Queen Wilhelmina (1880 – 1962), grandmother of Beatrix, queen of the Netherlands.
Wilhelmina's father King William III of Orange had brought a lot of damage to the royal dynasty. He was an angry, violent redhead with a fierce and unpredictable temperament, called King Gorilla. William had treated his first wife Sophie of Wurtemburg badly and many thought he was mentally ill. His second marriage with princess Emma of Waldeck and Pyrmont led to the birth of Wilhelmina Helena Pauline Maria, princess of Orange Nassau, on August 31, 1880 in The Hague. She was the dynasty's saviour: her half brother William jr. had fled to France after a dispute with his father over his fiancée and her other half brother Alexander was depressive and died when she was four.

Upbringing in the cage
The problems with the brothers led Queen Emma to a strict upbringing of the young princess. Wilhelmina herself would later characterize her childhood as 'the cage'. William died when she was 10, but mother Emma ruled until Wilhelmina reached the age of 18. On September 6, 1898, she was crowned Queen of the Netherlands in the Nieuwe Kerk in Amsterdam.

Queen at 18
Despite her young age she made a good impression on the people, but like her father she could not live with the constitutional limitations to the royal family in her country. Her distinct relatives in Russia and Germany were still considered almost divine in their nations. She put a lot of energy in military stuff and supported Boer leader Paul Kruger in his fight against the British colonialists in South Africa. World War I led to split views: sentiments were against England but it was also clear that Germany would not allow an independent Dutch nation. The Netherlands stayed neutral in this war.

Wilhelmina's throne was in danger in 1918 when socialist foreman Pieter Jelles Troelstra made a move for a red revolution. This would mean the end to the royal family's position, but it turned out soon that there was not enough support for a leftist takeover.

Husband hunting women
Her husband Hendrik (Henry) of Mecklenburg died in 1934 after being a huge burden for the queen. He was interested in hunting and women, sometimes in combination. Constantly the royal family was covering up the scandals caused by Wilhelmina's husband, like paying hush money to a blackmailer who knew Prince Hendrik had a bastard son.

Manly queen
Apart from the red danger, Wilhelmina had become aware of the brown danger as well in the thirties. She accused politicians of "having slept too long on the pillow of neutrality". The queen requested a stronger army, but in May 1940 the soldiers could not cope with the German invaders. Although she realised the people could think of it as fleeing, she took residence in London. There she favoured strong resistance and the British saw her as "the only man between old bitches".

After the war she fought for a new Holland with a strong government, but the wartime had taken a lot of her energy. She abdicated in 1948 in favour of her daughter Juliana. At the disastrous floods in Zeeland in 1953 Wilhelmina had her last public appearance of Mother of the Country. She died on November 28, 1962 and was buried in the royal tomb in the Nieuwe Kerk in Delft.

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