The Year of Queen Wilhelmina – The birth of Princess Juliana (Part one)




juliana wilhelmina
(public domain)

At the end of 1908, it was announced that Queen Wilhelmina was again pregnant. By then, she had suffered two miscarriages and the stillbirth of a son. There were immediately several concerns. What would happen if Wilhelmina died in childbirth? Who would act as regent for the minor child? There were only two obvious candidates: her husband Henry and her mother Emma. Emma would undoubtedly be preferred, not only because she already had eight years experience as regent and she was quite popular. Wilhelmina also preferred her mother as regent and early the following year, Emma was officially appointed as regent if the worst should happen.

Meanwhile, Wilhelmina’s pregnancy was advancing well. Wilhelmina spent some time writing a manual as to how the child should be raised if she died. Wilhelmina passed her due date, but labour finally began on 28 April 1909, but it was a slow labour, and Wilhelmina gave birth to a daughter just before 7 A.M. on 30 April at Noordeinde Palace.

An heir to the throne, at last. It didn’t even matter to the celebrating crowds that the child was “only” a girl; anything was better than a German prince. Wilhelmina decided to feed the newborn Princess herself for nine months.

On 5 June 1909, the Princess was baptised with the names: Juliana Louise Emma Marie Wilhelmina. She received the name Juliana in honour of her ancestress Juliana of Stolberg, the mother of William the Silent.

Wilhelmina later wrote in her memoirs, “She was a strong and healthy child, always a little in advance of her age in intelligence and knowledge. I must leave it to the reader to imagine our parental happiness at her arrival after we had waited for eight years. Of course, she changed our lives in many ways. In summer and autumn, I considered myself exempt from many duties which had no direct bearing on my official task. As soon as I had a moment free, I lived only for my child.”1

Juliana was nicknamed “Jula” by her family, and she became the apple of her mother’s (and father’s) eye.

Read part two here

  1. Lonely but not alone p. 77






About Moniek 1744 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.

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