Europe

Queen’s ‘disgust’ at Dutch Queen Wilhelmina abdicating due to health after 57-year reign

Queen is 'unlikely to abdicate' says Sacerdoti

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Queen Elizabeth II, 95, marked the 70th anniversary of her accession to the throne at the weekend. The occasion is one of mixed emotions for the monarch, as the historic milestone also marks the death of her father, King George VI in 1952. Her Majesty appeared in good spirits though as she cut a cake the day before her Platinum Jubilee. The monarch kicked off the celebrations for her 70-year reign, which will culminate in a four-day bank holiday weekend in June.

In a speech to mark her accession, the Queen said she wants Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall to be known as Queen Consort when her son Prince Charles becomes King.

Her Majesty’s backing for her daughter-in-law ends years of speculation over Camilla’s future title, with reports previously suggesting she may have been known as “Princess Consort”.

As the Queen celebrates 70 years on the throne, questions have also been raised over whether she will abdicate the throne to Charles.

Many commentators have suggested that such an outcome is unlikely, with the monarch understood to be against abdication because of the holy commitment she made during her coronation.

In a sign of the Queen’s thoughts on abdication, she was said to have reacted with “disgust” when Queen Wilhelmina of the Netherlands gave up the throne on September 4, 1948, due to her poor health.

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Wilhelmina had reigned for 57 years when she abdicated and retired to her palace, Het Loo, near Apeldoorn.

Queen Elizabeth’s reaction to the abdication was recalled by her former lady-in-waiting Lady Pamela Hicks in 2020 on “The India Hicks Podcast”, which she presents with her daughter.

Lady Pamela said: “Queen Wilhelmina had abdicated, much to our Queen’s disgust.

“Because, if you have a coronation, it is a holy religious ceremony. You can’t abdicate from it.

“Anyway, Queen Wilhelmina firmly abdicated, and Queen Juliana took over.”

As her health declined Queen Wilhelmina temporarily ceded royal duties to her daughter Juliana from October 1947.

During this period, she mulled whether to give up the throne, but postponed her abdication until the following year to guarantee the stability of the Netherlands.

Amid the Dutch Queen’s absence from public life, Princess Juliana and Prince Bernhard of the Netherlands were invited as guests at the wedding of Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip in November 1947.

Juliana made quite an impression on Lady Pamela, who is Philip’s cousin, and was one of the Queen’s eight bridesmaids.

Lady Pamela said: “When Queen Juliana came to the evening ball reception at Buckingham Palace, she remarked on the fact that everybody’s jewellery was so dirty.”

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India added: “Because it had been put in safes for so long during the war.”

Lady Pamela gave a further insight into the Queen’s thoughts on abdication last week during a panel discussion to mark her Platinum Jubilee.

During the “70 Years of Duty and Friendship” event, Lady Pamela was asked by India about the Queen giving up the throne.

She said: “She will never abdicate. Queen Wilhelmina of the Netherlands abdicated to her daughter [in 1948].

“But the Queen was shocked by the idea because she never can, because she has been anointed and takes her religion very seriously.”

During her coronation the Queen swore an oath to uphold the Church and was anointed with holy oil in a moment that was hidden from the TV cameras because it is so sacred.

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