The heir to the Dutch throne is at the center of a national media circus that has erupted over recent pictures of him participating in a toilet throwing contest, the BBC reports.

Crown Prince Willem-Alexander and his brother visited the small village of Rhenen last month for Queen's Day, an annual festival in celebration of the birth of the Netherlands' late Queen Juliana. The pair joined in with locals for a traditional village game of toilet-bowl tossing, from which Willem-Alexander emerged victorious.

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crown prince willemalexander toilet throw dutch

According to the BBC, the Dutch government's information service initially told press that the prince was not embarrassed or ashamed of himself for participating in the contest.

But speaking at a function in Rotterdam Wednesday, the prince said that he felt ashamed for tossing the orange ceramic orange toilet bowl, which is part of a set destined for a development project in Gambia.

"Here in the Netherlands there are towns that take part in the throwing of toilet bowls for a laugh," Willem-Alexander said, according to the Telegraph. "I joined in on April 30 for a laugh but not without thinking with some embarrassment about the 2.6 billion people on earth who do not have the most basic structures to perform their daily needs in a decent way."

The toilet toss may have touched a nerve among some because the prince, who is chairman of the UN secretary general's advisory board on water and sanitation, was recently embroiled in controversy over plans to develop an expensive vacation home in Mozambique.

In 2009, the prince and his wife Máxima announced their plans to build a holiday villa on the Mozambican peninsula of Machangula, according to the Dutch newspaper NRC Handelsblad. The couple said that the construction of the home -- in addition to a hotel, several luxury homes for investors and clinics and schools for locals -- would contribute to the development of the country.

But political leaders soon criticized the project amid reports that investors had moved shares in the project to tax-free Mauritius and that the schools and clinics were run poorly. Others questioned the morality of building such an opulent home in a country where so many people live below the poverty line.

As a result, Willem-Alexander and his wife agreed earlier this year to sell the property back to the developer at an undisclosed price, Dutch News reported.

A few months later in April 2012, reports surfaced that the couple had purchased a multi-million dollar villa in Greece.