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For 36 years that motherly monarch, Queen Wilhelmina Helena Pauline Maria, has driven in a gilded coach under the tree-lined streets of The Hague to open her Parliament. Last week for the first time in 33 of those years she did not have the comfortable figure of the Prince Consort, Henry, Duke of Mecklenburg, beside her.

Dressed all in white mourning, she scarcely looked up as her loyal subjects tingled their bicycle bells on the sidewalk and roared the old Dutch cheer: "Orange Boven! Orange Boven! Orange up!" Ten automobile loads of Dutch Communists tried to cut into the royal procession and were beaten back by helmeted Hague policemen. Her Majesty ignored them as her coach rolled past the moat into the medieval Binnenhof, seat of the States-General.

Never one to dodge an unpleasant fact is Queen Wilhelmina, whose speeches from the throne have sounded a descending scale of pessimism ever since 1930. While other countries have cut their debts by the simple device of inflating currency. Holland sticks tenaciously to its gold florin. Both in Amsterdam and Rotterdam rifles have cracked this summer as Dutch unemployed rioted against cutting their dole to an average of $6 per unemployed family per week. Thus spoke the Queen:

"Even more strongly than a year ago the country is gripped by the moral and economic confusion from which the world is suffering. Despite the economic morass in which the country finds itself, additional taxation is impossible. Therefore expenditures must be still further reduced. . . . Results of our commercial treaties during the past year have not been entirely satisfactory. Since further prospects in this regard are worse rather than better, increasing attention must be paid to the development of home markets."

Home markets meant not merely 8,000,000 Dutchmen, but 60,000,000 brown men living in the Netherlands Indies. How her subjects, white or brown, are to consume more of their own oil, sugar, rubber, quinine and coffee, the Queen did not say. But she made clear that she is taking no chances with the policing of her distant empire.* Said she:

"It must be recognized that almost everywhere the tendency to increasing armaments has been revived."

Every Deputy, standing politely to hear the speech, knew that the Government was preparing to balance the 1935 budget by painful slices of 93,000,000 guilders ($63,000,000) in expenditures, but even so Holland was ready to spend $8,240,000 for new ships for the East Indian Navy. A few would not stay silent. No sooner had Queen Wilhelmina sunk back on her plush throne than three Communist Deputies rose before their horrified colleagues to shout objections. Hustled from the room, they were promptly arrested.

Back to her comfortable little Huis Ten Bosch ("House in the Woods") drove gloomy Queen Wilhelmina, having made no mention of the one bit of news all Holland is waiting for: the engagement of apple-cheeked Crown Princess Juliana to Prince Bertil, third son of Sweden's Crown Prince.

* Patrician burghers still blush painfully at mention of the shocking events of last year, when the native crew of Holland's biggest battleship, DC Zevcn Provincien, waited until the commander and most of the officers were ashore, mutinied, and seized the ship (TIME, Feb. 20, 1933).

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