The Last Emperor

There are few things as fun as a spontaneous road trip. I remember vividly during my blue period (when my unemployed ass was stuck at home), while my partner and I would be doing nothing in our living room, we would just blurt out places we could drive to on a whim. It wouldn’t be long after that I’d start feeling bad because I knew it wasn’t practical and we’d end up regretting it in the end. It made me yearn for my American life where gas was so much cheaper.

About an hour’s drive from Amsterdam, to the east of Utrecht was Huis Doorn the final home of Germany’s last emperor, Kaiser Wilhelm II, cousin to Great Britain’s George V, and Russia’s Czar Nicholas II (of Anastasia fame), among others. It still surprises me how European royalty thought it normal to breed with each other back then.
After he was blamed for starting and losing World War I, he lost public support, then his army abandoned him. He was forced to give up the throne and decided to move lock, stock and barrel to neighboring Netherlands where he bought himself a house and stayed there for the rest of his life.

Even if he lived in luxury surrounded by servants and things he loved, it’s tempting to call him a poor, little rich man. After he moved to the Netherlands, my partner said he was totally ignored by the Dutch queen Wilhelmina (not surprisingly another cousin), and was never invited to any royal functions. Pretty much a slap in the face. After all these decades it looks like he’s not totally forgotten as there was a busload of German tourists the same time we were there. Down and out but not forgotten.

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