Saturday, October 22, 2016

Etiquette, Dignity and Position

Queen Wilhelmina — Although she is a warm-hearted woman, she is mindful of the dignity of her position.

Holland's Little Queen

Queen Wilhelmina of Holland never under any circumstances makes use of a closed carriage excepting at night. No matter whether it is cold or hot, whether it snows, rains or storms, she invariably drives about in an open equipage, in full view of her subjects, accustomed thereto from her infancy by her mother, who trained her in the most admirable manner for her mission as a constitutional sovereign.

She is usually accompanied by a lady-in-waiting as sole escort, and, although she is a warm-hearted woman, she is mindful of the dignity of her position. Thus the other day when she met an officer while out driving, who happened to be the brother of her lady-in-waiting, she returned his military salute with a most gracious smile and inclination of the head. But noticing that her companion had waved her hand in a familiar way to her brother, she frowned and exclaimed coldly: "I should be much obliged to you, my dear, if you would avoid these little family effusions when you have the honor to accompany me."

True, after she reached home, the Queen endeavored by every means in her power to atone for the chagrin to which she had subjected her attendant, and among other things, presented her with a handsome piece of jewelry. But the lady, while restored to favor, is not likely to forget the lesson which she has received or even to render herself again guilty of such a breach of etiquette. The Queen is jealous of her prerogatives, as she showed at the time of the trip to Europe of old President Kruger.

It was she alone to whom belonged the initiative of placing a Dutch man-of-war at his disposal for the journey, and when the Ministers, assembled in Cabinet council, ventured to question the policy of this move, pointing out to her that it might cause complications with foreign, powers notably with England, she exclaimed sharply: "The constitution invests me with the supreme command of the navy, as well as of the army, and, as far as they are concerned, my Ministers have no other duty than to insure the prompt execution of my orders." The Ministers looked at one another in dismay, offered no further objections and fulfilled her directions, with the result that the cruiser Gelderland was dispatched to Delagoa Bay to embark President Kruger and to bring him to Europe.

The young Queen, in addition to her private secretary's department, has organized a sort of private political chancellery, which is entrusted with the duty of making a brief explanatory report of every document submitted to her for signature. She absolutely declines to sign any paper unless she has a sort of "précis," containing the necessary information about the matter for which her sign manual is required. 

If the report appears to her to be inadequate, she asks for further data, and, if necessary, even summons Ministers or experts to her presence in order to obtain the fullest kind of explanation. Not only her Ministers, but likewise every official of the Dutch Government service knows this, and the result is that in the hope of avoiding all unnscessary detail every one endeavors to make the matter in question as clear and concise as possible. — The San Francisco Call, 1901

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