This book presents a remarkable collection of letters from Queen Wilhelmina of the Netherlands (1880–1962) and her governess, Elizabeth Saxton Winter (1855–1936), an Englishwoman. The earliest letters are those of a child, sent to Miss Winter when she was on holiday in England, but after Wilhelmina’s education was finished in 1896 and she had no more need of a governess, she continued to write to Winter weekly. Her long letters cover a wide range of subjects: including her perspective on people and events, encounters with famous individuals, kings and emperors, but also sad times and loneliness, her belief in the Almighty, and above all, her development to her role as queen – her inauguration was in 1898 – and the high seriousness with which she regarded her duties. The resulting volume offers unprecedented insight into her life as child of her mother queen-regent Emma, as queen, as wife of prince Hendrik and as mother of princess Juliana.
The letters of a young Princess and later Queen Wilhelmina have been carefully preserved for prosperity, and although the letters were originally written in English, they were at first published only in Dutch. They have now seen the light, and the letters are now available for an English audience. The letters begin in 1886, when Wilhelmina was just six years old and end in later 1935. Elizabeth Saxton Winter would die in early 1936. I’ve always found that letters really give you an intimate look into someone’s life and these touching letters from a very lonely young girl are a real treat.