On Tuesday, the people of the Netherlands got a new king.
That’s because their queen, Queen Beatrix, abdicated the throne.
Abdicated means she stepped down—stopped being queen—to let her son take over the throne and become king.
Her eldest son is Willem-Alexander; he was Crown Prince and now is King.
Canada and the Netherlands have a connection.
During World War II, Beatrix’s family lived in Ottawa, Ont., Canada’s capital city, for five years.
Beatrix’s younger sister, Margriet, was born in Ottawa Civic Hospital in 1943.
At that time, a “federal proclamation” was made to declare the maternity (birthing) ward of the hospital “extraterritorial.” In other words, the room in which Margriet was born was declared neutral ground. That’s so the new royal baby would obtain Dutch citizenship through her parents, rather than Dutch plus Canadian (dual) citizenship because she was born in Canada.
The Dutch royal family thanked Canada for allowing them to live in Ottawa during the war by giving Canada 100,000 tulip bulbs. They continue to send the bulbs each year to Canada. The tulip bulbs form the basis for Ottawa’s stunning annual tulip festival.