Three little princesses set foot on Dutch soil





During World War II, the royal family resides partly in London and partly in Canada. After the German invasion on May 10, 1940, the Dutch Commander-in-Chief, General Henri Winkelman, advises Queen Wilhelmina to leave the Netherlands. Three days later, on May 13, 1940, the royal family leaves their homeland, only to return five years later with three little princesses.

During the war years, Princess Juliana lived with her two daughters Beatrix and Irene in Ottawa, Canada. On January 19, 1943, a third daughter was born in the Civic Hospital in Ottawa: Princess Margriet. Prince Bernhard does not follow his family to Canada, but stays in London with his mother-in-law, Queen Wilhelmina, and the government in exile. In September 1944, Bernhard traveled to Belgium to join the Dutch resistance in the Domestic Forces (BS), of which he was appointed commander. After the liberation of Apeldoorn on April 17, 1945, he set up Paleis Het Loo as the headquarters of the Domestic Armed Forces.

On May 2, Juliana also arrives in the liberated Netherlands for a short period and is temporarily reunited with her husband. In June, Juliana leaves for the United States on the British steamship 'Queen Elisabeth' together with 350 Army Nurses and 15,000 American troops to pick up her daughters in New York. On July 22, 1945, the foursome arrived in Scotland on the steamship 'Queen Mary'. After a few days in Great Britain, Bernhard and Juliana pick them up.

On Thursday, August 2, 1945, the time has finally come: the young royal family lands at Teuge airport, located between Apeldoorn and Twello, which was liberated by the Canadians on April 13. Bernhard lands first with his own sports plane. For safety reasons, the princesses arrive in two planes. Juliana arrives together with the youngest in a Lockheed Hudson plane called 'Rotterdam'. The two eldest princesses follow in a Douglas DC-3 Dakota plane and land twenty minutes later. Beatrix is seven years old at the time, Irene is over five years old (her sixth birthday is three days later). The youngest princess, Margriet, takes her very first steps on Dutch soil, because she is only two years old at the time. Upon arrival, they are presented with flowers by children who are waiting for them and Princess Beatrix signs her first signature.

The same day, the young royal family visits Queen Wilhelmina at Het Loo Palace, who made her first visit to the liberated south of the Netherlands on March 13, 1945 and is now recovering from pneumonia in the Apeldoorn palace. Bernhard and Juliana will then travel with their daughters to Soestdijk Palace in Baarn, where the return of the royal family will be celebrated on Saturday, August 4, with a garden party for the neighborhood children, where Princess Irene's sixth birthday will also be celebrated.

Little publicity is given to the return of the royal members to Teuge airport. Radio reporter Frits Thors (1909-2014) did report on the arrival on the spot. He is a presenter at Radio Herrijzend Nederland and becomes good friends with the royal family. Both Thors and Prince Bernhard record the arrival of the princesses with their own film cameras. After the weekend, the Dutch population read in the newspapers that 'their little princesses' have landed safely on Dutch soil.


De Zanden 27, Teuge