Netherlands, Queen Wilhelmina. Silver 25 Cents Coin.
Denomination: 25 Cents
Mint Place: Utrecht (privy marks: halberd / caduceus)
Material: Silver (.640)
Obverse: Young (thin) bust of Queen Wilhelmina left.
Legend: WILHELMINA KONIGIN DER NEDERLANDEN *
Reverse: Denomination (25 CENTS) above date (1897.) and privy marks of the Utrecht mint. All within wreath.
Wilhelmina (Wilhelmina Helena Pauline Maria; 31 August 1880 – 28 November 1962) was queen regnant of the Kingdom of the Netherlands from 1890 to 1948. She ruled the Netherlands for fifty-eight years, longer than any other Dutch monarch. Her reign saw World War I and World War II, the Great Crisis of 1933, and the decline of the Netherlands as a major colonial empire. Outside the Netherlands she is primarily remembered for her role in the Second World War, in which she proved to be a great inspiration to the Dutch resistance, as well as a prominent leader of the Dutch government in exile.
Tactful, and careful to operate within the limitations of what was expected by the Dutch people and their elected representatives, the strong-willed Wilhelmina became a forceful personality who spoke and acted her mind. These qualities showed up early on in her reign when, at the age of 20, Queen Wilhelmina ordered a Dutch warship to South Africa to rescue Paul Kruger, the embattled President of the Transvaal. For this, Wilhelmina gained international stature and earned the respect and admiration of people all over the world.
Wilhelmina had a stern dislike of the United Kingdom, which had annexed the republics of Transvaal and Orange Free State in the Boer War. The Boers were descendants of early Dutch colonists, to whom Wilhelmina felt very closely linked. Nevertheless, in 1940, King George VI sent her a warship to pick her up, her family and Government. A warship, HMS Hereward, was sent to her rescue and brought her to safety in the UK, which generously offered facilities to her and her Government, including broadcasting time on the BBC to the Netherlands. This may have ameliorated her earlier stern dislike of the UK.
Queen Wilhelmina also had a keen understanding of business matters and her investments made her the world’s richest woman, a title retained by her daughter and granddaughter, Beatrix. The Dutch Royal Family is still reputed to be the single largest shareholder of Royal Dutch Shell.
Prior to the outbreak of the First World War, a young Wilhelmina visited the powerful Kaiser Wilhelm II of Germany, who boasted to the Queen of a relatively small country, "my guards are seven feet tall and yours are only shoulder-high to them". Wilhelmina smiled politely and replied, "Quite true, Your Majesty, your guards are seven feet tall. But when we open our dikes, the water is ten feet deep!"