Golda, the former First Lady of the Netherlands, has died at the age of 88.

    The former First Secretary of State of the Federal Republic of Germany was also known as the “Mother of the European Union”.

    Born in Vienna in 1878, she was a member of the House of Orange and the Dutch Republic for most of her life.

    She died in her sleep on Monday morning at her home in Vereniging, near Arnhem, according to her son, Martin Meir.

    She was a strong, independent and caring woman who gave her daughter the chance to succeed as First Lady, Martin told the Associated Press news agency.

    She also had the distinction of having led her country through the most tumultuous years of the Second World War, including the liberation of Austria and a devastating defeat by Nazi Germany in the Second Battle of Ypres.

    Golda was also an avid reader and enjoyed travelling the world and reading books, Martin said.

    “She was very kind, caring and generous.

    She cared for all of us.

    Her love for all her people, her caring for all the world, was extraordinary.”

    Mrs Meir was the wife of German Chancellor Joachim Gauck, who was her husband’s vice president.

    “Our family is in mourning.

    We were all very saddened by her death,” his son, who did not want to be named, told AFP news agency on Tuesday.

    “My mother always said, ‘If I don’t have anything to do, then I have to do it’.” Mrs Meyrin had been ill for some time, and the death was the result of a severe heart attack, Martin added.

    “It is very hard to say goodbye to your loved ones and the world.

    We are very sad to hear of the death of Golda,” he said.

    Her husband had been in hospital for a month, having been diagnosed with cancer in July.

    “I am sure she will be missed by everyone who knew her.

    She made her heart feel very warm,” he told AFP.

    The elderly First Lady was the first woman to serve in the Dutch presidency.

    The last person to hold the office was her sister, Anne Boekhuizen, who succeeded her in 1983.

    A portrait of Mrs Meirs son, Joachimi, was placed in the Oval Office in the Netherlands on Monday.

    Her death came less than a month after her brother, the current Dutch President, Mark Rutte, died at age 88.

    She had been suffering from cancer since her husband died in December.

    In 2015, her daughter, Golda Saaren, became the first female Dutch president.

    She is currently the first Dutch woman to hold senior posts in the government, the cabinet and the judiciary.

    Golds husband, Gerhard, was also a minister under her husband, and was known as “The German” in his native land.

    Gerhard served as minister for foreign affairs from 2006 to 2014.

    His daughter, who became First Lady after her father’s death in 2014, was previously a member.

    The Netherlands is the only European country that has two female presidents.