Friday, May 14, 2010

Charlotte flees Luxembourg with children

Embed from Getty Images 

May 12, 1940 (delayed)

Luxembourg, described by a reporter for the Chicago Tribune news service, as "a fairy-tale kingdom [that] made one last gesture against an avalanche of realists, a beautiful Princess hurried her children through the barbed wire," as German tanks rolled across the Remich bridge, marking the second invasion of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg in 25 years.

The invasion of Luxembourg began at 3 a.m., on May 10. The tanks, "rolling over the bridge at Remich, quickly overpowering the guards, who, by the touch of a switch, might have tossed the long span into the river."

The parachute jumpers came, "to organize the tourists who a week ago had been inspecting the baggage of casual visitors to the Brasseur Hotel." The tanks were first to move into Luxembourg, followed by the "dynamiters and the engineers and infantry."

Luxembourg's 350 soldiers, "well trained in the theory of musketry and tactics, did not fire a shot."

There was "complete panic in the capital." Luxembourg could not hold out against the German invasion. Within six hours, the country had capitulated and was under German control.

When Grand Duchess Charlotte received news of the invasion, she "went personally to awaken her children, and shoo them into an automobile, all except the baby whom she kept with her."

The children were across the border in France before Charlotte stood in front of the Palace at Colmer-Berg, and said goodbye, just as her sister, Grand Duchess Marie Adelaide, had done 22 years ago. The Grand Duchess did not make any speeches, except to tell the Foreign Minister "that all would be well in her hands." And, then she "went out of her country."

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