Royalty and statesmen

Members of the Dutch royal family look on in horror as the incident unfolds
Photo: Reuters
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A stunned Princess Maxima descends from the bus after having passed the scene where spectators gathered to watch the Queen's Day celebrations were mown down
Photo: PA

Horrified royals see crowd mown down at Dutch parade

30 APRIL 2009
The Dutch royal family was left stunned on Thursday when four people died and 13 others were injured - five of them seriously - after a car plunged into a crowd gathered to watch the annual Queen's Day parade.

Media reports in the country said the black Suzuki car swerved through police railings as crowds of people were waiting to see the royal family pass by on a bus. It narrowly missed the royal vehicle before slamming into a monument.

Distressing television footage showed Crown Princess Maxima with her hand clasped to her mouth in horror as she watched the incident unfold from the roof of the open top bus with husband Crown Prince Willem-Alexander. Queen Beatrix was also among the royals marking the country's national day.

The royal family comes together every year for a special celebration on Queen's Day - the monarch's official birthday and the anniversary of her ascension to the throne. This year they took part in an open-top bus tour in the town of Apeldoorn, 90 kilometres outside Amsterdam.

No members of the royal party were hurt in the incident.

Dutch officials have said the 38-year-old driver - who was seriously injured in the crash and has not been named - appeared to be acting deliberately. Terrorist motives have been ruled out after police conducted a search of the car and the driver's home.

It is not clear if the royal family was a target.


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