Wilhelmina of the Netherlands

Wilhelmina (Dutch pronunciation: [ʋɪlɦɛlˈminaː] (listen); Wilhelmina Helena Pauline Maria; 31 August 1880 – 28 November 1962) was Queen of the Netherlands from 1890 until her abdication in 1948. She reigned for nearly 58 years, longer than any other Dutch monarch. Her reign saw both World War I and World War II, as well as the Dutch economic crisis of 1933.

Queen Wilhelmina in the late 1940s
Queen of the Netherlands
Reign23 November 1890 –
4 September 1948
Inauguration6 September 1898
PredecessorWilliam III
RegentsQueen Emma (1890–1898)
Princess Juliana (1947–1948)
BornPrincess Pauline of Orange-Nassau
(1880-08-31)31 August 1880
Noordeinde Palace, The Hague, Netherlands
Died28 November 1962(1962-11-28) (aged 82)
Het Loo Palace, Apeldoorn, Netherlands
Burial8 December 1962
Nieuwe Kerk, Delft, Netherlands
(m. 1901; died 1934)
IssueJuliana of the Netherlands
Wilhelmina Helena Pauline Maria
FatherWilliam III of the Netherlands
MotherEmma of Waldeck and Pyrmont
ReligionDutch Reformed Church

The only child of King William III of the Netherlands and Emma of Waldeck and Pyrmont, Wilhelmina ascended to the throne at the age of 10 after her father's death in 1890, under her mother's regency. After taking charge of government, Wilhelmina became generally popular for maintaining Dutch neutrality during the First World War and solving many of her country's industrial problems. By that time, her business ventures had made her the world's first female billionaire in dollars.[1] She went on to ensure that her family was one of seven European royal houses remaining in existence.

Following the German invasion of the Netherlands in 1940, Wilhelmina fled to Britain and took charge of the Dutch government-in-exile. She frequently spoke to the nation over radio and came to be regarded as a symbol of the resistance.[1] By 1948, she had returned to the liberated Netherlands and was the only survivor of the 16 monarchs who were sitting on their thrones at the time of her coronation.[2] Increasingly beset by poor health, Wilhelmina abdicated in favour of her daughter Juliana in September 1948 and retired to Het Loo Palace, where she died in 1962.

She remains popular in the Netherlands, even among the Dutch Republican movement.[3] This is due to her being seen as a symbol of Dutch Resistance during World War II.

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