William Hendrik III of Orange van Oranje-Nassau, King of England, Ireland, Scotland
Dutch: Willem Hendrik van Oranje, King of England, Ireland, Scotland
|Also Known As:||"Prince William of Orange-Nassau"|
|Birthplace:||Binnenhof, The Hague, South Holland, Netherlands|
|Death:||Died in Kensington Palace, London, England|
|Cause of death:||died 1702, of pneumonia, a complication from a broken collarbone following a fall from his horse|
|Place of Burial:||London, Middlesex, Westminster, UK|
Son of Willem II van Nassau-Dillenburg, prins van Oranje and Mary, Princess Royal and Princess of Orange
|Occupation:||King co-ruler 1689-1702, King of Great Britain, King of England/Scotland/Ireland & Stadtholder of the Netherlands, comte de Moers, King of England, Scotland and ireland (1689 - 1702)|
|Managed by:||Henn Sarv|
About William III, King of England, Ireland, and Scotland
William III of England
William III (Dutch: Willem III; 4 November 1650 – 8 March 1702) was sovereign Prince of Orange from birth, Stadtholder of Holland, Zeeland, Utrecht, Gelderland, and Overijssel in the Dutch Republic from 1672, and King of England, Ireland, and Scotland from 1689 until his death. It is a coincidence that his regnal number (III) was the same for both Orange and England. As King of Scotland, he is known as William II. He is informally and affectionately known by sections of the population in Northern Ireland and Scotland as "King Billy".
William inherited the principality of Orange from his father, William II, who died a week before William's birth. His mother Mary, Princess Royal, was the daughter of King Charles I of England. In 1677, he married his mother's niece and his first cousin, Mary, the daughter of his maternal uncle James, Duke of York.
A Protestant, William participated in several wars against the powerful Catholic king of France, Louis XIV, in coalition with Protestant and Catholic powers in Europe. Many Protestants heralded him as a champion of their faith. In 1685, his Catholic father-in-law, James, became king of England, Ireland and Scotland, but his reign was unpopular with the Protestant majority in Britain. William was invited to invade England by a group of influential political and religious leaders and, in what became known as the "Glorious Revolution", on 5 November 1688, William landed at the southern English port of Brixham. James was deposed and William and Mary became joint sovereigns in James's place. They reigned together until her death on 28 December 1694 after which William ruled as sole monarch.
William's reputation as a strong Protestant enabled him to take the British crowns when many were fearful of a revival of Catholicism under James. William's final victory at the Battle of the Boyne in 1690 is still commemorated by the Orange Order. His reign in Britain marked the beginning of the transition from the personal rule of the Stuarts to the more Parliament-centred rule of the House of Hanover.
William Henry of Orange was born in The Hague in the Dutch Republic on 4 November 1650. He was the only child of stadtholder William II, Prince of Orange, and Mary, Princess Royal. Mary was the eldest daughter of King Charles I of England, Scotland and Ireland, and sister of King Charles II and King James II.
Eight days before William was born, his father died of smallpox; thus William was the Sovereign Prince of Orange from the moment of his birth. Immediately, a conflict ensued between his mother the Princess Royal and William II's mother, Amalia of Solms-Braunfels, over the name to be given to the infant. Mary wanted to name him Charles after her brother, but her mother-in-law insisted on giving him the name William or Willem to bolster his prospects of becoming stadtholder. William II had appointed his wife as his son's guardian in his will; however the document remained unsigned at William II's death and was void. On 13 August 1651, the Hoge Raad van Holland en Zeeland (Supreme Court) ruled that guardianship would be shared between his mother, his paternal grandmother and Frederick William, the Elector of Brandenburg, whose wife, Louise Henriette, was his father's eldest sister.
William's mother showed little personal interest in her son, sometimes being absent for years, and had always deliberately kept herself apart from Dutch society. William's education was first laid in the hands of several Dutch governesses, some of English descent, including Walburg Howard and the Scottish noblewoman, Lady Anna Mackenzie. From April 1656, the prince received daily instruction in the Reformed religion from the Calvinist preacher Cornelis Trigland, a follower of the Contra-Remonstrant theologian Gisbertus Voetius. The ideal education for William was described in Discours sur la nourriture de S. H. Monseigneur le Prince d'Orange, a short treatise, perhaps by one of William's tutors, Constantijn Huygens. In these lessons, the prince was taught that he was predestined to become an instrument of Divine Providence, fulfilling the historical destiny of the House of Orange.
From early 1659, William spent seven years at the University of Leiden for a formal education, under the guidance of ethics professor Hendrik Bornius (though never officially enrolling as a student). While residing in the Prinsenhof at Delft, William had a small personal retinue including Hans Willem Bentinck, and a new governor, Frederick Nassau de Zuylenstein, who (as an illegitimate son of stadtholder Frederick Henry of Orange) was his paternal uncle. He was taught French by Samuel Chappuzeau (who was dismissed by William's grandmother after the death of his mother).
Grand Pensionary Johan de Witt and his uncle Cornelis de Graeff pushed the States of Holland to take charge of William's education. This was to ensure that he would acquire the skills to serve in a future—though undetermined—state function; the States acted on 25 September 1660. This first involvement of the authorities did not last long. On 23 December 1660, when William was 10 years old, his mother died of smallpox at Whitehall Palace, London while visiting her brother King Charles II. In her will, Mary requested that Charles look after William's interests, and Charles now demanded the States of Holland end their interference. To appease Charles, they complied on 30 September 1661. In 1661, Zuylenstein began to work for Charles. He induced William to write letters to Charles asking him to help William become stadtholder someday. After his mother's death, William's education and guardianship became a point of contention between his dynasty's supporters and the advocates of a more republican Netherlands.
The Dutch authorities did their best at first to ignore these intrigues, but in the Second Anglo-Dutch War one of Charles's peace conditions was the improvement of the position of his nephew. As a countermeasure in 1666, when William was 16, the States of Holland officially made him a ward of the government, or a "Child of State". All pro-English courtiers, including Zuylenstein, were removed from William's company. William begged De Witt to allow Zuylenstein to stay, but he refused. De Witt, the leading politician of the Republic, took William's education into his own hands, instructing him weekly in state matters—and joining him in a regular game of real tennis.
After William's father's death, most provinces had left the office of stadtholder vacant. The Treaty of Westminster, which ended the First Anglo-Dutch War, had a secret annexe attached on demand of Oliver Cromwell: this required the Act of Seclusion, which forbade the province of Holland from appointing a member of the House of Orange as stadtholder. After the English Restoration, the Act of Seclusion, which had not remained a secret for very long, was declared void as the English Commonwealth (with which the treaty had been concluded) no longer existed. In 1660, Mary and Amalia tried to persuade several provincial States to designate William as their future stadtholder, but they all initially refused.
In 1667, as William III approached the age of 18, the Orangist party again attempted to bring him to power by securing for him the offices of stadtholder and Captain-General. To prevent the restoration of the influence of the House of Orange, De Witt, the leader of the States Party, allowed the pensionary of Haarlem, Gaspar Fagel, to induce the States of Holland to issue the Perpetual Edict. The Edict declared that the Captain-General or Admiral-General of the Netherlands could not serve as stadtholder in any province. Even so, William's supporters sought ways to enhance his prestige and, on 19 September 1668, the States of Zeeland received him as First Noble. To receive this honour, William had to escape the attention of his state tutors and travel secretly to Middelburg. A month later, Amalia allowed William to manage his own household and declared him to be of majority age.
The province of Holland, the center of anti-Orangism, abolished the office of stadtholder and four other provinces followed suit in March 1670, establishing the so-called "Harmony". De Witt demanded an oath from each Holland regent (city council member) to uphold the Edict; all but one complied. William saw all this as a defeat, but in fact this arrangement was a compromise: De Witt would have preferred to ignore the prince completely, but now his eventual rise to the office of supreme army commander was implicit. De Witt further conceded that William would be admitted as a member of the Raad van State, the Council of State, then the generality organ administering the defence budget. William was introduced to the council on 31 May 1670 with full voting powers, despite De Witt's attempts to limit his role to that of an advisor.
In November 1670, William obtained permission to travel to England to urge Charles to pay back at least a part of the 2,797,859 guilder debt the House of Stuart owed the House of Orange. Charles was unable to pay, but William agreed to reduce the amount owed to 1,800,000 guilders. Charles found his nephew to be a dedicated Calvinist and patriotic Dutchman, and reconsidered his desire to show him the Secret treaty of Dover with France, directed at destroying the Dutch Republic and installing William as "sovereign" of a Dutch rump state. In addition to differing political outlooks, William found that Charles's and James's lifestyles differed from his own, being more concerned with drinking, gambling, and cavorting with mistresses.
The following year, the Republic's security deteriorated quickly as an Anglo-French attack became imminent. In view of the threat, the States of Gelderland wanted William to be appointed Captain-General of the Dutch States Army as soon as possible, despite his youth and inexperience. On 15 December 1671, the States of Utrecht made this their official policy. On 19 January 1672, the States of Holland made a counterproposal: to appoint William for just a single campaign. The prince refused this and on 25 February a compromise was reached: an appointment by the States General of the Netherlands for one summer, followed by a permanent appointment on his 22nd birthday.
Meanwhile, William had written a secret letter to Charles in January 1672 asking his uncle to exploit the situation by exerting pressure on the States to appoint William stadtholder. In return, William would ally the Republic with England and serve Charles's interests as much as his "honour and the loyalty due to this state" allowed. Charles took no action on the proposal, and continued his war plans with his French ally.
For the Dutch Republic, 1672 proved calamitous, becoming known as the "disaster year" (Dutch: rampjaar) because of the Franco-Dutch War and the Third Anglo-Dutch War in which the Netherlands were invaded by France under Louis XIV, England, Münster, and Cologne. Although the Anglo-French fleet was disabled by the Battle of Solebay, in June the French army quickly overran the provinces of Gelderland and Utrecht. On 14 June, William withdrew with the remnants of his field army into Holland, where the States had ordered the flooding of the Dutch Water Line on 8 June. Louis XIV, believing the war was over, began negotiations to extract as large a sum of money from the Dutch as possible. The presence of a large French army in the heart of the Republic caused a general panic, and the people turned against de Witt and his allies.
On 4 July, the States of Holland appointed William stadtholder, and he took the oath five days later. The next day, a special envoy from Charles, Lord Arlington, met with William in Nieuwerbrug. He offered to make William Sovereign Prince of Holland in exchange for his capitulation—whereas a stadtholder was a mere civil servant. When William refused, Arlington threatened that William would witness the end of the republic's existence. William made his famous answer: "There is one way to avoid this: to die defending it in the last ditch". On 7 July, the inundations were complete and the further advance of the French army was effectively blocked. On 16 July, Zeeland offered the stadtholderate to William.
Johan de Witt had been unable to function as Grand Pensionary after having been wounded by an attempt on his life on 21 June. On 15 August, William published a letter from Charles, in which the English King stated that he had made war because of the aggression of the de Witt faction. The people thus incited, de Witt and his brother, Cornelis, were murdered by an Orangist civil militia in The Hague on 20 August. After this, William replaced many of the Dutch regents with his followers.
Though William's complicity in the lynching has never been proved (and some 19th-century Dutch historians have made an effort to disprove that he was an accessory before the fact) he thwarted attempts to prosecute the ringleaders, and even rewarded some, like Hendrik Verhoeff, with money, and others, like Johan van Banchem and Johan Kievit, with high offices. This damaged his reputation in the same fashion as his later actions at Glencoe.
William III continued to fight against the invaders from England and France, allying himself with Spain and Brandenburg. In November 1672, he took his army to Maastricht to threaten the French supply lines. By 1673, the situation further improved. Although Louis took Maastricht and William's attack against Charleroi failed, Lieutenant-Admiral Michiel de Ruyter defeated the Anglo-French fleet three times, forcing Charles to end England's involvement by the Treaty of Westminster; after 1673, France slowly withdrew from Dutch territory (with the exception of Maastricht), while making gains elsewhere.
Fagel now proposed to treat the liberated provinces of Utrecht, Gelderland and Overijssel as conquered territory (Generality Lands), as punishment for their quick surrender to the enemy. William refused but obtained a special mandate from the States General to newly appoint all delegates in the States of these provinces. William's followers in the States of Utrecht on 26 April 1674 appointed him hereditary stadtholder. On 30 January 1675, the States of Gelderland offered the titles of Duke of Guelders and Count of Zutphen. The negative reactions to this from Zeeland and the city of Amsterdam, where the stock market collapsed, made William ultimately decide to decline these honours; he was instead appointed stadtholder of Gelderland and Overijssel.
During the war with France, William tried to improve his position by marrying, in 1677, his first cousin Mary, elder surviving daughter of James, Duke of York, later James II of England (James VII of Scotland). Mary was eleven years his junior and he anticipated resistance to a Stuart match from the Amsterdam merchants who had disliked his mother (another Mary Stuart), but William believed that marrying Mary would increase his chances of succeeding to Charles's kingdoms, and would draw England's monarch away from his pro-French policies. James was not inclined to consent, but Charles II pressured his brother to agree. Charles wanted to use the possibility of marriage to gain leverage in negotiations relating to the war, but William insisted that the two issues be decided separately. Charles relented, and Bishop Henry Compton married the couple on 4 November 1677. Mary became pregnant soon after the marriage, but miscarried. After a further illness later in 1678, she never conceived again.
Throughout William and Mary's marriage, William had only one reputed mistress, Elizabeth Villiers, in contrast to the many mistresses his uncles openly kept.
By 1678, Louis sought peace with the Dutch Republic. Even so, tensions remained:William remained very suspicious of Louis, thinking that the French king desired "Universal Kingship" over Europe; Louis described William as "my mortal enemy" and saw him as an obnoxious warmonger. France's annexations in the Southern Netherlands and Germany (the Réunion policy) and the revocation of the Edict of Nantes in 1685, caused a surge of Huguenot refugees to the Republic. This led William III to join various anti-French alliances, such as the Association League, and ultimately the League of Augsburg (an anti-French coalition that also included the Holy Roman Empire, Sweden, Spain and several German states) in 1686.
After his marriage in November 1677, William became a strong candidate for the English throne if his father-in-law (and uncle) James were excluded because of his Catholicism. During the crisis concerning the Exclusion Bill in 1680, Charles at first invited William to come to England to bolster the king's position against the exclusionists, then withdrew his invitation—after which Lord Sunderland also tried unsuccessfully to bring William over, but now to put pressure on Charles. Nevertheless, William secretly induced the States General to send the Insinuation to Charles, beseeching the king to prevent any Catholics from succeeding him, without explicitly naming James. After receiving indignant reactions from Charles and James, William denied any involvement.
In 1685, when James II succeeded Charles, William at first attempted a conciliatory approach, at the same time trying not to offend the Protestants in England. William, ever looking for ways to diminish the power of France, hoped that James would join the League of Augsburg, but by 1687 it became clear that James would not join the anti-French alliance. Relations worsened between William and James thereafter. In November, James's second wife Mary of Modena was announced to be pregnant. That month, to gain the favour of English Protestants, William wrote an open letter to the English people in which he disapproved of James's pro-Roman Catholic policy of religious toleration. Seeing him as a friend, and often having maintained secret contacts with him for years, many English politicians began to urge an armed invasion of England.
William at first opposed the prospect of invasion, but most historians now agree that he began to assemble an expeditionary force in April 1688, as it became increasingly clear that France would remain occupied by campaigns in Germany and Italy, and thus unable to mount an attack while William's troops would be occupied in Britain. Believing that the English people would not react well to a foreign invader, he demanded in a letter to Rear-Admiral Arthur Herbert that the most eminent English Protestants first invite him to invade. In June, James's second wife, Mary of Modena, after a string of miscarriages, bore a son (James Francis Edward Stuart), who displaced William's Protestant wife, Mary, to become first in the line of succession and raised the prospect of an ongoing Catholic monarchy. Public anger also increased because of the trial of seven bishops who had publicly opposed James's Declaration of Indulgence granting religious liberty to his subjects, a policy which appeared to threaten the establishment of the Anglican Church.
On 30 June 1688—the same day the bishops were acquitted—a group of political figures known afterward as the "Immortal Seven", sent William a formal invitation. William's intentions to invade were public knowledge by September 1688. With a Dutch army, William landed at Brixham in southwest England on 5 November 1688. He came ashore from the ship Brill, proclaiming "the liberties of England and the Protestant religion I will maintain". William had come ashore with approximately 11,000-foot and 4,000 horse soldiers. James's support began to dissolve almost immediately upon William's arrival; Protestant officers defected from the English army (the most notable of whom was Lord Churchill of Eyemouth, James's most able commander), and influential noblemen across the country declared their support for the invader.
James at first attempted to resist William, but saw that his efforts would prove futile. He sent representatives to negotiate with William, but secretly attempted to flee on 11 December, throwing the Great Seal into the Thames on his way. He was discovered and brought back to London by a group of fishermen. He was allowed to escape to France in a second attempt on 23 December. William permitted James to leave the country, not wanting to make him a martyr for the Roman Catholic cause; it was in his interests for James to be perceived as having left the country of his own accord, rather than having been forced or frightened into fleeing.
William summoned a Convention Parliament in England, which met on 22 January 1689, to discuss the appropriate course of action following James's flight. William felt insecure about his position; though his wife ranked first in the line of succession to the throne, he wished to reign as King in his own right, rather than as a mere consort. The only precedent for a joint monarchy in England dated from the 16th century, when Queen Mary I married Philip of Spain. Philip remained king only during his wife's lifetime, and restrictions were placed on his power. William, on the other hand, demanded that he remain as king even after his wife's death. When the majority of Tory Lords proposed to acclaim her as sole ruler, William threatened to leave the country immediately. Furthermore, Mary, remaining loyal to her husband, refused.
The House of Commons, with a Whig majority, quickly resolved that the throne was vacant, and that it was safer if the ruler was Protestant. There were more Tories in the House of Lords, which would not initially agree, but after William refused to be a regent or to agree to remain king only in his wife's lifetime, there were negotiations between the two houses and the Lords agreed by a narrow majority that the throne was vacant. The Commons made William accept a Bill of Rights, and, on 13 February 1689, Parliament passed the Declaration of Right, in which it deemed that James, by attempting to flee, had abdicated the government of the realm, thereby leaving the throne vacant.
The Crown was not offered to James's eldest son, James Francis Edward (who would have been the heir apparent under normal circumstances), but to William and Mary as joint sovereigns. It was, however, provided that "the sole and full exercise of the regal power be only in and executed by the said Prince of Orange in the names of the said Prince and Princess during their joint lives".
William and Mary were crowned together at Westminster Abbey on 11 April 1689 by the Bishop of London, Henry Compton. Normally, the coronation is performed by the Archbishop of Canterbury, but the Archbishop at the time, William Sancroft, refused to recognise James's removal. The coronation to William was "a popish mockery".
William also summoned a Convention of the Estates of Scotland, which met on 14 March 1689 and sent a conciliatory letter, while James sent haughty uncompromising orders, swaying a majority in favour of William. On 11 April, the day of the English coronation, the Convention finally declared that James was no longer King of Scotland. William and Mary were offered the Scottish Crown; they accepted on 11 May.
William III of England encouraged the passage of the Toleration Act 1688, which guaranteed religious toleration to certain Protestant nonconformists. It did not, however, extend toleration as far as William wished, still restricting the religious liberty of Roman Catholics, non-trinitarians, and those of non-Christian faiths. In December 1689, one of the most important constitutional documents in English history, the Bill of Rights, was passed. The Act, which restated and confirmed many provisions of the earlier Declaration of Right, established restrictions on the royal prerogative. It provided, amongst other things, that the Sovereign could not suspend laws passed by Parliament, levy taxes without parliamentary consent, infringe the right to petition, raise a standing army during peacetime without parliamentary consent, deny the right to bear arms to Protestant subjects, unduly interfere with parliamentary elections, punish members of either House of Parliament for anything said during debates, require excessive bail or inflict cruel and unusual punishments. William was opposed to the imposition of such constraints, but he chose not to engage in a conflict with Parliament and agreed to abide by the statute.
The Bill of Rights also settled the question of succession to the Crown. After the death of either William or Mary, the other would continue to reign. Next in the line of succession was Mary II's sister, Princess Anne, and her issue. Finally, any children William might have had by a subsequent marriage were included in the line of succession. Roman Catholics, as well as those who married Catholics, were excluded.
Although most in Britain accepted William and Mary as sovereigns, a significant minority refused to acknowledge their claim to the throne, instead believing in the divine right of kings, which held that the monarch's authority derived directly from God rather than being delegated to the monarch by Parliament. Over the next 57 years Jacobites pressed for restoration of James and his heirs. Nonjurors in England and Scotland, including over 400 clergy and several bishops of the Church of England and Scottish Episcopal Church as well as numerous laymen, refused to take oaths of allegiance to William.
Ireland was controlled by Roman Catholics loyal to James, and Franco-Irish Jacobites arrived from France with French forces in March 1689 to join the war in Ireland and contest Protestant resistance at the Siege of Derry. William sent his navy to the city in July, and his army landed in August. After progress stalled, William personally intervened to lead his armies to victory over James at the Battle of the Boyne on 1 July 1690, after which James II fled back to France.
Upon King William's return to England, his close friend Dutch General Godert de Ginkell, who had accompanied William to Ireland and had commanded a body of Dutch cavalry at the Battle of the Boyne, was named Commander in Chief of William's forces in Ireland and entrusted with further conduct of the war there. Ginkell took command in Ireland in the spring of 1691, and following several ensuing battles, succeeded in capturing both Galway and Limerick, thereby effectively suppressing the Jacobite forces in Ireland within a few more months. After difficult negotiations a capitulation was signed on 3 October 1691—the Treaty of Limerick. Thus concluded the Williamite pacification of Ireland, and for his services the Dutch general received the formal thanks of the House of Commons, and was awarded the title of Earl of Athlone by the King.
A series of Jacobite risings also took place in Scotland, where Viscount Dundee raised Highland forces and won a victory on 27 July 1689 at the Battle of Killiecrankie, but he died in the fight and a month later Scottish Cameronian forces subdued the rising at the Battle of Dunkeld. William offered Scottish clans that had taken part in the rising a pardon provided that they signed allegiance by a deadline, and his government in Scotland punished a delay with the Massacre of Glencoe of 1692, which became infamous in Jacobite propaganda as William had countersigned the orders. Bowing to public opinion, William dismissed those responsible for the massacre, though they still remained in his favour; in the words of the historian John Dalberg-Acton, "one became a colonel, another a knight, a third a peer, and a fourth an earl."
William's reputation in Scotland suffered further damage when he refused English assistance to the Darien scheme, a Scottish colony (1698–1700) that failed disastrously.
Although the Whigs were William's strongest supporters, he initially favoured a policy of balance between the Whigs and Tories. The Marquess of Halifax, a man known for his ability to chart a moderate political course, gained William's confidence early in his reign. The Whigs, a majority in Parliament, had expected to dominate the government, and were disappointed that William denied them this chance. This "balanced" approach to governance did not last beyond 1690, as the conflicting factions made it impossible for the government to pursue effective policy, and William called for new elections early that year.
After the Parliamentary elections of 1690, William began to favour the Tories, led by Danby and Nottingham. While the Tories favoured preserving the king's prerogatives, William found them unaccommodating when he asked Parliament to support his continuing war with France. As a result, William began to prefer the Whig faction known as the Junto. The Whig government was responsible for the creation of the Bank of England following the example of the Amsterdam Bank. William's decision to grant the Royal Charter in 1694 to the Bank, a private institution owned by bankers, is his most relevant economic legacy. It laid the financial foundation of the English take-over of the central role of the Dutch Republic and Bank of Amsterdam in global commerce in the 18th century.
William dissolved Parliament in 1695, and the new Parliament that assembled that year was led by the Whigs. There was a considerable surge in support for William following the exposure of a Jacobite plan to assassinate him in 1696. Parliament passed a bill of attainder against the ringleader, John Fenwick, and he was beheaded in 1697.
William continued to be absent from the realm for extended periods during his Nine Years' War with France, leaving each spring and returning to England each autumn. England joined the League of Augsburg, which then became known as the Grand Alliance. Whilst William was away fighting, his wife, Mary II, governed the realm, but acted on his advice. Each time he returned to England, Mary gave up her power to him without reservation, an arrangement that lasted for the rest of Mary's life.
After the Anglo-Dutch fleet defeated a French fleet at La Hogue in 1692, the allies for a short period controlled the seas, and Ireland was pacified thereafter by the Treaty of Limerick. At the same time, the Grand Alliance fared poorly in Europe, as William lost Namur in the Spanish Netherlands in 1692, and was badly beaten at the Battle of Landen in 1693.
Mary II died of smallpox on 28 December 1694, leaving William III to rule alone. William deeply mourned his wife's death. Despite his conversion to Anglicanism, William's popularity plummeted during his reign as a sole monarch.
During the 1690s, rumours grew of William's alleged homosexual inclinations and led to the publication of many satirical pamphlets by his Jacobite detractors. He did have several close, male associates, including two Dutch courtiers to whom he granted English titles: Hans Willem Bentinck became Earl of Portland, and Arnold Joost van Keppel was created Earl of Albemarle. These relationships with male friends, and his apparent lack of many mistresses, led William's enemies to suggest that he might prefer homosexual relationships. William's modern biographers, however, still disagree on the veracity of these allegations. Some have suggested that there may have been some truth to the rumours, while more affirm that they were no more than figments of his enemies' imaginations, and that there was nothing unusual in someone childless like William adopting, or evincing paternal affections for, a younger man.
Bentinck's closeness to William did arouse jealousies in the Royal Court at the time, but most modern historians doubt that there was a homosexual element in their relationship. William's young protege, Keppel, aroused more gossip and suspicion, being 20 years William's junior and strikingly handsome, and having risen from being a royal page to an earldom with some ease. Portland wrote to William in 1697 that "the kindness which your Majesty has for a young man, and the way in which you seem to authorise his liberties ... make the world say things I am ashamed to hear". This, he said, was "tarnishing a reputation which has never before been subject to such accusations". William tersely dismissed these suggestions, however, saying, "It seems to me very extraordinary that it should be impossible to have esteem and regard for a young man without it being criminal."
In 1696, the Dutch territory of Drenthe made William its Stadtholder. In the same year, Jacobites plotted to assassinate William III in an attempt to restore James to the English throne, but failed. In accordance with the Treaty of Rijswijk (20 September 1697), which ended the Nine Years' War, Louis recognised William III as King of England, and undertook to give no further assistance to James II. Thus deprived of French dynastic backing after 1697, Jacobites posed no further serious threats during William's reign.
As his life drew towards its conclusion, William, like many other European rulers, felt concern over the question of succession to the throne of Spain, which brought with it vast territories in Italy, the Low Countries and the New World. The King of Spain, Charles II, was an invalid with no prospect of having children; amongst his closest relatives were Louis XIV (the King of France) and Leopold I, Holy Roman Emperor. William sought to prevent the Spanish inheritance from going to either monarch, for he feared that such a calamity would upset the balance of power. William and Louis XIV agreed to the First Partition Treaty, which provided for the division of the Spanish Empire: Duke Joseph Ferdinand of Bavaria would obtain Spain, while France and the Holy Roman Emperor would divide the remaining territories between them. Charles II accepted the nomination of Joseph Ferdinand as his heir, and war appeared to be averted.
When, however, Joseph Ferdinand died of smallpox, the issue re-opened. In 1700, the two rulers agreed to the Second Partition Treaty (also called the Treaty of London), under which the territories in Italy would pass to a son of the King of France, and the other Spanish territories would be inherited by a son of the Holy Roman Emperor. This arrangement infuriated both the Spanish, who still sought to prevent the dissolution of their empire, and the Holy Roman Emperor, to whom the Italian territories were much more useful than the other lands. Unexpectedly, the invalid King of Spain, Charles II, interfered as he lay dying in late 1700. Unilaterally, he willed all Spanish territories to Philip, a grandson of Louis XIV. The French conveniently ignored the Second Partition Treaty and claimed the entire Spanish inheritance. Furthermore, Louis XIV alienated William III by recognising James Francis Edward Stuart, the son of the former King James II who had died in 1701, as King of England. The subsequent conflict, known as the War of the Spanish Succession, continued until 1713.
The Spanish inheritance was not the only one which concerned William. His marriage with Mary II had not yielded any children, and he did not seem likely to remarry. Mary's sister, Princess Anne, had borne numerous children, all of whom died during childhood. The death of Prince William, Duke of Gloucester, in 1700 left Princess Anne as the only individual left in the line of succession established by the Bill of Rights. As the complete exhaustion of the line of succession would have encouraged a restoration of James II's line, Parliament passed the Act of Settlement 1701, which provided that if Anne died without surviving issue and William III failed to have surviving issue by any subsequent marriage, the Crown would be inherited by a distant relative, Sophia, Electress of Hanover, a granddaughter of King James VI, and her Protestant heirs. The Act debarred Roman Catholics from the throne thereby excluding the candidacy of several dozen people more closely related to Mary and Anne than Sophia. The Act extended to England and Ireland, but not to Scotland, whose Estates had not been consulted before the selection of Sophia.
In 1702, William died of pneumonia, a complication from a broken collarbone following a fall from his horse, Sorrel. Because his horse had stumbled into a mole's burrow, many Jacobites toasted "the little gentleman in the black velvet waistcoat." Years later, Sir Winston Churchill, in his A History of the English-Speaking Peoples, stated that the fall "opened the door to a troop of lurking foes". William was buried in Westminster Abbey alongside his wife. His sister-in-law, Anne, became queen regnant of England, Scotland and Ireland.
William's death brought an end to the Dutch House of Orange, members of which had served as stadtholder of Holland and the majority of the other provinces of the Dutch Republic since the time of William the Silent (William I). The five provinces of which William III was stadtholder—Holland, Zeeland, Utrecht, Gelderland and Overijssel—all suspended the office after his death. Thus, he was the last patrilineal descendant of William I to be named stadtholder for the majority of the provinces. Under William III's will, John William Friso stood to inherit the Principality of Orange as well as several lordships in the Netherlands. He was William's closest agnatic relative, as well as son of William's aunt Albertine Agnes. However, King Frederick I of Prussia also claimed the Principality as the senior cognatic heir, his mother Louise Henriette being Albertine Agnes's older sister. Under the Treaty of Utrecht, which was agreed to in 1713, Frederick William I of Prussia ceded his territorial claim to King Louis XIV of France, keeping the title only; Friso's son, William IV, agreed to share the title of "Prince of Orange", which had accumulated high prestige in the Netherlands as well as in the entire Protestant world, with Frederick William after the Treaty of Partition (1732).
William's primary achievement was to contain France when it was in a position to impose its will across much of Europe. His life's aim was largely to oppose Louis XIV of France. This effort continued after his death during the War of the Spanish Succession. Another important consequence of William's reign in England involved the ending of a bitter conflict between Crown and Parliament that had lasted since the accession of the first English monarch of the House of Stuart, James I, in 1603. The conflict over royal and parliamentary power had led to the English Civil War during the 1640s and the Glorious Revolution of 1688. During William's reign, however, the conflict was settled in Parliament's favour by the Bill of Rights 1689, the Triennial Act 1694 and the Act of Settlement 1701.
William endowed the College of William and Mary (in present-day Williamsburg, Virginia) in 1693. Nassau, the capital of The Bahamas, is named after Fort Nassau, which was renamed in 1695 in his honour. Similarly Nassau County, New York a county on Long Island, is a namesake. Long Island itself was also known as Nassau during early Dutch rule. Though many alumni of Princeton University think that the town of Princeton, N.J. (and hence the university) were named in his honour, this is probably untrue. Nassau Hall, at the university campus, is so named, however.
New York City was briefly renamed New Orange for him in 1673 after the Dutch recaptured the city, which had been renamed New York by the British in 1665. His name was applied to the fort and administrative center for the city on two separate occasions reflecting his different sovereign status—first as Fort Willem Hendrick in 1673, and then as Fort William in 1691 when the English evicted Colonists who had seized the fort and city. Nassau Street, NY was also named some time before 1696 in his honor. Orange County, just north of New York City, is his namesake, as was Fort Orange (now Albany).
The modern day Orange Order is named after William III, and makes a point of celebrating his victory at the Battle of the Boyne with annual parades in Northern Ireland, Liverpool and parts of Scotland and Canada on 12 July.
Titles, styles, and arms
- 4 November 1650 – 9 July 1672: His Highness The Prince of Orange, Count of Nassau
- 9–16 July 1672: His Highness The Prince of Orange, Stadtholder of Holland
- 16 July 1672 – 26 April 1674: His Highness The Prince of Orange, Stadtholder of Holland and Zeeland
- 26 April 1674 – 8 March 1702: His Highness The Prince of Orange, Stadtholder of Holland, Zeeland, Utrecht, Gelre and Overijssel
- 13 February 1689 – 8 March 1702: His Majesty The King
By 1674, William was fully styled as "Willem III, by God's grace Prince of Orange, Count of Nassau etc., Stadtholder of Holland, Zeeland, Utrecht etc., Captain- and Admiral-General of the United Netherlands". After their accession in Great Britain in 1689, William and Mary used the titles "King and Queen of England, Scotland, France and Ireland, Defenders of the Faith, etc."
As Prince of Orange, William's arms was: Quarterly, I Azure billetty and a lion rampant Or (for Nassau); II Or a lion rampant guardant Gules crowned Azure (Katzenelnbogen); III Gules a fess Argent (Vianden), IV Gules two lions passant guardant Or (Dietz); between the I and II quarters an inescutcheon, Or a fess Sable (Moers); at the fess point an inescutcheon, quarterly I and IV Gules, a bend Or (Châlons); II and III Or a bugle horn Azure, stringed Gules (Orange) with an inescutcheon, Nine pieces Or and Azure (Geneva); between the III and IV quarters, an inescutcheon, Gules a fess counter embattled Argent (Buren).
The coat of arms used by the King and Queen was: Quarterly, I and IV Grand quarterly, Azure three fleurs-de-lis Or (for France) and Gules three lions passant guardant in pale Or (for England); II Or a lion rampant within a double tressure flory-counter-flory Gules (for Scotland); III Azure a harp Or stringed Argent (for Ireland); overall an escutcheon Azure billetty and a lion rampant Or (for Nassau). In his later coat of arms, William used the motto: Je Maintiendrai (medieval French for "I will maintain"). The motto represents the House of Orange-Nassau, since it came into the family with the Principality of Orange.
- .... etc.
- William III Henry, King of England, Ireland, & Scotland, Prince of Orange, Graf von Nassau1
- M, #81472, b. 14 November 1650, d. 19 March 1702
- Father Wilhelm II, Prince of Orange, Graf von Nassau1 b. 27 May 1626, d. 6 Nov 1650
- Mother Mary Stewart1 b. 4 Nov 1631, d. 24 Dec 1660
- William III Henry, King of England, Ireland, & Scotland, Prince of Orange, Graf von Nassau was born on 14 November 1650 at The Hague, South Holland, The Netherlands.1 He married Mary Stewart, Queen of England & Scotland, daughter of James II Stewart, King of England, Duke of York and Anne Hyde, on 4 November 1677 at St. James's Palace, London, Middlesex, England.1 William III Henry, King of England, Ireland, & Scotland, Prince of Orange, Graf von Nassau died on 19 March 1702 at Kensington Palace, London, Middlesex, England, at age 51; Buried at Westminster Abbey. Killed after being thrown from his horse.1
- Family Mary Stewart, Queen of England & Scotland b. 30 Apr 1662, d. 28 Dec 1694
- [S11575] The Lineage and Ancestry of H.R.H. Prince Charles, Prince of Wales, by Gerald Paget, Vol. I, p. 37.
- From: http://our-royal-titled-noble-and-commoner-ancestors.com/p2711.htm#i81472
- William III Henry of Orange, King of Great Britain1
- M, #101402, b. 4 November 1650, d. 8 March 1702
- Last Edited=22 Jan 2011
- Consanguinity Index=0.04%
- William III Henry of Orange, King of Great Britain was born on 4 November 1650.4 He was the son of Willem II von Nassau-Dillenburg, Prince of Orange and Mary Henrietta Stuart, Princess Royal of Great Britain. He married Mary II Stuart, Queen of Great Britain, daughter of James II Stuart, King of Great Britain and Lady Anne Hyde, on 4 November 1677 at St. James's Palace, St. James's, London, England.5 He died on 8 March 1702 at age 51 at Kensington Palace, Kensington, London, England, in a hunting accident.4 He was buried at Westminster Abbey, Westminster, London, England.4
- He and Elizabeth Villiers were associated.6 He succeeded to the title of Stadholder of the United Provinces of the Netherlands on 6 November 1650.4 He was invested as a Knight, Order of the Garter (K.G.) on 25 April 1653.4 He gained the title of Graf von Nassau-Dillenburg in 1672.4 He gained the title of Prince of Orange from 1672 to 1702. He gained the title of King William III of Great Britain on 13 February 1689.1 He was crowned King of England, Scotland, France and Ireland, Defender of the Faith on 11 April 1689 at Westminster Abbey, Westminster, London, England.1
- William and Mary were joint sovereigns as both had a good claim to the throne. William's object in taking the throne was to ensure that England remained part of the Grand Alliance against France who had territorial ambitions in Europe. William agreed to a Parliamentary demand for constitutional changes which permitted non-conformist Christians the right of worship; ensured that the Commons controlled Royal expenditure; provided for a new parliament to be called every 3 years; made the appointment of judges subject to parliamentary approval and, perhaps most important, laid down that only Protestants could succeed to the throne. William fought against the French and although reducing their power they were not decisively beaten. In 1690 William defeated James II and his French allies at the Battle of the Boyne in Ireland and the expenses of these wars necessitated the creation of the National Debt and this partly led to the establishment of the Bank of England in 1694. Queen Mary died of smallpox in 1694 and was buried at Westminster Abbey. The menace of France remained and William appointed John Churchill, Earl of Marlborough, Commander-in-Chief of the Grand Alliance. He has an extensive biographical entry in the Dictionary of National Biography.7
- Children of William III Henry of Orange, King of Great Britain and Mary II Stuart, Queen of Great Britain
- child1 Stuart b. Apr 1678, d. Apr 1678
- child2 Stuart b. Sep 1678, d. Sep 1678
- child3 Stuart b. Feb 1680, d. Feb 1680
- [S4] C.F.J. Hankinson, editor, DeBretts Peerage, Baronetage, Knightage and Companionage, 147th year (London, U.K.: Odhams Press, 1949), page 21. Hereinafter cited as DeBretts Peerage, 1949.
- [S332] Artcyclopedia, online http://www.artcyclopedia.com/artists. Hereinafter cited as Artcyclopedia.
- [S3409] Caroline Maubois, "re: Penancoet Family," e-mail message to Darryl Roger Lundy, 2 December 2008. Hereinafter cited as "re: Penancoet Family."
- [S11] Alison Weir, Britain's Royal Families: The Complete Genealogy (London, U.K.: The Bodley Head, 1999), page 265. Hereinafter cited as Britain's Royal Families.
- [S11] Alison Weir, Britain's Royal Families, page 266.
- [S37] BP2003 volume 2, page 2096. See link for full details for this source. Hereinafter cited as. [S37]
- [S18] Matthew H.C.G., editor, Dictionary of National Biography on CD-ROM (Oxford, U.K.: Oxford University Press, 1995), reference "William III, 1650-1702". Hereinafter cited as Dictionary of National Biography.
- From: http://www.thepeerage.com/p10141.htm#i101402
- Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900, Volume 61
- William III by Adolphus William Ward
- WILLIAM III (1650–1702), king of England, Scotland, and Ireland, was born on 4 Nov. 1650 at the Hague, in the stadholder's apartments in the old palace of the counts of Holland. William Henry, as he was named in a baptismal service celebrated with inopportune pomp, was the posthumous and only child of William II, Prince of Orange, and his consort Mary [q. v.], the eldest daughter of King Charles I and princess royal of England. At the time of his birth the prospects of the house of Orange seemed hopelessly darkened by a shadow which was to dominate the whole of his youth. Eight days before his birth his father had suddenly died, in the midst of schemes for redeeming the failure of his recent coup d'état, designed to raise the authority of the stadholderate at the cost of the provincial liberties and peace. Although the States-General were the sponsors of the young prince, it was inevitable that the opportunity of his father's death should be seized by the wealthy and powerful province of Holland, .... etc.
- .... Before taking the field in 1676 he sounded Temple on the question of his marriage with the Princess Mary, the elder daughter of James, Duke of York [see James II, King of England]. Marriage had been pressed upon him by the states of the provinces when they had made the stadholderate hereditary; and to an English marriage personal, as well as political, reasons inclined him. Temple having satisfied him both as to the personality of the princess and as to the stability of her uncle's throne, he determined on proceeding with his suit (Temple, Memoirs, p. 415). The campaign of 1676, in which he received a musket-shot in the arm at the siege of Maestricht, was not successful; he was unable to relieve either Valenciennes or Cambray, and in vain offered battle to Louis, who was again figuring at the head of his army (Burnet, ii. 114). In April 1677 he marched to the relief of St. Omer, but was defeated (11 April) by the Duke of Orleans at Montcassel, notwithstanding a display of great personal bravery; and his attempt on Charleroi (July) was likewise unsuccessful.
- In the middle of October 1677, encouraged by Danby's assurances conveyed through Temple, he embarked for England on his marriage suit. Notwithstanding the efforts of Charles II, who in the course of the summer had sent Laurence Hyde [q. v.] to the Hague to urge his views, the prince arrived in England politically unpledged [as to the transactions which ensued see MARY II]. The marriage was solemnised on 4 Nov.; in the negotiations concerning the peace which were carried on during William's visit, he held his own against the designs of Charles. The conditions agreed upon between them for a general peace (Temple, pp. 455–6) were, however, rejected at Versailles, and the treaty of January 1678 based on them remained a dead letter owing partly to the false play of Charles II, but chiefly to the successes of the French arms in Flanders in the spring of 1678, to the revival of the French republican party in Holland, its suspicions of dynastic designs, and to the intrigues of Louis with the whig opposition in England. Thus, when William had reached the Hague with his wife (December), serious disappointments awaited him. A treaty for the transfer of the English troops in the French to the Dutch service (July) proved of no avail, and three days before his sanguinary battle with Luxemburg (13 Aug.) the peace of Nimeguen was concluded. Having withdrawn to his hunting-seat Dieren, he treated the situation as one in which he could no longer interfere (Temple, u.s. p. 472). As a matter of fact this peace secured his primary object, the integrity of the territories of the united provinces; while the losses of Spain and the empire justified his policy, and marked him out as the leader of a future alliance against the aggressive policy of France.
- .... etc.
- .... On 28 Dec. Queen Mary [q. v.] died of the small-pox. William, who had not always been kind or faithful to his wife, had of late years had unprecedented opportunities for recognising the completeness of her self-sacrificing devotion, and sincerely mourned her loss (see Burnet, iv. 249, as to his anxiety and faintings during her last illness, and his complete seclusion for some weeks after her death; cf. Shrewsbury Correspondence, p. 218). .... etc.
- .... On his return to England he had so far kept up the appearance of health as to ride and even hunt at Hampton Court; in his last letter to Heinsius, of 20 Feb., it was the health of his trusted friend that engaged his solicitude (this letter concludes the series in Ranke). On this very day his favourite horse Sorrel, which he was riding through the park at Hampton Court, stumbled on a molehill, causing him to fall and break his collar-bone. He was taken to Kensington the same night. No serious alarm seems to have been felt at the time; and on 23 Feb. he sent a message to both houses, in reference to a motion by Nottingham for the calling of a new parliament in Scotland, recommending a union between the two kingdoms (Burnet, iv. 558). An accession of pain and weakness on 1 March induced him to grant a commission under the great seal for giving the royal assent to the bill for the attainder of the pretender and certain other bills. On 3 March he had what Burnet calls ‘a short fit of the ague,’ and from the following day had to keep his room. Four days afterwards, when Albemarle arrived from Holland with a satisfactory report of the progress of affairs, the king received it apathetically, and soon afterwards said, ‘Je tire vers ma fin.’ On the same day Tenison and Burnet were in attendance; and on the following morning, Sunday, 8 March, having received the sacrament, he bade farewell to several English lords and to Auverquerque, committed his private keys to the care of Albemarle, asked for Portland but was unable to speak to him articulately, and between seven and eight o'clock, while the commendatory prayer was being said for him, died (Burnet and Macaulay; for the incident of the finding of the gold ring with Mary's hair tied to the king's left arm, see also Kennet, iii. 832). The autopsy showed death to have resulted from an acute pleurisy, probably complicated by the inflammation of one lung. He had always been asthmatical (see ib. p. 833, the report of the nine physicians and four surgeons who conducted the post-mortem examination; and cf. Dr. Norman Moore's letter to the Athenæum, 7 July 1894).
- On 18 March the privy council resolved to bury William decently and privately in Westminster Abbey, to erect a monument to him and his queen there, and to set up a statue on horseback in some public place (Luttrell, v. 154); no monument, however, was erected in the abbey (the king's wax effigy, upon which Michelet moralises in his Louis XIV, 1864, p. 170, may still be seen there). The funeral took place on the night of 12 April, when the remains were, without the slightest attempt at pomp, laid in the vault under Henry VII's chapel in the abbey (Burnet, iv. 570). The king's will, on the contents of which conjecture had freely exercised itself (Luttrell, v. 150), was opened in May; it left the whole of his inheritance to his youthful cousin, John William Friso, hereditary stadholder of Friesland and Gröningen, whom William had in vain wished to succeed him in his own stadholderates (Van Kampen, ii. 334). A codicil bestowed a large legacy upon Albemarle. .... etc.
- From: https://en.wikisource.org/wiki/William_III_(DNB00)
William III Henry of Orange, King of Great Britain was born on 4 November 1650.4
He was the son of Willem II von Nassau-Dillenburg, Prince of Orange and Mary Henrietta Stuart, Princess Royal of Great Britain.
He married Mary II Stuart, Queen of Great Britain, daughter of James II Stuart, King of Great Britain and Lady Anne Hyde, on 4 November 1677 at St. James's Palace, St. James's, London, England.5
He died on 8 March 1702 at age 51 at Kensington Palace, Kensington, London, England, in a hunting accident.4 He was buried at Westminster Abbey, Westminster, London, England.4
William III Henry of Orange, King of Great Britain and Elizabeth Villiers were associated.6
He succeeded to the title of Stadholder of the United Provinces of the Netherlands on 6 November 1650.4 He was invested as a Knight, Order of the Garter (K.G.) on 25 April 1653.4 He gained the title of Graf von Nassau-Dillenburg in 1672.4 He gained the title of Prince of Orange from 1672 to 1702. He gained the title of King William III of Great Britain on 13 February 1689.1 He was crowned King of England, Scotland, France and Ireland, Defender of the Faith on 11 April 1689 at Westminster Abbey, Westminster, London, England.1
William and Mary were joint sovereigns as both had a good claim to the throne. William's object in taking the throne was to ensure that England remained part of the Grand Alliance against France who had territorial ambitions in Europe. William agreed to a Parliamentary demand for constitutional changes which permitted non-conformist Christians the right of worship; ensured that the Commons controlled Royal expenditure; provided for a new parliament to be called every 3 years; made the appointment of judges subject to parliamentary approval and, perhaps most important, laid down that only Protestants could succeed to the throne. William fought against the French and although reducing their power they were not decisively beaten. In 1690 William defeated James II and his French allies at the Battle of the Boyne in Ireland and the expenses of these wars necessitated the creation of the National Debt and this partly led to the establishment of the Bank of England in 1694. Queen Mary died of smallpox in 1694 and was buried at Westminster Abbey. The menace of France remained and William appointed John Churchill, Earl of Marlborough, Commander-in-Chief of the Grand Alliance. He has an extensive biographical entry in the Dictionary of National Biography.7
Children of William III Henry of Orange, King of Great Britain and Mary II Stuart, Queen of Great Britain
- child1 Stuart b. Apr 1678, d. Apr 1678
- child2 Stuart b. Sep 1678, d. Sep 1678
- child3 Stuart b. Feb 1680, d. Feb 1680
Born after the death of his father. Undersized, asthamtic & with a hook-nose. After his wife's death he began drinking alot. It was hard for him to breathe as he was asthmatic. He became very thin & his legs swelled to an immense size. In Feb. 1702 William was riding at Hampton Court when his horse stumbled on a mole hill & there he broke his collar bone. After it had been set, he insisted on returning to Kensington Palace by coach, which aggravated his condition. He became feverish & some days later died of pleuro-pneumonia. His funeral was held at midnight.
The book, 'The Island Race', by Winston Churchill
The book, 'Louis 14th, An Informal Portrait'
The book, 'The Princes of Wales'
William III, King of England, Ireland, and Scotland's Timeline
November 14, 1650
The Hague, South Holland, Netherlands
November 4, 1677
February 13, 1689
- March 8, 1702
King of England
King of England