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Friday 25 July  

Royal sorry for deadly crash—28 years on

Published on 30 December 2011 - 8:47pm
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Princess Margriet's husband, Pieter van Vollenhoven, has offered his apologies to the mother of a young man who died in 1983 after his car crashed with the one driven by Mr Van Vollenhoven, Dutch free newspaper De Pers reports.

On 30 December 1983, Jürgen Bienerth, a 20-year-old student from West Germany, was driving his two-door Renault in the Austrian resort of Maria Alm when he was hit by the four-wheel drive Mercedes Mr Van Vollenhoven was driving.

Mr Van Vollenhoven, Princess Margriet and the two bodyguards accompanying them subsequently declared they had been driving at 30 kilometres per hour, adding that Mr Bienert had been at driving 60 kilometres per hour and had swerved onto their side of the road.

Mr Van Vollenhoven, the paper writes, only sent flowers for the funeral. Mr Bienert’s mother says she has never heard from Mr Van Vollenhoven since then. Except for a single interview with Dutch magazine Privé, Mr Van Vollenhoven had, until now, never mentioned the incident again.

De Pers quotes Mr Van Vollenhoven as saying: “With hindsight, I consider it more than regrettable that I didn’t seek direct contact with the mother. Now I certainly would do so, though I can perfectly imagine that the mother was not keen on either a conversation or a meeting.”

Mr Van Vollenhoven, who holds several public positions, in 1989 set up the Dutch Victim Support Fund, which he continues to chair. He is best known as the first chairman of the Dutch Safety Board, in which capacity he served between 2005 and 2011. His wife, Princess Margriet, is a younger sister of Queen Beatrix.

(cl/mw)

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