Wedding of Queen Wilhelmina of the Netherlands and Duke Henry of Mecklenburg-Schwerin, 1901

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The Wedding of Queen Wilhelmina of the Netherlands (wearing the Stuart Tiara) and Duke Henry of Mecklenburg-Schwerin in a civil ceremony at the Palace of Justice followed by a religious ceremony at the Grote of Sint-Jacobskerk in The Hague on this day in 1901. The occasion was described in the press:

The ceremonies were the same simple and unritualistic rites of the Reformed Church by which the humblest of Queen Wilhelmina’s subjects are married. The whole spirit of the affair was plain and democratic, although costly gowns and jewels and showy uniforms furnished a regal stage setting. At the church the venerable pastor administered to the bride and bridegroom a caution that their high positions would not shield them from the common sufferings and sorrows of humanity.

The weather was crisp, sunny, and inspiriting. The city bore its most festal appearance. Vast crowds were in the streets early, and trains poured in thousands from all parts of the country. The route of the royal procession to the Groote Kerk was decorated with large baskets of green plants, lightened by orange blossoms and white roses, tied in large white knots. Thousands of Dutch flags hung across the streets.

The stands, the windows, and the roofs along the line of the route to the Groote Kerk were thronged with people. A big majority of the visitors were country folk, all prosperous and happy looking, many wearing the gala costumes which their ancestors, for several generations, employed for like holidays.

The procession, as a spectacle, was not noteworthy. Fifty Dutch Hussars rode ahead, then came a handful of Court officials, with the Grand Master of Ceremonies on horseback, then a gilt coach with the Queen and Duke Henry. Their mothers’ coach came after it, and then the chief military officials of the palace, the Governor of the city, two Adjutants on horseback, and lastly, a group of fifty mounted artillerymen.

At n o’clock the marriage party emerged from the Palace to proceed to the Palace of Justice. Their appearance was announced by a cheer which was heard for squares away. Queen Wilhelmina passed down the steps on the arm of the uniformed Duke, with her great, white wedding dress sweeping behind her, and the Queen Mother, in purple, and the Grand Duchess Maria and half a dozen ladies of the Court followed in groups. The Generals and Admirals, fairly gleaming with gold lace and medals, standing at a salute on both sides, made the whole a truly regal picture.

The ponderous gilded coach presented by the people of Amsterdam was drawn by eight horses, gaily decorated with orange colors. In the White Hall of the Palace of Justice six high officials waited, as witnesses. They, with the Minister of Justice, Dr. Van der Linden, were the only persons besides the Queen Mother and the Grand Duchess Maria and two or three clerks, who saw the signing of the contract. The six witnesses were the Speakers of the two Houses of Parliament, the Adjutant General, Van Bergambacht; the Grand Chamberlain, General Count du Monceau; the Vice-President of the Council of State, Mynheer Van Schorer, and the Chief Justice.

The ceremony was very brief. The bride and bridegroom, the Queen Mother and the mother of the bridegroom, and the witnesses, inscribed their names upon the official document. The Minister of Justice first asked the mothers, according to the usual form, if they had any objection to the marriage, and they answered in the negative, amid general smiling. Immediately after the civil ceremony the procession started for the church.

Luncheon was given in the palace after the church ceremony, the two families, the Ministers of State, and the witnesses attending. The tables were loaded with State plate, gold and silver, and beautifully decorated with white flowers. The Queen Mother toasted the young couple and Prince Heinrich responded. The Queen and Prince Consort arrived at the railway station with a party of guests at four o’clock in the afternoon and boarded a special train waiting there to take them to Loo Palace.

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