Strained encounters
Royal Indonesian visits to the Dutch court in the early twentieth century
in Royals on tour
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This chapter examines the assumption from the perspective of both Dutch and Indonesian royal courts. It argues that Queen Wilhelmina presided over her country's colonial possessions in absentia, without ever gracing the East Indies, West Indies or Suriname with a personal tour for the duration of her half-century reign, such an examination is long overdue. Indeed, the only direct encounters between the Dutch monarch and Indonesian royals happened in the Netherlands, at her court. The chapter shows how such meetings were represented in Dutch print media and how they were privately assessed by the Dutch court. It also shows how Indonesian royals negotiated their own status as aristocrats during these encounters, by conforming in person but asserting some agency in the gifts they presented to the queen and her household. The opportunities and costs of encounters between Dutch and Indonesian royals were complex and required careful negotiation for both sides.

Royals on tour

Politics, Pageantry and Colonialism

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