Thursday, May 15, 2014

A Good Wife And Mother Does Make A Difference!

Some time ago I wrote a post about Princess Wilhelmina:

Today I found more information about her by the same author. Wilhelmina came out of the House of Hohenzollers and she was born in 1751. Her mother didn't care much about her and left her at the mercy of a cruel governess who would often punish the child strictly and even beat her. Luckily when the little princess became older, she got a better governess who became her friend and later helped Wilhelmina to raise her own children.

The princess was a serious, strong-willed girl whose uncle Frederik The Great described her as a person of bright intelligence and soft manners, who is far from all the intrigues. At the age of 16 she was married to a man she had seen for the first time three days before and had to leave Germany for the Netherlands. Her first pregnancy evidently ended in miscarriage, but after three years she finally became a mother of a little girl whom she called Louise, and later gave birth to two sons, Willem and Frederik.

As Wilhelmina herself had been very unhappy in her childhood years, she wanted to be the best mother possible and spent a lot of time with her children. She encouraged friendship between them so that they wouldn't suffer from loneliness. Wilhelmina was determined to raise her children herself, unlike many other women of her social position in those times. She found the education of Louise just as important as that of her brothers, so that they had most of their lessons together.

However, the princess also had her wifely duties to see to. Wilhelmina married with an idea that happiness in marriage depended on the behaviour of the wife. One of her responsibilities was to entertain guests among whom were foreign ambassadors and she gained a reputation of a brilliant hostess. The house she and her husband had to live in, was much smaller than the palace where she had grown up, in fact, they only had 5 rooms. Yet the princess decorated her apartment with much taste and she and her ladies-in-waiting spent hours embroidering the curtains for the reception hall.

Wilhemina's husband, Willem V, had a character too soft for a politician, especially in those times. He was afraid to hurt the feeling of others, while on the other hand, he could be very stubborn about his own privileges, which led to the discontent among those he ruled. The princess saw it all and tried to help her husband with her advice, which led to the necessity for her to learn more about the affairs of the state and that, in its turn, prevented her from spending as much time with her children as she wished to.

Wilhelmina had high criteria for the education of her sons and she gave detailed instructions to their tutors on their moral development. The crown prince, for instance, had to learn to distinguish between good and evil in every situation. He had to learn to distrust himself and to supress his emotions. He had to be modest and to beware of those who lavished him with compliments. He had to always speak the truth and to avoid political lies as much as possible.

Wilhelmina didn't allow her children to be idle and taught them to use their time wisely, but on the other hand, she was always kind to her children and her daughter Louise when she grew older, wrote that few princesses were so happy in the childhood as herself.

It's noteworthy, that according to the article, some of the principles Wilhelmina taught to her children, were against the fashion of that age, which dictated that people would make a show of their feelings in public, and even her husband could weep loudly when the ocasion demanded it, yet the princess abhorred such sentimentality and tried to teach both her sons and her daughter self-control. When the children became older, Wilhelmina found them suitable marriage partners.

The lady who wrote the original series of articles, pointed out that Princess Wilhelmina excercised a lot of influence on the lives of her husband and children and even the affairs of the country, yet as we see, this influence was rather indirect and chiefly consisted of her being a good wife, who was always ready to share in her husband's concerns and give him a good advice, and even more so, a good mother "whose life and actions were determined by her care of the future of her children."

In every time and age, a good wife and mother can make a lot of difference!

1 comment:

  1. I just was thinking, imagine if the mothers of our modern politicians had taught them not to lie...:)