SEPTEMBER 7, 1948
HYDE PARK, Sunday—Those of us in the United States who are of Dutch descent always take a special interest, I think, in events in the Netherlands because of our ties with that nation. For this reason I have with great interest watched the preparations which Queen Wilhelmina made for turning over the government to her daughter. She herself was carefully trained for the responsibilities which she took over from her mother. It was her mother who began the great interest in the nation's health and did so much to eliminate tuberculosis in Holland. In this way I think, there has been a tradition in the royal family to take a human interest in the people which made the rulers an integral part of the people themselves.
Queen Wilhelmina belonged to her people and showed it in the way in which she conducted herself as a queen. I have heard her say a number of times: "Mine is a constitutional monarchy. I must constantly remember to examine every question from the point of view of our constitution, and I must consult with my ministers."
In her turn, Queen Wilhelmina trained her own daughter, Princess Juliana, who has been carefully reared for her new responsibilities. Queen Wilhelmina reigned for 50 years. That is a long time to carry the heavy responsibilities of state. She has been mindful of the fact that changes were needed in the world. If her plans are carried through, as I am sure they will be, there will come a day when self-governing territories will be an actual part, through federation, of the Dutch government, and the Indonesian problem will be solved.
As an individual, the new Queen Juliana has great dignity, but also great simplicity. As queen, I am sure she will have the dignity of royalty, yet never lose the touch she has had with people of every kind in her own land and in countries overseas.
The ruler of a nation works very hard. It is easy to understand that Queen Wilhelmina is tired and I can well imagine the mixture of relief and regret with which she attended the ceremonies that have taken place in Holland during these last days. She was letting a burden slide off her shoulders. At the same time, you cannot divorce yourself from the love of your country and the sense of responsibility you have had for it during so many years. There is surely a regret at not being able to go on, and yet it shows great wisdom to give up at a time when one is at the peak of one's abilities and not wait until they begin to deteriorate.
All of us in this country, particularly those of us who have Dutch blood, will wish the Queen, at the end of her 50-year reign, content and satisfaction in a job well done.