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NETHERLANDS: Celebration Continued

2 minute read

Last week, for the first time since the War, Dutch frontier guards allowed Germans to enter the Netherlands without having their passports visaed. A few hours after this regulation went into force Friedrich Wilhelm Victor August Ernst, onetime Crown Prince of Germany, crossed the Dutch frontier and was met at Amersfoort by his uncle, the former Prince Henry of Prussia, that jovial “Sailor Prince” who visited the U.S. in 1902 to officiate at the launching of the Kaiser’s U.S.-built yacht. Swiftly the aged uncle and the now perceptibly aging nephew sped to Doorn.

There the celebration of Wilhelm II’s 67th birthday (TIME, Feb. 8) was still under way. The former Kaiser embraced his son, whom he had not seen for two years, “with tears in his eyes.” The one-time Crown Prince “displayed his usual gayety.” Later, Wilhelm’s consort, Hermine, donned “a striking pink and black silk gown and a diamond tiara.” Thus attired, she welcomed Herr Mendelssohn, her husband’s chief banker, and many a titled Dutch and German guest to “a grand reception, at which all present were gay.”

With his “usual gayety” thus doubly fortified, the former Crown Prince early the next morning attired himself in conspicuous English tweeds, went shopping in the village of Doorn, posed amiably for photographers. Returning to his father’s chateau, he personally took the wheel of a large touring car, into the tonneau of which climbed Wilhelm and Prince Henry. A limousine driven by the former Prince of Hesse drew up and was entered by the Princess of Hesse (the former Kaiser’s sister Margaret) and Hermine.

As this “formerly royal” cavalcade roared down the drive and disappeared through the lodge gate, correspondents followed eagerly, prayed to the gods of journalism that Der Reise-Kaiser* might be going to polish off his birthday by returning to Germany. They were disappointed. After driving about the Dutch countryside at a nigh rate of speed for some time, the Hohenzollerns and the correspondents returned to Doorn.

*Literally “the Route-Kaiser,” a nickname bestowed upon him by his former subjects in the days when his private train probably covered more kilometers a year than that of any other monarch.

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