Queen Wilhelmina’s white funeral

By Ben Merk / Anefo - CC0 via Wikimedia Commons

Princess Wilhelmina had died on 28 November 1962 at 1 in the morning in a small staff apartment at her beloved Loo Palace.

As early as 1919, Wilhelmina had settled on a so-called “white funeral.” Her husband had also requested a white funeral, and she observed his wishes upon his death in 1934. In her memoirs, Wilhelmina wrote, “Long before he died my husband and I had discussed the meaning of death and the eternal Life that follows it. We both had the certainty of faith that death is the beginning of Life, and therefore had promised each other that we would have white funerals. This agreement was now observed. Hendrik’s white funeral, as his last gesture to the nation, made a profound impression and set many people thinking.1

Queen Juliana and her daughters in white by Harry Pot / Anefo – CC0 via Wikimedia Commons

The hearse, church and the mourning clothes should be white, while the coffin should be covered with the Dutch flag and an open bible. She refused to have any regalia placed on the coffin. She wanted to have people from all layers of the Dutch society to be present at the funeral as well as deserving military personnel of all ranks. She also did not want to be embalmed.

At the court chapel at the Loo Palace (By Eric Koch / Anefo – CC0 via Wikimedia Commons)

For several days, her body lay in state in the court chapel of the Loo Palace as people paid their respects. On the evening of 4 December, her body was transferred to the Lange Voorhout Palace in The Hague, which had been the home of her mother, Queen Emma. As her body left the Loo Palace, the anthem “Mein Waldeck” was played. At the Lange Voorhout Palace, people paid their respects as well. Just one wreath was on top of the coffin as it was taken to the Nieuwe Kerk in Delft for burial in the royal crypt – it was from the Dutch resistance. Along the route was an honour guard of 9,000 soldiers. There were no royal regalia as per her wish, but the regalia of the Military Order of William she had been so proud of receiving were there. She did not want foreign representatives to be there, but several members of the extended family were there, such as her first cousin Princess Alice, Countess of Athlone and the Wied family.

wilhelmina funeral
The coffin being carried into the crypt by Ben Merk / Anefo – CC0 via Wikimedia Commons

In the church were almost 3,000 people who listened to the service held in Dutch by court preacher Berkel and in French by preacher Forget. In the sermon, they addressed the role of the Father of the Fatherland – William of Orange – and also included her mother Emma and her husband Henry and the situation during the Second World War. 2

Her coffin was placed in the crypt next to her husband Henry and her parents King William III and Queen Emma.

  1. Lonely but not alone p.141
  2. Wilhelmina, Krijgshaftig in een vormeloze jas by Cees Fasseur p.566

About Moniek Bloks 2749 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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