Queen Wilhelmina (1880-1962)


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Wilhelmina suffered through a lot of miscarriages, though if they were caused by STD's, I don't know.
Naturally caused abortions/miscarriages can hurt like hell too, though. So any screams of pain does not mean the pregnancy was actively aborted.

I don't know if Hendrik was as unfaithful at the beginning as he was later, when he felt like a totally marginalized person. Surely if he were responsible for her miscarriages her doctors (and probably a counselor of state) would have told him to knock it off? He wasn't a malicious man and I don't doubt he wanted Wilhelmina to have a child just as much as she did.
 
Wsan't it rumoured that the Prince had numerous illegitimate children and mistresses?
 
Wsan't it rumoured that the Prince had numerous illegitimate children and mistresses?

Not just rumoured...said,and known...before his marriage too..a concoction between Emma and Marie Schwarzburg Rudolstadt,Hendrik´s mother. which they later said to regret.

Hendrik was good at charming whomever took his attention...in one way or another,and thus sired some offspring here and there,but to avoid that process he sometimes took to same sex affairs as well...would have been too costly otherwise...:whistling:

And then to think Wilhelmina knew about it all,and payed off large sums to hush Hendriks affairs...I would have kicked his grandducal a±±± out of the palace..

But that ofcourse,was not done,not at that time.And prudent Mama Emma was against it too...Not that she was short on attention....at all...A merry widow avant la lettre...Long time ago,all passed.And nothing but good about those who passed is the saying.Just wished for Wilhelmina to have had a happyer life.
 
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Althought he marriage was a love match from Wilhelmina's side it is not clear if it was the same for Hendrik. He was nodded to her by his family. I imagine pressure was put on him to make this prestigious marriage.

He was the first prince consort and it must have been difficult for him. He did not really have a role. He did not have a say about anything (Wilhelmina closed the Palace kitchen when she was out of town, forcing Hendrik to eat out). With nothing to do and nothing to say he started to distract himself. Not a good thing of course but perhaps understandable up to a certain point. He once described himself as being 'only luggage', a sad character. A pity that no biography has ever been written about him - as opposed to the piles of books on his jolly 'successor'.

Later in life they started to understand each other more and found understanding in a shared interest in the occult (soefism IIRC?). He was a great father to Juliana, who always remained very fond of him.

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A man named Pim Lier claimed to be the son of Prince Hendrik. Lier was born in 1918. His mother Mien Abbo-Wenneker was a mistress of Hendrik.

Prinsara said:
Isn't it the other way around? A miscarriage can be very painful; a properly-performed abortion is not supposed to be. However if Wilhelmina was extremely sick she may have been in pain whatever happened.

I would think so too. But this is what was argumented. I imagine the methods of abortion were different back in those days compared to now? Considering these methods I imagine a big risk would have been to make the Queen unable to have any other children but that is a risk they took, if the hypothesis is to be believed.
 
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He was the first prince consort and it must have been difficult for him. He did not really have a role. He did not have a say about anything (Wilhelmina closed the Palace kitchen when she was out of town, forcing Hendrik to eat out). With nothing to do and nothing to say he started to distract himself. Not a good thing of course but perhaps understandable. He once described himself as being 'only luggage', a sad character. A pity that no biography has ever been written about him - as opposed to the piles of books on his jolly 'successor'.

Later in life they started to understand each other more and found understanding in a shared interest in the occult (soefism IIRC?). He was a great father to Juliana, who always remained very fond of him.

Not only he didn´t have a role,he was practically pennyless after 1918 as revolution swept his family from their position.He was,in fact,a product of his time and upbringing,and lack thereoff...Sad.

Soefi,yes....And true,Juliana and her father adored eachother...and Juliana called her father naughty,naughty at racing down the stairway on a tray...or mischief whenever they met.
 
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I don't know if Hendrik was as unfaithful at the beginning as he was later, when he felt like a totally marginalized person. Surely if he were responsible for her miscarriages her doctors (and probably a counselor of state) would have told him to knock it off? He wasn't a malicious man and I don't doubt he wanted Wilhelmina to have a child just as much as she did.

He wasn´t malicious no,no one can call him that.
But he already HAD syphilis before his marriage!
 
Other than Hendrik ,were there any other strong Protestant candidates for Wilhelmina ?
 
From the Fasseur biography:

Princes from meditized houses were considered 'not good enough', which is why Emma did not encourage an attempt by Pss Marie of the Netherlands to put one of her sons forward (princes of Wied). Emma was rather pricky about the subject and let her surprise get the better of her when she confided to the German ambassador that she found the wedding of one of the Wied princes to a daughter of the king of Wurttemberg 'rather unusual'.

For health reasons Queen Emma did not want somebody who was too closely related. So that excluded the Weimar princes. There were rumours about an engagement in 1896 to Prince Bernhard of Saxe-Weimar, 3rd in line to the throne, but he was never even considered due to this connection and due to his bad health. He would be burried in the month that Wilhelmina got engaged to Hendrik.

The Teck borthers were mentioned in the press but considering Emma's views on mediatized houses and morganatic families it is doubtful that they were ever considered. Rumours about this match however reached Wilhelm II, who wrtote next to the newspaper article 'She seems to be courted widely. But she can only get a German prince'. In any case, the start of the Boer war made such a match quickly impossible, considering the strong pro-Boer sentiments of the Dutch public.

The emperor started looking for princes from his own family. He found prince Friedrich-Wilhelm of Prussia, a grandson of Prince Albrecht and the unhappy Pss Marianne of The Netherlands. This was not looked favourably upon in The Hague, where there were concerns that a connection with the Hohenzollern family would put in jeopardy the neutrality of the country, a corner stone of Dutch foreign affairs for decades.

It seems that early on Emma already settled on one of the initially three unmarried Mecklenberg dukes. Their sister-in-law Dss Elisabeth of Mecklenburg, née Pss of Weimar was a daughter of Pss Sophie of the Netherlands. 'Elsi' and her husband Johann-Albrecht -regent of the Grand Duchy between 1897 and 1901- were often invited to stay at Het Loo. It is likely that Emma discussed the matter of Wilhelmina's future there and it is likely that 'Elsi' proposed the names of her brothers-in-law. The profile was a good match: protestant, healthy, not too closely related, reining family and not bringing Dutch neutrality into doubt.

They already met in Weimar in 1892 to celebrate the golden wedding of Grand Duke Carl Alexander and Princess Sophie of the Netherlands. In 1897 the eldest of the three -Duke Friedrich Wilhelm of Mecklenburg- was sent to The Hague to announce the death of the Grand Duke. A dame du palais found him handsome but timid and wrote that he was probably having an eye on the Queen. He would drown in the Elbe a few months later.

Wilhelmina was supposed to meer the remaining two brothers again in Cannes in 1898, but she had to remain in bed due to a fever.

In 1900 the two queens were taking a spring vacation in Schwarzburg after attending the wedding of Emma's youngest sister in Arolsen. Emma wrote to cousin Elsi that it would be a good setting for Wilhelmina to meet potential suitors. Hendrik was nodded to a visit to his grandmother in Schloss Schwarzburg. He naturally paid his respects to the Dutch queens as well. The Queens visited the castle in return and later on a picknick was arranged by Pss Thekla of Schwarzburg, and aunt of Hendrik. Cousin Elsi also came to Schwarzburg. Wilhelmina always valued the advice of Pss Sophie, after her death she looked for the advice of Sophie's daughter Elsi.

Hendrik's brother Adolf did not come to Schwarzburg. Emma, who had carefully prepared the whole trip was satisfied when cousin Elsi explained it to her, though we do not know what explanation was given.

At the last moment the Prussian prince arrived to the scene, much to the irritation of Queen Emma as he could derail this carefully planned arrangement. The emperor had been alarmed by the German ambassador in the Hague in April that a meeting with the Mecklenburg dukes was planned. The ambassador assured that high courtiers all preferred a Prussian match. On the 25th of May a meeting was arranged. The prince was very much preferred by the courtiers. Hendrik had been timid and the Prussian was noted for his good manners. Emma knew her daughter's character well. She showed the letters of the German ambassador praising the prince, knowing full well that Wilhelmina would not like being Prussian medling and that it would mean that the Prussian prince would not stand a chance. Wilhelmina found him too childish and too young, as Emma wrote to cousin Elsi.

It is unlikely that Emma ever considered other candidates than the Mecklenburg dukes. Though if Hendriks elder brother would not have died in the Elbe perhaps he would have married Wilhelmina instead.

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I find it surprising that at no point prince Harald of Denmark was considered/encouraged. As the great-grandson of prince Frederik of the Netherlands and coming from another small, neutral protestant country he must have been the most perfect candidate on paper.
 
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I find it surprising that at no point prince Harald of Denmark was considered. As the great-grandson of prince Frederik of the Netherlands and coming from another small, neutral protestant country he must have been the most perfect candidate on paper.

Especially considering the rumors that circulated until the death of Harald's mother (half-Dutch herself) that she really wanted Harald's older brother Carl to marry the very young Wilhelmina and was absolutely furious when he refused to be swayed off Maud of Wales. Does that mean none of those were true?

I too have wondered why Lovisa did not move on to Harald, but I have heard his vision was very bad in one eye. Maybe that was not good enough for Emma?

Speaking of which, if Hendrik had syphilis prior to marriage, I can't believe he would have made the cut.
 
:previous:

I don't recall ever having read anything about affairs or syphillis of Hendrik prior to his marriage. If he had it must have been unknown to him and certainly to Queen Emma. He would indeed never have made the cut.

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Thanks for that story on Pricne Carl and his mother. I was not aware of it TBH. Fasseur does not mention any of the Danish princes in his Wilhelmina biography, neither have I read it in any other Dutch royalty book. But prince Carl would have been a logical candidate too.

I did a quick search in the Dutch newspaper archives and I found an article from 1896. It must be the article Fasseur was referring to when discussing Bernhard of Weimar. It comes from the newspaper 'Het Nieuwsblad van het Noorden' and under the headline 'Amateur wedding agents' it writes about an article in the British Pall Mall magazine.

It mentions four likely candidates: Bernhard of Weimar, the hereditary prince of Wied, prince Harald of Denmark and prince FW of Prussia. All four had Dutch mothers or grandmothers. Pall Mall described Harald as the most likely candidate too.

Another article from 14 July 1894 mentions a visit of Prince Harald to The Netherlands. The 17 y/o was on board of the Danish warship Helgoland, which was docked in Amsterdam. The newspaper mentioned that the prince would propably pay a visit to the two Queens in Soestdijk palace. The same newspaper on July 20th has a report on a visit on the Helgoland not by Harald but by his brother Carl. A visit to Soestdijk is not mentioned.

Fasseur notes that being related was not a plus for Emma due to concerns about healthy offspring. Perhaps that is what moved them off the table? Though Hendrik was as related to Wilhelmina -through the Romanovs and the Hohenzollerns- as the Danish princes were. Or perhaps they indeed met Harald and for one reason or another he was not considered suitable (health, lack of intelligence or personality).
 
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I find it surprising that at no point prince Harald of Denmark was considered/encouraged. As the great-grandson of prince Frederik of the Netherlands and coming from another small, neutral protestant country he must have been the most perfect candidate on paper.

If Queen Emma indeed paid such attention to closeness of relations because of inbreeding, he certainly would not have qualified.
 
https://content.time.com/time/subscriber/article/0,33009,729103,00.html

"Died. H. R. H. the Dowager Queen Louisa of Denmark, 75, widow of King Frederik VIII of Denmark, mother of King Christian X of Denmark and of King Haakon VII of Norway, daughter of King Charles XV of Sweden and Norway, great-granddaughter of the delectable Désirée Clary (the daughter of a French banker) who charmed Napoleon and married his most fortunate Marshal, Jean Baptiste Jules Bernadotte, later King Charles XIV of Sweden and Norway; at Copenhagen, after a long series of illnesses.

It was recalled that she violently opposed the marriage of her second son Charles (in 1905 elected as King Haakon VII of Norway by the Norwegian Parliament when that country was disunited from Sweden) to Princess Maud (now Queen Maud of Norway), the daughter of Edward VII of Britain. She preferred that he should marry the present Queen of the Netherlands, who was at one time alleged to be in love with him."

TIME may be American journalism, but they're not completely without repute, and if this is all they feel the need to say thirty years after the fact, it feels like there's at least a grain of truth somewhere.

More contemporary sources seem to say everything from 'it was an idea' to 'they met once; nothing happened because of Carl's 'attachment'', to there was actually an 'understanding' that got disrupted, but what is true is that Lovisa was very unhappy at her son's wedding (if she knew Harald would not be suitable, all the more reason) and pretty much existed in a state of mutual dislike with her niece/goddaughter/daughter-in-law for a long time... If Carl threw away such a prestigious chance in order to marry a relative nobody and stay a relative nobody, that seems to be one of the simpler explanations. (Not only would he have been the most royal candidate by far, and Protestant enough and politically-suitable enough and healthy enough, he was even good-looking, smart, and very nice.)

He would have been a better husband for Wilhelmina, and European history would have looked a little different — but I'm not sure he would have been any happier with the Hendrik treatment... He ended up doing pretty well with something of his own to do.
 
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Thank you very much for that Prinsara, very interesting and new to me. Indeed, TIME is reputable enough though it will be difficult to trace the source of this now. If the reaction was indeed this strong -even if they were only rumours and not the truth- it should probably be noted in a good Norwegian biography of King Haakon? I imagine that there are no biographies on Queen Louise.

Considering the background of Queen Louise -who was as you said half Dutch- it would be natural for her to think about a Dutch marriage for two junior sons. Esp. considering the Danish RF did make a lot of good marriages in those days. Of course Wilhelmina was still very young at the time and Carl was 8 years older, so any concrete plans were impossible due to Carls marriage to Pss Maud -when Wilhelmina was only 15 y/o.

I can't find much about Haakon in Wilhelmina's biographies. What is there is mostly about the war and a correspondence between Wilhelmina and Emma where Wilhelmina consults her mother about finding a gift during the state visit in 1923. Wilhelmina found carpets too expensive and was thinking about a clock and pointed out that the Norwegians only gave her a 'rich set of teaspoons'. In the end they settled on a silver bread basket.

I find it remarkable that Fasseur has missed it. Even if there were only rumours, why keep this out and mention all the rest?

Just imagine the very stern Wilhelmina needing to go to these supposedly boisterous Danish family meetings... Of course another type of marriage could have softened her to some extend.
 
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Well, I'm curious. Was Wilhelmina like Victoria and required to propose herself, or was a suitor allowed to ask her? There might be a bit of a difference between Prince Carl with an instruction from his mother that he would/should eventually ask her versus a 15-year-old whose time ran out before she could even think of asking.

(Carl and Maud's own engagement is a lot less clear than many, and has its own bunch of rumors. One of them is that they would have become officially engaged two or three years earlier, but one of the sources of opposition was the Wilhelmina angle (or the Lovisa-wanting-him to marry Wilhelmina angle). I have tended to discount that they wanted to get engaged earlier, especially since Carl was only 19 at the start, but her name was around... If there is any truth there, it is interesting that had he not become engaged and married someone else right when he did, his supposed-intended was getting old enough to the point where it might have become official.)

I think perhaps there's more about the notion in the English press than in Dutch for several reasons: it never reached the status of anything official; it's slightly embarrassing that anyone would turn her down, even in theory, and because it all came up in the context of Carl's British marriage, so not much reason for it to be spoken about in the Netherlands, much less reported on. (I have no idea what the Norwegians say. It would be interesting to know, Norwegian members...)

She was very young when it all definitively ended and perhaps all parties concerned (Lovisa and Emma included) did not want to raise the topic of a half-formed notion again due to awkward feelings?

Edit: Maud herself wrote on getting engaged (approx.) "Charles really liked me three years ago but I thought he would go back to sea and forget about me; instead when we met again it became more so and so ended in this happy way...!"

I have always interpreted the "forget about me" as "get over his ridiculous crush", but perhaps that was meant to be 'forget about me, and focus on the person he was supposed to be getting engaged to'...? Food for thought.
 
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To come back to an earlier point, if Emma knew anything... Fasseur says that Emma did indeed do research into Hendrik's life. After the meeting in Schwarzburg she had her ow trusted courtiier de Ranitz sent to Schwerin to make enquiries. In Berlin she asked a former and trusted lady-in-waiting from the Waldeck court in Arsolsen -Ulrike von Riedel- to ask around. Te book treats the issue of syphillis, which was rampant in the belle epoque. He writes that it is not likely Emma found something shocking, as she would have stopped the whole thing if she did. Stories about an interesting life at the barracks seem to involve Hendrik's brother Adolf.

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As for the proposal: it was a long route to get there.

After the meeting in Schwarzburg Hendrik let Wilhelmina wait a bit. It seems he needed to align with his family. In July his maternal grandmother wrote to The Hague via her court marshall to enquire after the rights and duties of a prince consort. Emma notified the chairman of the counsil of State (Schorer) and the negociations started. First in the Netherlands itself as the prime minister (Pierson) told a surprised chairman that the topic of a prince consort had never popped up in the counsil of ministers. Schorer asked -out of his own initiative and not on the demand of Queen Emma- for an allowance of 100.000 guilders per year, to which the PM agreed and made other promisses. After consulting with his ministers the next day all promises were withdrawn as the ministers were insulted that Emma had not informed them but went to Jhr. Schorer instead.

Information about a potential future position was sent to Mecklenburg by Schorer. Hendrik responded on August 4th and asked to get better acquented with the Queen. Fasseur later mentions that this was a de facto proposal. Wilhelmina was madly in love and 5 days later confided to a lady-in-waiting that she received a message that made her 'very, very happy'.

On August 10th it was already known in Berlin that an engagement was eminent. The emperor wrote that he heard from a reliable source -probably Hendrik's halfbrother Duke Johann Albrecht- that 'the little queen has decided to marry Duke Heinrich, if he wants to'.

The weeks that followed several issues were clarified, among them the succession in Mecklenburg: Hendrik would renounce them but if Wilhelmina would die without children before him, he would regain these rights. If there were to be any sons the 2nd one would be eligible to succeed in Mecklenburg when needed. Emma's fear that a second son was to be raised in Mecklenburg did not materialise.

On August 20th the Queen Emma informed the german Emperor about the news and wrote that the she hoped the Emperor -considering his high opinions about the christian family- would agree with Emma that Wilhelmina should be 'free' in making the most important choice of her life. I suppose that she was concerned that the Emperor felt snubbed that his own candidate did not make it.

With all this cleared up a new meeting could be arranged, which happened in Bad König in a castle of Emma's brother-in-law the count Erbach. They arrived at October 10th. A day later journalists arrived and rumours started to go around. After lunch on the 12th the young couple was left alone. After 10 minutes they 'agreed'.

The engagement was announced from Het Loo on the 16th.

Fasseur does not mention who asked who. He does not mention any court etiquette which says the Queen should ask the Duke. But the whole thing was actually settled before he or she actually popped the question.

Prinsara said:
I have always interpreted the "forget about me" as "get over his ridiculous crush", but perhaps that was meant to be 'forget about me, and focus on the person he was supposed to be getting engaged to'...? Food for thought.

That could indeed be the case. Though marrying the daughter of the British king is quite prestigious as well of course. I doubt he would have been required to show any interest in Wilhelmina yet, apart from getting acquented which they probably did in 1896. An engagement before her 18th birthday and enthronement was unlikely to take place.

Prinsara said:
I think perhaps there's more about the notion in the English press than in Dutch for several reasons

Could be indeed. And in those days the press would mention gossip stories about foreign royals but not so much about their own. Although the press was 'free' some things were still tabboo. Fasseur forgetting this part is interesting. It may be that he did not find anything, it may be that there was nothing to find, or it may be that he wanted to be discrete.
 
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If Queen Emma indeed paid such attention to closeness of relations because of inbreeding, he certainly would not have qualified.
Harald and Wilhelmina were fourth cousins. For the time and in that social circle that was not considered close at all.
 
I think it's now somewhat concluded syphilis was over-diagnosed in the Belle Epoque. It was a 'fashionable' diagnosis to make and at least some of the time people were told that they had it when they did not or they had something else. Hendrik is still lucky of course that none of this applied to him at all.

That could indeed be the case. Though marrying the daughter of the British king is quite prestigious as well of course. I doubt he would have been required to show any interest in Wilhelmina yet, apart from getting acquented which they probably did in 1896. An engagement before her 18th birthday and enthronement was unlikely to take place.

Daughter of the future British king is not bad at all (turns out it will get you the next throne available...), but marrying a queen in her own right is of course much, much more prestigious... at least until you end up as the luggage like Hendrik. (Turns out these things are not that easy to predict. :whistling:)

I feel the need to point out that the one thing that could have ended Carl's consideration as a candidate — the Kai Simonsen scandal in 1891 where he had to explain why and how his friend ended up shot to death when Carl was the only one around — apparently did nothing at all, since Lovisa continued to view the match as a possibility. But details about that are very sparse even now.
 
I think it's now somewhat concluded syphilis was over-diagnosed in the Belle Epoque. It was a 'fashionable' diagnosis to make and at least some of the time people were told that they had it when they did not or they had something else. Hendrik is still lucky of course that none of this applied to him at all.







Daughter of the future British king is not bad at all (turns out it will get you the next throne available...), but marrying a queen in her own right is of course much, much more prestigious... at least until you end up as the luggage like Hendrik. (Turns out these things are not that easy to predict. :whistling:)



I feel the need to point out that the one thing that could have ended Carl's consideration as a candidate — the Kai Simonsen scandal in 1891 where he had to explain why and how his friend ended up shot to death when Carl was the only one around — apparently did nothing at all, since Lovisa continued to view the match as a possibility. But details about that are very sparse even now.



Hi, I’m intrigued - what was the scandal, and who was Kai Simonsen? I’ve never heard about this, but would be grateful for some detail or a link to info.

Thanks
 
Hi, I’m intrigued - what was the scandal, and who was Kai Simonsen? I’ve never heard about this, but would be grateful for some detail or a link to info.

Thanks

Okay, I'll put an answer in Haakon's thread so as not to go too off-topic here.

Answered here.
 
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When Queen Wilhelmina was formally introduced to Prince Henry (Heinrich) in Schwarzburg, Prince Frederick William of Prussia was also invited.
 
Because of the discussion about the length of queen Margrethe's reign I looked into the length of queen Wilhelmina's reign. Had she not decided to abdicate but reigned until her death, she would have had the second longest reign: 72 years and 5 days.

So, she would be just behind king Louis XIV of France and ahead of queen Elizabeth II of the UK. See this list of longest-reigning monarchs.
 
Yes that's true and I believe that queen Wilhelmina reign is the longest one of any Dutch Monarch and given the Abdication tradition won't be broken anytime soon!
 
Queen Wilhelmina was so close to her 60th Jubilee ,but I guess ill health forced her to abdicate.
 
Queen Wilhelmina was so close to her 60th Jubilee ,but I guess ill health forced her to abdicate.
She wanted to abdicate even sooner, but apparently the kabinet convinced her that abdicating directly after the war was not in the countries best interest.
 
Because of the discussion about the length of queen Margrethe's reign I looked into the length of queen Wilhelmina's reign. Had she not decided to abdicate but reigned until her death, she would have had the second longest reign: 72 years and 5 days.

So, she would be just behind king Louis XIV of France and ahead of queen Elizabeth II of the UK. See this list of longest-reigning monarchs.

The longest verified reign is that of King Sobhuza II of Swaziland, who was King for 82 years and 254 days.
 
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