By Kristen Shane

Ottawa Citizen
April 28, 2009

Netherlands Embassy shares Yousuf Karsh's wartime portraits of Queen
Juliana and her family in Ottawa

'The happy faces (in) the pictures show the happy period that they
were able to have here thanks to the hospitality that was provided
to them.'; - Dutch Ambassador Wim Geerts Photograph by: Chris Mikula,
The Ottawa Citizen

You'd expect to find the work of the late, celebrated Ottawa portrait
photographer Yousuf Karsh in museums, not tucked away in a few plastic
folders on the 20th floor of an Albert Street office tower.

But that's where you'll find a series of photos the Armenian-born
photographer snapped of members of the Dutch royal family while they
took refuge in Ottawa during the Second World War.

The Netherlands Embassy has dusted off its collection of about two
dozen rarely viewed photos of the royals, many of which were shot by
Karsh, in anticipation for what would have been the 100th birthday
of the late Dutch Queen Juliana, April 30.

Juliana was still a princess when she fled here with two young
daughters in 1940. Her third daughter, Margriet, was famously
born at the Civic Hospital in a suite of rooms Parliament declared
'extraterritorial' so the baby could be a Dutch citizen and therefore
eligible to one day take the crown.

Shortly after the January 1943 birth, during a visit from the Dutch
queen exiled in Britain and Juliana's soldier-husband Bernhard, the
family posed for Karsh in the garden of their temporary residence
at Stornoway.

Today, that Rockcliffe home houses the leader of the federal

Martine Feaver was there that day. She had come to Ottawa with her
two-year-old daughter Renee as Juliana's companion. Feaver and her
daughter have since moved here permanently.

Feaver, 92, remembers Karsh as a nice and amusing man. "He would sort
of talk and say things to the kids. He ... tried to engage them in
things before he took any pictures; he let them play," she recalls.

The resulting prints are an intimate glimpse into the royals' private
lives in Ottawa.

"Some are very casual, informal and really quite beautiful. They're
family photographs; they weren't even meant to be official royal
photographs," says Jerry Fielder, the California-based curator of the
Estate of Yousuf Karsh, who has seen these and other Karsh photos of
the Dutch royals.

Karsh, best known for photographing dignitaries and celebrities
including Winston Churchill, shot the Dutch royal family members at
their home and in his Sparks Street studio. At least nine sessions
took place before Juliana and the princesses returned to Holland when
the war ended in 1945.

Some photos were smuggled to Holland, where the monarchist Dutch
people were eager for news of the royal family in exile. But the
pictures probably never reached the masses.

"They were very carefully distributed amongst friends," says Feaver.

Not anymore.

A Toronto man found one Karsh photo of the three princesses, inscribed
with their signatures, in a Value Village thrift store in 2002. He
paid $5.99 for it and promptly sold it to a Winnipeg Karsh collector
for $2,800.

Most of the other photos are spread between the Portrait Gallery of
Canada, the Paleis Het Loo National Museum in Holland and the office
of the Dutch ambassador to Canada, Wim Geerts, who took the post
last summer.

"Shortly after my arrival, they were shown to me.

"And I found them fascinating because they're actually taken a couple
of streets from where I live," says Geerts.

"The happy faces (in) the pictures show the happy period that they were
able to have here thanks to the hospitality that was provided to them."

In appreciation of Ottawa's warm wartime welcome and Canadian soldiers'
efforts to liberate their country, the Dutch send Ottawa 20,000 tulips
annually, a gift that spawned the city's popular Tulip Festival,
which begins its 57th season May 1.

But you won't catch a glimpse of Karsh's photos at this year's
events. Any plans to frame them for a public debut are "Not concrete
at this moment," Geerts says with a mischievous grin. He refuses to
comment further.

"Personally, I would like to see them seen," says Fielder. "They're
a treasure, and they're very historic and Yousuf was very friendly
with the Dutch Royal Family so I hope they are protected."

- - -

A Touch of Dutch

Queen's Day Reception

April 30

Dutch ambassador to Canada, Wim Geerts, opens his Rockcliffe Park home
to members of Ottawa's Dutch community in celebration of the late Queen
Juliana's birthday, the Dutch equivalent of Canada Day. Invitation
only, except for Dutch nationals.

344 Manor Ave. 7-9 p.m.

Three Dutch weekends at the Canadian War Museum

May 2-3, 9-10, 16-17

The museum highlights the Tulip Festival's Dutch origins and the close
Canadian-Dutch relationship forged during the Second World War. Talk to
veterans and Dutch war brides, view photos of the Canadian liberation
of the Netherlands and nibble on friendship cookies. LeBreton Gallery,
1 Vimy Place. 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Queen Juliana's 100th birthday celebratory worship service

May 3

St. Andrew's Presbyterian Church hosts a special service celebrating
the life of the late Dutch queen, Juliana, who would have celebrated
her 100th birthday this week. Juliana and the Dutch royal family
often attended St. Andrew's when they lived in Ottawa during the
Second World War. 82 Kent St., 11 a.m.

- For more information on other Dutch-themed events happening in
Ottawa this summer, visit

From: Emil Lazarian | Ararat NewsPress