Wilhelmina Regina

An Atlantic Portrait

BY KEES VAN HOEK

I

ON September 6, 1898, a fair girl of eighteen, clad in a long white silken robe and an ermine-caped red velvet cloak embroidered with golden lions, rose amidst the great of her land to swear allegiance to the Constitution of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. Her father was dead, and she now became Queen in her own right.

Times change. Not a solitary ruler is left of that multitude of kings and grand dukes, princes and princelings, who wielded autocratic power when Queen Wilhelmina came to her throne. Revolutions chased the Kings of Portugal and Spain far from their countries. The Emperor of Germany has been an exile in Holland for half of her reign. The country of the mighty Emperor Francis Joseph no longer exists, and there is a warrant out for the arrest of his heir. The Tsar of Russia and his family were murdered. The King of Italy — the only family which can compete with her own House in age — barely holds his own by the tolerance of a popular dictator. Turkey dismissed its Sultan, and the ‘Shadow of God on Earth’ has been replaced by a general in a bowler hat. Serbia, by an entirely local method, acquired a new dynasty. All Wilhelmina’s other contemporaries on the thrones of the world forty years ago have died.

The maps show even greater changes than does the Almanach de Gotha. Norway separated from Sweden in mutual understanding. Great Britain gave Eire and her other Dominions their freedom. Poland was reborn, Finland won independence, and new countries appeared: Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania, carved out of the Russian cadaver; Czechoslovakia, Yugoslavia, a terribly mutilated Hungary, and an unnaturally swollen Rumania, heirs of the Hapsburgs. Interminable Balkan quarrels made possible the puppet state of Albania.

‘Safe in the Midst of the Waves’ has been the motto of Wilhelmina’s House — a phrase whose aptness is emphasized in our momentous times.

The House of Orange-Nassau traces its origin as far back as the year 800. The Nassaus settled in Holland in 1400, and a century later the Principality of Orange came into the family, through a French marriage. The first Prince of OrangeNassau, young William, resided in the Netherlands at the explicit wish of the Emperor Charles V, whose favorite he was. As William the Silent he became the first ruler of an independent Holland. From him Wilhelmina descends, eleventh in the succession of seven Stadholders (as the hereditary presidents of the Republic of the United Provinces were first called) and of three kings. Four centuries of family allegiance to her country are represented in her.

It is curious how often the last hope of the dynasty reposed in a small child. William III, later King of England, was yet unborn when his father died, and on his birth was solemnly proclaimed Holland’s ‘Child of State.’ William V had to fly the country in the time of the French Revolution, but his son returned, carried through the surf by enthusiastic Scheveningen fishermen who could not wait for the landing of his boat. One king abdicated. The last king saw his wife, his three stalwart sons, and his only brother die within a short span of years. Remarrying, he became a father again at the age of sixty-three; his tiny daughter Wilhelmina was the last slender hope of an age-old dynasty.

Wilhelmina succeeded to the throne under circumstances which were not altogether auspicious. Her father had reigned for forty-one years. He had many gifts, but his character was not altogether exemplary. Unsteady and despotic (his mother was the daughter of a Tsar of Russia), he inevitably clashed with the rigid propriety of Dutch Court circles and even more so with the enlightened liberalism of cool and stolid Dutch politicians. As his temper only made things worse, in later years he withdrew almost completely from personal contacts. Outwardly he was surrounded with misunderstanding and distrust. Ministers saw him only when they had to kiss his hand on appointment — and even then he more than once received them sitting with his baby daughter on the floor of a study littered with toys! There is something pathetic in this picture, for he was a man of talent and a personality.

When he died the love and respect of the nation for the crown had to be wooed anew. With great tact the Dowager Queen brought forward her little daughter, ‘Orphan of the State,’ and thus began to rally around the child Queen an affection which, as her character developed, turned into devoted love. Wilhelmina was ten years old when she appeared for the first time on the balcony of the Royal Palace at Amsterdam, before the cheering multitude of her subjects. Looking down on them, she asked her mother, ‘Mama, do all these people belong to me?”

There is wisdom in Emma’s reply: ‘No, my child; it is you who belong to all these people.'

That became the guiding principle of her education for queenship. Though The Hague is the Royal Residence and the Seat of the Government, Wilhelmina spent her youth at the Palace Het Loo. It is a low and wide two-storied countryseat, a short distance from the town of Apeldoorn, in the heart of the Veluwe, a vast stretch of woods and moorland which is perhaps the only part of the country not under intensive cultivation. Throughout the centuries it had been the hunting box of the Princes of Orange, since William and Mary bought it from the Bentincks. Lenôtre, the magician of Versailles, had laid out the gardens, and every succeeding stadholder or king had enlarged and improved the estate, so that gradually Het Loo became the favorite residence — a Dutch Windsor and Sandringham and Balmoral rolled into one! Essentially peaceful, only Napoleon had found it too quiet.

In the adjoining wood Wilhelmina’s father had built a child’s chalet for his little daughter. Her earliest hobby was the true domestic Dutch art of cooking, carried out with such a thoroughness that she preferred to grow her own vegetables. Famous professors taught her languages, history, and constitutional law, gray admirals and generals the rudiments of naval and military science. Often the young child of an old parent is exceptionally gifted. Such was certainly her case, for her educational programme seems staggeringly overloaded to modern pedagogical eyes.

Miss Saxton-Winter, who was her English governess, saw to it, with the Queen Mother’s full approval, that the girl’s youth was not a lonely one. Animals were her hobby: goats, pigeons, chickens, and rabbits were her favorites. Two gravestones in the Royal Park — one for ‘Baby,’her first pony, the other for ‘Hindin,’ her first charger — attest her fondness for riding, by preference along the sandy seashore. And in winter, like every Dutch child, she reveled in skating and sleighing.

Her love, however, went out to her dolls. They were much pampered. As she insisted that they did not like to sleep in strange beds, they had to travel with their own beds, bed linen, and all the other paraphernalia of a proper dollhouse. The dolls’ suitcase was entrusted to the special care of her personal servant, who carried it about as if it contained priceless treasures of the realm.

Her youth was not a matter for publicity. But we have early glimpses of her character. It rained cats and dogs — real admiral’s weather — when she unveiled the statue to De Ruyter at Flushing. ‘I am as wet as a cat,’ was the royal comment, ‘but never mind, it was such fun watching the Burgomaster getting soaked during his long speech.’ And there is that incident which Miss Winter was always keen to relate: how she once meted out as a punishment to her charge the drawing of a map of Europe, and how her pupil managed to get back at her. Holland appeared toweringly big, shouldering tiny England off the map altogether!

II

When thirteen years old, Wilhelmina was taken by her mother — a sister of the Duchess of Albany — for a visit to London. It was meant to be a purely educational tour — quiet hotels, with visits to churches and museums after preparatory lectures by learned professors.

Queen Victoria, however, could not be deterred from an official invitation. A special train conveyed the Dutch party to Windsor, where a guard of honor was in attendance. Though suffering badly from rheumatism that day, Victoria, the hostess, was at her most jovial. Scottish pipers played at her guest’s special request, which seems to have flattered everyone extremely. That afternoon ‘The Queen and Her Majesty the Queen of the Netherlands went for a drive through Windsor Great Park,’ as the Court Circular formally put it. Two Queens — one a very old lady, almost at the close of her reign, the other a very young girl, still on the threshold of hers.

Their affection was reciprocal. When Victoria heard that Wilhelmina would love to see a levee — at which, being equal to the Queen in status, she could not be officially present — Victoria invited her little guest to her dressing room and afterwards arranged for a door of a neighboring salon to remain open, with a large mirror placed in such a position that Wilhelmina, unobserved by others, could follow the ceremonial in the Throne Room.

Relations remained cordial until the Boer War, when the young Queen, deeply moved by the fate of her kinsmen in the Transvaal and Orange Free State, personally appealed to Victoria. Victoria resented that eager insistence.

It is a strange coincidence that the Royal Families of Great Britain and Holland, though close neighbors and relations, have never rendered each other a state visit. It is known that Queen Wilhelmina insists that a younger sovereign — younger in ascendance to the throne — should visit her first. Hence she never came to London ‘officially.’ But in the twenties, when the Dutch Royal Family were on their way to a holiday in the Lake District, King George V and Queen Mary, accompanied by their sons and their ministers, Ramsay MacDonald and Arthur Henderson, appeared at the station to greet her as she passed through the city. And whenever a British Royal Prince has visited the Netherlands his welcome, both at the Court and by the populace, has always been of the heartiest. After having realized each other’s sterling qualities in five Anglo-Dutch wars, the struggle for sea supremacy which the much bigger one was bound to win, the Dutch and English respect each other more than any other two nations. Holland to-day, obviously, suspects only one neighbor, and to defend herself she has strengthened her army, navy, and air force to the limit of her considerable means.

Last year, when Princess Juliana was married, there was a gala performance at the Hague Opera House. The Dutch national hymn was sung with fervor; the German national anthem, in honor of the German guests, was listened to in icy respect; but when, in honor of the Duke of Kent, Princess Alice, and the Earl of Athlone, ‘God Save the King’ was taken up by the orchestra, the whole vast assembly joined in with obvious spontaneity.

III

After her eighteenth birthday, the age of constitutional majority, Wilhelmina was officially inaugurated as Queen. On the day of her inauguration she walked from her palace in Amsterdam to the near-by New Church, attired already in her cloak of ermine and velvet, the Sword of State and the Standard of the Realm carried before her. In the church the Crown, the Sceptre, and the Orb were laid before her, and around her gathered her faithful Staten Generaal: Senate and House of Commons, the elected representatives of her people, who, each called up by name, swore allegiance to her.

Afterwards, on her drive through Amsterdam, she found all her people assembled from near and far to wish her Godspeed, clustered in the stands, on ships in the canals, at every window and roof along her triumphant drive. The newly crowned Queen rose in her carriage and stretched both her arms towards her people in the unrestrained response of her youth.

Marriage was obviously an urgent necessity of state. The choice was restricted to a Protestant prince, but anyone who stood a chance of inheriting a foreign throne was barred by the Dutch constitution, in order to avoid personal international entanglements. Henry Duke of Mecklenburg-Schwerin admirably filled the bill. They made each other’s acquaintance at Cannes, and they married a year later, when the Queen was still under twenty-one. The Duke became a Dutch citizen with the title of Prince of the Netherlands.

A charming anecdote throws a light on his unenviable position as Consort. The very morning — eight years later — on which his daughter was born, the Prince happened to meet one of the cabinet ministers, who warmly congratulated him. ‘A pity,’ the Prince remarked, ‘that it is a girl.’ ‘But, Your Royal Highness,’ remonstrated the minister,‘I can assure you that after the nation’s wonderful experience with the Dowager Queen Emma and with Queen Wilhelmina there is nobody in Holland who is not as delighted with a girl as with a boy.’ ‘Oh, I was not doubting that,’ interrupted the Prince, ‘I was thinking of the poor blighter who one day will have to be Prince Consort.’

Henry was simple, jovial, and obliging, three characteristics which won him the affection of his new countrymen. Little interested in statecraft, he limited his activities carefully. Agriculture interested him — anything to do with the soil, horses, and cattle. And he made not merely a decorative but an energetic president of the Dutch Red Cross Society and of many other philanthropic institutions.

A year after her marriage the Queen contracted typhus, and for some weeks the shadow of death hovered over Het Loo. She recovered, but high hopes went in the aftermath. Seven years of anxiety followed: the Queen, last of her line without an heir. Once more she narrowly escaped death when the royal carriage stuck in the tram rails. But for the presence of mind of the tram conductor, who braked in the nick of time, and of the Prince, who prevented the horses of the badly damaged landau from bolting, the Queen might have been killed. The throne would then have gone to some obscure German princeling, completely alien to Holland and totally unknown there, but somehow issue of a branch of the Nassaus. Hence the international interest that centred round the succession; hence the change in the constitution which the government carried through during the Great War, whereby all those distant claimants to the heritage of the Dutch throne were cut off altogether, provision being made that, in the case of a king or queen dying without issue, the States-General must elect a new king within three months.

However, one fateful evening at the very end of April 1909, the national and foreign press correspondents were invited to remain overnight at the Royal Palace. At 3 A.M. a hot supper was served, and at the break of dawn a Court official suddenly appeared. Hardly had he begun to read the age-old formula when he stopped abruptly: ‘Gentlemen, it is a princess!’ . . . And Daily Mail, Paris-soir, Washington Post, all bolted out and raced to the near-by G. P. O. — a good sprint in which Sir Philip Gibbs took the lead.

IV

Internationally Holland’s worries during the first part of Queen Wilhelmina’s reign had been minor problems. The proximity of the island of Curaçao, in the Dutch West Indies, to Venezuela often provoked friction with that state. Holland had to take part in international actions in Turkey and China, to safeguard her extensive trade interests. She sided with England and the United States in their firm attitude to Mexico regarding the annexation of oil properties. A seemingly recurrent trouble!

Thus, when the Great War broke loose, it was an honest neutrality which Holland could proclaim to the world — a neutrality based not on momentary calculations but on the traditions of The Hague. At the start of the Queen’s reign, certain zealots tried to lure Holland into a customs union with the German Reich, and when that effort failed proposed a postal union. The nation refused to consider either of these ideas, as it remained equally distant from the attempts of other proponents to enter into an economic and military treaty with Belgium. Closely knitted as Belgium then was with her French neighbor, this would have been sheer folly, as afterevents soon showed.

The rape of Belgium shocked Holland profoundly. Literally tens of thousands of the very poorest Belgians were given food, clothing, and shelter for four long years. There is no doubt that at the beginning of the war the majority of the Dutch were pronouncedly anti-German. But as the war went on, and particularly when a multitude of British Orders in Council threw a net around neutral shipping, many were inclined to believe that there was not much choice between the devil and the deep sea. When almost the whole Dutch fisher fleet was forcibly retained in British harbors, to make the blockade of Germany more effective by preventing any chance of food ‘leaking’ through Holland, and when, pressed for tonnage, Great Britain and America confiscated almost the entire Dutch mercantile marine, the sentiment in favor of the Allies was subjected to a heavy strain.

The war years were a nightmare for Holland. The privations in lack of food and fuel were hardest to bear. Economic life was paralyzed; Holland had nothing to transport. Half a million men stood guard at the frontiers — the whole army remaining mobilized for four long years, to ward off any intruder. To make matters worse, four provinces, almost a third of the national territory, were flooded in 1916, when one of the sea dikes gave way to an unprecedented gale.

The end of the war came dramatically with the flight of the Kaiser and Crown Prince into Holland, after the collapse of the German Imperial Headquarters at Spa. Holland had not solicited these exalted fugitives, but, once they had put themselves under her age-old hospitality, the country was prepared to stand by that traditional right. The Allies demanded their surrender, Holland proudly refused, and — as many a British statesman has since admitted — thereby saved them from what would have been a great blunder.

The relief of the Armistice went to some people’s heads. In near-by Germany, as monarchies tottered, socialist leaders rose to power. For a moment it looked as if even Holland had lost her traditional equilibrium. The Dutch socialist leader Troelstra announced the Revolution, but announced it with true Dutch thoroughness, a week in advance! The loyalists had time to rise, led by the staunchly Catholic Provinces of the South. The day earmarked for the inauguration of the Republic became the greatest demonstration of loyalty which the monarchy ever witnessed.

I can still see the hundreds of thousands who with their flags and banners had moved into The Hague, from the farthest corners of the land. The troops insisted on drawing the Queen’s landau through the parade grounds. She had her arms folded round Juliana, deeply moved. With a tremulous voice she asked the troops who pulled her carriage to go slow: ‘I’d like to see who pays me this tribute.’ But a voice boomed out through the bare trees, ‘All Holland, Your Majesty’—a motion carried by tumultuous cheering. The enormous crowd surged round the carriage with its Queen — Landsmoeder, ‘Mother of the Land,’ as she has been called since that day. After she had been triumphantly carried home — to that modest palace which stands in the middle of a busy shopping street — she appeared on the balcony with her ministers. That evening she issued a proclamation announcing that ‘social reforms shall be carried through with a speed fitting to the pulsation of our time.’ A farsighted bourgeoisie consented indeed to timely concessions; Holland remained the country in which the standard of living is highest, in which the workingman and the lower classes can live well.

How this rally of the nation stood it in good stead was soon proved when from the Versailles Peace Conference sensational rumors raised their ugly heads, all too soon to become confirmed. Belgium, intoxicated by victory, wanted to enlarge herself at the cost of Holland: the southern parts of the Dutch provinces of Zeeland and Limburg, handed over to Belgium, would make the Dutch Belgian frontier a much straighter line, so she argued.

Two happenings stayed the danger. The Queen’s visit to her devastated territories resulted in such tremendous demonstrations of national consciousness that their echo could not be ignored even abroad. And at Versailles the Boer statesmen, Botha and Smuts, put their foot down with the British delegation. To those Afrikanders, members of the Imperial War Cabinet, Holland was their spiritual fatherland, Dutch their mother tongue. In the darkest hour of the Boer War, when not one of the Great Powers, in fear of England, had dared to offer the slightest help, Wilhelmina had sent a warship, thus securing President Kruger a safe shelter in Holland. Now came South Africa’s chance: the British decision that a cessation of Dutch territory could not even be discussed meant the end of the threat.

For many years afterwards this dark possibility poisoned Dutch-Belgian relations. Holland had been foster mother to multitudes of Belgian fugitives and war orphans during four long years in which she often had to tighten her own belt. This gross ungratefulness was very bitterly felt. But time heals all wounds. Crown Prince Leopold of Belgium, visiting the Dutch East Indies twice on extensive study tours, rapidly became popular. His ascendance to the throne spelled new possibilities. And when a few months ago, at the baptism of the Baby Princess Beatrix, Queen Wilhelmina invited King Leopold to be godfather to her first grandchild, their meeting showed a deep reciprocal affection. His state visit to Holland this November will give the two nations a chance of inaugurating a new and happier era of Dutch-Belgian collaboration.

V

The Prince Consort died in 1934, so suddenly that a slight indisposition was considered too negligible by the doctors to warn Princess Juliana, who was staying at the time in Kensington Palace with the Athlones. On a July morning before dawn a lonely lady paced the quayside at the Hook of Holland, and, when the mailboat from Harwich docked, mother and daughter met each other on the landing bridge in a silent embrace.

Again the Queen spoke to her people. ‘We are moved and grateful that his good heart and friendliness, his simple nature, have made him so many friends,’ she began, commemorating her dead consort; then, recalling the recent death of her mother, ‘We look upwards to the Light, to the Peace which is their part’; finally, ‘I thank God for the love of my people.’

The Queen is a member of the Dutch Reformed Church. At home she proceeds every morning to prayer and Bible lecture, though attendance is not compulsory for her suite or servants, among whom there are many Catholics. With the strong Catholic minority of her subjects she has always been on good terms. The late Monsignor Nolens, leader of the Catholic Party, was for years her trusted adviser, on whom she had urged more than once the offer of the Premiership. Her faith is a living one.

The Queen has a strong feminine reticence. Her serious face keeps people at a distance, but this is more inherent shyness than deliberate coolness. Her almost manly resoluteness has become almost proverbial. She did not mind plodding through the mud when, at the French army manœuvres, she desired to inspect a gun at close range: ‘I do the same at home.’ And indeed she does! Immediately after the reception of the diplomatic corps on New Year’s Day, 1926, the Queen, notwithstanding the bitter cold, took the evening train to the inundated regions. The next morning, when the boats could not carry her farther, she went ahead, carried on the shoulders of sturdy sailors.

Her personal character corresponds ideally with the Dutch national character. With her great sense of responsibility, and her extraordinary intelligence, one can hardly minimize the value of her constant supervision, as the head of state, over all actions of the government of the day. She has turned the crown into the keeper of the government’s conscience, safeguarding true democracy against mere party bossing. During these forty years of her reign she has worked with over a dozen cabinets, of various shades and opinions. She never had to make use of her right of veto; only twice she dissolved parliament. When she came to the throne there were barely half a million voters on the register; gradual extensions of franchise have shot this number up to over four million today. But though the Dutchman is by nature an individualist, — proportional representation has resulted in a dozen or more parties, and tyrannic state power would be unthinkable in Holland, — there has always been more that unites than divides. This higher unity, consecrated as it is by a tradition of four centuries, has found in the throne more than a mere symbol.

There is little pomp or show in Dutch Court life. The visits of foreign potentates have been few and far between. Most of the Queen’s own travels have been incognito under her favorite title of Countess van Buren: the Norwegian fjords, Switzerland, the Tyrol and the Vosges, the Lake District and the Scottish Highlands, where she once prolonged her holiday over her birthday and took suite and servants on a char-àbancs picnic to the Trossachs!

Only when exercising her royal prerogative of opening parliament, the third Tuesday of September, does she clothe herself with royal splendor. In her golden coach she drives to the Hall of the Knights, up the courtyard where Holland’s very heart has beaten through the ages. Under the high wooden roof, the late summer sun setting the orders of the men and the jewels of the ladies ablaze, the Queen in the midst of her faithful Staten Generaal reads her speech from the throne, the programme of yet another year of parliamentary legislation.

Holland has grown in the forty years of her reign from the five millions at her ascension to the more than eight and a half millions of to-day. The country has changed from one almost entirely agricultural to one now largely industrial. A name like the Royal Dutch-Shell spells a world in itself.

Through the gigantic Zuider Zee Reclamation, Holland is peacefully adding a twelfth province to her territory. Wieringen, which at the end of the war was still such a desolate island that it could serve as a safe internment for the exCrown Prince of Germany, is now a hill in a polder which has already brought forth some good harvests. At Ymuiden the greatest sluice gates of the world were built; the Dutch merchant fleet remains one of the finest on the Seven Seas; and Dutch tugboats brought the enormous floating dry dock safe from its British wharf to far-eastern Singapore. After having flown a regular weekly postal service from Amsterdam to Batavia for years, far ahead of any of the big fellows, Holland’s achievement in the Melbourne Air Contest was really the outstanding performance of the race. Science and the arts flourish, and in architecture a school is springing up that bids fair to rival the fame of the great Dutch schools of painting.

A thousand years ago, the period over which government can be traced in the Low Countries, Holland was but marshland and forests, the sea reigning supreme, wolves and bears abounding. Not a single year has passed without this sea having been intrepidly pushed back. There is a popular saying that, whereas God created the world, the Dutch made Holland themselves. Authority and order, based on strong individual liberties, are its secret.

There is something in those gray horizons, in those flat polders, — flatter even than pancakes, for they lay so sunk below the level of the sea that the barges in the canals seem to ride the landscape, — which tends to flatten Dutch national character. But the Queen who works and struggles with her people is the dictator of their hearts and — so they feel — infinitely greater and nobler than those overadvertised self-imposed dictators elsewhere.

VI

The Queen hates to feign; she refuses to do things because they are supposed to be done. State visits of foreign royalties are not encouraged if they are not considered worth-while because of close ties and common interests. When Amanullah of Afghanistan toured the courts of Europe, Wilhelmina was not at home. She must have had a quiet smile when the Afghan was unceremoniously turned out of his country soon after his return — London, Paris, Rome, Brussels, Berlin, all cutting a somewhat silly figure, not to mention the enormous expense to which they had been put!

But when Hirohito, then still Crown Prince of Japan, was in Europe, the Queen went out of her way to give ‘her august neighbor in the East’ not only the most ceremonious but the warmest of welcomes. The Emperor has more than once referred to his lasting impressions of those long and confidential talks with her.

Her ideas of diplomacy are not laced in gold, which explains her cordial relations with two United States Ministers, Professor Henry Van Dyke and Mr. Richard M. Tobin — both strong personal favorites, whom she liked for their simple distinction, for their knowledge, and for the efficient and businesslike manner in which they went about cementing good relations between her country and the States.

To many of her subjects, more show would not have been unwelcome. But she just does not happen to like it. She refused a new palace, for which a wealthy patriot had offered the finest site at The Hague. The old one, although it is the simplest royal palace of all Europe, had been good enough for her ancestors — it was good enough for her. True, she is not particularly fond of it, but she built herself an unpretentious bungalow in a forgotten corner of the Dunes, which she characteristically called the ‘Ruigenhoek’ (the Rough Corner), for it is almost open to the storms of the North Sea. And there is always her countryseat Het Loo. Once, during a cabinet crisis, the leader of the Socialist Party had to be summoned for a consultation. It was their first meeting, and when, after a long train journey, the politician arrived at the palace, he was received in a room where a breakfast had been prepared for him, the teapot singing cosily on its tripod. Such was the first meeting between the Sovereign and the head of a party which at that time was outspokenly republican.

When later the same leader failed in rousing a revolution, it was the Queen who insisted that there should be no recrimination. She refused to listen to any counsel of reaction, judging that the time was ripe for far-reaching social reforms and that this abortive revolution was no valid excuse for postponing measures which were due.

Though close on sixty, she still cycles regularly. There are old and sick people in whom she is interested; she visits them and reads to them, and leaves her bicycle standing outside against the window sill in a forlorn back street. Her loathing of ceremonial has prevented her from visiting her Colonial Empire. There she is the Great and Mighty Queen, and her simplicity would not be understood; but Oriental pomp and splendor are unbearable to her. It is perhaps the chief flaw in her conduct of affairs. She makes up for it by studying with special care all that appertains to the Colonies.

On the occasion of her daughter’s wedding — an occasion of deep national rejoicing — the Nazis’ attitude set the world aghast by its boorishness. The Queen checked their gross breach of manners with simple directness. ‘This is the marriage of my daughter to the man she loves, whom I have found worthy of her love; this is not the marriage of Holland to Germany.’ Her letter to Hitler must have been a quiet masterpiece: the confiscated passports of the German bridesmaids and other wedding guests were handed back at once. The ceremony remained a Dutch wedding, that of her daughter and heir to the young man to whom she had previously granted Dutch citizenship and whom she had elevated to the rank of a Prince of the Netherlands.

In a national emergency, when representatives of all organizations had gathered to discuss ways and means of helping the distressed, Queen Wilhelmina walked over to the meeting from her palace, alone, a middle-aged lady in a simple, sensible coat, with her bag under her arm, as any worthy American woman would walk to her committee meeting — if she did not drive. She took her seat at the table, at the chairman’s right, and the discussion went on. That is why the Dutch love their Queen; it is thus that they know her, and not in tiara and ermine.