Princess Margriet of the Netherlands paid tribute to the Canadian who negotiated the surrender of the Nazis in her country in 1945.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau greeted the princess with a fist bump at the National Military Cemetery in Ottawa, which was blooming with tulips—a flower that has come to symbolize the relationship between the Netherlands and Canada.
Together, Trudeau and Princess Margriet unveiled a plaque in honour of Gen. Charles Foulkes, who commanded Canada’s troops in Italy in 1945.
A small group of onlookers watched the intimate ceremony from a distance, hoping for a glimpse of the princess.
“I love the romance of the story of her being born here,” said Laura Peck, who said she lives near the princess’ former Ottawa home. “It’s like visiting a neighbour.”
The princess was born in the Canadian capital, after the Dutch royal family escaped the Nazi occupation of the Netherlands during the Second World War.
“As we all know, Canadian forces played a heavy role in the liberation of the Netherlands in 1945,” said the cemetery’s spokesperson Nick McCarthy during the small ceremony.
After the surrender was signed, the country was liberated and a 77-year-old friendship between Netherlands and Canada was formed, McCarthy said.
The princess laid a bouquet of flowers on Foulkes’s grave before taking a tour around the ceremony with the prime minister.
Neither of the dignitaries spoke to the public at the event.
Trudeau kept his mask on for the duration of the visit, despite the unseasonably warm weather. He told the princess he had just returned from a trip to Ukraine, and wanted to be extra cautious.
By Laura Osman