Wednesday, December 7, 2011

The War Years:
Dutch Royalty in Canada

On May 10, 1940 Germany invaded the Netherlands. Two days later the entire Dutch royal family fled to England aboard HMS Codrington, sent by George VI. While Queen Wilhelmina established her government-in-exile in London, Princess Juliana (heiress to the throne) took her daughters to Canada.

Princess Juliana c.1940

The Princess and her daughters Beatrix (now Queen of the Netherlands) and Irene sailed to Canada aboard the Dutch ship "Sumatra" arriving in Halifax on June 11, 1940.

Arrival in Halifax, June 11, 1940 Princess Juliana
and her daughters
disembarking from the Dutch
ship "Sumatra

The Princess and her family resided at Stornoway in Rockcliffe, a suburb of Ottawa during their five year sojourn in Canada.


During the war, Juliana's husband Prince Bernhard was stationed in London as part of the Allied war planning councils and an active RAF wing commander flying both fighter and bomber planes into combat.

Princess Juliana , Prince Berhard and their
eldest daughters
in Ottawa

Princess Margriet

Juliana's third daughter, Margriet, was born January 19th, 1943 at the Ottawa Civic Hospital (the land under the hospital was temporarily placed under Dutch control so that the princess could remain Dutch and would therefore not obtain a double nationality).

Christening of Princess Margriet, at Saint Andrew's Presbyterian Church, Ottawa, June 29, 1943
Seated (from right to left) in the front row are Prince Bernhard; Princess Juliana with infant daughter Princess Margriet; Princess Beatrix; Princess Irene; Queen Wilhelmina; the Governor General, the Earl of Athlone; Princess Alice. Mackenzie King is seated in the second row behind Queen Wilhelmina.

Princess Juliana with Queen Wilhelmina, Prince Bernhard
and the three princesses at Stornoway, 1943.

Office of the Aide-de-Camp to H.R.H. Princess Juliana correspondence

Ottawa to Millhaven, Georgia, December 27, 1943

Juliana's "Thank You" Gift to Canada

Juliana returned to the Netherlands in May, 1945. To thank the Canadians for their hospitality, Princess Juliana sent 100,000 tulip bulbs to Ottawa in1945. Since then, the Dutch send 20,000 tulip bulbs to Ottawa each year, which has led to the creation of the Canadian Tulip Festival in Ottawa.

2002 commemorative stamp

(Juliana became Queen of the Netherlands with Wilhelmina's abdication in 1948 and was succeeded by Queen Beatrix after her own abdication in 1980.)