Wilhelmina (1880–1962)

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Wilhelmina (1880–1962)

Queen of the Netherlands who, during her long reign, won the respect of her people for her intelligence and strength of character and became the living symbol of her country during its occupation in World War II . Pronunciation: Will-hell-MEE-nah. Born Wilhelmina Helen Pauline Mary in The Hague, the Netherlands, on August 31, 1880; died at Het Loo, in Apeldoorn, Gelderland, on November 28, 1962; daughter of William III (1817–1890), king of the Netherlands (r. 1849–1890) and grand duke of Luxemburg, and his second wife, Emma of Waldeck (1858–1934); married Henry (or Heinrich) Wladimir Albert Ernst, duke of Mecklenburg-Schwerin, on February 7, 1901; children: Juliana (b. April 30, 1909), queen of the Netherlands (r. 1948–1980).

Crowned at Amsterdam (September 6, 1898); fled to Britain (1940–41); encouraged Dutch resistance through radio broadcasts (1941–45); returned to the Netherlands (1945); abdicated in favor of her daughter, assuming the title Princess of the Netherlands (September 4, 1948).

Queen Wilhelmina of the Netherlands came to symbolize both her nation's hopes for peace and fierce love of freedom during the turbulent years of the first half of the 20th century. Throughout two world wars, a German occupation of her country, and the decline and fall of her nation's colonial empire, this deeply religious woman insisted that decency and morality should govern diplomacy between nations. One of the first world leaders to condemn Nazi treatment of European Jews, she argued that "this inhuman treatment is something being done to us personally."

Born in 1880, Wilhelmina spent a happy childhood at the castle of Het Loo near Apeldoorn in Gelderland. She received much parental attention, daily hours of play with her father William III, king of the Netherlands, and outings with her mother Emma of Waldeck , such as sleigh rides where they wore identical fur coats. Fond of horses, the young princess learned to drive Shetland ponies and later horses four-in-hand, activities she complemented with riding and skating lessons. The royal family divided their time between The Hague, where they spent the first four months of the year, Amsterdam, and Het Loo. Wilhelmina considered Het Loo her real home, and for the first seven years of her life she led an enchanted existence there.

Then her father fell ill shortly before his 70th birthday on February 9, 1887. At his death on November 23, 1890, Wilhelmina became queen of the Netherlands under the regency of her mother, who was sworn in by the Council of State. The ten-year-old Wilhelmina had been in training for her future task for the past five years. She had started English lessons at five, taught by a Miss Winter who aimed to train her character as well as her tongue. She wanted to make the little girl a "bold and noble woman, unflinching and strong," and Wilhelmina rewarded her by taking pride in her destiny. Her royal parents valued a good education, so French, arithmetic, and Dutch history lessons were started early on. After her father's death, Wilhelmina expanded her education further by trips abroad with her mother and tutor, while visits of state both at home and abroad informed her manners and trained her in the art of conversation. Vacations at home offered walks and the enjoyment of nature which she experienced keenly, especially the beauty of wildflowers. She took drawing lessons which centered on her rendition of those flowers and ultimately became skilled enough to venture an exhibition.

German, science, world history, geography and art history were gradually included in her regimen. Among those, she would find the teachings of science troublesome. Her spirit had taken a religious turn during her father's illness which did not square with the proposition that forces other than God had created the world. This devastating possibility was presented during a lesson in cosmography, and it left her mind in confusion and her soul in darkness. She struggled with what she perceived to be an irreconcilable dichotomy and resolved never to doubt God's authority again. "This never-again," she would later avow, "has been my life belt through trial and affliction and many difficult circumstances." Ever after, she would give precedence to the heart and soul and accord intelligence second place.

Following her confirmation in October 1892, she entered her adult life which, in addition to her studies, meant afternoon and evening receptions, state balls, dinners and concerts. She accompanied her mother to the openings of the States-General and attended conferences and audiences with her. Coming of age in August 1898, she was enthroned in Amsterdam's Nieuwe Kerk on September 6, well-enough prepared for her future task to write her own installation speech. A respectful daughter, she borrowed its key note from her father: "The House of Orange can never do enough for the Netherlands," and her first signatures were put to decrees honoring her mother's excellent work during her years as regent. She awarded Emma the Grand Cross of the Lion of the Netherlands and the Grand Cross of the Order of Orange-Nassau.

Emma of Waldeck (1858–1934)

Queen and regent of the Netherlands . Name variations: Emma of the Netherlands; Emma of Waldeck-Pyrmont. Reigned as queen of the Netherlands from 1889 to 1898. Born in Arolsen, Hesse, Germany, on August 2, 1858; died at The Hague, the Netherlands, on March 20, 1934; daughter of George Victor, prince of Waldeck and Pyrmont, and Helen of Nassau (1831–1888); sister of Helen of Waldeck and Pyrmont (1861–1922); became second wife of William III (1817–1890), king of the Netherlands (r. 1849–1890) and grand duke of Luxemburg, on January 7, 1879; children: Wilhelmina (1880–1962), queen of the Netherlands (r. 1898–1948). William III's first wife was Sophia of Wurttemberg (1818–1877).

In the summer of 1900, Wilhelmina met Duke Henry of Mecklenburg on a visit to his grandmother's castle in Thuringia. A second

meeting was arranged at Wilhelmina's aunt's house at Konig in the Odenwald, Grand Duchy of Hesse, and on October 12, they announced their engagement. They were married on February 7, 1901, and spent their honeymoon at Het Loo. For 33 years, they enjoyed a harmonious marital relationship, which would end abruptly with Prince Henry's death of heart failure in 1934. They shared their joy in horses and rode about together in a carriage drawn by the prince's beautiful Lippizaners, or they drove four-in-hand next to one another, pulled by his gray and her bay horses. They shunned rather than sought popularity and conducted their daily lives without pomp; yet when meeting her people or giving speeches, the queen unfailingly conveyed her love of country and sincere desire and determination to see it prosper. Both she and her consort understood and accepted the cage of convention in which they were placed, but within it, they tried to live their lives as close to their own wishes and designs as possible. In 1909, Wilhelmina gave birth to Princess Juliana , their only child and the nation's only hope for a continued dynasty.

In her memoirs, Wilhelmina writes that the turning point in those years—1900 to 1914—was her discovery of God's image as present, no matter how faintly, in every human being. This belief opened the way for her to accept God as the guide who would lend significance to her work. She was aware of her relative solitude which the rigid attitudes of her entourage enforced, and she had been trained to perform the self-effacing task of a constitutional monarch, but she wanted to perform it with moral courage and apply her will-power to that purpose. She earnestly desired to better the lives of all her people and was a strong advocate of progressive social doctrines. Her spiritual revelation taught her that she could bring content to her ceremonial gestures and provide the tone and attitude which would serve the interest of her people.

It is a political fact that the Dutch Labor Party experienced an unprecedented growth during the early reign of Queen Wilhelmina. In 1897, the Socialist vote was 13,500. By 1913, it had jumped to 145,000, a leap indicative of a desire for electoral reform and social welfare legislation. A shift in temper had occurred in the process as well. With Dutch workers beginning to share in the general prosperity of the country, their party gradually became one of reform rather than revolution. On November 21, 1913, the queen addressed the nation, enumerating its blessings and rejoicing in its promising future. She mentioned the country's growing prosperity "under favor of an energetic spirit of enterprise and of improved labor conditions," its elevated "moral and spiritual plane" and its powers of competition in the fields of science and art. She concluded with the wish that the "concord of all Netherlanders, irrespective of social rank and religious conviction, … remain a strong foundation of the nation's independence."

Juliana (1909—)

Queen of the Netherlands . Name variations: Juliana of the Netherlands, Julia van Bueren. Reigned from 1948 to 1980. Born Juliana Louise Emma Marie Wilhelmina, princess of Orange-Nassau, duchess of Mecklenburg, in The Hague, the Netherlands, on April 30, 1909; only child of Wilhelmina (1880–1962), queen of the Netherlands (r. 1898–1948), and Duke Henry of Mecklenburg-Schwerin; studied at the University of Leyden, 1927–30; married Prince Bernard of Lippe-Biesterfeld, on January 7, 1937; children—four daughters: Beatrix (b. 1938), queen of the Netherlands (r. 1980—); Irene Emma (b. 1939, who married Carlos Hugo of Bourbon-Parma); Margaret or Margriet Francisca (b. 1943, who married Pieter von Vollenhoven), and Maria Christina of Marijke (b. 1947).

The day before the surrender of Holland to the Germans in 1940, Juliana and her family escaped to Canada. She left her children there for safety when she went to England in 1944, before her return to the Netherlands in 1945. On October 14, 1947, owing to the illness of her mother, Queen Wilhelmina , Juliana temporarily assumed royal power in the Netherlands, ruling as princess regent until December 1, 1947, when Wilhelmina resumed her rule. Juliana became regent for the second time on May 14, 1948, and on September 4 of that year Queen Wilhelmina, after 50 years as ruler of the Netherlands, abdicated in her favor. On September 6, 1948, in the Nieuwe Kerk at Amsterdam, the unassuming and shy Juliana took her oath as queen of the Netherlands. She ruled until 1980, then abdicated in favor of her daughter Beatrix .

A popular ruler, Juliana dealt with the postwar rehabilitation of the Netherlands, the plight of displaced persons, the granting of independence to Indonesia, and often devastating floods that threatened the economic structure of her country. Jettisoning formality, she discarded a great deal of the pomp and ceremony that went with monarchy, including the curtsy.

The ensuing outbreak of World War I came as a surprise to the Dutch and a threat to the queen's vision of future progress. One generation after another had come to rely on the belief that Holland's policy of neutrality afforded the country sufficient protection. The Hague had been selected for the Peace Palace, a symbol of movement towards consensus and a civilization unthreatened by war, and yet, one year later, Holland's peace and freedom were in the balance. Wilhelmina stood firm in her declaration that the Netherlands would maintain its neutrality, fully realizing that sacrifices would be required from all to do so. She could rely on her Cabinet, which was formed of members independent of the parties represented in the Chamber but pledged to conform to the wishes of the electorate, to provide political stability. Leadership in psychological and spiritual matters, however, was imperative as well, and to that she pledged herself. The Dutch economy was hit hard by the war and many industries came to a complete standstill. The generosity of people and their government was tested as Belgian refugees streamed over the borders asking political asylum. Fleeing soldiers were interned to protect Dutch neutrality, which meant setting up internment camps. The queen's entourage was diminished, consisting only of her ladies and officers not fit for service. Wilhelmina stayed in contact with those employed in protecting Holland's neutrality by visiting different units of both the army and the navy. When 1916 brought staggering losses to the flooded areas of northern Holland, she paid visits there as well and offered to stand godmother to two babies born as the waves washed through their houses. Rumors circulated that her country would be drawn into the war. Wilhelmina made her presence known by taking up residence in The Hague, and taking a very public walk from her palace to her mother's home, some distance away. The public "correctly concluded from this that I had absolutely nothing to do and that the rumors were completely unfounded."

Neutrality involved the Dutch in constant bickering with both Germany, which on several occasions claimed the right to march its armies across Dutch land, and Britain, which claimed the right to search Dutch ships for any war materials bound for Germany. In 1918, Kaiser Wilhelm II and his empress Augusta of Schleswig-Holstein asked for asylum in Holland. Wilhelmina was no admirer of Wilhelm, the emperor of Germany; she remembered the sight of Belgian refugees fleeing the German invasion of their country. Still, when he sought asylum, she believed that her country could not refuse. "I was called one November morning with the news that the Kaiser had crossed our frontier," she wrote. "I was astonished."

The flight and abdication of the kaiser induced the flight of other German princes which lit the sparks of revolution and caused dissension among the Dutch as well. It was a time for exercise of authority on a democratic basis. Both she and her government were put to the test when, after the war, the Supreme Council of the Allied Forces demanded the ex-kaiser's extradition. Wilhelmina refused, basing her argument on respect for "the laws of the Kingdom and love of that justice which is embodied in national tradition." For want of international laws by which the demand of the Council could be justified, those, she argued, were the only principles by which her government could be guided. Of the emperor, who spent much of his time gardening and growing tulips in the Netherlands until his death more than 20 years later, she noted, "Can any man have devised a punishment more humiliating than that which befell Wilhelm of Hohenzollern?"

Holland's subsequent membership in the League of Nations presented further challenges in foreign relationships, and the queen, by general consensus, contributed to the solutions of postwar problems to the extent the constitution permitted. She was given a distinguished compliment by Japan's crown prince Hirohito when he included Holland in his tour of Europe in 1921 to visit the countries with which Japan had been in contact during the war. In his toast to the queen he called himself fortunate "in addressing Your Majesty in person in the capital of her Kingdom whose name is ineffaceably written in the heart of every Japanese because Holland to them is the country which for more than two hundred years kept Japan in touch with Western civilization."

My love for my fatherland was like a consuming fire, and not only in me; it reflected itself in fires around me.… Anyone who threatened to damage these interests was my personal enemy.


Wilhelmina adapted her household to the spirit of the times, defined by food and housing shortages as well as unemployment. Any ostentation was disallowed; her conduct, like that of her people, had to correspond with the feelings and attitudes towards life shaped by the war years. That meant increased contact with all classes of the population and the acknowledgment of rights as well as duties for her staff as for everyone else.

Wilhelmina watched the approach of World War II with undisguised impatience. She regarded Adolf Hitler as a brutal upstart, and she stood by uneasily as the Dutch Cabinet debated the possibility of reaching an understanding with him. Referring to Mein Kampf, she warned her subjects that neutrality might not last forever, since "Hitler has written a book, and the contents might be of some consequence."

At the outbreak of the hostilities, Holland declared her usual neutrality, but to little avail. When German troops crossed the Dutch frontier in May 1940, Wilhelmina, who was 60 years old, made her "flaming protest" at the German invasion of her country. In an attempt to capture her and the leaders of Holland's Cabinet, German paratroopers landed near The Hague. But Wilhelmina evaded them by changing her residence, then boarding a British destroyer at Hook van Holland on May 13. She hoped that the British would be able to transport her to southwestern Belgium, where the Belgian royal family had hidden during World War I. Informed that the destroyer could not reach the desired area, she accepted advice to seek refuge in Great Britain (her daughter Juliana, along with her children, had preceded her there en route to Canada). And then she wept.

Wilhelmina was fully aware of the impression her departure would leave on her nation, but she thought herself obliged to go, not on her own but on their behalf. Perhaps the fact that King Leopold III of Belgium, who refused to leave his country even at the pleading of his foreign minister, was taken prisoner by the Germans may be seen as an argument for the rightness of her choice. Her Cabinet followed her to London, so the Dutch government was active in England throughout the war.

Juliana and her children, including Beatrix , had gone to Canada, to prevent both the queen and the heir to the throne from being exposed to the same danger during a time of war, but Juliana's husband Prince Bernhard, the prince consort, stayed in London. The queen spent the first part of her years in exile at a cottage with a garden at Roehampton, but when air raids became more frequent, she and the prince moved to Stubbings, one hour's journey from London. Pollution from neighboring factories ultimately made the air too oppressive, and so a small country place near South Mimms became her home. That move nearly proved fatal when a bomb was dropped within a yard and a half of the house, killing one sentry and wounding another. The queen remained unscathed but had to return to Stubbings.

Wilhelmina remained optimistic, relying on the lessons of Dutch history which showed that the Netherlands had always regained its freedom after a relatively short time. Her daughter and grandchildren were safe in Canada, so she could concentrate on keeping up the spirit of her people, both those who remained in Holland, some of whom became resistance fighters, and those who, like her, found their way to England.

Keeping in contact with these England-vaarders became an important task for her. It was facilitated by Mr. Van't Sand, the Dutchman in charge of the queen's security. A large house, Netherlands House, was put at the disposal of the Dutch for a meeting place, where British and Dutch women and men gathered for discussions and meals and where newly arrived England-vaarders brought news from home. They were people from all walks of life and could report the trials and tribulations of everyday life in Holland, such as shortages of food, fuel, clothing, blankets and soap. Due to the British blockade, bread had become so scarce in the Netherlands that large segments of the populations went hungry. At Wilhelmina's insistent, untiring urgings, supplies were sent from England, as well as from other European countries, as expeditiously as possible but never soon enough to ward off the suffering of the civilian population, especially the children.

For the resistance movement in the Netherlands, she became the symbol and rallying point. In broadcasts over Radio Orange, she imparted her own faith and conviction that holding out was only a matter of time. "A nation which has vitality and determination cannot be conquered simply by force of arms," she urged. "The device of my beloved mother, 'the palm flourishes under oppression,' is now being applied; our national pulse beats more strongly and resolutely than ever before. It is as a single and united people that we endure our trial." When liberation came in 1945, she returned home immediately, visiting the southern liberated areas in March 1945 and taking residence near Breda on April 27. Her return to Amsterdam on June 28 and to The Hague on July 7 was greeted by a jubilant people honoring their sovereign, whose voice in exile had been the strongest of all. They felt confident she would acquaint herself with their "wishes and desires" as she had pledged to do in her radio broadcasts and build a future in "consultation and co-operation with a free people."

Beatrix (b. 1938)

Queen of the Netherlands . Name variations: Beatrix Wilhelmina; Beatrix Wilhelmina Armgard van Orange-Nassau; Beatrice. Reigned 1980—. Born Beatrix Wilhelmina Armgard van Orange-Nassau on January 31, 1938, in Soestdijk, the Netherlands; daughter of Juliana (b. 1909), queen of the Netherlands (r. 1948–1980), and Prince Bernard of Lippe-Biesterfeld; received a doctorate in law, University of Leiden, 1961; married Claus Gerd von Amsberg (a German diplomat), on March 10, 1966; children: Willem or William Alexander, crown prince of the Netherlands (b. 1967); Johan Friso (b. 1968); and Constantijn or Constantine (b. 1969).

The granddaughter of Queen Wilhelmina , Beatrix has reigned since the abdication of her mother Queen Juliana in 1980. The first child born to Juliana, two-year-old Beatrix escaped from Holland to Ottawa, Canada, with the rest of her immediate family when the German army invaded the Netherlands in May 1940. Beatrix attended primary school in Ottawa until the family returned to Holland at the end of the war in 1945.

The Dutch constitution in effect in the 1940s provided that sons would inherit before daughters in the royal succession. Beatrix, being the first born of four girls, was recognized as heir to the throne in 1947 when it became clear that Juliana would not have any sons to succeed her. From then on Beatrix was treated as heir to the throne and prepared for her future role as queen.

In 1956, Beatrix turned 18 and officially joined the Dutch Reformed Church. As crown princess she also became a member of her mother's council of state. That same year, after graduating from secondary school, Beatrix entered the University of Leiden. She attended classes with other students and attempted to have as normal a college life as possible, studying sociology, law, and economics. These fields were intended to give her an understanding of the administration of the Netherlands and its place in the world economy. She also enjoyed painting, sculpture, and sailing. She made her first state visit to the United States in 1959.

In 1961, the princess graduated with a doctorandus degree, given to candidates who pass doctoral exams without completing a thesis, in political science. She then made other official visits to foreign countries, and helped launch a European version of the Peace Corps. In 1966, she announced her engagement to a 38-year-old German diplomat, Claus von Amsberg. When it was learned that von Amsberg had served in the Nazi army during World War II, the engagement caused a great scandal that cost the monarchy much of its popularity among the Dutch. Beatrix faced the scandal with her characteristic determination and candor, insisting that her fiancé regretted his past actions and was not a Nazi sympathizer. Von Amsberg adopted the Dutch spelling of his name, Van Amsberg, when he became prince of the Netherlands as well as quickly learning Dutch. These efforts combined with the birth of Beatrix's three sons between 1967 and 1969 improved the royal family's popularity.

Queen Juliana abdicated in favor of Beatrix on April 30, 1980, her 71st birthday. Although the constitution allows the Dutch monarch to play only an indirect role in government, Queen Beatrix, like her mother and grandmother, has the authority to sign all legislation passed by the States-General (the parliament), and acts as its adviser. She also has an important symbolic role as a moral leader of the Dutch nation and as representative of the Dutch in international affairs. In this capacity the queen has concerned herself with international problems such as underdevelopment in the Third World and other social welfare issues, especially involving the former Dutch colonies in Asia. She is currently one of the wealthiest women in the world, a result of her personal investments in the stock market and real estate.


Encyclopedia of World Biography. Vol. 2. 2nd ed. Detroit, MI: Gale Research, 1998.

Moritz, Charles, ed. Current Biography 1981. NY: H.W. Wilson, 1981.

Laura York , M.A. in History, University of California, Riverside, California

The end of the war also terminated the separation from her daughter and granddaughters. She had been fortunate enough to have a reunion with them in 1942 when she paid a visit of state to President Franklin Roosevelt, during the course of which she had addressed the U.S. Congress, the first reigning queen to do so. She had landed at Ottawa airport where she was met by Juliana and her two granddaughters. Her stay with Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt at Hyde Park increased the respect and admiration she already felt for the president and awakened her deepest regard for the independence and uxorial loyalty of Eleanor. The following year, she had again crossed the ocean for an unofficial visit to her daughter and to welcome Margriet Francisca , the granddaughter who had been born since her last stay. Juliana had subsequently joined Wilhelmina in London where she remained till the end of the war except for a trip in January 1945 to America to inform President Roosevelt of the suffering of the Dutch people.

During that same month, Wilhelmina's Cabinet had resigned. Well aware that the new government must be formed by people who were intimately familiar with Dutch conditions during the years of occupation, she had subsequently agreed with her advisors that the best solution for the time being would be a provisional government. Radio consultations had then been conducted between London and the Netherlands to ascertain the prevailing thinking regarding the nature and structure of the government which would take power following the liberation. Consensus had been reached that a college of "confidential counsellors" would be established, who would maintain law and order and get the country moving again as region after region was liberated.

Great demands were placed on the queen as she returned to her native land, and she found ample opportunity to demonstrate her leadership. The interim government had performed well given its limited resources, but the political structure had been disrupted, and a new government had to be formed in accordance with current needs. Leaders had to be chosen who were knowledgeable of the changes that had taken place in the past five years. Although Wilhelmina hoped that, in the postwar era, the monarchy would become the main institution leading the country, her hopes were not fulfilled. She had hoped that the resistance fighters would become her fervent supporters. As much as she was admired, however, the resistance had splintered into too many factions to be able to help her. The age of strong monarchies was over; hers was one of the last monarchies, of any kind, to remain in Europe. Careful deliberations on the part of the queen therefore resulted in her inviting Willem Drees to form a "national cabinet of recovery and reconstruction." Her goal was to establish a regime whose policy was democratic and whose program reflected the wishes of her people.

Another task was to compose an entourage of people who had lived in Holland during the occupation or who, in their capacity of England-vaarders, had an understanding of the current situation and would promote regeneration. To further her own enlightenment, Wilhelmina visited different parts of her kingdom, and took in the undernourished looks and tense demeanors of a people whose country had been racked by war.

Only gradually did life return to a measure of normalcy. Juliana fetched her children from Canada, and she installed her family at the palace of Soestdijk. Awaiting her return to Het Loo, which was occupied by the staff of Holland's armed forces, Wilhelmina set herself up in two villas in Scheveningen, one for work, one for her personal use. Members of the States-General who had associated with the enemies were dismissed and their seats reappointed by the crown, which guaranteed the presence of a number of prominent representatives of the resistance. Yet the expected political and social changes did not immediately follow. The elections held in 1946 leading to the formation of a parliamentary Cabinet favored conservative leanings. The Dutch were too exhausted at this time to muster the energy for major reforms.

Continuing to live in a modest way and performing her official and unofficial duties with grace and sincerity, Wilhelmina strengthened the link between her people, her government and herself. She was dedicated to her wish to maintain the "fraternal" relationships between herself and the people which had grown and been nurtured in London during the difficult war years. Consequently, her subjects had ready access to the park surrounding the Huis ten Bosch, her winter residence, and she kept up her visits around the kingdom to get a firsthand impression of their living conditions.

Two years after the war, Wilhelmina approached her 68th birthday, which coincided with the 50th anniversary of her reign. The time had come, she decided, to consider abdicating in favor of Juliana. Great plans were being made for a state celebration, when she was gripped by increasing concerns about the physical and mental stamina needed for her participation in a round of celebrations countrywide while at the same time making considered decisions. She solved the problem by declaring Juliana a regent designate for a period ending immediately prior to her birthday and announcing her intention to abdicate immediately after.

The fourth of September became the day of abdication. The act itself was read to a table of dignitaries by the director of the queen's secretariat and signed by Wilhelmina and those present. She addressed everyone in general and spoke to Juliana in particular. She was pleased to hand over the reins to a woman as capable as her daughter, who loved her people as her mother did, and grateful to be alive to experience the beginning of her reign. At the stroke of noon, Wilhelmina and Juliana appeared on the balcony, hand in hand, followed by Bernhard. Wilhelmina told the crowd of her abdication, for which she had prepared them in a radio address the previous May. She introduced her daughter as the future queen of the Netherlands and invited the crowd to join her in a "long live the Queen," which they did with great feeling and elan.

Back at Het Loo, Wilhelmina allowed herself to give in to the fatigue which was the inevitable corollary to months of planning and tension. When she recovered, she devoted the greater part of her time to her painting and her grandchildren. She retired completely, maintaining only the honorary presidency of "Foundation 1940–45" and patronage of the Artists' Aid Society.

Yet Wilhelmina felt she still had work to do, although she was unsure of what it might be. She found the answer in the spring of 1949: she would do her part in bringing all people to Christ. It was a task for which she had begun preparing many years before, but at this point in her life she was able to declare her intention openly over the radio and in writing. While royal status gave her an audience, she spoke as an individual convinced that only with God's help could anyone carry out his assigned task on earth as she herself had demonstrated in her 50 years of rulership which earned her the title "Mother of the Netherlands."


Barnouw, A.J. Holland under Queen Wilhelmina. NY: Scribner, 1923.

——. The Pageant of Netherland's History. NY: Longmans, Green, 1952.

H.R.H. Princess Wilhelmina of the Netherlands. Lonely But Not Alone. NY: McGraw-Hill, 1960.

Paneth, Philip. Queen Wilhelmina: Mother of the Netherlands. London: Alliance Press, 1943.

suggested reading:

de Jong, Louis. The Netherlands and Nazi Germany. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1990.

Two Queens: Wilhelmina-Juliana, 1898–1948. NY: Netherlands Information Bureau, 1948.

Inga Wiehl , a native of Denmark, teaches at Yakima Valley Community College, Yakima, Washington

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