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Koninginnedag 2009

Something very strange has happened, just about an hour ago. It's Queen's Day in The Netherlands, our most national of national holidays, comparable perhaps to Bastille Day in France or the 4th of July in the US. On this day, the Queen and her (extended) family are wont to join in the celebrations in various parts of the country, and this year they were in the town of Apeldoorn. TV coverage of the morning followed the usual pattern of the arrival of Her Majesty, the princes and princesses and their welcome by local dignitaries, and the walkabout through the town where the royals shook hands and received bouquets and drawings made for them by children who had been waiting hours already along the route, and joined in various activities such as golf and abseiling (some of the princes, of course; you wouldn't see the Queen climb a rope or something). After a while, they boarded an open-top coach that would take them to the nearby palace of Het Loo, where a so-called defilé was planned. Then just as the coach arrived at a crossing, a black Suzuki came careening through the crowds and narrowly missing a collision with the royal party, came to a stop at the monument in the centre of that crossing.

No one knows where that car came from, and how it could have gotten through security. The roads had been blocked off for the royal cortege, after all. The media are still referring to it as 'an accident', but it could of course have been something much more sinister than that.

All we know is at the moment, there are 14 people seriously injured, and an unconfirmed report says that there's one fatality. All further festivities in Apeldoorn have been cancelled, and the royal family has been advised not to venture out in public again today.

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Comments

gamiila
Apr. 30th, 2009 09:56 pm (UTC)
Indeed. It's been a really strange day. 17 people injured, 5 of them dead now, and all because one man apparently couldn't come to terms with losing his job and thought he'd feel better if he could somehow kill the Queen.

vegmb
May. 12th, 2009 03:42 pm (UTC)
I'm just reading this, and didn't see it in any headlines. How horrible!
gamiila
May. 15th, 2009 06:17 pm (UTC)
The final tally's stopped at 7 (8 if you include the driver) dead, and 15 injured. It's not a massive deathtoll and worse things happen at sea, but -due in part to the fact that the events happened live on television when most of us were watching, no doubt- it's impacted the nation hugely. An attack on the Queen, or any member of the House of Orange really, is just so inconceivable and incomprehensible to us, and we shudder to think what might have happened.

In the week following, the Queen had two more public engagements and security had been tightened; but things had pretty much returned to normal 10 days after the events of Koninginnedag when ona third outing, people could approach her again as she took a stroll in an Amsterdam suburb during one of her official visits.