William, Prince of Orange

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Prince of Orange
Kroonprins Willem.jpg
Born(1840-09-04)4 September 1840
Noordeinde Palace, The Hague, Netherlands
Died11 June 1879(1879-06-11) (aged 38)
Paris, France
Burial26 June 1879
Full name
Willem Nicolaas Alexander Frederik Karel Hendrik
House Orange-Nassau
Father William III of the Netherlands
Mother Sophie of Württemberg

William, Prince of Orange (Willem Nicolaas Alexander Frederik Karel Hendrik; 4 September 1840 – 11 June 1879), was heir apparent to the Dutch throne as the eldest son of King William III from 17 March 1849 until his death.

An heir apparent or heiress apparent is a person who is first in a line of succession and cannot be displaced from inheriting by the birth of another person. An heir presumptive, by contrast, is someone who is first in line to inherit a title but who can be displaced by the birth of a more eligible heir.

William III of the Netherlands King of the Netherlands and Grand Duke of Luxembourg 1849 - 1890

William III was King of the Netherlands and Grand Duke of Luxembourg from 1849 until his death in 1890. He was also the Duke of Limburg from 1849 until the abolition of the duchy in 1866.


Early life

Prince William was the eldest son of King William III of the Netherlands and his first wife, Princess Sophie of Württemberg. His nickname was Wiwill. At his birth, he held the third position in the line of succession to the Dutch throne and the seventeenth position in the line of succession to the British throne. A month afterwards on 7 October 1840, his great-grandfather, the reigning King William I of the Netherlands, abdicated the throne due to the disappointment over the recent Treaty of London, which recognized the independence of Belgium (previously provinces of the United Kingdom of the Netherlands), and the intention of marrying a Roman Catholic and Belgian noblewoman, Henrietta d'Oultremont. In 1849, after the death of his grandfather King William II of the Netherlands, he became Prince of Orange as heir apparent. His Victorian upbringing turned out to be a disaster.

William I of the Netherlands King of the Netherlands and Grand Duke of Luxembourg 1815 - 1840

William I was a Prince of Orange and the first King of the Netherlands and Grand Duke of Luxembourg.

Treaty of London (1839) treaty signed on 19 April 1839

The Treaty of London of 1839, also called the First Treaty of London, the Convention of 1839, the Treaty of Separation, the Quintuple Treaty of 1839, or the Treaty of the XXIV articles, was a treaty signed on 19 April 1839 between the Concert of Europe, the United Kingdom of the Netherlands and the Kingdom of Belgium. It was a direct follow-up to the 1831 Treaty of the XVIII Articles which the Netherlands had refused to sign, and the result of negotiations at the London Conference of 1838–1839.

Belgium Federal constitutional monarchy in Western Europe

Belgium, officially the Kingdom of Belgium, is a country in Western Europe. It is bordered by the Netherlands to the north, Germany to the east, Luxembourg to the southeast, France to the southwest, and the North Sea to the northwest. It covers an area of 30,688 square kilometres (11,849 sq mi) and has a population of more than 11.4 million. The capital and largest city is Brussels; other major cities are Antwerp, Ghent, Charleroi and Liège.

Failed marriages

The Prince of Orange at a later age KroonprinsWillemderNederlanden.jpg
The Prince of Orange at a later age

After the failed plans for a marriage between Prince William and Princess Alice of the United Kingdom, the second daughter of Queen Victoria, the prince fell in love with the 19-year-old Countess Mathilde von Limburg-Stirum in 1873. The relationship between the prince and his parents became very problematic, as his parents refused William's wish to accept Mathilde as his bride in 1874. By the standards of the Dutch royal family, a marriage between a member of the royal family and a member of the nobility was considered unequal and therefore unacceptable. Also a rumour circulated that Mathilda was an illegitimate daughter of king William III and so William could be marrying his half-sister. The 33-year-old William wanted to marry, if necessary, without the consent of his parents. However, Mathilda was not yet twenty and so permission was needed from her parents too. Since they denied permission, the prince's attempt to marry Mathilda failed. She finally married in 1881 Baron Reginald van Tuyll (1845–1903, who may have inspired the eponymous character in Pelham Grenville Wodehouse's book Indiscretions of Archie, 1921) [1] . She died on 14 May 1932, at age 77 at Popham, Hampshire, in England, nearby her daughter Julia Sheffield, Lady Sheffield. [2]

Princess Alice of the United Kingdom British royalty

Princess Alice of the United Kingdom, Grand Duchess of Hesse and by Rhine, was the third child and second daughter of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert. Alice was the first of Queen Victoria's nine children to die, and one of three to be outlived by their mother, who died in 1901.

Queen Victoria British monarch who reigned 1837–1901

Victoria was Queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland from 20 June 1837 until her death. On 1 May 1876, she adopted the additional title of Empress of India.

Morganatic marriage, sometimes called a left-handed marriage, is a marriage between people of unequal social rank, which in the context of royalty prevents the passage of the husband's titles and privileges to the wife and any children born of the marriage.

Death and aftermath

Heavily disillusioned with his situation in the Netherlands, Prince William then went into exile in Paris, where he threw himself into a life of sex, drinking and gambling. He shared this life with Henriette Hauser (also Hausser), his Parisian mistress, a "boulevard theatre" actress. The Duke de Gramont-Caderousse, a French fellow hedonist, gave him the nickname "Prince Lemon" [le prince Citron in French]; [3] the nickname became popular among the regulars in the recently created boulevards and the Parisian newspapers when they reported about his debauched lifestyle. Prince William died at the age of 38 in his apartment in the Rue Auber, near the Paris Opera from a combination of typhus, liver complaints and total exhaustion. On 26 June 1879 his body was entombed in the royal crypt at the New Church of Delft. On his coffin there was a wreath from French empress Eugénie de Montijo and one from the future King Edward VII, who had been his fellow debauchee.

Paris Capital of France

Paris is the capital and most populous city of France, with an area of 105 square kilometres and an official estimated population of 2,140,526 residents as of 1 January 2019. Since the 17th century, Paris has been one of Europe's major centres of finance, diplomacy, commerce, fashion, science, and the arts.

Mistress (lover) Female who is in an extra-marital sexual relationship

A mistress is a relatively long-term female lover and companion who is not married to her partner, especially when her partner is married to someone else.

Palais Garnier opera house in Paris, France

The Palais Garnier is a 1,979-seat opera house, which was built from 1861 to 1875 for the Paris Opera. It was called the Salle des Capucines, because of its location on the Boulevard des Capucines in the 9th arrondissement of Paris, but soon became known as the Palais Garnier, in recognition of its opulence and its architect, Charles Garnier. The theatre is also often referred to as the Opéra Garnier and historically was known as the Opéra de Paris or simply the Opéra, as it was the primary home of the Paris Opera and its associated Paris Opera Ballet until 1989, when the Opéra Bastille opened at the Place de la Bastille. The Paris Opera now uses the Palais Garnier mainly for ballet.

After his death, his brother Alexander became heir-apparent and Prince of Orange. However he also died before their father, who was now without sons. The States-General adopted cognatic primogeniture in 1888.

Alexander, Prince of Orange Prince of Orange

Alexander, Prince of Orange, was heir apparent to his father King William III of the Netherlands from 11 June 1879 until his death.



  1. "Jack Bunbury (1851-1893) / Chapter: Baroness Myra de Tuyll". www.turtlebunbury.com.
  2. "Anna Mathilde van Limburg Stirum (b. 24 July 1854, d. 14 May 1932) - Person Page 63259". www.thepeerage.com.
  3. "Gazette Anecdotique Littéraire, Artistique et Bibliographique, No.12, 30 juin 1879, p.366" (PDF). G. D'Heylli. Retrieved 2012-03-07.
William, Prince of Orange
Born: 4 September 1840 Died: 11 June 1879
Dutch royalty
Preceded by
later became King William III
Prince of Orange
Succeeded by

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