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 of Luxembourg
Tenure 7 January 1879 – 23 November 1890
Born (1858-08-02)2 August 1858
Arolsen Castle, Arolsen, Waldeck and Pyrmont, German Confederation
Died 20 March 1934(1934-03-20) (aged 75)
Lange Voorhout Palace, The Hague, Netherlands
Burial Nieuwe Kerk, Delft, Netherlands
Spouse William III of the Netherlands
Issue Wilhelmina of the Netherlands
Full name
Adelheid Emma Wilhelmina Theresia
House Waldeck and Pyrmont
Father George Victor, Prince of Waldeck and Pyrmont
Mother Princess Helena of Nassau

Princess Emma of Waldeck and Pyrmont (2 August 1858 – 20 March 1934) was Queen of the Netherlands and Grand Duchess of Luxembourg as the wife of King-Grand Duke William III. An immensely popular member of the Dutch Royal Family, she also served as regent for her daughter, Queen Wilhelmina, during the latter's minority.


Emma at 12 years old (1870)

Emma was born as Adelheid Emma Wilhelmina Theresia, 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 Frederica, would become the wife of Prince Leopold, Duke of Albany, a son of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert.

Her maternal grandparents were William, Duke of Nassau, a grandson of princess Carolina of Orange-Nassau who was the daughter of William IV, Prince of Orange, Stadtholder of the Netherlands, and Anne, Princess Royal of Great-Britain, and his second wife, Princess Pauline of Württemberg. Pauline was a daughter of Prince Paul of Württemberg and his wife Charlotte of Saxe-Hildburghausen.

Paul was a son of Frederick I of Württemberg and his wife, Duchess Augusta of Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel. Augusta was the eldest daughter of Karl Wilhelm Ferdinand, Duke of Brunswick-Luneburg and Princess Augusta of Great Britain, elder sister of George III of the United Kingdom.


William III and Queen Emma

Emma married the elderly King William III in Arolsen on 7 January 1879, two years after the death of his first wife, Princess Sophie of Württemberg. The aging, licentious King, once described as "the greatest debauchee of the age", is supposed to have beenpreviously been rejected by Princess Thyra of Denmark, who had more interest in his youngest son. Emma's elder sister Pauline was the kings obvious first target, but Emma was the one who stepped in with the words: "I wouldn't mind becoming Queen of The Netherlands!"

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.

Portrait of Queen Emma (1918) by Jan Veth


Three days before William died on 23 November 1890, Emma became regent for her husband. She continued as regent for the new monarch, her underage daughter, Wilhelmina, the late King's only surviving child until Wilhelmina's eighteenth birthday on 31 August 1898. The Grand Duchy of Luxembourg, which could not be inherited by a woman at that time, passed to their distant cousin Adolf, Duke of Nassau who was also Queen Emma's maternal uncle.

She was the 812th Dame of the Royal Order of Queen Maria Luisa.

She 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[1]
  • 7 January 1879 – 23 November 1890: Her Majesty The Queen, Grand Duchess of Luxembourg[1]
  • 23 November 1890 – 20 March 1934: Her Majesty Queen Emma, Dowager Grand Duchess of Luxembourg[1][2]




  1. ^ a b c d e f (Dutch) H.M. (koningin Emma) koningin Adelheid Emma Wilhelmina Theresia, prinses van Waldeck en Pyrmont, Parlement & Politiek. Retrieved on 25 January 2015.
  2. ^ Koningin Emma (1858–1934) (Dutch Royal House)

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