Trivia of the day for September 19
Princess Margriet’s mother, Princess Juliana, lived in Ottawa for the duration of the Second World War, while her father Prince Bernhard and her grandmother, Queen Wilhelmina, stayed on in London to organize the Dutch government in exile. For the occasion, the maternity ward was declared an international zone, so that the princess wouldn’t have dual citizenship, which would have knocked her out of the line of succession.
From 1942-45 her family resided at Stornoway, since 1950 the official residence of the head of the Opposition. After Juliana returned to the Netherlands in 1945, she sent a thank-you gift to Ottawa of thousands of tulips to be sent once a year in perpetuity. This lovely gift became the basis of the amazing million-bloom Ottawa Tulip Festival, held each year since 1953.
While Princess Juliana was toughing it out in Stornoway, another royal was having a pretty unpleasant time in Québec City. Poor ex-Empress Zita of Austria made the city her base from 1940-50, while her younger daughters attended the Ursuline convent school there. Empress Zita, after 1918 tossed around Europe, fled to Canada in the face of the Nazis. The family lived in (relative) poverty while the empress and her sons travelled around trying to raise money.
And finally, yet another royal crossed Canada on the CPR in 1953 on his way to the coronation of Elizabeth II – future emperor Prince Akhito of Japan. His son, Prince Takamado, graduated in Law at Queen’s University in Kingston, in 1981.