Monday, July 28, 2008

Monarchs in exile in WW2

George II, King of the Hellenes left the Greek mainland for Crete with the government on April 23 1941 but after the German airborne attack on the island he was evacuated to Egypt, and went into exile to Great Britain. He returned to Greece on September 26 1946, after the referendum on the monarchy, which resulted 69% in favour of the King's return on a 90% turnout.

King Haakon VII of Norway was evacuated from Tromsø on June 7 1940 aboard HMS Devonshire and safely arrived in London. He was an important national symbol in the Norwegian resistance. After the end of the war, Haakon and the Norwegian royal family returned to Norway arriving to cheering crowds in Oslo on 7 June 1945.


Queen Wilhelmina of the Netherlands and her family were evacuated to the United Kingdom on 13 May 1940. Prior to the end of the war, in mid-March 1945, she returned to the Allied occupied areas of southern Holland visiting the region of Walcheren and the city of Eindhoven where she received a rapturous welcome from the local population.

Charlotte, Grand Duchess of Luxembourg, was exiled in London during the German occupation in World War II and became an important symbol of national unity.

Emperor Haile Selassie I of Ethiopia departed the country with his family before invading Italian forces, boarding a British ship bound for Palestine at Djibouti, on 5 May 1936. He spent his exile years in Bath, United Kingdom. On 18 January 1941, during the East African Campaign, Haile Selassie crossed the border between the Sudan and Ethiopia. Two days later, he and a force of Ethiopian patriots joined Gideon Force which was already in Ethiopia and preparing the way. On 5 May 1941, Haile Selassie entered Addis Ababa, five years to the day since his 1936 exile.

Four republics also established their governments in exile in the United Kingdom after loss of sovereignty in World War II:

  • Poland (invaded 1 September 1939)
  • Czechoslovakia (est. gov. in October 1939)
  • France (est. gov. in September 1941)
  • Philippines (invaded 8 December 1941)

King Peter II of Yugoslavia was forced to leave the country with the Yugoslav Government on April 17 1941 following the Axis invasion; initially the King went with his government to Greece, then to Palestine and Egypt. He went to England in June 1941, where he joined numerous other governments in exile from Nazi-occupied Europe. The King completed his education at Cambridge University and joined the Royal Air Force. At the invitation of the US president Roosevelt he travelled to Washington DC, where he addressed the Congress on June 25 1942, asking support and aid for the Yugoslav Army in the Fatherland.

He never returned to the country because the monarchy was illegally abolished by Yugoslavia's Communist Constituent Assembly, without a referendum, in November 1945 and the country remained under a totalitarian regime for more than five decades.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Just a correction:

The Philippines was a former crown colony of Spain, not the UK, and the Spanish have left the Philippines long before WWII. The Filipino government also never established a government in exile; instead, the Japanese set up a puppet government in Manila.