For centuries, Canada has been a monarchy, first under French kings in the sixteenth, seventeenth, and eighteenth centuries, then under the British Crown in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, and finally as a sovereign nation. Aboriginal Peoples have populated these lands for thousands of years. For many generations, they have maintained an ongoing and very intimate relationship with the Sovereign and the Crown of Canada. But did you know that there was only one princess born in North America?
Part of the maternity ward on the third floor of Ottawa’s Civic Hospital was deemed extraterritorial or not part of Canada in 1943, during World War II, to make room for the birth of a Dutch princess. Princess Margriet was North America’s lone Princess.
The Queen in the North
Princess Margriet Francisca of the Netherlands is Queen Juliana and Prince Bernhard’s third child. She is a member of the Dutch Royal House and the eighth and last in line to the throne as an aunt of the incumbent monarch, King Willem-Alexander.
Princess Margriet has frequently acted as the monarch’s representative at official and semi-official events. Some of these engagements have taken her back to Canada, her de facto homeland, and events hosted by the Dutch merchant fleet, of which she is a patron.
When Nazi Germany conquered the Netherlands in 1940, the Dutch royal family went into exile and settled in Canada. Margriet was born at the Ottawa Civic Hospital. The Canadian government declared the hospital’s maternity ward extraterritorial for the time being.
This assured that the child would not be born in Canada and hence would not be a British subject under the jus soli rule. Instead, under the concept of jus sanguinis, which is followed in Dutch nationality law, the kid would exclusively get Dutch citizenship from her mother. As a result, the child would be entitled to succeed to the Dutch crown. If the infant had been male and thus Juliana’s heir apparent, or Juliana’s two older sisters had died without children, this would have been the case.
The maternity ward was deemed Dutch territory by the Canadian government, contrary to popular belief. Canada follows jus soli, but the Netherlands follows jus sanguinis. It was enough for Canada to temporarily seize the region.
Princess Margriet was called after the marguerite flower, which was worn as a symbol of resistance to Nazi Germany throughout the war. On June 29, 1943, she was baptized at St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church in Ottawa. President Franklin D. Roosevelt, Queen Mary, Märtha, Crown Princess of Norway, and Martine Roell were among her godparents. (Source: Radio Canada International)
What are the Princess Margriet’s Interests and Activities
Princess Margriet is mainly concerned with issues of health and culture. She served as vice-president of the Dutch Red Cross from 1987 to 2011, during which time the Princess Margriet Fund was established in her honor. She serves on the International Federation of National Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies’ board of directors.
Princess Margriet served as head of the European Cultural Foundation from 1984 to 2007, and the Princess Margriet Award for Cultural Diversity was established in her honor.
She is a member of the International Paralympic Committee’s honorary board. (Source: Radio Canada International)