Emma of Waldeck and Pyrmont

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Emma of Waldeck and Pyrmont
Emma of Waldeck and Pyrmont.jpg
Emma as queen mother
Queen consort of the Netherlands
Grand Duchess consort of Luxembourg
Tenure7 January 1879 – 23 November 1890
Born(1858-08-02)2 August 1858
Arolsen Castle, Arolsen, Waldeck and Pyrmont, German Confederation
Died20 March 1934(1934-03-20) (aged 75)
Lange Voorhout Palace, The Hague, Netherlands
Nieuwe Kerk, Delft, Netherlands
William III of the Netherlands
(m. 1879; died 1890)
IssueWilhelmina of the Netherlands
Full name
Adelheid Emma Wilhelmina Theresia
HouseWaldeck and Pyrmont
FatherGeorge Victor, Prince of Waldeck and Pyrmont
MotherPrincess Helena of Nassau

Emma of Waldeck and Pyrmont (Adelheid Emma Wilhelmina Theresia; 2 August 1858 – 20 March 1934) was Queen consort of the Netherlands and Grand Duchess consort of Luxembourg by marriage to King-Grand Duke William III. An immensely popular member of the Dutch Royal Family, Queen Emma served as regent for her daughter, Queen Wilhelmina, during the latter's minority from 1890 until 1898.

Early life[edit]

Emma was born a princess of Waldeck and Pyrmont on 2 August 1858 in Arolsen Castle in Arolsen, the capital of the small German principality of Waldeck and Pyrmont. She was the fourth daughter of Georg Viktor, Prince of Waldeck and Pyrmont, and Princess Helena of Nassau. Her brother, Friedrich, was the last reigning prince of Waldeck and Pyrmont. Her sister, Helena, was the wife of Prince Leopold, Duke of Albany, a son of Queen Victoria.

Her maternal grandfather was William, Duke of Nassau, a grandson of Princess Carolina of Orange-Nassau, through which she inherited a place in the line of succession to the Dutch Crown until 1887.

Emma had a religious education from a very liberal minded pastor. With her English governess, Emma studied crafts, drawing, and French literature.[citation needed]


Emma and Wilhelmina in 1890

Princess Emma married the elderly King William III in Arolsen on 7 January 1879, two years after the death of his first wife, Sophie of Württemberg.[1][2]

With William, Emma had her only child, the future Queen Wilhelmina, on 31 August 1880. The king also had three sons from his first marriage, William, Maurice, and Alexander, all of whom died before him without any legitimate offspring.[1]


Three days before William died on 23 November 1890, Emma became regent for her incapacitated husband. She continued her regency into the reign of his successor, their underage daughter, Wilhelmina, until Wilhelmina's eighteenth birthday on 31 August 1898. The Grand Duchy of Luxembourg, the crown of which according to the House-Treaty should not be inherited by a woman, passed to Adolf, Duke of Nassau, who happened to be Queen Emma's maternal uncle.

Emma took her position of regent seriously. She met personally with every government minister at least once every two weeks and strictly adhered to the rules of the constitutional monarchy. In addition to her administrative duties, Emma paid great attention to the education of her daughter. When Wilhelmina reached the age of 16, Emma considered her childhood over and Wilhelmina spent the next two years being prepped for her job as a reigning queen.

The queen mother died in The Hague on 20 March 1934, of complications from bronchitis at the age of 75, and was buried in Delft.

Titles styles and arms[edit]

Coat of arms of Queen Emma
  • 2 August 1858 – 7 January 1879: Her Serene Highness Princess Emma of Waldeck and Pyrmont[3]
  • 7 January 1879 – 23 November 1890: Her Majesty the Queen of the Netherlands[3]
  • 23 November 1890 – 20 March 1934: Her Majesty the Queen Dowager of the Netherlands[3]




  1. ^ a b George Edmundson, History of Holland (2013), p. 421
  2. ^ David Williamson, Debrett's Kings and Queens of Europe (1988), p. 101
  3. ^ a b c d e f [1] (Parlement.nl)

External links[edit]

Emma of Waldeck and Pyrmont
Cadet branch of the House of Waldeck
Born: 2 August 1858 Died: 20 March 1934
Royal titles
Title last held by
Sophie of Württemberg
Queen consort of the Netherlands
Title next held by
Henry of Mecklenburg-Schwerin
as prince consort
Grand Duchess consort of Luxembourg
Succeeded by
Adelheid-Marie of Anhalt-Dessau