Friday, November 20, 2015

a German heir for the Netherlands?

November 20, 1905

Queen Wilhelmina's subjects have "abandoned all hope" that she will ever give birth to an heir, reports the Marquis de Fontenoy in her latest dispatch.  The Dutch government plans to revise the constitution to "permit a change in the laws of succession.

As the succession stands now,  should the queen died without issue, the throne will go to her cousin, the reigning Grand Duke Wilhelm Ernst of Saxe-Weimar-Eisenach, grandson of Princess Sophia of the Nethelrands, sister of the late Willem III.   The Dutch Consitution states that the Netherlands crown "cannot be born in conjunction with that of any other country save that of Luxembourg."  The Grand Duke would have to choose between Saxe-Weimar and the Netherlands.  He has already intimated that he would choose Saxe-Weimar.

The Grand Duke's aunt, Princess Marie  Alexandrine of Saxe-Weimar is second in line to the throne, and is the daughter of the late Princess Sophia of the Netherlands.  She is married to Prince Heinrich VII Reuss.

Princess Marie is an elderly woman, and the Dutch are now proposing that her eldest son, Prince Heinrich XXXLL, currently serving in the Prussian army, should be named as the Prince of Orange, and move to the Netherlands and "become identified with the Dutch people."   The government has also proposed that the Constitution should be changed to allow the Dutch to elected "whomever they liked as the future king."

A majority of the Dutch are said to be in favor of the latter plan, but there are worries that Kaiser Wilhelm II may have something to say about it if the rights of Prince Heinrich are "set aside" by the Dutch people.

Queen Wilhelmina is 24 years old.  She has been married to Prince Hendrik (ne Prince Heinrich of Mecklenburg-Schwerin since February 1901.  She has suffered at least one miscarriage, and on May 4, 1902, she gave birth to a stillborn son.


Michelle said...

Marlene, i have a question about succession. not in any particular country, just in general. in theory, what would be the course of action taken if a married but childless monarch were to die, and it was unknown whether or not the wife was pregnant? for example, if William had been king before Catherine had George, and he died, would Harry have been proclaimed immediately as king, or would they have waited until it was known for certain if Catherine was pregnant? these days they only would've had to wait a couple of weeks at the very most, but if i recall correctly, the proclamation of the next monarch is fairly immediate. (not the coronation, just when they're proclaimed officially.) back in the days when it would not be certain for months whether or not a woman was pregnant, did they ever wait, or did they just proclaim it immediately? do you know of any cases where a new monarch was proclaimed, only for the wife to become aware she was pregnant after the fact?

it just makes me wonder what would happen if a wife was presumed not to be pregnant, only to find out later that she was. do we have any idea or precedent what the child's rights would be, if any?

Marlene Eilers Koenig said...

When King Alfonso XII died in 1885, he left a pregnant widow and 2 daughters, the eldest of whom was the Princess of Asturias as she was heiress presumptive. Merecedes could not be named as queen until her mother gave birth. If the third child was a girl, Mercedes would become queen of Spain, but if the third child was a boy, he would succeed posthumously. The third child was Alfonso XIII. I think it would depend on the age of Catherine if she would be asked if she were pregnant but if she were, the child in the womb would be born sovereign

M said...

Um I think you need to check your work. The last part says May 4 1902. If Queen Wilhelmina is only 24, and you posted this on Friday November 20 2015, how does that work?! I think you meant 2002. If not, I am VERY confused. Thank you!

Marlene Eilers Koenig said...

M, you are very confused. Look at the date at the top of story. November 20, 1905. Most of royal musings are historical posts.

Omer Haider said...

I read in a biography of Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother that in 1952 when George VI died even though she was 50 and had her last child 21 years before, she was formally asked if she was pregnant or not. Because if she was pregnant a boy would supercede his older sister in line of succession!!