Harper Government Marks the 70th Birthday of Princess Margriet, Dutch Princess Born in Canada

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OTTAWA, January 18, 2013 - Today, Rod Bruinooge, Member of Parliament (Winnipeg South), on behalf of the Honourable James Moore, Minister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages, participated in a special flag raising ceremony on Parliament Hill to mark the 70th birthday, tomorrow, of Princess Margriet of the Netherlands. The Princess was born in the Ottawa Civic Hospital’s maternity ward on January 19, 1943.

“Today, we raise the Dutch flag on Parliament Hill once again, where it will fly until sunset tomorrow, the day of the Princess’ 70th birthday,” said Mr. Bruinooge. “The birth of Princess Margriet established a special relationship between our two countries.” 

During the occupation of the Netherlands in the Second World War, the Dutch royal family was offered a safe haven in Ottawa, where Princess Juliana, the only heir to the Dutch throne, gave birth to Princess Margriet. In an extraordinary demonstration of friendship and solidarity with the Dutch people, the Government of Canada temporarily declared the room at the hospital to be of extraterritorial jurisdiction, which meant the new Princess could enjoy full Dutch citizenship and stay in the line of succession. In celebration of the birth, the Dutch flag flew on the Peace Tower that day in Ottawa.

“The gift of tulips sent to Canada by the Dutch royal family in gratitude—after the war and every year since—inspired our world-famous Tulip Festival,” said Minister Moore. “On behalf of Prime Minister Stephen Harper and the Government of Canada, I invite all Canadians to celebrate this special day.”

Mr. Bruinooge was joined by Parliamentary Secretary Rick Dykstra and Rochus Pronk, Chargé d’Affaires and Deputy Head of Mission, Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands to Canada.