THE NETHERLANDS: Long Live the Queen!

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Queen Wilhelmina was tired. For 49 years, ever since she was a girl of 18 (whom Playwright Edmond Rostand once described as "the little lily queen who rules over the kingdom of tulips"), she had worn the crown—or the somewhat knockabout hats which she preferred.

Like a competent mother, sometimes scolding, sometimes inspired, always devoted, she had kept her national family together through two world wars and a grueling Nazi occupation. In days when many European monarchs reigned only over exiled courts in bleak hotel suites, Wilhelmina kept her throne and the respect of her subjects.

Last week, with her country losing its grip on a large part of its overseas empire, Queen Wilhelmina announced that, "for reasons of health," she would "temporarily" transfer the business of ruling to her strapping daughter, Princess Juliana (mother of four strapping little Princesses). To her shocked people, Her Majesty's first minister announced that there was nothing serious to worry about; the Queen, with all "the heavy burdens weighing . . . on her," was just tired.