Arolsen Palace – The Wedding of William and Emma

Photo by Moniek Bloks

Arolsen Palace was built between 1711 and 1722 by Count Ulrich zu Waldeck. The construction that was on the site was completely torn down. The new baroque palace was the birthplace of Emma of Waldeck and Pyrmont, the future Queen (regent) of the Netherlands, who famously remarked “We can’t just let the poor man go home all alone” when her sister turned down King William III’s offer of marriage. Her sisters Sophie, Pauline, Marie, Helena and Elisabeth were all born at Arolsen.

The wedding of Emma and King William III of the Netherlands took place in the chapel of Arolsen on 7 January 1879. The groom wore the uniform of an admiral and the bride wore a white dress with a long train, a lace veil, a tiara and an ermine shoulder cover. The entire Princely family of Waldeck and Pyrmont was there, plus Charles Alexander, Grand Duke of Saxe-Weimar-Eisenach and his wife, Princess Sophie of the Netherlands (William’s sister), William, Prince of Wied (husband of Princess Marie of the Netherlands, granddaughter of King William I), Duke William of Württemberg, Georg, Prince of Schaumburg-Lippe and his wife Princess Marie Anne of Saxe-Altenburg. The Netherlands was represented by the Minister of Foreign Affairs, the presidents of both houses of the States-General and the vice-president of the Council of State. The court preacher Ulrich Scipio blessed the marriage. 1

The couple went on to have one daughter, Wilhelmina, who became Queen at the age of 10.

The court chapel is on the right

An attempt at looking into the court chapel

Unfortunately, photography was not allowed inside. You can only enter with a (German) tour of the castle which costs €7. There is a small gift shop, which also has a few English books.

More information

  1.  Het Nederlandse koningshuis by Arnout van Cruyningen

About Moniek Bloks 2250 Articles
My name is Moniek and I am from the Netherlands. I began this website in 2013 because I wanted to share these women's amazing stories.


  1. I have always been interested in the Waldeck-Pyrmont sisters. They all look so alike. Is it correct that the only connection to the Dutch Royals from the British RF is through Helen who’s sister was Queen Emma? Beatrix was a bridesmaid for Lady May Cambridge.

    • There is also a connection to Princes of Orange via Carolina of Orange-Nassau (the one I wrote a book about ;)). That line comes through Mary of Teck.

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