Royal Visits to the United States, 1939

Royals from around the World were in the United States around this time 80 years ago, officially they were there to attend the 1939 New York World’s Fair, but there was a mission to forge greater ties with the American government and President Roosevelt ahead of the start of the inevitable Second World War. These relationships proved instrumental during the War, 

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The most high-profile visit was that of King George VI and Queen Elizabeth, who became the first reigning British Monarchs to visit the United States, after their Tour of Canada. The five day trip included visits to Mount Vernon, the New York World’s Fair, Dinner at the President’s estate at Hyde Park, where they were served hotdogs, smoked turkey, and strawberry shortcake (fictionalized in the film Hyde Park on Hudson) and a Garden Party at the British Embassy. A strong bond was forged between the King and Queen and the President and First Lady during the tour, which had major significance in the relations between the United States and the United Kingdom during the War.

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Crown Prince Olav and Crown Princess Märtha of Norway undertook an extensive ten-week tour of the United States in the Spring and Summer of 1939, developing a long-lasting friendship with President Roosevelt, that proved to be of great significance. They started their Tour in New York, visiting the Norwegian Pavilion at the World Fair, meeting the President at Hyde Park, and visiting him again at the White House. They also visited Virginia, Chicago, and Milwaukee. There were many Dinners and Banquets, for which the Crown Princess wore the Vasa Tiara, Queen Sophia’s Diamond Bracelet Bandeau, and Princess Ingeborg’s Boucheron Tiara. After the Nazi invasion of Norway in April 1940 forced the Royal Family into exile, Crown Princess Märtha accepted President Roosevelt’s invitation and travelled to America with her children, remaining in Washington, D.C. for the duration of the war, where her close friendship with the Presidential couple worked to promote Norwegian interests, and is the subject of an upcoming TV series.

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Crown Prince Frederick and Crown Princess Ingrid of Denmark started their Tour in California, visiting San Francisco, where they were greeted by over 300 Danish Americans, and Los Angeles, before moving on to Chicago and then New York, where they attended the World Fair and met President Roosevelt. They also attended Banquets in Chicago and New York (for which the Crown Princess wore her Ruby Parure), before stopping in London on their way home to Denmark.

Also in the United States were Prince Consort Felix and Hereditary Grand Duke Jean of Luxembourg, who visited the New York World’s Fair and met with President Roosevelt in Washington. Like he did with the Norwegian Guests (and Dutch and Belgian Royals), the President offered asylum to the Grand Ducal Family in case of war, and they arrived in the US the following year, staying in America for a short period before moving to Quebec, Canada for the duration of the War.


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