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Car crashes into Queen's Day revelers

THE HAGUE — Queen's Day is a holiday dear to Dutch hearts. It is a relaxed celebration of the nation and its monarch, when citizens around the country dress up in the bright orange national colors and children traditionally fill parks and pavements with makeshift markets to sell homemade cakes and last year's toys.

This year's event had been particularly joyous due to the sunny spring weather. Thousands had gathered in the little town of Apeldoorn to watch Queen Beatrix and other members of the royal family go by in an open-top bus. Then terror struck. A black Suzuki car plowed at speed into the crowd killing four people and injuring another 13 before it smashed into a monument just yards away from the royal bus.

The driver was pulled seriously injured from the wreckage. Police said his action was planned in advance, however they said there was no terrorist link. The man was described as a native Dutchman aged 38 with no criminal record. The reasons for the attack remained a mystery as the man was treated in hospital under guard.

In a statement, Queen Beatrix said the royal family was "speechless" that such a "beautiful day could be turned into something so terrible." The tragedy was shown live on Dutch television covering the celebrations and photographers at the scene captured Dutch princes and princesses clasping their hands to their mouths in shock.

The Dutch authorities cancelled a number of celebrations planned to mark the annual holiday and ordered flags to be lowered to half staff.

A Touch of Dutch has video.