Dutch Royalty: Prince William II of Orange (1625-50)

Figure 1.--This beautiful Van Dyck portrays Mary Stuart and William II of Orange at the time of their wedding in 1641. William was 14 years old and Mary only 9 when they were married. The marriage was arranged by Frederik Hendrik, the Stadtholder of the Netherlands, father of the groom for political reasons. The marriage took place at about the time the Civil War began in England.

Prince William II of Orange was stadtholder of the United Provinces of the Netherlands. His father was Prince Frederick Henry of Orange. He married Princess Royal Mary Stuart of Orange in 1641. William destinguished himself as a young soldier. After the death of his father a peace treaty was finally reached with Spain recognizing Dutch independence. William was, however, opposed to the terms of the trreaty and quarled with the influential merchants who controlled the Netherlands. He favored an alliance with France. William was succeeded by his son, the future William III of England, who was born after his death.


William's father was Prince Frederick Henry of Nassau/Orang (1584-1647). His father was Prince William I (Maurice) of Nassau/Orange. Willem I, Prince of Orange Nassau, is considered by the Dutch as the founder of the Netherlands. William I was mried to Luise de Coligny (1546- ). William's mother was a German, Amalia of Solm-Braufels. Her father was Count John Albert I of Solms-Braunfels (1563- ) and her mother was Agnes von Sayn-Wittgenstein (1568- ).


William had two sisters, Henrietta Catherine (1637- ) and Maria (1642- ).


William was born in 1625 at The Hague.

Childhood Clothing

Marriage (1641)

William in 1641 at Whitehall Palace in London married Princess Royal Mary Henrietta, the eldest daughter of English King Charles I. Her mother was French Princess Henrietta Maria de Bourbon (1609- ). The marriage was arranged by William's father Frederik Hendrik. William at the time of the wedding was only 14 year old and Mary was only 9 years old. Art historian, Dr. R.H.C. Vos of the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam, says that the prince could have been a fashion model of his days, the way he is wearing his clothes. The English court reprtedly made sure that the marriage was not consummated at thge time. The marriage took place at about the time the Civil War began in England.

Van Dyck (1599-1641)

Antoon Van Dyck is known for his portraits of the Stuart monarchy of England and the nobility of the Stuart count. The wonderful portrait here of Prince William and Princess Mary was painted by Dutch artist Antoon Van Dyck. As this portrait was painted in 1641, it ould have been one of the old master's last portrits. He was knighted by Charles I.


William and Mary had one child, William--the future King William III of England..



The Dutch in the Act of Survivance in 1631 made the offices and dignities held by Frederick Henry hereditary in his family. William as a boy accompanied his father in his military campaigns. William in 1643 about 18 years old preformed brilliantly in a cavalry engagement at Burgerhout. When his father died in 1647, William succeeded him, not only in the family honours and possessions, but in accordance with the terms of the 1631 Act of Survivance. This included all his official posts, as stadtholder of Holland, Zeeland, Utrecht, Gelderland, Overyssel and Groningen as well as captain-general and admiral-general of the Union.

Independence of Spain

The Dutch signed the Treaty of Münster, a peace treaty with Spain, in 1648. Spain recognized the independence of the United Netherlands and made substantial further concessions to the Dutch. This was a great achievement, but William strongly opposed a sparate peace and abandoning the French alliance to gain the best terms from Spain. He attmpted to prevent ratification, but there was to muh support for the treaty.


Upon becoming stadtholder, William encountered difficulties with important Amsrerdam merchants. The first issue was his opposition to the Treaty of Münster (1648). William initiated secret negotiations with France. His objectives were to expand his territory, centralize administration, secure the English throne for his brother-in-law, Charles II. Charles I had been executed by Cromwell who was ruling England as Lord Protector. William encountered opisition in Holland which continued even after he arrested leaders of the opposition. He was attempting to negotiate an alliance with France at the he contracted smallpox (1650).


William died of smallpox in 1650, 8 days before his son William was born. William at age 22 in 1672 was elected to his father's office of Stadtholder


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Created: July 28, 2003
Last updated: July 28, 2003