During World War II, a number of royal families considered leaving their countries for a time, due to potential dangers to them and their families. Many of the royals decided that they shouldn’t leave. As for Prince Bernhard, husband of Crown Princess Juliana was serving in the Royal Airforce. It was thought that Princess Juliana, and her daughters would be safer in Canada, so they relocated in in June of 1940. In the years she was there, the couple became pregnant with their third child, who would now be born in Canada, unless something drastically changed.

With the relocation of the royal family, and now the impending birth, which could, I suppose cause a bit of a problem like the one that exists in the United States, when a child who could later go on to run for president, is born in another country. Our law requires that the child be born on US soil, like a military base or something. Of course, that may not be the law in the Netherlands, but whatever the case may be, the Canadian government was compelled to do something anyway. So, the decision was made that in 1943, the Canadian government temporarily declared a maternity ward of Ottawa Civic Hospital to be extraterritorial. This struck me as funny, because at first glance, I thought it said extraterrestrial!! I thought, “What are they talking about??” Then, I realized that my first glance had been deceiving. I suppose that is good news for the royal family of the Netherlands, who would not be the parents of an alien from outer space.

Comedy aside, this change was made because Dutch princess Margriet was to be born at the maternity ward of Ottawa Civic Hospital. With this change, the maternity ward suddenly fell outside of the Canadian domain, causing it to be unaffiliated with any jurisdiction and technically international territory. The purpose was to ensure that the newborn would derive her citizenship from her mother only, thus making her solely Dutch. While this change didn’t matter much since Princess Margriet was a girl, and thereby third in line for the throne. It could have been very important, if the child had been male, and as such, the heir of Princess Juliana. Many countries with a royal family move the sons ahead of any older sisters in the line of succession to the throne. England recently changed that law, meaning that HRH Princess Charlotte (currently 3rd) was not passed by HRH Prince Louis (currently 4th) in the line of succession there.

The birth of Princess Margriet came about thusly. “It was the height of the Second World War, things were still not going well for the Allies, when a brief bit of good news came in the midst of darkness. The German forces had already rolled over much of Europe, smashing resistance before them, including the brave but futile defense of Holland. The Dutch Crown Princess Juliana and her two daughters had fled the German invasion and arrived in Canada in June 1940. On January 9, 1943, Dutch Princess Margriet was born at the Ottawa Civic Hospital. Crown Prince Bernhard came from London where he was serving with the Royal Air Force, to be present for the birth. The Royal Family returned to Holland shortly after the war.”

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