Salutations from a Dutch queen’s supporters in a British South Africa
In 1910 the Union of South Africa became a British Dominion. However, rather than proclaim loyalty to the British monarch –the titular head of the British empire – some South Africans, notably those who identified as Afrikaners or Netherlanders, professed loyalty to the monarch of a rival empire, the Dutch Queen Wilhelmina. This chapter examines oorkonden (decorative letters) sent to Wilhelmina from her supporters in South Africa throughout her reign (1898–1948). The letters provide new evidence of how links with a Dutch colonial past that pre-dated British colonisation were revived by a white community reeling from defeat in the South African War (1899–1902), who continued to contest certain modes of their integration into a British imperium. The letters also suggest the particular appeal of a female king to Afrikaner women in a nascent women’s movement. Finally, the letters reveal the persistence of a notional ‘Dutch world’ that exceeded the bounds of the Netherlands’ formal empire in the early twentieth century.
Royal Indonesian visits to the Dutch court in the early twentieth century
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.