"What began as a great day has ended in a terrible tragedy which has shocked us all," said the visibly-moved Dutch matriarch in a televised message of condolence. "We are speechless that something so terrible could have happened"
Photo: © Reuters
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Crown Princess Maxima and husband Crown Prince Willem-Alexander look on in horror as the tragedy unfolds. Fourteen people were injured and five people - including the driver of the car - died
Photo: © Getty Images
Queen Beatrix reveals 'shock' over parade incident in rare TV address
1 MAY 2009
Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands has expressed shock and sadness on behalf of the Dutch royal family after five people died and 14 were injured following what appeared to be a deliberate attack of a Queen's Day parade.
In the national TV broadcast the 71-year-old monarch gave her condolences to the familes of those affected when a car ploughed into a crowd of wellwishers assembled to watch a royal drive-by. "What began as a great day has ended in a terrible tragedy which has shocked us all," she said.
Visibly moved, she continued: "We are speechless that something so terrible could have happened. My family, and I think everybody in the country, sympathise with the victims, their families and friends and all who have been hit so hard by this accident."
The driver of the black Suzuki which mowed down spectators in the town of Apeldoorn, 90 kilometres outside Amsterdam, died from his injuries in hospital on Thursday night. Officials said on Thursday the 38-year-old Dutch man had confessed to police that he intended to attack the royal family.
According to reports he had lost his job as a security officer a few months ago and was due to be evicted from his apartment because he couldn't pay the rent. After searching the car and his home, police ruled out terrorism and said it seemed he had acted alone.
Distressing TV footage of the accident showed Crown Princess Maxima with her hand clasped to her mouth in horror as she watched the tragedy unfold from the roof of the open top bus in which she and husband Crown Prince Willem-Alexander were travelling with other members of the royal family.
The car, which swerved through police railings into a crowd of people waiting to see the royals pass by on a bus, narrowly missed the royal vehicle before slamming into a monument.