Just six days after her 18th birthday, Queen Wilhelmina of the Netherlands walked from the Royal Palace in Amsterdam to the adjacent New Church to have her inauguration as Queen of the Netherlands. She had succeeded her father as a girl of 10, and for eight years, her mother had served as regent – now her personal reign would begin. She wore the same mantle her grandfather King William II had worn in 1840.
Before swearing an oath to the Dutch Constitution, she held a short speech in which she said, “I believe it to be a great privilege that it is my task and duty in life to devote all my strength to the wellbeing and growth of the Fatherland so precious to me. I make the words of my beloved father my own, “Orange can never, yes never, do enough for the Netherlands.”1 Her mother sat slightly behind her on the podium.
The oath goes as follows:
“I swear to the people of the Kingdom that I will maintain and uphold the Statute of the Kingdom and the Constitution. I swear that I will defend and maintain the independence and the lands of the Kingdom with all my might, that I will protect the freedoms and the rights of the Dutch citizens and inhabitants, and to use all means available to me by law for the maintenance and improvement of the welfare, like a good and loyal King is obligated to do. So help me, God Almighty!”2 Following her own oath, all of the present members of the States-General swore their allegiance to her.
She later wrote in her memoirs of the moment she walked into the church all alone, “A feeling of emptiness and complete loneliness came over me.”3 Prime Minister Pierson was deeply touched by the inauguration and wrote, “The inauguration was so very impressive that it touched all of our souls.”4
Exactly 50 years later, Queen Wilhelmina’s only surviving child Juliana was inaugurated as Queen of the Netherlands.