Police barricades didn’t always announce freshly perpetrated mayhem at the corner of Church and Flatbush.
On a wet, overcast day back in 1952, the cordons were set up to keep a crowd of 2,000 jubilant “Flatbushites” at a sensible distance from an internationally famous monarch.
Dutch Queen Juliana, pictured above, magnanimously agreed to grace our fair settlement to mark the 400th birthday of the Village of Flatbush.
Rocking a silk dress, silver fox cape and black hat with a pink flower, Queen J stepped out of a black limousine in the middle of Flatbush Avenue at 4:40 p.m. along with her princely boo and offered that wilting wave of a superior pedigree.
Her elegance disembarked in front of a commercial stretch that is now occupied by a pawn shop, a Dr. Jay’s hip hop fashion mart and a deli that offers Atlantic City bus tickets.
The royal safely made her way up the steps of the Dutch Reformed Church and regally fist bumped Pastor Dr. Henry Vruwink.
She sashayed down the holy house’s aisle along with a crew of local clergy and luminaries, including the then borough president, before taking a seat.
After Vruwink showered her with flattery and noted that the church housed a Dutch bible from 1656, J was moved.
“You say it all so beautifully,” she said. “I am very happy to be here today.”
After a 15 minute stay and the receipt of a bouquet of roses, Queen Juliana had to bounce. Citing a hectic schedule, she was unable to follow through on a planned stroll across the street to eyeball Erasmus Hall High School.
Climbing back into her whip, she bid a farewell to the appreciative crowd and cruised back to Manhattan for more stately pursuits.
But some cursory research on the last royal to spend time in the ‘Bush reveals that she may have fit in more than one would have assumed. Royal profiling can be perilous, of course.
A 2004 obituary noted that Juliana, one of the richest monarchs on earth at the time of her death, apparently loathed pretension.
“Uncomfortable with ceremony and pomp, Queen Juliana abolished the curtsey and other formalities which she considered to be outdated,” reported The Telegraph.
Anyway, here’s to you, Queen Juliana. Thanks for swinging by.
Here’s our girl with President Truman and assorted illuminati members in 1952 – the year she cruised down Flatbush Avenue.