Queen Wilhelmina was twenty-one when she married Prince Henry on February 7, 1901. Three years previously she had been formally enthroned in the Nieuwe Kerk, Amsterdam, and took into her girlish hands the reins of government that her mother had held so well during the years of regency. Like the late Queen Victoria, however, who ascended the throne of England at the same age, Queen Wilhelmina has proved in every way a capable ruler. Indeed, she has astonished her Ministers at times by her ability to deal with the economic and political problems of her subjects. One of the earliest occasions on which her Majesty demonstrated her keen interest in the affairs of nations was at the meeting of the International Peace Congress at The Hague in 1899. She closely followed the debates, and took special interest. in. the work that had been done for the movement by women.
A Simple Queen
Her Majesty, however, prefers life at her delightful old-world palace, Het Loo, in Guelderland, to the Royal Palace at The Hague; and only once a year does she go to the great palace at Amsterdam to hold high state. It was at Het Loo that Queen Wilhelmina lived throughout her childhood with her parents, and many happy days has she spent in the vast park and woods attached to the palace. The Royal domain has been steadily enlarged by purchases of land since the Queen's majority, and the Prince takes a keen interest in fertilising these grounds, which, from being the poorest in the country, are now regarded as among the most prosperous.
At Het Loo, Queen Wilhelmina leads the simple life of an ordinary Dutch lady. She rides and drives with her husband, sketches and takes photographs, skates in the winter, rows in the summer, and turns her dairy to profitable account. This dairy is run on quite business-like lines by its owner, large quantities of butter and milk being sold regularly from the dairy, which is now self-supporting and profitable. The following is the Queen's approximate daily programme when in residence at Het Loo, according to a Hague historian.
Her Majesty rises at seven and takes breakfast at 8.30, the latter being a thoroughly modest meal, in which the "Geldersche Roggebrood," a homely, dark-coloured rye bread, figures largely. After breakfast the Queen withdraws immediately to her private study, where she attends to
State documents and business, and although, of course, she relies to a great extent upon the advice of her Ministers, it is characteristic of her that she refuses to put her signature to any-document until she has thoroughly mastered its contents. If time permits, after State business has been attended to, Queen Wilhelmina receives callers, and attends to domestic affairs; for she insists on superintending the management of each department of her household. Lunch is served at one o'clock, after which the Queen works at her desk until four, when it is her custom to go for a drive. Dinner is served punctually at seven. Like a true Hollander, her Majesty retires to rest at 10.30 every night.
Queen Wilhelmina, by the way, is a devoted church-goer,' and generally attends service in a small chapel at Apeldoorn, where she is not disturbed by the curiosity of the public, as in the big churches at Amsterdam or. The Hague. Her Majesty and her husband are also frequently seen in the Lutheran Church, where, in deference to Prince Henry's faith, she has rented a pew.
But although Queen Wilhelmina has many hobbies and occupations, she has confessed that they are all subservient to the wishes of Princess Juliana, whose upbringing her Majesty strictly supervises. She is being , brought up on the same simple lines which characterised the Queen's own childhood
Like our late Queen Victoria, Queen Wilhelmina has an absolute passion for fresh air. Except at night or when indisposed, she never drives in anything but an open carriage, and this whatever the weather conditions may be. Her ladies-in-waiting find this somewhat of a trial, for the climate of Holland is rigorous in the winter. And her Majesty is determined that Princess Juliana shall enjoy as much fresh air as possible, so as to get used to any changes of temperature, for, as she once remarked, she has experienced in her own person how-necessary it is for a sovereign to be able to drive out in wet or cold weather.
It is an interesting fact that a great part of the layette for the princess consisted of the Queen's own baby garments, while the little playhouse at Loo already referred to, where Queen Wilhelmina played with her dolls and learned to cook and make dresses, is still standing, and will in due course be adapted to the needs of the little girl who is the idol of her mother's subjects no. 8. The Queen or Roumania
(Carmen Sylva) By Sarah A. Tooley
Yet, Elizabeth has striven honestly to place the duties of her position first, even when to do so has meant the quelling of the voice of genius and the giving of her undivided thoughts and time to affairs of State. "I have often to remind myself," she once said, that I am first a wife, secondly the mother of my country, and lastly a poetess."
As a queen, she has accomplished important things for the romantic little country over which her husband was called to rule. Her love for its people,interest in its customs and traditions, and desire to make the kingdom happy, contented, and prosperous have been important factors in keeping Roumania loyal and peaceful, while in neighbouring kingdoms unrest, violence, and anarchy have been rampant.
The life of Elizabeth of Roumania is an admirable example of womanly influence devoted to noble ends in one of the highest positions to which a woman can be called. Her poems and writings have also reflected honour upon Roumania, for to many of us it is best known as the country of "Carmen Sylva" and the subject of some of her most beautiful poems. The music of her verse unavoidably loses by translation, but that patriotic little piece which Roumanian children learn to lisp almost from their cradles remains a beautiful word picture even when rendered into English. The introductory verse runs: