The Year of Queen Wilhelmina – The meeting between William and Emma




emma william
Queen Emma and King William III (public domain)

The Baroque Schloss Pyrmont was the scene of one of the most famous lines in Dutch royal history.

pyrmont
Photo by Moniek Bloks

King William III of the Netherlands arrived here on 28 July 1878 to court Pauline of Waldeck and Pyrmont. Pauline rejected the elderly King but her sister Emma supposed exclaimed, “We cannot just let the poor man go home alone!”1 Emma and William were 41 years apart in age and he was almost 14 years older than her own father. Nevertheless, she must have seen something in him that others did not see. Even Queen Victoria wrote of him that he was “not an enviable relation to have.”2 Just three years later, she wrote of Emma and William, “The King of the Netherlands is as quiet and unobtrusive as possible; a totally altered man and all owing to her. She is charming, so amiable, kind, friendly and cheerful.”3

One of the men accompanying the King later wrote of the four days they spent in Pyrmont, “One of the days we spent in Pyrmont, I had the honour of accompanying the Princesses (Emma and Pauline) and the King on a wonderful carriage ride, and we also went up on a marvellously high watchtower. One can say that the love had not given the King wings but it certainly gave him legs for he was normally slow and made himself comfortable and he now climbed the dozens of steps leading to the top of the tower.”4

In any case, after the second visit in September, the engagement between Emma and William was announced and they were married early the following year. The birth of their daughter Wilhelmina completed the new family.

  1. Koning Willem III by Dik van der Meulen p.565
  2. Beloved Mama edited by Roger Fulford p.34
  3. Beloved Mama edited by Roger Fulford p.118
  4. Koning Willem III by Dik van der Meulen p.565






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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