Anne, Princess Royal and Princess of Orange

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Princess Royal
Anna von hannover prinses van oranje.jpg
Princess consort of Orange
Born(1709-11-02)2 November 1709 (New Style)
Herrenhausen Palace, Hanover
Died12 January 1759(1759-01-12) (aged 49)
The Hague
Burial23 February 1759
Spouse William IV, Prince of Orange
Issue Carolina, Princess of Nassau-Weilburg
Princess Anna
William V, Prince of Orange
House Hanover
Father George II of Great Britain
Mother Caroline of Ansbach
British Royalty
House of Hanover
Coat of Arms of Great Britain (1714-1801).svg
George II
Frederick, Prince of Wales
Anne, Princess Royal and Princess of Orange
Princess Amelia
Princess Caroline
Prince George William of Wales
Prince William, Duke of Cumberland
Mary, Landgravine of Hesse-Cassel
Louise, Queen of Denmark and Norway
Augusta, Duchess of Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel
George III
Prince Edward, Duke of York and Albany
Princess Elizabeth of Wales
Prince William Henry, Duke of Gloucester and Edinburgh
Prince Henry, Duke of Cumberland and Strathearn
Princess Louisa of Wales
Prince Frederick of Wales
Caroline Matilda, Queen of Denmark and Norway
Princess Sophia of Gloucester
Princess Caroline of Gloucester
Prince William Frederick, Duke of Gloucester and Edinburgh

Anne, Princess Royal and Princess of Orange (2 November 1709 – 12 January 1759 [1] ) was the second child and eldest daughter of King George II of Great Britain and his consort Caroline of Ansbach. She was the spouse of William IV, Prince of Orange, the first hereditary stadtholder of all seven provinces of the Northern Netherlands. She was Regent of the Netherlands from 1751 until her death in 1759, exercising extensive powers on behalf of her son William V. She was known as an Anglophile, due to her English upbringing and family connections, but was unable to convince the Dutch Republic to enter the Seven Years' War on the side of the British.[ citation needed ] Princess Anne was the second daughter of a British sovereign to hold the title Princess Royal. [2] In the Netherlands she was sometimes known as Anna van Hannover.

Caroline of Ansbach Queen of Great Britain 1727–1737 (as wife of King George II)

Caroline of Brandenburg-Ansbach was Queen consort of Great Britain as the wife of King George II.

William IV, Prince of Orange hereditary stadtholder of the Netherlands

William IV was Prince of Orange from birth and the first hereditary Stadtholder of all the United Provinces of the Netherlands from 1747 till his death in 1751. During his whole life he was furthermore ruler of the Principality of Orange-Nassau within the Holy Roman Empire.

Stadtholder title used in parts of Europe

In the Low Countries, stadtholder was an office of steward, designated a medieval official and then a national leader. The stadtholder was the replacement of the duke or earl of a province during the Burgundian and Habsburg period.


Early life

Anne was born at Herrenhausen Palace, Hanover, five years before her paternal grandfather, Elector George Louis, succeeded to the thrones of Great Britain and Ireland as George I. She was christened shortly after her birth at Herrenhausen Palace. [3] She was named after her paternal grandfather's second cousin Anne, Queen of Great Britain. [4]

Herrenhausen Palace palace in Hanover

Herrenhausen Palace is a former royal summer residence of the House of Hanover in the Herrenhausen district of the German city of Hanover. It is the centerpiece of Herrenhausen Gardens.

Kingdom of Great Britain Constitutional monarchy in Western Europe between 1707 and 1801

The Kingdom of Great Britain, officially called Great Britain, was a sovereign state in western Europe from 1 May 1707 to 1 January 1801. The state came into being following the Treaty of Union in 1706, ratified by the Acts of Union 1707, which united the kingdoms of England and Scotland to form a single kingdom encompassing the whole island of Great Britain and its outlying islands, with the exception of the Isle of Man and the Channel Islands. The unitary state was governed by a single parliament and government that was based in Westminster. The former kingdoms had been in personal union since James VI of Scotland became King of England and King of Ireland in 1603 following the death of Elizabeth I, bringing about the "Union of the Crowns". Since its inception the kingdom was in legislative and personal union with Ireland and after the accession of George I to the throne of Great Britain in 1714, the kingdom was in a personal union with the Electorate of Hanover.

Kingdom of Ireland Historical kingdom on the island of Ireland between 1542 and 1801

The Kingdom of Ireland was a client state of England and then of Great Britain that existed from 1542 until 1800. It was ruled by the monarchs of England and then of Great Britain in personal union with their other realms. The kingdom was administered from Dublin Castle nominally by the King or Queen, who appointed a viceroy to rule in their stead. It had its own legislature, peerage, legal system, and state church.

She learned German, French and English, [5] and was taught music (including singing, harpsichord, and composition) by Georg Friedrich Händel. Händel did not like teaching, but said he would "make the only exception for Anne, flower of princesses". [6] She remained a lifelong supporter, attending his operas and subscribing to his music. [7]

Harpsichord musical instrument played by means of a keyboard

A harpsichord is a musical instrument played by means of a keyboard. Like a pipe organ, a harpsichord may have more than one keyboard manual and harpsichords may have stop buttons which add or remove additional octaves. Some harpsichords may have a lute stop, which simulates the sound of a plucked lute. This activates a row of levers that turn a trigger mechanism that plucks one or more strings with a small plectrum made from quill or plastic. The strings are under tension on a soundboard, which is mounted in a wooden case; the soundboard amplifies the vibrations from the strings so that the listeners can hear it.

John Croker's medal of 1732 showing the surviving children of King George II, Frederick, William, Anne, Amelia, Caroline, Mary, and Louisa Medal of George II and his Family MET DP-180-155.jpg
John Croker's medal of 1732 showing the surviving children of King George II, Frederick, William, Anne, Amelia, Caroline, Mary, and Louisa

Anne contracted and survived smallpox in 1720, [8] and two years later her mother helped to popularise the practice of variolation (an early type of immunisation against smallpox), which had been witnessed by Lady Mary Wortley Montagu and Charles Maitland in Constantinople. At the direction of Caroline, six prisoners condemned to death were offered the chance to undergo variolation instead of execution: they all survived, as did six orphan children given the same treatment as a further test. Convinced of its medical value, the Queen had her two younger daughters, Amelia and Caroline, inoculated successfully. [9] Anne's face was scarred by the disease, and she was not considered as pretty as her two younger sisters. [10]

Smallpox eradicated viral disease

Smallpox was an infectious disease caused by one of two virus variants, Variola major and Variola minor. The last naturally occurring case was diagnosed in October 1977 and the World Health Organization (WHO) certified the global eradication of the disease in 1980. The risk of death following contracting the disease was about 30%, with higher rates among babies. Often those who survived had extensive scarring of their skin and some were left blind.

Variolation or inoculation was the method first used to immunize an individual against smallpox (Variola) with material taken from a patient or a recently variolated individual in the hope that a mild, but protective infection would result. The procedure was most commonly carried out by inserting/rubbing powdered smallpox scabs or fluid from pustules into superficial scratches made in the skin. The patient would develop pustules identical to those caused by naturally occurring smallpox, usually producing a less severe disease than naturally acquired smallpox. Eventually, after about two to four weeks, these symptoms would subside, indicating successful recovery and immunity. The method was first used in China and the Middle East before it was introduced into England and North America in the 1720s in the face of some opposition. The method is no longer used today. It was replaced by smallpox vaccine, a safer alternative. This in turn led to the development of the many vaccines now available against other diseases.

Lady Mary Wortley Montagu Writer and poet from England

Lady Mary Wortley Montagu was an English aristocrat, letter writer, and poet. Lady Mary is today chiefly remembered for her letters, particularly her letters from travels to the Ottoman Empire, as wife to the British ambassador to Turkey, which have been described by Billie Melman as "the very first example of a secular work by a woman about the Muslim Orient". Aside from her writing, Lady Mary is also known for introducing and advocating for smallpox inoculation to Britain after her return from Turkey. Her writings address and challenge the hindering contemporary social attitudes towards women and their intellectual and social growth.

On 30 August 1727, George II created his eldest daughter Princess Royal, a title which had fallen from use since its creation by Charles I for his daughter Mary, Princess of Orange in 1642.

George II of Great Britain British monarch

George II was King of Great Britain and Ireland, Duke of Brunswick-Lüneburg (Hanover) and a prince-elector of the Holy Roman Empire from 11 June 1727 (O.S.) until his death in 1760.

Princess Royal

Princess Royal is a substantive title customarily awarded by a British monarch to his or her eldest daughter. There have been seven Princesses Royal. Princess Anne is the current Princess Royal. Queen Elizabeth II never held the title as her aunt, Princess Mary, was in possession of the title.

Charles I of England 17th-century monarch of kingdoms of England, Scotland, and Ireland

Charles I was the monarch over the three kingdoms of England, Scotland, and Ireland from 27 March 1625 until his execution.

Princess of Orange

In 1725, a potential marriage contract between Anne and King Louis XV of France was considered. From a French viewpoint, such an marriage could give France valuable neutrality from The Netherlands and Prussia, as well as protection against Spain. [11] However, the religious issues caused problems. While it was taken for granted that Anne would have to convert to Catholicism, there where concerns that this would still not be enough for the Pope, whose support was needed, particularly regarding the broken bethrotal between Louis XV and a Spanish princess, and the prospect of Anne becoming Regent of France in case of a minor regency was feared because of her presumed religious inclinations toward the Huguenots in France. [12] The plans was eventually discarded when the French insisted that Anne must convert to Roman Catholicism. [5]

Louis XV of France Bourbon monarch who ruled as King of France and of Navarre 1715–1774

Louis XV, known as Louis the Beloved, was King of France from 1 September 1715 until his death in 1774. He succeeded his great-grandfather Louis XIV at the age of five. Until he reached maturity on 15 February 1723, the kingdom was ruled by Philippe II, Duke of Orléans, as Regent of France. Cardinal Fleury was his chief minister from 1726 until the Cardinal's death in 1743, at which time the king took sole control of the kingdom.

Catholic Church Largest Christian church, led by the Bishop of Rome

The Catholic Church, also known as the Roman Catholic Church, is the largest Christian church, with approximately 1.3 billion baptised Catholics worldwide as of 2017. As the world's oldest and largest continuously functioning international institution, it has played a prominent role in the history and development of Western civilisation. The church is headed by the Bishop of Rome, known as the pope. Its central administration, the Holy See, is in the Vatican City, an enclave within the city of Rome in Italy.

On 25 March 1734 (New Style) in the Chapel Royal at St. James's Palace, she married William IV, Prince of Orange. [13] She then ceased to use her British title in favour of the new one she gained by marriage. The music played at her wedding, This is the day was set by Handel to the princess's own words based on Psalms 45 and 118. [14] Handel also composed an operatic entertainment, Parnasso in Festa , in honour of her wedding which was performed for the first time at the King's Theatre, London, on 13 March 1734, with great success. [15]

William suffered from a spinal deformity, which affected his appearance, but Anne said she would marry him even "if he were a baboon". [16] Her reason for being so insistent upon this marriage was reported to be simply that she wished to be married, to avoid a life as a spinster at the court of her father and her brother, with whom she did not get along; and as the only match considered suitable for her was with a monarch or heir to a throne, William was essentially her only remaining Protestant choice, and when questioned by her father, she stated that it was not a matter of whether she should marry William, the question was rather whether she should marry at all. [17] She quarreled with her brother, the Prince of Wales, about her choice.[ clarification needed ]

William and Anne sailed to Holland after a honeymoon at Kew. In the Netherlands, they resided at Leeuwarden. Anne soon felt homesick when William went on campaign in the Rhineland, and she travelled back to England, believing herself to be pregnant, with the motivation that as her child would be in succession to the thrones of Britain and Ireland it should be born in Great Britain. [18] However, this decision caused conflict with her husband and her father, who both commanded her to return to Holland after a brief stay. [19] By April 1735, it was clear that Anne was not with child after all. [20] In 1736, she did become pregnant, but the child (a daughter) was stillborn. [21]

Anne was not well liked by the people of the Netherlands and did not get on well with her mother-in-law. [22] She was perceived as haughty, with a belief in British superiority over the Dutch; she appeared to isolate herself with her interests in music and literature; and she was accused of displaying little consideration for her courtiers, for example by forcing her ladies-in-waiting to read for her for hours, ignoring their fatigue. [17] Her relationship with William, however, which was at first distant, eventually developed into harmony and intimacy, which is displayed in their correspondence. [23] In 1747, William became Stadtholder of all the Seven United Provinces, and this was followed by a constitutional reform which made his new wider authority hereditary. [22] William and Anne moved to the Hague, where Anne introduced Händel to the Netherlands: he accepted her invitation to her music life at the Hague in 1750. [24] The composer Josina van Aerssen was one of her ladies-in-waiting.


William IV died on 22 October 1751, at the age of forty, and Anne was appointed as regent for her three-year-old son, William V. She gained all the prerogatives normally held by a hereditary Stadtholder of the Netherlands, with the exception of the military duties of the office, which were entrusted to Duke Louis Ernest of Brunswick-Lüneburg. [24] She was hard-working, but arrogant and imperious, which made her unpopular. [25] The 1750s were years of increasing tension and commercial rivalry between Holland and Great Britain, which placed her in a difficult position. [26]

Anne's interior policy focused on defending the authority of the central hereditary Stadtholder government over the traditional rights of the Dutch states. [22] The reform of the hereditary post of Stadtholder had been introduced during the reign of her late husband; it was new and controversial and was questioned after his death, but Anne effectively defended the centralized government. [24] In the conflict with the city of Haarlem, for example, she prevented the city from holding its election by refusing the release of its list of candidates. [24] Her harsh rule was resented, but her consolidation policy effectively secured the new hereditary Stadtholder rule in the Netherlands. [24]

In her foreign policy, Anne favored the British alliance with the Emperor before the French, a policy which was not popular in the Netherlands, and her fortification of the southern provinces against the French Netherlands was met with great opposition. [24]

Anne continued to act as regent until her death from dropsy in 1759, at The Hague, when she was replaced by her mother-in-law, Marie Louise of Hesse-Kassel, who was assisted by Duke Louis Ernest of Brunswick-Lüneburg. When she too died in 1765, Anne's daughter, Carolina, was made regent until William V would reach the age of eighteen in 1766.[ citation needed ]


The princess took drawing and painting lessons from Herman van der Mijn and made a self-portrait in 1740 that is in the collection of the House of Orange-Nassau Historic Collections Trust. She also made a portrait of Mijn himself while he was at work making portraits of other family members. [27]


Princess Anne, Maryland, is named for her. [28]


On 31 January 1719, as a grandchild of the sovereign, Anne was granted use of the arms of the realm, differenced by a label argent of five points, each bearing a cross gules. On 30 August 1727, as a child of the sovereign, Anne's difference changed to a label argent of three points, each bearing a cross gules. [29]

Coat of Arms of Anne, the Princess Royal and Princess of Orange.svg
Coat of Arms from 30 August 1727


NameBirthDeathNotes [30]
Princess Carolina 28 February 17436 May 1787married 1760, Charles Christian, Prince of Nassau-Weilburg; had issue
Princess Anna15 November 174629 December 1746
William V, Prince of Orange 8 March 17489 April 1806married, 1767, Princess Wilhelmina of Prussia; had issue


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  1. Kilburn, Matthew. "Anne, princess royal". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (online ed.). Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/68369.(Subscription or UK public library membership required.)
  2. Princess Mary (born 1631), the daughter of Henrietta Maria and Charles, became the first Princess Royal in 1642.
  3. "Yvonne's Royalty Home Page: Royal Christenings". Archived from the original on 2011-08-06. Retrieved 2008-05-20.
  4. Van der Kiste, p. 24
  5. 1 2 Van der Kiste, p. 84
  6. Van der Kiste, p. 85
  7. Vickers, David. "Programme Notes for "Parnasso in Festa"" . Retrieved 17 May 2014.
  8. Van der Kiste, p. 73
  9. Van der Kiste, p. 83
  10. Van der Kiste, p. 78
  11. Edmond et Jules de Goncourt: La duchesse de Châteauroux et ses soeurs , Paris, 1906
  12. Edmond et Jules de Goncourt: La duchesse de Châteauroux et ses soeurs , Paris, 1906
  13. Van der Kiste, p. 132
  14. Van der Kiste, p. 133
  15. Lang, Paul Henry (2011). George Frideric Handel (reprint ed.). Dover Books on Music. pp. 249–50. ISBN   978-0-486-29227-4.
  16. Van der Kiste, p. 131
  17. 1 2 John Van der Kiste, The Georgian Princesses
  18. djr (20 March 2017). "Digitaal Vrouwenlexicon van Nederland" . Retrieved January 13, 2014.
  19. Van der Kiste, pp. 135–136
  20. Van der Kiste, p. 136
  21. Van der Kiste, p. 150
  22. 1 2 3 djr (20 March 2017). "Digitaal Vrouwenlexicon van Nederland" . Retrieved January 13, 2014.
  23. djr (20 March 2017). "Digitaal Vrouwenlexicon van Nederland" . Retrieved January 13, 2014.
  24. 1 2 3 4 5 6 djr (20 March 2017). "Digitaal Vrouwenlexicon van Nederland" . Retrieved January 13, 2014.
  25. Van der Kiste, p. 198
  26. Van der Kiste, p. 209
  27. Clayton, Ellen Creathorne. English female artists, volume 2 (London, Tinsley brothers, 1876) p. 81 ff.
  28. "Heritage - Areas of Interest". Town of Princess Anne. Retrieved 1 November 2018.
  29. Velde, Francois R. "marks of cadency in the British royal family".
  30. Montgomery-Massingberd, Hugh (ed.) (1977). Burke's Royal Families of the World, 1st edition. London: Burke's Peerage. p. 240. ISBN   0-85011-023-8.CS1 maint: extra text: authors list (link)
  31. Genealogie ascendante jusqu'au quatrieme degre inclusivement de tous les Rois et Princes de maisons souveraines de l'Europe actuellement vivans [Genealogy up to the fourth degree inclusive of all the Kings and Princes of sovereign houses of Europe currently living] (in French). Bourdeaux: Frederic Guillaume Birnstiel. 1768. p. 55.

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Anne, Princess Royal and Princess of Orange
Cadet branch of the House of Welf
Born: 2 November 1709 Died: 12 January 1759
Dutch royalty
Title last held by
Marie Louise of Hesse-Kassel
Princess consort of Orange
Title next held by
Wilhelmina of Prussia
British royalty
Title last held by
Mary, Princess of Orange
Princess Royal
Title next held by
Charlotte, Queen of Württemberg