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Mix of joy and sadness as Holland's Queen Beatrix celebrates 30 years on the throne

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Queen Beatrix celebrated 30 years on the throne in the south-west province of Zeeland
 Photo: © Getty Images

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On Thursday, Princess Maxima, accompanied by husband Crown Prince Willem-Alexander, wept as she attended the unveiling of a memorial to the victims killed in a tragic car attack at the event the year before
 Photo: © Rex

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The 72-year-old monarch unveiled a monument honouring the seven killed by the car, which ploughed into a crowd of spectators
 Photo: © Getty Images

30 APRIL 2010

There were jubilant scenes across The Netherlands on Friday as the country celebrated Queen's Day, which this year marked the 30th anniversary of Queen Beatrix's reign.

The focus of the 2010 festivities was south-west Zeeland province, where the 72-year-old monarch, Prince Willem-Alexander, Princess Maxima and other royals seemed to be making a concerted effort to put the tragic events of last year's event behind them.

At the 2009 celebrations, a 38-year-old man killed himself and seven innocent bystanders by driving his car into the crowd that had assembled to watch the royal family pass by in an open-top bus.

On Thursday the royal family had gathered in the town of Apeldoorn, where the tragedy occurred, to watch Queen Beatrix unveil a monument to the victims of the attack.

Princess Maxima and other members of the royal family wept as they joined relatives of those killed and guests to lay single white roses next to the stone memorial, which takes the form of a box full of balloons.

The motive of the attack remains a mystery, though it's thought the driver's target was the royal bus.

But with the commemoration over, the following day was one of celebration.

And not even the rain could dampen the spirits of the royal party, who were seen laughing and joking as they followed the fun in the town of Wemeldinge.

As the Queen met local residents, Maxima – dressed in a striking red dress and black-and-white print coat – delighted the crowds by pulling pitchers of beer on a shuffleboard.

Held every April 30, the annual Queen's Day national holiday marks Queen Beatrix's official birthday and the anniversary of her ascension to the throne.

With her family the monarch usually visits one or more places on the day to be shown regional dances and crafts.

Meanwhile, across the country, people dress in bright orange and celebrate with games, concerts and the traditional 'freemarket', which sees everyday citizens selling items in the streets.

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