William II, Prince of Orange

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William II
Workshop of Gerard van Honthorst 001.jpg
William II, Prince of Orange (1651)
by Gerard van Honthorst
Prince of Orange
Reign14 March 1647  6 November 1650
Predecessor Frederick Henry
Successor William III
Born(1626-05-27)27 May 1626
The Hague, Dutch Republic
Died6 November 1650(1650-11-06) (aged 24)
The Hague, Dutch Republic
Burial8 March 1651
Spouse Mary, Princess Royal
(m. 1641–50; his death)
IssueWilliam III
House Orange-Nassau
Father Frederick Henry, Prince of Orange
Mother Amalia of Solms-Braunfels
Religion Calvinism

William II (27 May 1626 – 6 November 1650) was sovereign Prince of Orange and stadtholder of the United Provinces of the Netherlands from 14 March 1647 until his death three years later. His only child, William III, reigned as King of England, Ireland, and Scotland.

Prince of Orange title originally from the Principality of Orange

Prince of Orange is a title originally associated with the sovereign Principality of Orange, in what is now southern France. Under the Treaty of Utrecht of 1713, Frederick William I of Prussia ceded the Principality of Orange to King Louis XIV of France. After William III of England died without children, a dispute arose between Johan Willem Friso and Frederick I of Prussia, which was settled in the Treaty of Partition (1732); consequently, Friso's son, William IV had to share use of the title "Prince of Orange" with Frederick William I of Prussia. The title is traditionally borne by the heir apparent of the Dutch monarch. The title descends via absolute primogeniture since 1983, meaning that its holder can be either Prince or Princess of Orange.

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 (1384–1581/1795).

William III of England 17th-century Stadtholder, Prince of Orange and King of England, Scotland and Ireland

William III, also widely known as William of Orange, 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 in 1702. As King of Scotland, he is known as William II. He is sometimes informally known in Northern Ireland and Scotland as "King Billy".

Contents

Biography

Engraving of William II Dankaerts-Historis-9296 - William II, Prince of Orange.tiff
Engraving of William II

William II, Prince of Orange, was the son of Frederick Henry, Prince of Orange, and Amalia of Solms-Braunfels. Frederick Henry was the youngest son of William the Silent (stadtholder 1559-1584); his older half brother Maurits of Nassau was stadtholder (1585-1625); he was stadtholder from 1625 to 1647. The stadtholders governed in conjunction with the States-General, an assembly of representatives from each of the seven provinces, but usually dominated by the largest and wealthiest province, Holland.

Frederick Henry, Prince of Orange Prince of Orange and Stadtholder of Holland

Frederick Henry, or Frederik Hendrik in Dutch, was the sovereign Prince of Orange and stadtholder of Holland, Zeeland, Utrecht, Guelders, and Overijssel from 1625 to 1647. He was the grandfather of William III of England.

Amalia of Solms-Braunfels Regent of Orange

Amalia of Solms-Braunfels, was Princess consort of Orange by marriage to Frederick Henry, Prince of Orange. She acted as the political adviser of her spouse during his reign, and acted as his de facto deputy and regent during his infirmity from 1640–47. She also served as chair of the regency council during the minority of her grandson William III, Prince of Orange from 1650 until 1672. She was the daughter of count John Albert I of Solms-Braunfels and countess Agnes of Sayn-Wittgenstein.

William the Silent founder of the Dutch Republic, stadtholder of Holland, Zeeland and Utrecht, leader of the Dutch Revolt

William I, Prince of Orange, also known as William the Silent or William the Taciturn, or more commonly known as William of Orange, was the main leader of the Dutch Revolt against the Spanish Habsburgs that set off the Eighty Years' War (1568–1648) and resulted in the formal independence of the United Provinces in 1581. He was born in the House of Nassau as Count of Nassau-Dillenburg. He became Prince of Orange in 1544 and is thereby the founder of the branch House of Orange-Nassau and the ancestor of the monarchy of the Netherlands. Within the Netherlands he is also known as Father of the Fatherland.

On 2 May 1641, William married Mary, Princess Royal, who was the eldest daughter of King Charles I of England, in the Chapel Royal of Whitehall Palace in London. William was fifteen, while Mary was just nine at that time.

Charles I of England 17th-century monarch of the three 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 in 1649.

In 1647, his father Frederick Henry died, and William II succeeded to both his hereditary titles and his elective offices as stadtholder of five of the seven provinces: Holland, Zeeland, Utrecht, Guelders and Overijssel.

Zeeland Province of the Netherlands

Zeeland is the westernmost and least populous province of the Netherlands. The province, located in the south-west of the country, consists of a number of islands and peninsulas and a strip bordering Belgium. Its capital is Middelburg. Its area is about 2,930 square kilometres (1,130 sq mi), of which almost 1,140 square kilometres (440 sq mi) is water, and it has a population of about 380,000.

Utrecht (province) Province of the Netherlands

Utrecht is a province of the Netherlands. It is located in the centre of the country, bordering the Eemmeer in the north-east, the province of Gelderland in the east and south-east, the province of South Holland in the west and south-west and the province of North Holland in the north-west and north. With an area of approximately 1,400 square kilometres (540 sq mi), it is the smallest of the twelve Dutch provinces. Apart from its eponymous capital, major cities in the province are Amersfoort, Houten, Nieuwegein, Veenendaal, IJsselstein and Zeist.

Guelders former country

Guelders or Gueldres is a historical county, later duchy of the Holy Roman Empire, located in the Low Countries.

The Netherlands at this time was engaged in the Eighty Years' War against Spain for its independence. Under Frederick Henry, the Netherlands had largely won the war, and since 1646 had been negotiating with Spain on the terms for ending it.

Eighty Years War 16th and 17th-century Dutch revolt against the Habsburgs

The Eighty Years' War or Dutch War of Independence (1568–1648) was a revolt of the Seventeen Provinces of what are today the Netherlands, Belgium, and Luxembourg against Philip II of Spain, the sovereign of the Habsburg Netherlands. After the initial stages, Philip II deployed his armies and regained control over most of the rebelling provinces. Under the leadership of the exiled William the Silent, the northern provinces continued their resistance. They eventually were able to oust the Habsburg armies, and in 1581 they established the Republic of the Seven United Netherlands. The war continued in other areas, although the heartland of the republic was no longer threatened; this included the beginnings of the Dutch Colonial Empire, which at the time were conceived as carrying overseas the war with Spain. The Dutch Republic was recognized by Spain and the major European powers in 1609 at the start of the Twelve Years' Truce. Hostilities broke out again around 1619, as part of the broader Thirty Years' War. An end was reached in 1648 with the Peace of Münster, when the Dutch Republic was definitively recognised as an independent country no longer part of the Holy Roman Empire. The Peace of Münster is sometimes considered the beginning of the Dutch Golden Age.

Spain Kingdom in Southwest Europe

Spain, officially the Kingdom of Spain, is a country mostly located in Europe. Its continental European territory is situated on the Iberian Peninsula. Its territory also includes two archipelagoes: the Canary Islands off the coast of Africa, and the Balearic Islands in the Mediterranean Sea. The African enclaves of Ceuta, Melilla, and Peñón de Vélez de la Gomera make Spain the only European country to have a physical border with an African country (Morocco). Several small islands in the Alboran Sea are also part of Spanish territory. The country's mainland is bordered to the south and east by the Mediterranean Sea except for a small land boundary with Gibraltar; to the north and northeast by France, Andorra, and the Bay of Biscay; and to the west and northwest by Portugal and the Atlantic Ocean.

The negotiators agreed to the Peace of Münster in 1648, but William opposed acceptance of the treaty, even though it recognized the independence of the (northern) Netherlands, because it left the southern Netherlands in the hands of the Spanish monarchy. A separate peace furthermore violated the alliance with France formed in 1635. However, the States of six provinces voted to accept it.

Peace of Münster Treaty between the Dutch Republic and Spain signed in 1648

The Peace of Münster was a treaty between the Lords States General of the United Netherlands and the Spanish Crown, the terms of which were agreed on 30 January 1648. The Treaty is a key event in Dutch history marking formal recognition of the independent Dutch Republic and formed part of the Peace of Westphalia ending the Thirty Years' War and the Eighty Years' War.

Secretly, William opened his own negotiations with France with the goal of extending his own territory under a more centralized government. In addition, he worked for the restoration of his exiled brother-in-law, Charles II, to the throne of England.

In 1650 William II became involved in a bitter quarrel with the province of Holland and the powerful Regents of Amsterdam, Andries Bicker and his cousin Cornelis de Graeff. With the Peace of Münster, the Regents wanted to reduce the army, saving money. That would also diminish William's authority. William imprisoned eight members of the States of Holland (including Jacob de Witt) in the castle of Loevestein. In addition, he sent his cousin, Willem Frederik of Nassau-Dietz with an army of 10,000 men to seize Amsterdam by force. Bad weather foiled this campaign, but Amsterdam did give in. [1]

William served as stadtholder for only three years, until he died of smallpox in 1650. His only son William was born one week after his death. This was the beginning of the First Stadtholderless Period. His son succeeded him in 1672 as stadtholder and later, in 1689, also became King of England.

Arms

William II used the following arms during his time as prince of Orange, Stadholder or Holland, etc., and Captain-General:

Depictions

Ancestors

Related Research Articles

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Mary, Princess Royal was Princess of Orange and Countess of Nassau by marriage to Prince William II, and co-regent for her son during his minority as Sovereign Prince of Orange from 1651 to 1660.

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Orangism (Dutch Republic)

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Attack on Amsterdam (1650)

The Attack on Amsterdam in July 1650 was part of a planned coup d'état by stadtholder William II, Prince of Orange to break the power of the regenten in the Dutch Republic, especially the County of Holland. The coup failed, because the army of the Frisian stadtholder William Frederick, Prince of Nassau-Dietz got lost on the way to Amsterdam in the rainy night of 29 to 30 July. It was discovered, and once the city had been warned, it had enough time to prepare for an attack. The attempted coup made the House of Orange extremely unpopular for a lengthy period of time, and was one of the main reasons for the origins of the First Stadtholderless Period (1650–1672).

References

  1. Russel Shorto. The Island at the Centre of the World. ISBN   0-552-99982-2
  2. Rietstap, Johannes Baptist (2003). Armorial general. vol.2. Genealogical Publishing Co. p. 297. ISBN   0-8063-4811-9.

Bibliography

William II, Prince of Orange
Cadet branch of the House of Nassau
Born: 27 May 1626 Died: 6 November 1650
Regnal titles
Preceded by
Frederick Henry
Prince of Orange
Baron of Breda

1647–1650
Succeeded by
William III
Political offices
Preceded by
Frederick Henry
Stadtholder of Holland, Zeeland,
Utrecht, Guelders and Overijssel

1647–1650
Succeeded by
William III