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Historical question about travel in Europe, 1944

Historical question about travel in Europe, 1944

Aug 5th, 2005, 08:46 AM
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Historical question about travel in Europe, 1944

Reading Julia Gelardi's Born to Rule (about five grand-daughters of Queen Victoria who became Queen Consorts), I noted that in 1944, Queen Victoria Eugenie of Spain (who by then lived in exile in Switzerland) travelled from Lausanne to Britain to attend at the bedside of her dying mother, Queen Victoria's daughter Princess Beatrice. She then returned to Switzerland.

My question: how would such a trip have been done, given the year in question? Plane, train, ship, automobile? Some sort of diplomatic "laissez-passer"?
Vorkuta is offline  
Aug 5th, 2005, 09:11 AM
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Good question. What part of 1944? Pre or post Normandy Invasion?
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Aug 5th, 2005, 09:22 AM
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Princess Beatrice died in October 1944. I don't have Gelardi's book to hand, but I don't think Gelardi mentions how far in advance of her mother's death Queen Victoria Eugenie travelled from Switzerland to England. Even if the trip took place after D-Day, it must still have been quite a trip...
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Aug 5th, 2005, 09:41 AM
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I don't remember the exact troop positions at that time, but the Allies were getting pretty close to the German border, so she could have gone through or over France (perhaps the southern part), assuming she didn't go much earlier than the actual death.
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Aug 5th, 2005, 09:44 AM
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I don't know for sure, but I imagine that she must have held a Swiss Passport or something to that effect. Nazi Germany needed neutral Switzerland as much as the Allies did, so I'm pretty sure they would allow free passage to any Swiss citizen and/or a holder of some kind of Swiss travel document. In this case it probably was a no-brainer. Why mess with your bankers/commodity dealers over somebody that's irrelevent to the war cause? Swiss commercial planes were allowed free passage. After all, the Swiss had to secure oil/steel/aluminum/etc. purchases and/or sell whatever the Nazis were selling, and many times these deals involved a member(s) of the opposing side. That's usually the unheared of, ugly side, of any war.

I would still like to know how Roosevelt and Churchill and many of their generals and state department people got to Yalta in Feb.1945 without any incident?
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Aug 5th, 2005, 09:47 AM
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Spain was also (somewhat) neautral, so there is another possibility. Although she was related to the British royalty she was a Spanish citizen.
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Aug 5th, 2005, 06:25 PM
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Interesting question, anyone knows?
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Aug 5th, 2005, 06:44 PM
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Didn't the Swiss-based Red Cross travel throughout Europe during the war? Maybe she hitched a ride with them.
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Aug 6th, 2005, 06:59 AM
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>...how Roosevelt and Churchill and many of their generals and state department people got to Yalta in Feb.1945 without any incident? <

Very carefully.

They met in Malta and went on to Yalta (I'm not kidding.)

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Aug 6th, 2005, 02:33 PM
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Let's not forget that Queen Vic's family was German.
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Aug 7th, 2005, 01:35 PM
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Not that it's remotely relevant to the actual question.
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Aug 7th, 2005, 01:39 PM
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Actually, come to think of it, by October 1944 transport from Switzerland into liberated France wouldn't have been technically difficult, though presumably there wouldn't have been convenient train schedules.
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Aug 8th, 2005, 07:19 PM
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I mentioned her German lineage because I think the Nazis would not have impeded her travel (if they could at that time).

And I doubt a queen (even in exile) would have used public transportation other than to attach her private train coaches to. Or any train going in the right direction...

Being royal had its benefits.
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Aug 8th, 2005, 09:05 PM
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I've no idea how this woman travelled. But Britain kept an embassy in Switzerland throughout the war, shuttling personnel and diplomatic bags between London and Berne, and escaping POWs and returning spies were routinely repatriated through Switzerland (if we could stop the Swiss from interning them).

Details of how communication was maintained varied from time to time. But Swiss, Spanish and Portuguese airlines maintained an all-neutral airbridge between Switzerland and Iberia. Travel between Britain and Spain or Portugal was typically by sea (U-boats permitting, though by 1944 they'd been contained) or by Allied or neutral planes. By 1944, we had sufficient command of the skies over the Bay of Biscay to make the risk of Axis interception pretty low.
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