Yes, it is nice to think that and at one time in the U.S. there was no fence around the White House nor much security for the president. However, things change and so over time that 'age of innocence' goes like the dinosaurs, unfortunately.
I don't see any security around King WA in the aforementioned photo. Perhaps this is done on purpose to allow the king 'breathing space' if you will.
Anyway, yes, it is shocking to an American to hear that any leader is allowed to have freedom to move about without heavy security entailed. I must say I'm not quite sure that in Sweden, for example, the prime minister can go about without security per the Oluf Palme assassination many years ago.
So, I do like the idea of one's leader going about their business unmolested by public nor media at all times. However, heavy security for leaders and royalty is to be expected in the US and UK.
: This reminds me of a situation several years
: ago, 1997 or 1998 (I was still at
: university). Several American relatives,
: grandchildren of one of my grandmother's
: cousins, came to The Netherlands and were
: staying at her place.
: She asked me if I could show them around The
: Hague as she had previous commitments for
: that day and so I did. I took them to the
: Houses of Parliament, we visited Panorama
: Message, the Prisoner's Gate, Scheveningen
: and we ended the day at the main square in
: The Hague (Plein) and sat down at one of the
: While we were enjoying a drink, our
: prime-minister of the time, sat down at a
: table next to us and I pointed at him and
: told them that he was the prime-minister.
: They were shocked that he could just come
: and sit at less than two meters from us and
: they were looking around to spot the
: security detail.
: As this was before several high-profile
: killings in The Netherlands (Pim Fortuyn and
: Theo van Gogh), the PM didn't have a
: security detail. They were absolutely
: shocked, especially when I told them that at
: that time, the last political murder was
: probably the murder of Willem van Oranje
: back in 1584 .
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