Wilhelmina is 18 on September 6, 1898 she’s then officially inaugurated as queen of the Netherlands. The young princess is actually Queen as her father William III dies at age ten. Her mother Emma acts as a regent until Wilhelmina turns 18.
Wilhelmina is the only child of the second marriage of William III with forty years younger Emma of Waldeck-Pyrmont. Her mother raises her with a severe hand and gets her ready for the monarchy. With her father, she had a good relationship, they play every day together until his death.
On February 7, 1901 Wilhelmina married with Duke Henry of Mecklenburg-Schwerin. After several miscarriages on April 30, 1909 their first and only child: Juliana is born. Wilhelmina can’t keep her husband in check. Henry holds a dissolute lifestyle and regularly commits adultery.
The new queen quickly demonstrate a determination and in some cases authoritarian attitude. She regularly has conflicts with politicians. Wilhelmina feels involved in the armed forces. During World War I she is a strong supporter of the policy of neutrality and remains in the Netherlands.
The Second World War is another story. Then Wilhelmina goes in exile in London. This first leads to criticism, but that is changing as the queen from London supports the people through Radio Orange. She’s therefore not afraid to express rejection against Adolf Hitler and the Holocaust. From London she also gives guidance to the Dutch government in exile.
When Wilhelmina after the war comes back in the Netherlands, there is less changed than she had initially expected. The political situation is the same as before the war. Wilhelmina was hoping for major changes, but the secularization delayed longer in itself.
After the monarchy
Not much later, in September 1948, Juliana follows up her disappointed mother. Wilhelmina withdraws and is mainly concerned with religion, painting and writing her own memoirs in “Lonely but not alone“.
Also they will pursue different business activities. Occasionally she still appears in public. So she visits after the floods of 1953 the affected areas in Zeeland. One of her last public appearances was in 1956, at the 18th anniversary of her granddaughter Beatrix.
On November 28, 1962 Wilhelmina dies at age 82. She is buried in the family tomb in the Nieuwe Kerk in Delft. The people remember her as “mother of the fatherland”.