Willem III, koning der Nederlanden

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About Willem III, koning der Nederlanden


Predecessor: William II Successor: Wilhelmina

  • Grand Duke of Luxembourg: Reign 1849–1890

Predecessor: William II Successor: Adolphe

Het vaderschap van Willem III van Koningin Wilhelmina staat ter discussie, hij zou op oudere leeftijd wegens syfilis geen kinderen kunnen verwekken. Als natuurlijke vader wordt dan genoemd: Sebastiaan Mattheus Sigismund de Ranitz (1846-1916), particulier secretaris van koningin Emma, en later als Jonkheer bij K.B. in de adelstand verheven. Voor de erfopvolging is dit geen probleem omdat Emma via haar moeder ook een afstammeling was van de dochter van stadhouder Willem IV van Oranje-Nassau, Carolina van Oranje-Nassau, en diens afstammelingen waren nog in de grondwet van 1917 gerechtigd tot de Nederlandse troon.

Early Life

William was born in Brussels as son of William II of the Netherlands and Queen Anna Paulowna, daughter of Tsar Paul I of all the Russias and Empress Maria Fyodorovna (Sophie Dorothea of Württemberg). In his early years, he served in the military.

He married his first cousin, Sophie, daughter of King William I of Württemberg and Grand Duchess Catherine Pavlovna of Russia, in Stuttgart on 18 June 1839. This marriage was unhappy and was characterized by struggles about their children. Sophie was a liberal intellectual, hating everything leaning toward dictatorship, such as the army. William was simpler, more conservative, and loved the military. He prohibited intellectual exercise at home, for which action Queen Victoria of the United Kingdom, who corresponded with Sophie, called him an uneducated farmer. (His extramarital enthusiasms, however, led the New York Times to call him "the greatest debauchee of the age".) Another cause of marital tension (and later political tension) was his capriciousness; he could rage against someone one day, and be extremely polite the next.

William loathed the 1848 constitutional changes initiated by his father (William II) and Johan Rudolf Thorbecke. William II and Sophie saw them as key to the monarchy's survival in changing times. William himself saw them as useless limitations of royal power, and wished to govern like his grandfather, William I. King Willem III of the Netherlands, Nicolaas Pieneman (1856)

He tried to relinquish his right to the throne to his younger brother Henry. His mother convinced him to cancel this action. One year later (1849) William became King upon the death of his father.


King William III repeatedly contemplated abdicating as soon as his eldest son William, Prince of Orange turned eighteen. This occurred in 1858, but as William was uncomfortable making a decision he remained King. His first act was the inauguration of the parliamentary cabinet of Thorbecke, the liberal designer of the 1848 constitution, whom William loathed.

When the Roman Catholic hierarchy of bishops was restored in 1853 he found a reason to dismiss his rival. In the first two decades of his reign, he dismissed several cabinets and disbanded the States-General several times, installing royal cabinets which ruled briefly as there was no support in elected parliament.

Colonial soldiers standing guard next to the statue of King Willem III of the Netherlands, representing Dutch dominance of the Banda Islands in the Maluku Islands in the Dutch East Indies

In 1856, William unilaterally instituted a new, reactionary constitution for Luxembourg in what has become known as the 'Coup of 1856'. He tried to sell the grand duchy in 1867, leading to the Luxembourg Crisis, which almost precipitated war between Prussia and France. However, the subsequent Second Treaty of London reestablished Luxembourg as a fully independent country.

During his reign, the King became more and more unpopular with his subjects – his whims provoking resistance and mockery.

  • He was the 963rd Knight of the Order of the Golden Fleece in Spain in 1842,
  • the 777th Knight of the Order of the Garter in 1882 and the 72nd Grand Cross of the Order of the Tower and Sword.

-------------------- The story that Cornelis Jacobus Huisman / Kindt would have been an illegitimate son of King Willem III, is based on a "family rumor" mentioned in one (1) ancestry only. Willem III was twice married and had a turbulent love life. There are many stories about illegitimate children. Apart from Willem's 4 legitimate children, there seems to be sufficient evidence of 9 illegitimate children whose existence is supported by historical sources as revealed in several printed sources on the internet. The whole list would seem to be as follows (legitimate + illegitimate in chronological order, names of mothers to follow separately

[1] Hendricus Hermanus [van] Bonnekamp (1836-?); [2] Matje Wetteraouw (1839-?); [3] Willem van Oranje-Nassau, Prins - (1840-1879); [4] Willem Frederik Maurits Alexander Hendrik Karel van Oranje-Nassau, Prins - (1843-1850);'" [5] Johannes [van] Doncker (1843-?); [6] Alexander van Oranje-Nassau, Prins (1851-1884);"' [7] Cornelis Jacobus Kindt / Huisman (1851-1935); [8] Matthijs van Gaalen (1852-1890); [9] Jacob Rampen (1852-1919); [10] Dirk van der Ende (1853-1929); [11] Steven Gerrit van der Kreeft (1855-1924); [12] Paulus Hoynck van Papendrecht (1857-1920); [13] Wilhelmina Helena Pauline Marie van Oranje Nassau, Prinses - en Hertogin van Mecklenburg (1880-1962)""

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Willem III, koning der Nederlanden's Timeline

February 19, 1817
Bruxelles, Belgique
March 31, 1817
Bruxelles, Belgique
Age 18
- Oranje bastaard-
April 9, 1839
Age 22
Elburg, Elburg, Gelderland, The Netherlands
June 18, 1839
Age 22
Stuttgart, Württemberg, Deutschland(DB)
September 4, 1840
Age 23
Den Haag, Nederland
September 15, 1843
Age 26
Den Haag, Den Haag, Zuit Holland, Nederland
Age 25
- Oranje bastaard-
May 31, 1851
Age 34
Naaldwijk, Westland, South Holland, Netherlands
August 25, 1851
Age 34
Den Haag, Zuid Holland, Nederland