Found in the Archives

From Trixie to Queen Beatrix


Picnic for Princess Juliana of the Netherlands at Val-kill, Hyde Park, New York, October 9, 1943. L-R: Secret Service, Secret Service, Princess Irene, Princess Beatrix, Princess Juliana, Mrs. J.R. Roosevelt, Eleanor Roosevelt in background with unidentified man, FDR, children's nurse, Grace Tully, Ethel Roosevelt (Mrs. FDR, Jr.). Photo by Margaret Suckley.


Bravely waiting until the last moment, the Royal Family of the Netherlands barely escaped Hitler’s clutches as the German armies swept through their homeland in May 1940. Queen Wilhelmina set up residence in London, while Princess Juliana and her family came to North America, splitting their time between Canada and the United States. Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt became close friends with Juliana, and FDR especially adored her daughters Trixie and Irene.

In the summer of 1942, Princess Juliana leased a small estate in Lee, Massachusetts where she and her young children lived for several months. The estate was close enough for the Roosevelts to drive there from Hyde Park for lunch or tea. The Royals also regularly visited Hyde Park. Seeing that the young princesses were having trouble with their swimming, FDR gave Trixie and Irene each a set of waterwings to help them float.

In this charming letter, Trixie and Irene thank the President for his gift and for the Roosevelts’ hospitality on recent picnics in Hyde Park. They also express their affection for FDR’s dog, Fala.

Trixie is now Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands, having succeeded her mother Queen Juliana to the throne in 1980.