Wilhelmina of the Netherlands
Overview
 
Wilhelmina was Queen regnant
Queen regnant
A queen regnant is a female monarch who reigns in her own right, in contrast to a queen consort, who is the wife of a reigning king. An empress regnant is a female monarch who reigns in her own right over an empire....

 of the Kingdom of the Netherlands
Kingdom of the Netherlands
The Kingdom of the Netherlands is a sovereign state and constitutional monarchy with territory in Western Europe and in the Caribbean. The four parts of the Kingdom—Aruba, Curaçao, the Netherlands, and Sint Maarten—are referred to as "countries", and participate on a basis of equality...

 from 1890 to 1948. She ruled the Netherlands for fifty-eight years, longer than any other Dutch monarch. Her reign saw World War I and World War II, the economic crisis of 1933
Great Depression in the Netherlands
The Great Depression was a period of severe economic crisis in the 1930s which affected countries around the world, including the Netherlands . In the United States the Stock Market Crash of 1929 is understood as the start of the Great Depression. But in the Netherlands the depression started more...

, and the decline of the Netherlands as a major colonial empire
Dutch Empire
The Dutch Empire consisted of the overseas territories controlled by the Dutch Republic and later, the modern Netherlands from the 17th to the 20th century. The Dutch followed Portugal and Spain in establishing an overseas colonial empire, but based on military conquest of already-existing...

. Outside the Netherlands she is primarily remembered for her role in World War II, in which she proved to be a great inspiration to the Dutch resistance
Dutch resistance
Dutch resistance to the Nazi occupation of the Netherlands during World War II can be mainly characterized by its prominent non-violence, summitting in over 300,000 people in hiding in the autumn of 1944, tended to by some 60,000 to 200,000 illegal landlords and caretakers and tolerated knowingly...

.
Princess Wilhelmina Helena Pauline Maria of the Netherlands, Princess of Orange
Prince of Orange
Prince of Orange is a title of nobility, originally associated with the Principality of Orange, in what is now southern France. In French it is la Principauté d'Orange....

, Princess of Orange-Nassau, was born on 31 August 1880 in The Hague
The Hague
The Hague is the capital city of the province of South Holland in the Netherlands. With a population of 500,000 inhabitants , it is the third largest city of the Netherlands, after Amsterdam and Rotterdam...

, Netherlands.
Encyclopedia
Wilhelmina was Queen regnant
Queen regnant
A queen regnant is a female monarch who reigns in her own right, in contrast to a queen consort, who is the wife of a reigning king. An empress regnant is a female monarch who reigns in her own right over an empire....

 of the Kingdom of the Netherlands
Kingdom of the Netherlands
The Kingdom of the Netherlands is a sovereign state and constitutional monarchy with territory in Western Europe and in the Caribbean. The four parts of the Kingdom—Aruba, Curaçao, the Netherlands, and Sint Maarten—are referred to as "countries", and participate on a basis of equality...

 from 1890 to 1948. She ruled the Netherlands for fifty-eight years, longer than any other Dutch monarch. Her reign saw World War I and World War II, the economic crisis of 1933
Great Depression in the Netherlands
The Great Depression was a period of severe economic crisis in the 1930s which affected countries around the world, including the Netherlands . In the United States the Stock Market Crash of 1929 is understood as the start of the Great Depression. But in the Netherlands the depression started more...

, and the decline of the Netherlands as a major colonial empire
Dutch Empire
The Dutch Empire consisted of the overseas territories controlled by the Dutch Republic and later, the modern Netherlands from the 17th to the 20th century. The Dutch followed Portugal and Spain in establishing an overseas colonial empire, but based on military conquest of already-existing...

. Outside the Netherlands she is primarily remembered for her role in World War II, in which she proved to be a great inspiration to the Dutch resistance
Dutch resistance
Dutch resistance to the Nazi occupation of the Netherlands during World War II can be mainly characterized by its prominent non-violence, summitting in over 300,000 people in hiding in the autumn of 1944, tended to by some 60,000 to 200,000 illegal landlords and caretakers and tolerated knowingly...

.

Early life

Princess Wilhelmina Helena Pauline Maria of the Netherlands, Princess of Orange
Prince of Orange
Prince of Orange is a title of nobility, originally associated with the Principality of Orange, in what is now southern France. In French it is la Principauté d'Orange....

, Princess of Orange-Nassau, was born on 31 August 1880 in The Hague
The Hague
The Hague is the capital city of the province of South Holland in the Netherlands. With a population of 500,000 inhabitants , it is the third largest city of the Netherlands, after Amsterdam and Rotterdam...

, Netherlands. She was the only child of King William III
William III of the Netherlands
William III was from 1849 King of the Netherlands and Grand Duke of Luxembourg until his death and the Duke of Limburg until the abolition of the Duchy in 1866.-Early life:William was born in Brussels as son of William II of the Netherlands and...

 and his second wife, Emma of Waldeck and Pyrmont
Emma of Waldeck and Pyrmont
Princess Emma of Waldeck and Pyrmont was Queen consort of William III, King of the Netherlands and Grand Duke of Luxembourg...

. Her childhood was characterised by a close relationship with her parents, especially with her father, who was 63 years of age when she was born.

King William III had three sons with his first wife, Sophie of Württemberg
Sophie of Württemberg
Princess Sophia Frederika Mathilde of Württemberg was Queen of the Netherlands as the first wife of King William III of the Netherlands.-Biography:...

. However, when Wilhelmina was born, William had already outlived two of them and only the childless Prince Alexander
Alexander, Prince of Orange
Willem Alexander Charles Henry Frederick, Prince of Orange , , was heir apparent to his father King William III of the Netherlands from 11 June 1879 until his death.-Life:...

 and the King's uncle Prince Frederick of the Netherlands
Prince Frederick of the Netherlands
Prince Frederick of the Netherlands, Prince of Orange-Nassau , was the second son of king William I of the Netherlands and his wife, Wilhelmine of Prussia....

 were alive, so under the Semi-Salic system of inheritance that was in place in the Netherlands until 1887, she was third in line to the throne from birth. When Prince Frederick died a year later in 1881, she became second in line. When Wilhelmina was four, Alexander died and the young girl became heiress presumptive.
King William III died on 23 November 1890, and, although Princess Wilhelmina became Queen of the Netherlands instantly, her mother, Emma, was named regent
Regent
A regent, from the Latin regens "one who reigns", is a person selected to act as head of state because the ruler is a minor, not present, or debilitated. Currently there are only two ruling Regencies in the world, sovereign Liechtenstein and the Malaysian constitutive state of Terengganu...

.

In 1895, Queen Wilhelmina visited Queen Victoria of the United Kingdom
Victoria of the United Kingdom
Victoria was the monarch of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland from 20 June 1837 until her death. From 1 May 1876, she used the additional title of Empress of India....

, who penned an evaluation in her diary:

Marriage and succession

Wilhelmina was enthroned on 6 September 1898. On 7 February 1901 in The Hague, she married Duke Henry of Mecklenburg-Schwerin.

Wilhelmina suffered miscarriages in 1901 and 1906, and gave birth to a stillborn son in 1902. During this time period, Wilhelmina's heir presumptive
Heir Presumptive
An heir presumptive or heiress presumptive is the person provisionally scheduled to inherit a throne, peerage, or other hereditary honour, but whose position can be displaced by the birth of an heir or heiress apparent or of a new heir presumptive with a better claim to the position in question...

 was her first cousin once removed William Ernest, Grand Duke of Saxe-Weimar-Eisenach
William Ernest, Grand Duke of Saxe-Weimar-Eisenach
Wilhelm Ernst Karl Alexander Friedrich Heinrich Bernhard Albert Georg Hermann was the last Grand Duke of Saxe-Weimar-Eisenach.-Biography:...

, and next in line was his aunt (and Wilhelmina's cousin) Princess Marie Alexandrine of Saxe-Weimar-Eisenach
Princess Marie Alexandrine of Saxe-Weimar-Eisenach
Princess Marie Alexandrine of Saxe-Weimar-Eisenach was the eldest daughter and second child of Charles Alexander, Grand Duke of Saxe-Weimar-Eisenach and his wife Princess Sophie of the Netherlands.Through her mother, Marie was second-in-line to the Dutch throne after her nephew William Ernest, Grand...

. As it was assumed that the former would renounce his claim to the Dutch throne, and that the latter was too elderly and sickly to become Queen, Marie Alexandrine's eldest son Prince Heinrich XXXII Reuss of Köstritz
Prince Heinrich XXXII Reuss of Köstritz
Prince Heinrich XXXII Reuss of Köstritz was the eldest surviving son of Prince Heinrich VII Reuss of Köstritz and his wife Princess Marie Alexandrine of Saxe-Weimar-Eisenach....

 stood in line to succeed Wilhelmina, assuming she had no surviving children. Heinrich was a German prince with close associations with the Imperial family and the military; and there were fears that were the Queen to remain childless, the Dutch Crown "was bound to pass into the possession of a German prince, whose birth, training, and affiliations would naturally have led him to bring Holland within the sphere of the German Empire, at the expense of her independence, both national and economic", according to one contemporary publication. The birth of Juliana
Juliana of the Netherlands
Juliana was the Queen regnant of the Kingdom of the Netherlands between 1948 and 1980. She was the only child of Queen Wilhelmina and Prince Henry...

, on 30 April 1909, was met with great relief after eight years of childless marriage. Wilhelmina suffered two further miscarriages in 1912.

Reign

Tactful, and careful to operate within the limits of what was expected by the Dutch people and their elected representatives, the strong-willed Wilhelmina became a forceful personality who spoke and acted her mind. These qualities showed up early in her reign when, at the age of 20, Queen Wilhelmina ordered a Dutch warship to South Africa to rescue Paul Kruger
Paul Kruger
Stephanus Johannes Paulus Kruger , better known as Paul Kruger and affectionately known as Uncle Paul was State President of the South African Republic...

, the embattled President of the Transvaal
South African Republic
The South African Republic , often informally known as the Transvaal Republic, was an independent Boer-ruled country in Southern Africa during the second half of the 19th century. Not to be confused with the present-day Republic of South Africa, it occupied the area later known as the South African...

.

Wilhelmina had a stern dislike of the United Kingdom, which had annexed the republics of Transvaal and Orange Free State
Orange Free State
The Orange Free State was an independent Boer republic in southern Africa during the second half of the 19th century, and later a British colony and a province of the Union of South Africa. It is the historical precursor to the present-day Free State province...

 in the Boer War
Second Boer War
The Second Boer War was fought from 11 October 1899 until 31 May 1902 between the British Empire and the Afrikaans-speaking Dutch settlers of two independent Boer republics, the South African Republic and the Orange Free State...

. The Boers were descendants of early Dutch colonists, to whom Wilhelmina felt very closely linked. Nevertheless, in 1940, King George VI sent the warship HMS Hereward
HMS Hereward (H93)
HMS Hereward , named after Hereward the Wake, was an H-class destroyer built for the Royal Navy in the mid-1930s. She was assigned to the Mediterranean Fleet before and the ship spent four months during the Spanish Civil War in mid-1937 in Spanish waters, enforcing the arms blockade imposed by...

, to rescue Wilhelmina, her family and her Government and bring them to safety in the UK, which offered the Netherlands facilities including broadcasting time on the BBC.

Queen Wilhelmina also had a keen understanding of business matters and her investments made her the world's richest woman, a status retained by her daughter and by her granddaughter, Queen Beatrix
Beatrix of the Netherlands
Beatrix is the Queen regnant of the Kingdom of the Netherlands comprising the Netherlands, Curaçao, Sint Maarten, and Aruba. She is the first daughter of Queen Juliana of the Netherlands and Prince Bernhard of Lippe-Biesterfeld. She studied law at Leiden University...

.

Prior to the outbreak of the First World War, the young Wilhelmina visited the powerful German Emperor Wilhelm II, who boasted to the Queen of a relatively small country, "my guards are seven feet tall and yours are only shoulder-high to them." Wilhelmina smiled politely and replied, "Quite true, Your Majesty, your guards are seven feet tall. But when we open our dikes, the water is ten feet deep!"

World War I

The Netherlands remained neutral during World War I
World War I
World War I , which was predominantly called the World War or the Great War from its occurrence until 1939, and the First World War or World War I thereafter, was a major war centred in Europe that began on 28 July 1914 and lasted until 11 November 1918...

. However, the Allies
Allies of World War I
The Entente Powers were the countries at war with the Central Powers during World War I. The members of the Triple Entente were the United Kingdom, France, and the Russian Empire; Italy entered the war on their side in 1915...

 included the Netherlands in their blockade of Germany, intercepting all Dutch ships and severely restricting Dutch imports to ensure goods could not be passed on to Germany.

Wilhelmina was a "soldier's queen"; being a woman, she could not be Supreme Commander, but she nevertheless used every opportunity she had to inspect her forces. On many occasions she appeared without prior notice, wishing to see the reality, not a prepared show. She loved her soldiers, and was very unhappy with most of her governments, which were always eager to cut the military budget. Wilhelmina wanted a small but well trained and equipped army.

In the war, she felt she was a "Queen-On-Guard". She was always wary of a German attack, especially in the beginning. However, the chief violation of Dutch sovereignty was the Allied blockade.

Civil unrest gripped the Netherlands after the war, spurred by the 1917 Bolshevik revolution
October Revolution
The October Revolution , also known as the Great October Socialist Revolution , Red October, the October Uprising or the Bolshevik Revolution, was a political revolution and a part of the Russian Revolution of 1917...

 in Russia
Russian Empire
The Russian Empire was a state that existed from 1721 until the Russian Revolution of 1917. It was the successor to the Tsardom of Russia and the predecessor of the Soviet Union...

. Socialist
Socialism
Socialism is an economic system characterized by social ownership of the means of production and cooperative management of the economy; or a political philosophy advocating such a system. "Social ownership" may refer to any one of, or a combination of, the following: cooperative enterprises,...

 leader Pieter Jelles Troelstra
Pieter Jelles Troelstra
Pieter Jelles Troelstra was a Dutch politician active in the socialist workers' movement. He is most remembered for his fight for universal suffrage and his failed call for revolution at the end of World War I...

 wanted to abolish the existing government and the monarchy. Instead of a violent revolution, he hoped to do this by winning control of Parliament
States-General of the Netherlands
The States-General of the Netherlands is the bicameral legislature of the Netherlands, consisting of the Senate and the House of Representatives. The parliament meets in at the Binnenhof in The Hague. The archaic Dutch word "staten" originally related to the feudal classes in which medieval...

 in an election, supported by the working class. However, the popularity of the young Queen helped restore confidence in the government. Wilhelmina brought about a mass show of support by riding with her daughter through the crowds in an open carriage.

At the end of World War I, Kaiser Wilhelm fled to the Netherlands, where he was granted political asylum, partly owing to his family links with Queen Wilhelmina. In response to Allied efforts to get their hands on the deposed Kaiser, Wilhelmina called the Allies' ambassadors to her presence and lectured them on the rights of asylum.

Between the wars

During the 1920s and 1930s, the Netherlands began to emerge as an industrial power. Engineers reclaimed vast amounts of land that had been under water by building the Zuiderzee Works
Zuiderzee Works
The Zuiderzee Works are a manmade system of dams, land reclamation and water drainage works, the largest hydraulic engineering project undertaken by the Netherlands during the twentieth century. The project involved the damming of the Zuiderzee, a large, shallow inlet of the North Sea, and the...

. The death of Wilhelmina's husband, Prince Hendrik, in 1934 brought an end to a difficult year that also saw the passing of her mother Queen Emma
Emma of Waldeck and Pyrmont
Princess Emma of Waldeck and Pyrmont was Queen consort of William III, King of the Netherlands and Grand Duke of Luxembourg...

.

The interbellum, and most notably the economic crisis of the 1930s, was also the period in which Wilhelmina's personal power reached its zenith; under the successive governments of a staunch monarchist prime minister, Hendrik Colijn
Hendrikus Colijn
Hendrikus Colijn was a successful Dutch soldier, businessman and politician.-Early life:He was born in 1869 in the Haarlemmermeer to Antonie Colijn and Anna Verkuil, who had migrated to the Haarlemmermeer polder from the Land of Heusden and Altena for religious reasons...

 (ARP
Anti Revolutionary Party
The Anti Revolutionary Party was a Dutch Protestant Christian democratic political party. The ARP is one of the predecessors of the Christian Democratic Appeal. After 1917 the party never received more than twenty percent of the vote.-History before 1879:The anti-revolutionary parliamentary caucus...

), Wilhelmina was deeply involved in most questions of state.

In 1939, Colijn's fifth and last government was swept away by a vote of no confidence two days after its formation. It is widely accepted that Wilhelmina herself was behind the formation of this last government, which was designed to be an extra-parliamentary or 'royal' cabinet. The Queen was deeply skeptical of the parliamentary system and tried to bypass it covertly more than once.

She also arranged the marriage of her daughter Juliana to Prince Bernhard of Lippe-Biesterfeld
Prince Bernhard of Lippe-Biesterfeld
Prince Bernhard of Lippe-Biesterfeld , later Prince Bernhard of the Netherlands, was prince consort of Queen Juliana of the Netherlands and father of six children, including the current monarch Queen Beatrix....

, a German aristocrat. Although it was claimed that he was initially a supporter of the Nazi regime, no hard evidence of this has ever been found or publicized. The prince however, was a member of the Nazi Party and of the so-called Reiter-SS (SS Cavalry Corps), as was proved by the Dutch national institute for war documentation, NIOD.

In 1939, the government proposed a refugee camp for German Jews fleeing the Nazi regime. Wilhelmina intervened, as she felt the planned location was "too close" to her summer residence. The camp was finally erected about 10 km from the village of Westerbork
Westerbork (village)
Westerbork is a town in the Dutch province of Drenthe. It is a part of the municipality of Midden-Drenthe.The village gives its name to the Westerbork deportation and later, concentration camp, located about 7 km north of the village, in the forests of Hooghalen.The Westerbork Synthesis Radio...

.

World War II

On 10 May 1940, Nazi Germany
Nazi Germany
Nazi Germany , also known as the Third Reich , but officially called German Reich from 1933 to 1943 and Greater German Reich from 26 June 1943 onward, is the name commonly used to refer to the state of Germany from 1933 to 1945, when it was a totalitarian dictatorship ruled by...

 invaded the Netherlands. Queen Wilhelmina had wanted to stay in the Netherlands: she had planned to go to the southern province of Zeeland
Zeeland
Zeeland , also called Zealand in English, is the westernmost province of the Netherlands. The province, located in the south-west of the country, consists of a number of islands and a strip bordering Belgium. Its capital is Middelburg. With a population of about 380,000, its area is about...

 with her troops in order to coordinate further resistance from the town of Breskens
Breskens
Breskens is a harbour town on the Westerschelde in the municipality of Sluis in the province of Zeeland, in the south-western Netherlands. Its population is 4,280 ....

 and remain there until help arrived, much as King Albert I of Belgium had done during World War I. She fled The Hague, and she boarded HMS Hereward
HMS Hereward (H93)
HMS Hereward , named after Hereward the Wake, was an H-class destroyer built for the Royal Navy in the mid-1930s. She was assigned to the Mediterranean Fleet before and the ship spent four months during the Spanish Civil War in mid-1937 in Spanish waters, enforcing the arms blockade imposed by...

, a British destroyer which was to take her south; however, after she was aboard, Zeeland came under heavy attack from the Luftwaffe
Luftwaffe
Luftwaffe is a generic German term for an air force. It is also the official name for two of the four historic German air forces, the Wehrmacht air arm founded in 1935 and disbanded in 1946; and the current Bundeswehr air arm founded in 1956....

 and it was considered too dangerous to return. Wilhelmina was then left with no option but to accept George VI's offer of refuge. She retreated to Britain
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

, planning to return as soon as possible.

The Dutch armed forces in the Netherlands, apart from those in Zeeland, surrendered on 15 May. In Britain, Queen Wilhelmina took charge of the Dutch government in exile
Dutch government in exile
The Dutch government in exile was the government of the Netherlands, headed by Queen Wilhelmina, that evacuated to London after the German invasion of the country at the outset of World War II....

, setting up a chain of command and immediately communicating a message to her people.

Relations between the Dutch government and the Queen were tense, with mutual dislike growing as the war progressed. Wilhelmina went on to be the most prominent figure, owing to her experience and knowledge. She was also very popular and respected among the leaders of the world. The government did not have a parliament to back them and had few employees to assist them. The Dutch prime minister, Dirk Jan de Geer
Dirk Jan de Geer
Jonkheer Dirk Jan de Geer was a Dutch nobleman, lawyer, conservative statesman and prime minister of the Netherlands . He was disgraced for advocating a peace settlement between the Kingdom and Nazi Germany in 1940.Born in Groningen, he was a descendant of the de Geer family painted by Rembrandt...

, believed the Allies would not win and intended to open negotiations with the Nazis for a separate peace. Therefore Wilhelmina sought to remove De Geer from power. With the aid of a minister, Pieter Gerbrandy, she succeeded.

During the war her photograph was a sign of resistance against the Germans. Like Winston Churchill
Winston Churchill
Sir Winston Leonard Spencer-Churchill, was a predominantly Conservative British politician and statesman known for his leadership of the United Kingdom during the Second World War. He is widely regarded as one of the greatest wartime leaders of the century and served as Prime Minister twice...

, Queen Wilhelmina broadcast messages to the Dutch people over Radio Oranje.
The Queen called Adolf Hitler
Adolf Hitler
Adolf Hitler was an Austrian-born German politician and the leader of the National Socialist German Workers Party , commonly referred to as the Nazi Party). He was Chancellor of Germany from 1933 to 1945, and head of state from 1934 to 1945...

 "the arch-enemy of mankind". Her late-night broadcasts were eagerly awaited by her people, who had to hide in order to listen to them illegally. An anecdote published in her New York Times obituary illustrates how she was valued by her subjects during this period:

Queen Wilhelmina visited the United States from 24 June to 11 August 1942 as guest of the U.S. government. She vacationed in Lee, Massachusetts, and visited New York City, Boston, and Albany, New York. She addressed the U.S. Congress on 5 August 1942, and was the first queen to do so.

Queen Wilhelmina went to Canada in 1943 to attend the christening of her grandchild Princess Margriet
Princess Margriet of the Netherlands
Princess Margriet Francisca of the Netherlands is the third daughter of Queen Juliana and Prince Bernhard of the Netherlands...

 on 29 June 1943 in Ottawa and stayed awhile with her family before returning to England.

During the war, the Queen was almost killed by a bomb that took the lives of several of her guards and severely damaged her country home near South Mimms
South Mimms
South Mimms, sometimes spelt South Mymms, is a village and civil parish forming part of the Hertsmere district of Hertfordshire County Council in the East of England although geographically and historically is in the County of Middlesex.-History:...

 in England. In 1944, Queen Wilhelmina became only the second woman to be inducted into the Order of the Garter
Order of the Garter
The Most Noble Order of the Garter, founded in 1348, is the highest order of chivalry, or knighthood, existing in England. The order is dedicated to the image and arms of St...

. Churchill described her as the only real man among the governments-in-exile in London.

In England, she developed ideas about a new political and social life for the Dutch after the liberation. She wanted a strong cabinet formed by people active in the resistance. She dismissed De Geer during the war and installed a prime minister with the approval of other Dutch politicians. The Queen "hated" politicians, instead stating a love for the people. When the Netherlands was liberated in 1945 she was disappointed to see the same political factions taking power as before the war. Prior to the end of the war, in mid-March 1945, she travelled to the Allied occupied areas of the south of the Netherlands, visiting the region of Walcheren
Walcheren
thumb|right|250px|Campveer Tower in Veere, built in 1500Walcheren is a former island in the province of Zeeland in the Netherlands at the mouth of the Scheldt estuary. It lies between the Oosterschelde in the north and the Westerschelde in the south and is roughly the shape of a rhombus...

 and the city of Eindhoven where she received a rapturous welcome from the local population.

Following the end of World War II, Queen Wilhelmina made the decision not to return to her palace but to move into a mansion in The Hague, where she lived for eight months. She travelled through the countryside to motivate people, sometimes using a bicycle instead of a car. However, in 1947, while the country was still recovering from World War II, the revolt in the oil-rich Dutch East Indies
Dutch East Indies
The Dutch East Indies was a Dutch colony that became modern Indonesia following World War II. It was formed from the nationalised colonies of the Dutch East India Company, which came under the administration of the Netherlands government in 1800....

 saw sharp criticism of the Queen by the Dutch economic elite.

Around the same time, Wilhelmina's health started failing her. Bad health caused her to cede the throne to her daughter Juliana temporarily towards the end of 1947 (October 14 through December 1). She considered abdication but Juliana pressed her to stay on for the stability of the nation, urging her to complete 60 years on the throne. Wilhelmina tried to comply, but exhaustion forced her to cede the throne again on May 12, 1948. This time the timing was unfortunate, as it left Juliana to deal with the early elections due to the ceding of the Indonesian colonies.

Wilhelmina kept her promise to her daughter formally, remaining queen formally until September 4. Then, being extremely disappointed about the return to pre-war politics, she abdicated.

Later years

As of 1948, Wilhelmina was the only survivor of the 16 European kings and one queen who were sitting on their thrones at the time of her coronation in 1898. The Dutch Royal Family
House of Orange-Nassau
The House of Orange-Nassau , a branch of the European House of Nassau, has played a central role in the political life of the Netherlands — and at times in Europe — since William I of Orange organized the Dutch revolt against Spanish rule, which after the Eighty Years' War...

 was also one of seven European royal houses remaining in existence.

On 4 September 1948, after a reign of 57 years and 286 days, Wilhelmina abdicated in favour of her daughter Juliana
Juliana of the Netherlands
Juliana was the Queen regnant of the Kingdom of the Netherlands between 1948 and 1980. She was the only child of Queen Wilhelmina and Prince Henry...

, because of advancing age and illness which had already caused two regencies
Regent
A regent, from the Latin regens "one who reigns", is a person selected to act as head of state because the ruler is a minor, not present, or debilitated. Currently there are only two ruling Regencies in the world, sovereign Liechtenstein and the Malaysian constitutive state of Terengganu...

, and the strain of the war years. She was thenceforward styled "Her Royal Highness Princess Wilhelmina of the Netherlands". After her reign, the influence of the Dutch monarchy began to decline but the country's love for its royal family continued. No longer queen, Wilhelmina retreated to Het Loo
Het Loo
Het Loo Palace is a palace in Apeldoorn, Netherlands. The symmetrical Dutch Baroque building was designed by Jacob Roman and Johan van Swieten and was built between 1684 and 1686 for stadtholder-king William III and Mary II of England...

 Palace, making few public appearances until the country was devastated by the North Sea flood of 1953
North Sea flood of 1953
The 1953 North Sea flood was a major flood caused by a heavy storm, that occurred on the night of Saturday 31 January 1953 and morning of 1 February 1953. The floods struck the Netherlands, Belgium, England and Scotland.A combination of a high spring tide and a severe European windstorm caused a...

. Once again she travelled around the country to encourage and motivate the Dutch people.

During her last years she wrote her autobiography entitled Eenzaam, maar niet alleen (Lonely but Not Alone), in which she gave account of the events in her life, and revealed her strong religious feelings and motivations.

Queen Wilhelmina died in Het Loo
Het Loo
Het Loo Palace is a palace in Apeldoorn, Netherlands. The symmetrical Dutch Baroque building was designed by Jacob Roman and Johan van Swieten and was built between 1684 and 1686 for stadtholder-king William III and Mary II of England...

 at the age of 82 on 28 November 1962, and was buried in the Dutch Royal Family crypt in the Nieuwe Kerk
Nieuwe Kerk (Delft)
Nieuwe Kerk is a landmark Protestant church in Delft, Netherlands. The building is located on Delft Market Square , opposite to the City Hall . In 1584, William the Silent was entombed here in a mausoleum designed by Hendrick and Pieter de Keyser. Since then members of the House of Orange-Nassau...

 in Delft
Delft
Delft is a city and municipality in the province of South Holland , the Netherlands. It is located between Rotterdam and The Hague....

, on 8 December. The funeral was, at her request and contrary to protocol, completely in white to give expression to her belief that earthly death was the beginning of eternal life.

Had Wilhelmina not given the throne to her daughter before her death, she would have reigned for 72 years 5 days, which would have been the second-longest reign in Europe (behind that of Louis XIV of France
Louis XIV of France
Louis XIV , known as Louis the Great or the Sun King , was a Bourbon monarch who ruled as King of France and Navarre. His reign, from 1643 to his death in 1715, began at the age of four and lasted seventy-two years, three months, and eighteen days...

), seventh-longest in the world, and the longest reign by a female monarch
Queen regnant
A queen regnant is a female monarch who reigns in her own right, in contrast to a queen consort, who is the wife of a reigning king. An empress regnant is a female monarch who reigns in her own right over an empire....

 in history.

Titles

  • Her Royal Highness Princess Pauline of the Netherlands, Princess of Orange-Nassau (1880–1890)
  • Her Majesty Wilhelmina, Queen of the Netherlands, Princess of Orange-Nassau (1890–1948)
  • Her Royal Highness Princess Wilhelmina of the Netherlands, Duchess of Mecklenburg (1948–1962)

Ancestry



External links

The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.
 
x
OK