Dutch Royals Visit Koninginnedag Crash Wounded
Following the attempt on their lives at Thursday’s Koninginnedag (Queen’s Day) festivities in Apeldoorn, several members of the Dutch Royal Family yesterday visited the wounded victims of the tragic car crash which has claimed six lives, plus that of the perpetrator.
Queen Beatrix visited the Isala Clinic in Zwolle, where she spoke with the injured and their families for four hours. Her Majesty has been receiving constant updates on the wounded since Thursday’s crash. The Prince of Orange and his wife Princess Máxima – both whom were seen aboard the open-top bus carrying the Royal Family during the festivities visibly shocked and shaken – visited hospitals in Tilburg, Utrecht and Amersfoort, while the Queen’s younger sister Princess Margriet and her husband Professor Pieter van Vollenhoven visited the Rijnstate Hospital in Arnhem. Of the remaining ten wounded in the event; eight are still in hospital, two in critical condtions in intensive care units. Two were released from hospital and are resting at home.
Late Thursday afternoon, a somber Queen Beatrix addressed her people in a video to the nation. Beginning with a heavy sigh which was reflective of the day’s events, she stated that “What began as a great day has ended in a terrible tragedy which has shocked us all…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.”
It was confirmed early Friday morning that the driver of the black Suzuki which caused the tragedy, who was identified as Karst Tates late Thursday night, had died after being pronounced brain dead by doctors. It was also confirmed that Tates had told police shortly after they reached his car following the accident that the Royal Family had been his intended targets. He was described as a “friendly loner” by his neighbours, and that they rarely saw him. Tates had lost his job as a security officier earlier this year, and was just hours away from being evicted from his apartment because he could not afford the rent. His landlord said of Tates that she had “never had such a well-behaved tenant.”
Since the accident, which saw the remaining official activities cancelled and all Dutch flags lowered to half-mast, Apeldoorn residents have placed hundreds of bouquets of flowers and condolence messages around the area of the incident. Condolences have also poured in from around with world, with US President Barack Obama expressing his sympathies to the Dutch Queen to pass on to the victims and their families.
A packed memorial service was held last night at the Grote Kerk in Apeldoorn, with over 1000 gathering to pray for the dead and injured. The service was performed by Apeldoorn’s minister Rob Visser, who led those gathered in a minute of silence for the victims. An official remembrance service has been planned for May 8th, at Apeldoorn’s Orpheus Theatre. It is expected several members of the Royal Family, including Queen Beatrix, will attend.
Showing typical strength; Queen Beatrix, the Prince of Orange and Princess Máxima will go ahead with their attendance at Monday’s Remembrance Day ceremony at Dam Square in Amsterdam, and planned events on the following Liberation Day.
The thread containing more information, constantly updated, on the tragic Koninginnedag event can be found here.Filed under Dutch Royals
Tagged King Willem-Alexander of The Netherlands, Koninginnedag 2009 Tragedy, Memorial, Princess Beatrix of the Netherlands, Princess Margriet of the Netherlands, Prof. Pieter van Vollenhoven, Queen Máxima of the Netherlands.