The royal household of Luxembourg took refuge in Quebec throughout World Struggle II

OTTAWA – Crown Prince of Luxembourg Guillaume Jean Joseph Marie, who is in Toronto for an official business visit, has spoken publicly about how his family fled to Canada during World War II.

The prince says few people know that his great-grandparents, grandfather and other members of the royal family lived on a farm in Quebec in the 1940s.

In an interview, he said it is known that the Dutch royal family lived in Canada while their country was under Nazi rule, but not that Charlotte, then the Grand Duchess of Luxembourg, took refuge in Quebec with her six children.

“It’s better known that the Dutch royal family spent time here in Canada, but the Luxembourg family did too,” he said.

His remarks come weeks after Princess Margriet of the Netherlands paid tribute to the role Canada played in providing refuge for the Dutch royal family during World War II.

The princess visited the country’s capital last month, where she was born after her family fled in 1940.

Prince Guillaume mentioned that his grandfather Jean, the Hereditary Grand Duke at the time, went to Laval University in Quebec and also lived in a house in Montreal that now houses the Embassy of the Czech Republic.

The prince highlighted that he has already made several official visits to Canada, but that he and his family also go there for pleasure. “I had the opportunity to travel a few times and see where they lived in Montreal,” he said.

Hereditary Grand Duke Jean studied law and political science at Laval University, while his sisters studied at the Collège Jésus-Marie de Sillery. His brother Charles attended Jesuit College, now known as Collège Saint-Charles-Garnier, a secondary school also affiliated with the university.

In fact, a road near Laval University was named rue de Luxembourg.

The prince says he had many conversations with his grandfather about life in Canada, including his skiing experiences. “It passed from generation to generation – my father also had the opportunity to enjoy its wonderful trails”, he indicated.

The prince added that all of his grandfather’s siblings had “a very pleasant experience” at various boarding schools. They stayed in Canada for four years during the war.

The prince said the royal family has collected Canadian art that is still hanging in their homes, including indigenous works. He reiterated that his family also had strong ties to Canada and fond memories of living here.

Shelter during the war

The Crown Prince is participating in a large trade delegation with members of the Luxembourg government. He said the country is particularly interested in deepening cooperation in the high-tech field, including cybersecurity.

“We already have very close economic ties,” he said. The commercial relationship is already very strong, but there is more potential. I think this is one of the first trade missions outside Luxembourg after the pandemic.”

During a speech scheduled for Monday night, the heir to the throne of Luxembourg intends to speak of the warm welcome that Canada has always reserved for his family and his gratitude for offering them shelter in dark times.

The Nazi occupation of Luxembourg, Belgium and the Netherlands began in May 1940.

Many Luxembourgers were conscripted into the German army and nearly 3,500 Luxembourgish Jews were murdered during the Holocaust.

The Grand Duchess and her children fled the occupation and went into exile first in France, then London, and then settled in Montreal. While in Montreal, she spoke to her country on the radio and also toured the United States, the prince said, to raise awareness of the Nazi occupation of Europe.

His son, Hereditary Grand Duke Jean, participated in the Normandy landings in 1944, the maritime invasion of Allied-occupied continental Europe, in which Canada participated. The country was fully liberated from Nazi occupation in 1945.

Luxembourg Prime Minister Pierre Dupong also lived in exile in Canada during World War II.

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