Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Refugee Queen: Wilhelmina arrives in London

May 13, 1940

Queen Wilhelmina of the Netherlands as arrived in London as a refugee, reports the New York Times.  She traveled from the Netherlands to England "aboard a British warship."

Earlier this evening, the Queen, who has reigned for 42 years, "stepped off her heavily guarded royal train at the grimy Liverpool Street Station. She was by King George VI and "taken immediately to Buckingham Palace."

Wilhelmina's only child, Princess Juliana, arrived earlier today, with her husband, Prince Bernhard, and their two young children, Princess Beatrix, 2 years old, and Princess Irene, 9 months old.

When Wilhelmina's train pulled in, Dutch soldiers and officers of the Royal Guard "leaped to the platform and stood at attention."

King George, wearing the uniform of an admiral of the fleet, walked across the "barricaded section of the platform" to greet the queen. He "shook her hand and kissed her on both cheeks."

Crown Princess Juliana and Prince Bernhard were also waiting on the platform, "watched by a silent crowd," where they greeted the Queen. King George led "the way to the royal automobile outside the station."

The Netherlands Legation in London released a statement  in regards to the Queen's departure from her country. The Dutch cabinet had advised the Queen and the Royal Family to flee the Netherlands as German troops were "closing in."

"In the meantime the news was received that the German military authorities, with every intention of competing their nefarious practices, had started bombing Her Majesty's destination.

"In the knowledge that Her Majesty would serve her country to better purpose by governing the kingdom from a place outside the fighting area, Queen Wilhelmina accepted the [British] King's and Queen's generous offer of hospitality."

The Queen's firm intention is to "return as soon as possible to her people in their great distress and their heroic fight against overwhelming odds.

Queen Juliana and her family were met at the train station by the Earl of Harewood, who is married to King George's sister, Princess Mary.

Grand Duchess Charlotte of Luxembourg has arrived in Paris, with her husband, Prince Felix, and their young children.  They are staying at a hotel in the city.

The Luxembourg royal family fled the country in the wake of the German invasion.

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