With Wilhelmina’s marriage to Henry of Mecklenburg-Schwerin on 7 February 1901, she and her mother both fervently prayed for healthy children to continue their line. Tragically, Wilhelmina would go on to suffer five miscarriages and only one healthy child was born to Wilhelmina and Henry.
Though the relief at the birth of Princess Juliana in 1909 was great, she would remain an only child to her regret but also to the regret of Wilhelmina and Henry. The fifth and final miscarriage happened at Noordeinde Palace on 20 October 1912. Kouwer, the gynaecologist who had stood by Wilhelmina through the many miscarriages, was summoned but there was nothing more he could do. Newspapers reported a “minor indisposition of the Queen” that “foiled the hope that had been held briefly.”1
Wilhelmina herself found solace in her faith as she always did. Without specifically referencing her miscarriages, she wrote in her memoirs, “My faith and love for Christ were subjected to many tests in the course of my life. The first test was the decisive one. In difficult circumstances, I was confronted with an inescapable choice: to remain true to Him at a time when it demanded a sacrifice, or to give in to temptation, even for only a moment. I recognised clearly that it would be shameful to follow Him in prosperity and to deny Him in adversity; to forget one’s vow when it demanded self-abnegation, to argue; that is is not how I meant my promise to follow Him. To forsake this loyalty, the highest and best thing in us – I could not even bear to think of what one would be after such an irreparable rupture. After a struggle, I made the sacrifice and chose to do Christ’s will.”2
- De grondwet 24-10-1912
- Lonely but not alone p. 82
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