August 31, 1898
Queen Wilhelmina of the Netherlands reached her majority today. The eighteen-year old Queen, who was born on August 31, 1880, issued a proclamation this morning to the people of the Netherlands, reports the New York Times.
"On this day, so important to you and I me, I desire before all else to say a word of warm gratitude. From my tenderest years you have surrounded me with your love. From all parts of the kingdom, from all classes of society, young and old, I have always received striking proofs of attachment. After the death of my venerated father all your attachment to the dynasty was transferred to me. On this day I am ready to accept the splendid though weighty task whereto I have been called, and I feel myself supported by your fidelity. Receive my thanks. My experience hitherto as left ineffaceable impressions and is an earnest of the future. My dearly loved mother, to whom I am immensely indebted, set me an example by her noble and exalted conception of the duties which henceforth will devolve upon me. The aim of my life will be to follow her example and to govern in the manner expected of a Princess of the House of Orange. True to the Constitution, I desire to strengthen the respect for the name and flag of the Netherlands.
"As sovereign of possessions and colonies East and West, I desire to observe justice and to contribute, so gar as in me lies, to the increasing intellectual and material welfare of my whole people. I hope and expect that the support of all, in whatever sphere of official or social activity you may be placed, within the kingdom or without, will never be wanting.
"Trusting in God and with a prayer that He give me strength, I accept the Government.
There were solemn thanksgiving services throughout the Netherlands to honor the occasion of Queen Wilhelmina's coming of age.
Queen Wilhelmina, accompanied by her mother, Queen Mother Emma, attended divine services in the great church this morning. The Grand Duke of Saxe-Weimar=Eisenach, the Grand Duchess of Mecklenburg, the Prince and Princess of Wied, along with the Diplomatic Corps, civil and military authorities, and 4,000 others were present.
Wilhelmina was only ten years old when her father died in 1890. Her mother, the former Princess Emma of Waldeck und Pyrmont, acted as regent for young Wilhelmina until today.