There persists a story that great-grandmother Paulina Vanderdonck-Kool ran a business providing baby clothes to the Dutch Royal family. I am certain there is at least a grain of truth here, but how big a grain is still up for grabs.
I’m contacting the Dutch Royal Archives to see if any evidence is available. Meanwhile, on the site of the “Koninklijk Hiusarchief” I found a picture of a royal christening gown from 1880.
The dress, of Brussels lace, was a gift from King William III to his wife, Queen Emma, for the baptism of Princess Wilhelmina. The Christening took place on October 12, 1880, in the Hague.
More recently, the heirloom dress was used at the christening of Princess Juliana, Princess Bearix, Princess Christina and Prince Willem-Alexander. The Princesses Catharina-Amalia and Alexia also wore the dress to their baptisms.
It is a remarkable garment. If you wish to look at the dress in more detail, follow this link:
If you click on the dress you will get a “magnifier” that allows you to see up-close the exquisite work.
A little background. Emma, a German princess, married the “elderly” king, William III, on January 7, 1879, two years after the death of his first wife, Queen Sophie. Emma was 21. The “ageing licentious king,” once described by The New York Times as “the greatest debauchee of the age,” had previously been rejected by Emma’s sister Pauline and by Princess Thyra of Denmark. He was 62 at the time of his marriage to Emma.
The couple’s only daughter, the future Queen Wilhelmina, was born on August 31, 1880. The king also had three sons from his first marriage – William, Maurice and Alexander – all of whom died before him.
Presumably, these would have been the Royals for whom Great-grandmother made clothes. And there would have been many other lesser Royals in the court in need of finery for their infants as well.
Family records in Amsterdam show that Paulina moved to the Hague, and we know that her sister Cecelia lived there. We also know that grandmother Fredericka Jansen-Vanderdonck worked as a seamstress, and it is likely she learned this skill at her mother’s knee.
More on this subject as I find it.