24 April 2013
by Yolonda van Riel
In April, we had a very timely lecture on the history of the Royal Family in the Netherlands. Mr. Leon Timmermans, president of the Oranje Comité Tilburg, gave a fascinating presentation on how the Dutch Royals came to be and their tumultous journey through history.
Following the French occupation, the Kingdom of the Netherlands was established in 1815. The first Head of State was William Frederick, the son of William V. He was crowned King of the Netherlands, which was then comprised of the Netherlands and Belgium. In 1830, when the two countries separated, William I remained King of the Netherlands.
The Netherlands was reigned by kings until the death of King William III in 1890. His wife, Queen Emma, succeeded him becoming regent until their daughter, Wilhelmina then 10 years old, came of age. Wilhelmina was crowned Queen in 1898 at the age of 18.
The Second World War and Nazi occupation was another time of great strife for the Dutch and all of Europe. Queen Wilhelmina’s photograph was a sign of resistance against the Germans and her broadcast messages to the Dutch people over Radio Oranje were eagerly awaited by her people, who had to hide in order to listen to them illegally.
Juliana, Queen Wilhelmina´s daughter, became Queen in 1948 and her daughter, Beatrix, succeeded her in 1980.
As you read this article, the abdication of the throne, by Queen Beatrix to her eldest child Prince Willem-Alexander, will have already taken place on April 30th. King Willem-Alexander is followed by his three daughters, Crown Princess Catharina-Amalia, Princess Alexia and Princess Ariane.
For those of you that were unable to join this interesting lecture, Mr. Timmermans presentation (complete with interesting photos) can be found Here.