Royalists gathered in Stratford on Sunday to catch a glimpse of Dutch royalty.

Princess Margriet, eighth in line to the throne, took part in a special ceremony honouring the special connection between Canada and the Netherlands.

Princess Margriet was born in Ottawa in 1943. Her family moved to Canada in 1940 after the occupation of the Netherlands by Nazi Germany.

Canadian troops helped liberate the Netherlands in 1945.

“If it wasn’t for the Canadians I wouldn’t be standing here today,” says Bernard Van Herk. “They saved us.”

In 1956 a statue of gratitude was presented to the city by Dutch immigrants and soldiers. The statue is of a wounded bird, cradled by two strong hands. It symbolizes the care Canadians gave to the Dutch during a difficult time in its history.

“It was a gift to the City of Stratford so that they could thank them for the hospitality they had during the war,” says Rutger Carp.

Carp’s father was one of the soldiers who took part in the statue’s dedication in the 1950s.

Even though he now lives in Washington, Carp didn’t want to miss the Princess’ visit.

“I got in the car,” Carp says. “I drove nine hours from Washington, D.C. to be part of this ceremony.”

Princess Margriet was in Stratford for the statue’s rededication. She also received a key to the city.

Princess Margriet is on a four day tour of Canada. Besides her stop in Stratford she also visited Goderich.

With reporting by Marc Venema