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Profile of the Day: Wilhelmina of the Netherlands

On this day in 1880, Wilhelmina of the Netherlands was born. She reigned as Queen of the Netherlands for nearly 58 years, longer than any other Dutch monarch.

Image: Wilhelmina of the Netherlands / Library of Congress

Wilhelmina was born on August 31, 1880 in Noordeinde Palace in The Hague, Netherlands. She was the only child of King William III and his second wife, Emma of Waldeck and Pyrmont. At the time of her birth, her father was 63 years old and had three sons from his previous marriage. However, after all three sons pre-deceased her father, Wilhelmina became the heir presumptive. In 1890, at just 10 years old, Wilhelmina became queen after the death of her father. Her mother was named regent until her inauguration at the age of 18.

During her long reign, Wilhelmina led the Netherlands through two world wars. After the German invasion of the Netherlands in World War II, Wilhelmina fled to Britain and took charge of the Dutch government in exile. She frequently used the radio to broadcast messages to the Dutch people, becoming an important symbol for the Dutch resistance.

In 1948, Wilhelmina abdicated the throne due to her declining health. Her only daughter, Juliana, ascended to the Dutch throne.

Wilhelmina died on November 28, 1962 at the age of 82.

Explore Wilhelmina of the Netherlands’s family tree and share how you’re connected to the Dutch monarch!

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