Sunday, 31 August 2008

Wilhelmina van Oranje - Nassau

Queen Wilhelmina - Queen of the Netherlands; The World's Richest Woman

Wilhelmina (Wilhelmina Helena Pauline Marie of Orange-Nassau; August 31, 1880 – November 28, 1962) was queen regnant of the Kingdom of the Netherlands from 1890 to 1948 and Queen Mother (with the title of Princess) from 1948 to 1962. She ruled the Netherlands for fifty-eight years, longer than any other Dutch monarch. Her reign saw many turning points in both Dutch and world history: World War I and World War II, the Great Crisis of 1933, as well as the decline of the Netherlands as a major colonial empire. Outside the Netherlands she is primarily remembered for her role in the Second World War, in which she proved to be a great inspiration to the Dutch resistance, as well as a prominent leader of the Dutch government in exile.[1]



Tactful, and careful to operate within the limitations of what was expected by the Dutch people and their elected representatives, the strong-willed Wilhelmina became a forceful personality who spoke and acted her mind. These qualities showed up early on in her reign when, at the age of 20, Queen Wilhelmina ordered a Dutch warship to South Africa to rescue Paul Kruger, the embattled President of the Transvaal. For this, Wilhelmina gained international stature and earned the respect and admiration of people all over the world. Wilhelmina had a stern dislike of Great Britain, which had annexed the republics of Transvaal and Orange Free State in the Boer War. The Boers were descendants of early Dutch colonists, with whom Wilhelmina felt very closely linked.

Queen Wilhelmina also had a keen understanding of business matters and her investments made her the world's richest woman, a title retained by her daughter and granddaughter, Beatrix. The Dutch Royal Family is still reputed to be the single largest shareholder of Royal Dutch Shell.

Prior to the outbreak of the First World War, a young Wilhelmina visited the powerful Kaiser Wilhelm II of Germany, who boasted to the Queen of a relatively small country, "my guards are seven feet tall and yours are only shoulder-high to them". Wilhelmina smiled politely and replied, "Quite true, Your Majesty, your guards are seven feet tall. But when we open our dikes, the water is ten feet deep!".[2]
Although membership of the Order was opened to Americans only in 1927, it is a measure of that country's influential standing that by the 1940s the American Cardinal Spellman held the post of 'Grand Protector' within the Order, whereas King Leopold of Belgium and Queen Wilhelmina of Holland were mere 'protectors' within their respective countries!
Korte geschiedenis van de Orde
Rang van Grootkruis van Eer en Devotie van de Nederlandse Afdeling van de SMH Orde van Malta (tot 1970)
(Rank of Grand Cross of Honor and Devotion of the Dutch branch of the SMHOM (until 1970))

1911 J.J.G. baron van Voorst tot Voorst, Baljuw, Voorzitter 1911-1931

1911 H.M. Koningin Wilhelmina

1911 Z.K.H. Prins Hendrik, Hertog van Mecklenburg, Baljuw

1931 Mr E.O.J.M. baron van Hövell van Wezeveld en Westerflier, Baljuw, Voorzitter 1931-1936

1936 L.F.J.M. baron van Voorst tot Voorst, Baljuw, Voorzitter 1936-1939

1943 Z.T.J.F. baron van Dorth tot Medler, Baljuw, Voorzitter 1942-1953, Wnd Voorzitter 1939-1942

1946 Zijne eminentie dr J Kardinaal de Jong, Baljuw

1949 S.K.H. Prins Bernhard, Prins van Lippe Biesterfeld, Baljuw

1952 Mr E.H.J. baron van Voorst tot Voorst, Baljuw, Voorzitter 1953-1964

1952 Ir J.B.G.M. ridder de van der Schueren, Baljuw, Kanselier, Voorzitter 1964-1970

1953 Mr E.L.M.H. baron Speyart van Woerden, Coadjutor, Baljuw

1960 Zijne Eminentie dr B. Kardinaal Alfrink, Aartsbisschop, Baljuw, Grootkruis van Magistrale Gratie

1960 H.K.H. Beatrix, Prinses der Nederlanden, (>1980; H.M. de Koningin)

1970 Mr E.T.M. baron van Voorst tot Voorst, Baljuw, Voorzitter 1970-1992 (Proof Positive)

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