camarón que se duerme se lo lleva la corriente” means “Shrimp that sleeps gets carried by the tide”. “You snooze, you lose” is a good English translation.

The speech apparently contained “Camarón que se duerme se lo lleva la chingada”, which roughly means “Shrimp that sleeps will get screwed”.

I can also picture Princess Máxima whose mother tongue is Spanish either being completely embarrassed behind the scenes or had a huge laugh at her husband and told him it was time to learn her language, considering how well she learnt his.

Royals, go kick that speech writer’s culo.

UPDATE: Watch the film, merriment starts at 0:28.

(Link: nu.nl, Photo: Photo of Mexican sombreros by José María Aguirre, some rights reserved)


  1. Jay Vos says:

    PoO “quoted” a Mexican proverb. “Quoting” and the wrong word? But quoting isn’t the same as translating is it? I read that the staff person who gave him it is Argentinian.

  2. Orangemaster says:

    Would an Argentinian really make that mistake? I doubt it.

    The prince ‘read’ the proverb in Spanish.

  3. Jay Vos says:

    Volkskrant: “De Argentijn die de prins had geholpen wist niet dat het in Mexico straattaal is en een andere lading heeft, namelijk ‘verneukt worden’ of ‘naar de klote gaan’. De juiste vertaling was ‘corriente’ geweest.”

  4. Jay Vos says:

    LOL, The url from Volkskrant: “Mexicaanse speech”
    Why not in Dutch? “Toespraak”?

  5. Most mexicans would not be really offended, but surprised, as the laughs at the speech shows… It is a very bad word, comming form an unexpected place.. but what the prince said was (as we say in Mexico) “la mera neta”… or “The whole truth”..

    One thing is real, while this speech would have been forgoten at the next day, now it made to the headlines, and mexicans would coment it for weeks…

    so it was no really too bad, next time he returns to Mexico, people will be eager to hear it he repeats himself…


  6. I forgot… most spanish speaking people do not know the complex use we have in Mexico of the word “chingar”… so if the translator was Argentinian, he may no be aware of it´s implication

    It can be used as an insult, or as a praise, there is a whole book “El chingoles” explaining the full uses of this word… but it is a word that never is used in a public statement… and NEVER used in TV…

    By the way, the saying was in “http://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Mexican_proverbs” but now it has been erased..

  7. […] Mexico and the Netherlands have had a tumultuous relationship on this blog, including young girls duelling in out in videos and King Willem-Alexander using rude words in a speech) […]

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URL