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William III (William Henry; ; 4 November 16508 March 1702), also widely known as William of Orange, was the sovereign
Prince of Orange Prince of Orange (or Princess of Orange if the holder is female) is a title A title is one or more words used before or after a person's name, in certain contexts. It may signify either generation, an official position, or a professional or ...
from birth,
Stadtholder In the Low Countries The term Low Countries, also known as the Low Lands ( nl, de Lage Landen, french: les Pays-Bas) and historically called the Netherlands ( nl, de Nederlanden), Flanders, or Belgica, refers to a coastal lowland region in No ...
of
Holland Holland is a geographical region In geography, regions are areas that are broadly divided by physical characteristics (physical geography), human impact characteristics (human geography), and the interaction of humanity and the environment (en ...
,
Zeeland , nl, Ik worstel en kom boven("I struggle and emerge") , anthem = "Zeeuws volkslied"("Zeelandic Anthem") , image_map = Zeeland in the Netherlands.svg , map_alt = , ma ...
,
Utrecht Utrecht ( , ) is the List of cities in the Netherlands by province, fourth-largest city and a List of municipalities of the Netherlands, municipality of the Netherlands, capital and most populous city of the Provinces of the Netherlands, provin ...
,
Guelders Guelders or Gueldres ( nl, Gelre, german: Geldern) is a historical county, later duchy of the Holy Roman Empire, located in the Low Countries. Geography The duchy was named after the town of Geldern (''Gelder'') in present-day Germany. Thoug ...
, and
Overijssel Overijssel (, ; nds, Oaveriessel ; german: Oberyssel) is a Provinces of the Netherlands, province of the Netherlands located in the eastern part of the country. The province's name translates to "across the IJssel", from the perspective of the ...
in the
Dutch Republic The United Provinces of the Netherlands, or United Provinces (officially the Republic of the Seven United Netherlands), commonly referred to in historiography Historiography is the study of the methods of historian ( 484– 425 BC) was ...
from the 1670s, and
King of England This list of kings and queens of the begins with , who initially ruled , one of the which later made up modern England. Alfred styled himself King of the from about 886, and while he was not the first king to claim to rule all of the , his ...
,
Ireland Ireland ( ; ga, Éire ; Ulster Scots dialect, Ulster-Scots: ) is an island in the Atlantic Ocean, North Atlantic. It is separated from Great Britain to its east by the North Channel (Great Britain and Ireland), North Channel, the Irish Sea ...
, and
Scotland Scotland ( sco, Scotland, gd, Alba Alba (Scottish Gaelic Scottish Gaelic ( gd, Gàidhlig or Scots Gaelic, sometimes referred to simply as Gaelic) is a Goidelic language (in the Celtic languages, Celtic branch of the Indo-European ...
from 1689 until his death in 1702. As King of Scotland, he is known as William II. He is sometimes informally known as "King Billy" in
Ireland Ireland ( ; ga, Éire ; Ulster Scots dialect, Ulster-Scots: ) is an island in the Atlantic Ocean, North Atlantic. It is separated from Great Britain to its east by the North Channel (Great Britain and Ireland), North Channel, the Irish Sea ...

Ireland
and Scotland. His victory at the
Battle of the Boyne
Battle of the Boyne
in 1690 is commemorated by Unionists, who display orange colours in his honour. He ruled Britain alongside his wife and cousin
Queen Mary II Mary II (30 April 166228 December 1694) was Queen of England, List of Scottish monarchs, Scotland, and List of Irish monarchs, Ireland, co-reigning with her husband, William III of England, King William III & II, from 1689 until her death from ...

Queen Mary II
, and popular histories usually refer to their reign as that of "William and Mary". William was the only child of
William II, Prince of Orange William II (27 May 1626 – 6 November 1650) was sovereign Prince of Orange Prince of Orange (or Princess of Orange if the holder is female) is a title A title is one or more words used before or after a person's name, in certain contexts ...
, and
Mary, Princess Royal and Princess of Orange Mary, Princess Royal (''Mary Henrietta''; 4 November 1631 – 24 December 1660), was an English princess, member of the House of Stuart The House of Stuart, originally Stewart, was a dynasty, royal house of Kingdom of Scotland, Scotland, Kingd ...
, the daughter of Charles I of England, Scotland, and Ireland. His father died a week before his birth, making William III the Prince of Orange from birth. In 1677, he married Mary, the eldest daughter of his maternal uncle
James, Duke of York James II and VII (14 October 1633Old Style and New Style dates, O.S.16 September 1701) was King of England and King of Ireland as James II, and King of Scotland as James VII from the death of his elder brother, Charles II of England, Charles I ...

James, Duke of York
, the younger brother of Charles II of England, Scotland, and Ireland. The
Protestant Protestantism is a form of that originated with the 16th-century , a movement against what its followers perceived to be in the . Protestants originating in the Reformation reject the Roman Catholic doctrine of , but disagree among themselves ...
William participated in several wars against the powerful
Catholic The Catholic Church, also known as the Roman Catholic Church, is the largest Christian church, with 1.3 billion baptised Baptism (from the Greek language, Greek noun βάπτισμα ''báptisma'') is a Christians, Christian ...

Catholic
French ruler
Louis XIV , house = House of Bourbon, Bourbon , father = Louis XIII, Louis XIII of France , mother = Anne of Austria , birth_date = , birth_place = Château de Saint-Germain-en-Laye, Saint-Germain-en-Laye, Kingdom of France, F ...

Louis XIV
in coalition with both Protestant and Catholic powers in Europe. Many Protestants heralded William as a champion of their faith. In 1685, his Catholic uncle and father-in-law, James, became king of England, Scotland, and Ireland. James's reign was unpopular with the Protestant majority in Britain, who feared a revival of Catholicism. Supported by a group of influential British political and religious leaders, William invaded England in what became known as the
Glorious Revolution The Glorious Revolution of November 1688 ( ga, An Réabhlóid Ghlórmhar; gd, Rèabhlaid Ghlòrmhor; cy, Chwyldro Gogoneddus), the invasion also known as the ''Glorieuze Overtocht'' or Glorious Crossing by the Dutch, was the deposition of ...
. In 1688, he landed at the south-western English port of
Brixham Brixham is a fishing town and civil parish In England, a civil parish is a type of administrative parish used for local government. It is a territorial designation which is the lowest tier of local government below districts and counti ...

Brixham
. Shortly afterwards, James was deposed. William's reputation as a staunch Protestant enabled him and his wife to take power. During the early years of his reign, William was occupied abroad with the
Nine Years' War The Nine Years' War (1688–1697), often called the War of the Grand Alliance or the War of the League of Augsburg, was a conflict between France France (), officially the French Republic (french: link=no, République française), is a ...
(1688–1697), leaving Mary to govern Britain alone. She died in 1694. In 1696 the
Jacobites Jacobite may refer to: Religion * Jacobites, Jacob Baradaeus (died 578). Churches in the Jacobite tradition and sometimes called Jacobite include: ** Jacobite Syrian Christian Church, autonomous branch of the Syriac Orthodox Church in Kerala, Ind ...
, a faction loyal to the deposed James, plotted unsuccessfully to assassinate William and restore James to the throne. William's lack of children and the death in 1700 of his nephew
Prince William, Duke of Gloucester A prince is a Monarch, male ruler (ranked below a king, grand prince, and grand duke) or a male member of a monarch's or former monarch's family. ''Prince'' is also a title of nobility (often highest), often hereditary title, hereditary, in som ...
, the son of his sister-in-law
Anne Anne, alternatively spelled Ann, is a form of the Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as La ...

Anne
, threatened the Protestant succession. The danger was averted by placing distant relatives, the Protestant
Hanoverians The House of Hanover (german: Haus Hannover), whose members are known as Hanoverians, is a German royal house that ruled Hanover Hanover (; german: Hannover ; nds, Hannober) is the capital and largest city of the German States of Germany ...
, in line to the throne with the
Act of Settlement 1701 The Act of Settlement is an Act of the Parliament of England that was passed in 1701 to settle the order of succession, succession to the List of English monarchs, English and List of Irish monarchs, Irish crowns on Protestants only. This had ...
. Upon his death in 1702, the king was succeeded in Britain by Anne and as titular Prince of Orange by his cousin John William Friso, beginning the Second Stadtholderless period.


Early life


Birth and family

William III was born in
The Hague The Hague ( ; nl, Den Haag or ) is a city A city is a large human settlement.Goodall, B. (1987) ''The Penguin Dictionary of Human Geography''. London: Penguin.Kuper, A. and Kuper, J., eds (1996) ''The Social Science Encyclopedia''. 2nd ed ...

The Hague
in the
Dutch Republic The United Provinces of the Netherlands, or United Provinces (officially the Republic of the Seven United Netherlands), commonly referred to in historiography Historiography is the study of the methods of historian ( 484– 425 BC) was ...
on 4 November 1650. Baptised William Henry (), he was the only child of Mary, Princess Royal, and
stadtholder In the Low Countries The term Low Countries, also known as the Low Lands ( nl, de Lage Landen, french: les Pays-Bas) and historically called the Netherlands ( nl, de Nederlanden), Flanders, or Belgica, refers to a coastal lowland region in No ...
William II, Prince of Orange William II (27 May 1626 – 6 November 1650) was sovereign Prince of Orange Prince of Orange (or Princess of Orange if the holder is female) is a title A title is one or more words used before or after a person's name, in certain contexts ...
. His mother was the eldest daughter of
King Charles I of England, Scotland and Ireland
King Charles I of England, Scotland and Ireland
and sister of
King Charles II
King Charles II
and
King James II and VII
King James II and VII
. Eight days before William was born, his father died of
smallpox Smallpox was an infectious disease An infection is the invasion of an organism's body Tissue (biology), tissues by Pathogen, disease-causing agents, their multiplication, and the reaction of host (biology), host tissues to the infectious ...

smallpox
; thus William was the sovereign
Prince of Orange Prince of Orange (or Princess of Orange if the holder is female) is a title A title is one or more words used before or after a person's name, in certain contexts. It may signify either generation, an official position, or a professional or ...
from the moment of his birth. Immediately, a conflict ensued between his mother and paternal grandmother,
Amalia of Solms-Braunfels Amalia of Solms-Braunfels (31 August 1602, Braunfels – 8 September 1675, The Hague The Hague (; nl, Den Haag or ) is a List of cities in the Netherlands by province, city and Municipalities of the Netherlands, municipality on the western c ...
, 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 (''Willem'') to bolster his prospects of becoming stadtholder. William II had appointed his wife as their 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 Hoge may refer to: People Surname * Dean Hoge Dean R. Hoge (May 27, 1937 – September 13, 2008) was an American sociologist, who spent decades studying American Catholics, especially empirical surveys on the priesthood. Biography Hoge spend hi ...
'' (Supreme Court) ruled that guardianship would be shared between his mother, his paternal grandmother and
Frederick William, Elector of Brandenburg Frederick William (german: Friedrich Wilhelm; 16 February 1620 – 29 April 1688) was Elector of Brandenburg and Duke A duke (male) can either be a monarch ranked below the emperor, king, and grand duke ruling over a duchy or a member o ...
, whose wife, Louise Henriette, was William II's eldest sister.


Childhood and education

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 Lady Anna Mackenzie (1621–1707) was a Scottish courtier and memoirist, wife of the Alexander Lindsay, 1st Earl of Balcarres, first Earl of Balcarres and the mother of the second and Colin Lindsay, 3rd Earl of Balcarres, third. After her first ...
.Rosalind K. Marshall, 'Mackenzie, Anna, countess of Balcarres and countess of Argyll (c.1621–1707)', Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004; online edn, Oct 200
accessed 29 Nov 2014
/ref> From April 1656, the prince received daily instruction in the Reformed religion from the
Calvinist Calvinism (also called the Reformed tradition, Reformed Christianity, Reformed Protestantism, or the Reformed faith) is a major branch of Protestantism Protestantism is a form of Christianity Christianity is an , based on the a ...
preacher Cornelis Trigland, a follower of the theologian
Gisbertus Voetius Gisbertus Voetius ( Latinized version of the Dutch name Gijsbert Voet ; 3 March 1589 – 1 November 1676) was a Dutch Calvinist Calvinism (also called the Reformed tradition, Reformed Christianity, Reformed Protestantism, or the Reformed ...

Gisbertus Voetius
.Troost, 34–37 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 Sir Constantijn Huygens, Lord of Zuilichem ( , also , 4 September 159628 March 1687), was a Dutch Golden Age poet and composer. He was secretary to two Princes of Orange: Frederick Henry, Prince of Orange, Frederick Henry and William II, Prince o ...
. In these lessons, the prince was taught that he was
predestined Predestination, in Christian theology, is the doctrine that all events have been willed by God, usually with reference to the eventual fate of the individual soul. Explanations of predestination often seek to address the "Argument from free will, ...
to become an instrument of
Divine Providence In theology Theology is the systematic study of the nature of the divine Divinity or the divine are things that are either related to, devoted to, or proceeding from a deity.
, fulfilling the historical destiny of the
House of Orange-Nassau The House of Orange-Nassau (Dutch Dutch commonly refers to: * Something of, from, or related to the Netherlands * Dutch people () * Dutch language () *Dutch language , spoken in Belgium (also referred as ''flemish'') Dutch may also refer to:" ...
. From early 1659, William spent seven years at the
University of Leiden Leiden University (commonly abbreviated as LEI; nl, Universiteit Leiden) is a public university, public research university in Leiden, Leiden, Netherlands. Founded in 1575 by William the Silent, William, Prince of Orange as a reward to the town of ...
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 Delft () is a city A city is a large human settlement.Goodall, B. (1987) ''The Penguin Dictionary of Human Geography''. London: Penguin.Kuper, A. and Kuper, J., eds (1996) ''The Social Science Encyclopedia''. 2nd edition. London: Routledge. ...

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 OrangeFrederick may refer to: People * Frederick (given name), the name Nobility Anhalt-Harzgerode *Frederick, Prince of Anhalt-Harzgerode (1613–1670) Austria * Frederick I, Duke of Austria (Babenberg), Duke of Austria from 1195 to 1198 * Frederick ...
) was his paternal uncle. Grand Pensionary
Johan de Witt Johan de Witt (; 24 September 1625 – 20 August 1672), ''lord of Zuid- en Noord-Linschoten, Snelrewaard, Hekendorp and IJsselvere'', was a Dutch statesman and a major political figure in the Dutch Republic The United Provinces of the ...

Johan de Witt
and his uncle
Cornelis de Graeff Cornelis de Graeff, also Cornelis de Graeff van (Zuid-)Polsbroek (15 October 1599 – 4 May 1664) was the most illustrious member of the De Graeff De Graeff (; also: '' De Graef, Graef, Graeff, Graaff'', and ''De Graeff van Polsbroek'') is an old ...

Cornelis de Graeff
pushed the
States of Holland The States of Holland Holland is a geographical region In geography, regions are areas that are broadly divided by physical characteristics ( physical geography), human impact characteristics ( human geography), and the interaction of humanity ...
to take charge of William's education and ensure that he would acquire the skills to serve in a future—though undetermined—state function; the States acted on 25 September 1660.Troost, 43 This first involvement of the authorities did not last long. On 23 December 1660, when William was ten years old, his mother died of
smallpox Smallpox was an infectious disease An infection is the invasion of an organism's body Tissue (biology), tissues by Pathogen, disease-causing agents, their multiplication, and the reaction of host (biology), host tissues to the infectious ...

smallpox
at
Whitehall Palace The Palace of Whitehall (or Palace of White Hall) at Westminster Westminster is a district in , part of the wider . The area, which extends from the to has many , including the , , , and much of the shopping and entertainment dis ...
, London, while visiting her brother, the recently restored King Charles II. In her will, Mary requested that Charles look after William's interests, and Charles now demanded that the States of Holland end their interference. To appease Charles, they complied on 30 September 1661. That year, Zuylenstein began to work for Charles and induced William to write letters to his uncle asking him to help William become stadtholder someday.Troost, 49 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 The Second Anglo-Dutch War or the Second Dutch War (4 March 1665 – 31 July 1667; nl, Tweede Engelse Oorlog "Second English War") was a conflict between England England is a Countries of the United Kingdom, country that is part of ...
one of Charles's peace conditions was the improvement of the position of his nephew. As a countermeasure in 1666, when William was sixteen, the States 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.Van der Kiste, 14–15 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 for regular games of
real tennis Real tennis – one of several games sometimes called "the sport of s" – is the original from which the modern game of (originally called "lawn tennis") is derived. It is also known as court tennis in the United States, formerly roy ...
.


Early offices


Exclusion from stadtholdership

After the death of William's father, most provinces had left the office of stadtholder vacant. At the demand of
Oliver Cromwell Oliver Cromwell (25 April 15993 September 1658) was an English general and statesman who, first as a subordinate and later as Commander-in-Chief, led armies An army (from Latin ''arma'' "arms, weapons" via Old French ''armée'', "armed" e ...

Oliver Cromwell
, the
Treaty of WestminsterTreaty of Westminster may refer to: *Treaty of Westminster (1153), also known as the Treaty of Wallingford *Treaty of Westminster (1462), also known as the Treaty of Westminster-Ardtornish *Treaty of Westminster (1511), an alliance during the War o ...
, which ended the
First Anglo-Dutch War The First Anglo-Dutch War, or simply the First Dutch War, ( nl, Eerste Engelse (zee-)oorlog, "First English (Sea) War"; 1652–1654) was a conflict fought entirely at sea between the navies of the Commonwealth of England and the Dutch Republic, ...
, had a secret annexe that 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 Restoration of the Stuart monarchy The House of Stuart, originally Stewart, was a dynasty, royal house of Kingdom of Scotland, Scotland, Kingdom of England, England, Kingdom of Ireland, Ireland and later Kingdom of Great Britain, Gre ...
, the Act of Seclusion, which had not remained a secret for long, was declared void as the
English Commonwealth The Commonwealth was the political structure during the period from 1649 to 1660 when England and Wales Wales ( cy, Cymru ) is a country that is Countries of the United Kingdom, part of the United Kingdom. It is bordered by England to t ...
(with which the treaty had been concluded) no longer existed.Troost, 41 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 Captain general (and its literal equivalent in several languages) is a high military rank Military ranks are a system of hierarchical relationships in armed forces A military, also known collectively as armed forces, is a heavily arme ...
. To prevent the restoration of the influence of the House of Orange, De Witt, the leader of the States Party, allowed the
pensionary A pensionary was a name given to the leading functionary and legal adviser of the principal town corporations in the Low Countries The term Low Countries, also known as the Low Lands ( nl, de Lage Landen, french: les Pays-Bas) and historically ca ...
of
Haarlem Haarlem (; predecessor of ''Harlem'' in ) is a and in the . It is the of the of . Haarlem is situated at the northern edge of the , one of the s in Europe; it is also part of the . Haarlem had a population of in . Haarlem was granted cit ...

Haarlem
,
Gaspar Fagel Gaspar Fagel (25 January 1634 – 15 December 1688) was a Dutch politician, jurist, and diplomat who authored correspondence from and on behalf of William III, Prince of Orange during the English Revolution of 1688. Early life Fagel was b ...

Gaspar Fagel
, to induce the States of Holland to issue the Perpetual Edict.Troost, 52–53 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 The Provincial Council of Zeeland ( nl, Provinciale Staten van Zeeland), also known as the States of Zeeland, is the Provincial council (Netherlands), provincial council of Zeeland, Netherlands. It forms the legislative body of the province. Its 39 ...
appointed him as ''First Noble''.Van der Kiste, 16–17 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 centre 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 A regent (from the Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through the power of the Roman Repu ...
(city council member) to uphold the Edict; all but one complied. William saw all this as a defeat, but the 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.Troost, 59 William was introduced to the council on 31 May 1670 with full voting rights, despite De Witt's attempts to limit his role to that of an advisor.


Conflict with republicans

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 Guilder is the English language, English translation of the Dutch language, Dutch and German language, German ''gulden'', originally shortened from Middle High German ''guldin pfenninc'' "gold penny". This was the term that became current in the ...
debt the House of Stuart owed the House of Orange.Troost, 62–64 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 Calvinism (also called the Reformed tradition, Reformed Christianity, Reformed Protestantism, or the Reformed faith) is a major branch of Protestantism Protestantism is a form of Christianity Christianity is an , based on the a ...
and patriotic Dutchman, and reconsidered his desire to show him the
Secret Treaty of Dover The Treaty of Dover, also known as the Secret Treaty of Dover, was a treaty between England and France signed at Dover Dover () is a town and major ferry port in Kent Kent is a county A county is a geographical region of a count ...
with France, directed at destroying the Dutch Republic and installing William as "sovereign" of a Dutch
rump state A rump state is the remnant of a once much larger state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * The State (newspaper), ''The State'' (n ...
. In addition to differing political outlooks, William found that his lifestyle differed from his uncles, Charles and James, who were 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 Gelderland (), also known as Guelders () in English, is a province A province is almost always an administrative division Administrative division, administrative unitArticle 3(1). , country subdivision, administrative region, subnationa ...

Gelderland
wanted William to be appointed Captain-General of the
Dutch States Army The Dutch States Army ( nl, Staatse leger) was the army of the Dutch Republic. It was usually called this, because it was formally the army of the States-General of the Netherlands, the sovereign power of that federal republic. This mercenary army ...
as soon as possible, despite his youth and inexperience. On 15 December 1671, the States of
Utrecht Utrecht ( , ) is the List of cities in the Netherlands by province, fourth-largest city and a List of municipalities of the Netherlands, municipality of the Netherlands, capital and most populous city of the Provinces of the Netherlands, provin ...
made this their official policy. On 19 January 1672, the States of
Holland Holland is a geographical region In geography, regions are areas that are broadly divided by physical characteristics (physical geography), human impact characteristics (human geography), and the interaction of humanity and the environment (en ...

Holland
made a counterproposal: to appoint William for just a single campaign.Troost, 67 The prince refused this and on 25 February a compromise was reached: an appointment by the States General 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.Troost, 65–66 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.


Becoming stadtholder


"Disaster year": 1672

For the Dutch Republic, 1672 proved calamitous. It became known as the ''
Rampjaar In Dutch history, the year 1672 is referred to as the nl, Rampjaar, label=none (Disaster Year). In May 1672, following the outbreak of the Franco-Dutch War The 1672 to 1678 Franco-Dutch War, also known as the Dutch War, (french: Guerre de Ho ...
'' ("disaster year"), because in the
Franco-Dutch War The 1672 to 1678 Franco-Dutch War, also known as the Dutch War (french: Guerre de Hollande; nl, Hollandse Oorlog), was fought between France France (), officially the French Republic (french: link=no, République française), is a Li ...
and the
Third Anglo-Dutch War The Third Anglo-Dutch War, or Third Dutch War ( nl, Derde Engelse Zeeoorlog), was a naval conflict between England England is a that is part of the . It shares land borders with to its west and to its north. The lies northwest of En ...
the Netherlands was invaded by France and its allies: England,
Münster Münster ( , ; nds, Mönster) is an independent city An independent city or independent town is a city or town that does not form part of another general-purpose local government entity (such as a province). Historical precursors In the H ...
, and
Cologne Cologne ( ; german: Köln ; ksh, Kölle ) is the largest city of Germany, Germany's most populous States of Germany, state of North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW) and the List of cities in Germany by population, fourth-most populous city and one of t ...
. Although the Anglo-French fleet was disabled by the
Battle of Solebay The naval Battle of Solebay took place on 28 May Old Style, 7 June New Style Old Style (O.S.) and New Style (N.S.) indicate a dating system from before and after a calendar change, respectively. Usually this is the change from the Julian cal ...
, 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 The Dutch Water Line ( nl, Hollandsche Waterlinie, modern spelling: ''Hollandse Waterlinie'') was a series of water-based defences conceived by Maurice of Nassau Maurice may refer to: People *Saint Maurice Saint Maurice (also Moritz, Morris ...
on 8 June.
Louis XIV of France Louis XIV (Louis Dieudonné; 5 September 16381 September 1715), also known as Louis the Great () or the Sun King (), was from 14 May 1643 until his death in 1715. His reign of 72 years and 110 days is the of any monarch of a sovereign country in ...

Louis XIV of France
, believing the war was over, began negotiations to extract as large a sum of money from the Dutch as possible.Troost, 78–83 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.Troost, 76 The next day, a special envoy from Charles II, Lord Arlington, met William in
Nieuwerbrug Nieuwerbrug is a village in the Dutch province of South Holland. It is a part of the former municipality of Bodegraven, and lies about five kilometres west of Woerden. Bodegraven has made part of the new municipality of Bodegraven-Reeuwijk since 2 ...

Nieuwerbrug
and presented a proposal from Charles. In return for William's capitulation to England and France, Charles would make William Sovereign Prince of Holland, instead of stadtholder (a mere civil servant).Troost, 80–81 When William refused, Arlington threatened that William would witness the end of the Republic's existence. William answered famously: "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 stadtholdership to William. Johan de Witt had been unable to function as Grand Pensionary after being 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.Troost, 85–86 The people thus incited, De Witt and his brother,
Cornelis Cornelis is a Dutch language, Dutch form of the male given name Cornelius (name), Cornelius. Some common shortened versions of Cornelis in Dutch are Cees, Cor, Corné, Corneel, Crelis, Kees (given name), Kees, Neel and Nelis. Cornelis (Kees) and ...
, were brutally murdered by an Orangist civil militia in The Hague on 20 August. Subsequently, 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) he thwarted attempts to prosecute the ringleaders, and even rewarded some, like
Hendrik Verhoeff Hendrik Verhoeff (around 1645 – 27 June 1710, in Utrecht) was a silversmith A silversmith is a metalworker who crafts objects from silver Silver is a chemical element with the Symbol (chemistry), symbol Ag (from the Latin ', derived ...
, 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 continued to fight against the invaders from England and France, allying himself with Spain and
Brandenburg Brandenburg (, also , ; nds, Brannenborg; dsb, Bramborska) is a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * The State (newspaper), ...
. In November 1672, he took his army to
Maastricht Maastricht ( , , ; Limburgish language, Limburgish : ; french: Maestricht ; es, Mastrique ) is a city and a Municipalities of the Netherlands, municipality in the southeastern Netherlands. It is the capital city, capital and largest city of ...

Maastricht
to threaten the French supply lines. By 1673, the Dutch situation further improved. Although Louis took Maastricht and William's attack against
Charleroi Charleroi (, , ; wa, Tchålerwè ) is a city and a municipality A municipality is usually a single administrative division Administrative division, administrative unitArticle 3(1). , country subdivision, administrative region, subnati ...

Charleroi
failed,
Lieutenant-Admiral Lieutenant admiral is a senior naval military rank in some countries of the world. In the Royal Netherlands Navy the rank of lieutenant admiral (Dutch language, Dutch: ''luitenant-admiraal'') is a four star rank, senior to a vice-admiral (Dutch: ' ...
Michiel de Ruyter Michiel Adriaenszoon de Ruyter (; 24 March 1607 – 29 April 1676) was a Dutch admiral Admiral is one of the highest ranks in some navy, navies, and in many navies is the highest rank. In the Commonwealth of Nations, Commonwealth natio ...

Michiel de Ruyter
defeated the Anglo-French fleet three times, forcing Charles to end England's involvement by the
Treaty of WestminsterTreaty of Westminster may refer to: *Treaty of Westminster (1153), also known as the Treaty of Wallingford *Treaty of Westminster (1462), also known as the Treaty of Westminster-Ardtornish *Treaty of Westminster (1511), an alliance during the War o ...
; 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 Overijssel (, ; nds, Oaveriessel ; german: Oberyssel) is a Provinces of the Netherlands, province of the Netherlands located in the eastern part of the country. The province's name translates to "across the IJssel", from the perspective of the ...

Overijssel
as conquered territory (
Generality Lands The Generality Lands, Lands of the Generality or Common Lands ( nl, Generaliteitslanden) were about one fifth of the territories of the United Provinces of the Netherlands, that were directly governed by the States-General. Unlike the seven pro ...
), as punishment for their quick surrender to the enemy.Troost, 106–110 William refused but obtained a special mandate from the States General to appoint all delegates in the States of these provinces anew. 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 him the titles of Duke of
Guelders Guelders or Gueldres ( nl, Gelre, german: Geldern) is a historical county, later duchy of the Holy Roman Empire, located in the Low Countries. Geography The duchy was named after the town of Geldern (''Gelder'') in present-day Germany. Thoug ...
and
Count of Zutphen The title of Count of Zutphen historically belonged to the ruler of the Dutch province of Gelderland Gelderland (), also known as Guelders () in English, is a province of the Netherlands, occupying the centre-east of the country. With a total a ...
.Troost, 109–112 The negative reactions to this from Zeeland and the city of Amsterdam made William ultimately decide to decline these honours; he was instead appointed stadtholder of Gelderland and Overijssel.


Marriage

During the war with France, William tried to improve his position by marrying in 1677, his first cousin
Mary Mary may refer to: People * Mary (name) Mary is a feminine Femininity (also called womanliness or girlishness) is a set of attributes, behaviors, and roles generally associated with women and girls. Although femininity is socially constru ...

Mary
, elder surviving daughter of the Duke of York, later King 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 Hamilton, Countess of Orkney, Elizabeth Villiers, in contrast to the many mistresses his uncles openly kept.


Peace with France, intrigue with England

By 1678,
Louis XIV , house = House of Bourbon, Bourbon , father = Louis XIII, Louis XIII of France , mother = Anne of Austria , birth_date = , birth_place = Château de Saint-Germain-en-Laye, Saint-Germain-en-Laye, Kingdom of France, F ...

Louis XIV
sought peace with the Dutch Republic. Even so, tensions remained: William remained 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 ''Chambers of Reunion, 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 Grand Alliance (League of Augsburg), 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 should his father-in-law (and uncle) James be 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 Robert Spencer, 2nd Earl of Sunderland, 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 Charles the "Insinuation", a plea beseeching the king to prevent any Catholics from succeeding him, without explicitly naming James.Troost, 152–153 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.Troost, 173–175 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.


Glorious Revolution


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, 1st Earl of Torrington, Arthur Herbert that the most eminent English Protestants first invite him to invade.Troost, 191 In June, Mary of Modena, after a string of miscarriages, gave birth to a son, James Francis Edward Stuart, who displaced William's Protestant wife 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 invitation to William, formal invitation. William's intentions to invade were public knowledge by September 1688. With a Dutch army, William landed at
Brixham Brixham is a fishing town and civil parish In England, a civil parish is a type of administrative parish used for local government. It is a territorial designation which is the lowest tier of local government below districts and counti ...

Brixham
in southwest England on 5 November 1688. He came ashore from the ship ''Brielle, Brill'', proclaiming "the liberties of England and the Protestant religion I will maintain". William's fleet was vastly larger than the Spanish Armada 100 years earlier: approximately 250 carrier ships and 60 fishing boats carried 35,000 men, including 11,000 foot soldiers and 4,000 cavalry. James's support began to dissolve almost immediately upon William's arrival; List of James II deserters to William of Orange, Protestant officers defected from the English army (the most notable of whom was John Churchill, 1st Duke of Marlborough, Lord Churchill of Eyemouth, James's most able commander), and influential noblemen across the country declared their support for the invader.Troost, 204–205 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 11/21 December, throwing the Great Seal of England, Great Seal into the Thames on his way.Troost, 205–207 He was discovered and brought back to London by a group of fishermen. He was allowed to leave for France in a second escape 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 is the last person to successfully invade England by force of arms.


Proclaimed king

William summoned a Convention Parliament (1689), Convention Parliament in England, which met on 22 January 1689, to discuss the appropriate course of action following James's flight.Davies, 614–615 William felt insecure about his position; though his wife preceded him in the line of succession to the throne, he wished to reign as king in his own right, rather than as a mere King consort, consort.Troost, 207–210 The only precedent for a joint monarchy in England dated from the 16th century, when Mary I of England, Queen Mary I married Philip II of Spain, 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 Tories (political faction), 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 of England, House of Commons, with a Whig (British political party), Whig majority, quickly resolved that the throne was vacant, and that it was safer if the ruler were 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. On 13 February 1689, Parliament passed the Bill of Rights 1689, 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 infant son, 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.Troost, 219–220 Normally, the coronation is performed by the Archbishop of Canterbury, but the Archbishop at the time, William Sancroft, refused to recognise James's removal. 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.


Revolution settlement

William encouraged the passage of the Toleration Act 1689, which guaranteed religious toleration to Protestant Nonconformist (Protestantism), nonconformists. It did not, however, extend toleration as far as he wished, still restricting the religious liberty of Roman Catholics, Nontrinitarianism, 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 1689, Bill of Rights, was passed.Van der Kiste, 114–115 The Act, which restated and confirmed many provisions of the earlier Declaration of Right, 1689, 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,
Anne Anne, alternatively spelled Ann, is a form of the Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as La ...

Anne
, and her issue, followed by any children William might have had by a subsequent marriage. Roman Catholics, as well as those who married Catholics, were excluded.


Rule with Mary II


Jacobite resistance

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 Jacobite may refer to: Religion * Jacobites, Jacob Baradaeus (died 578). Churches in the Jacobite tradition and sometimes called Jacobite include: ** Jacobite Syrian Christian Church, autonomous branch of the Syriac Orthodox Church in Kerala, Ind ...
pressed for restoration of James and his heirs. Nonjuring schism, 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 Jacobitism, Franco-Irish Jacobites arrived from France with French forces in March 1689 to join the Williamite war in Ireland, war in Ireland and contest Protestant resistance at the siege of Derry. William sent his navy to the city in July, and his army Siege of Carrickfergus, landed in August. After progress stalled, William personally intervened to lead his armies to victory over James at the on 1 July 1690, after which James fled back to France. Upon William's return to England, his close friend Godert de Ginkell, 1st Earl of Athlone, 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 (surrender), 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 of England, House of Commons, and was awarded the title of Earl of Athlone by the king. A series of Jacobite rising of 1689, Jacobite risings also took place in Scotland, where John Graham, 1st Viscount of Dundee, 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 26th (Cameronian) Regiment of Foot, 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.Troost, 274–275 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, 1st Baron Acton, John Dalberg-Acton, "one became a colonel, another a knight, a third a peer, and a fourth an John Dalrymple, 1st Earl of Stair, 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.


Parliament and faction

Although the Whigs (British political party), Whigs were William's strongest supporters, he initially favoured a policy of balance between the Whigs and Tories (British political party), Tories. The George Savile, 1st Marquess of Halifax, 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 1690 English general election, Parliamentary elections of 1690, William began to favour the Tories, led by Thomas Osborne, 1st Duke of Leeds, Danby and Daniel Finch, 2nd Earl of Nottingham, 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 Whig Junto, Junto. The Whig government was responsible for the creation of the Bank of England following the example of the Bank of Amsterdam. William's decision to grant the Royal Charter in 1694 to the Bank of England, 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 The United Provinces of the Netherlands, or United Provinces (officially the Republic of the Seven United Netherlands), commonly referred to in historiography Historiography is the study of the methods of historian ( 484– 425 BC) was ...
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, Sir John Fenwick, 3rd Baronet, John Fenwick, and he was beheaded in 1697.


War in Europe

William continued to absent himself from Britain for extended periods during his
Nine Years' War The Nine Years' War (1688–1697), often called the War of the Grand Alliance or the War of the League of Augsburg, was a conflict between France France (), officially the French Republic (french: link=no, République française), is a ...
(1688–1697) against France, leaving each spring and returning to England each autumn. England joined the League of Augsburg, which then became known as the Grand Alliance (League of Augsburg), 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 Battle of La Hougue, La Hogue in 1692, the allies for a short period controlled the seas, and the Treaty of Limerick (1691) pacified Ireland. At the same time, the Grand Alliance fared poorly in Europe, as William lost Namur in the Spanish Netherlands in 1692, and the French under the command of the François-Henri de Montmorency, duc de Luxembourg, Duke of Luxembourg beat him badly at the Battle of Landen in 1693.


Later years

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 in England plummeted during his reign as a sole monarch.


Rumours of homosexuality

During the 1690s rumours grew of William's alleged homosexual inclinations and led to the publication of many satirical pamphlets by his Jacobitism, 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, 1st Earl of Albemarle, Arnold Joost van Keppel was created Earl of Albemarle. These relationships with male friends, and his apparent lack of mistresses, led William's enemies to suggest that he might prefer homosexual relationships. William's modern biographers disagree on the veracity of these allegations. Some believe there may have been truth to the rumours, while others affirm that they were no more than figments of his enemies' imaginations, as it was common for someone childless like William adopting or evincing paternal affections for a younger man. Whatever the case, Bentinck's closeness to William did arouse jealousies at the royal court. William's young protégé, Arnold van Keppel, 1st Earl of Albemarle, Keppel, aroused more gossip and suspicion, being 20 years William's junior, strikingly handsome, and having risen from the post of 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."Van der Kiste, 202–203 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."


Peace with France

In 1696 the Dutch territory of Drenthe made William its Stadtholder. In the same year, Jacobite assassination plot 1696, 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 The Nine Years' War (1688–1697), often called the War of the Grand Alliance or the War of the League of Augsburg, was a conflict between France France (), officially the French Republic (french: link=no, République française), is a ...
, the French king,
Louis XIV , house = House of Bourbon, Bourbon , father = Louis XIII, Louis XIII of France , mother = Anne of Austria , birth_date = , birth_place = Château de Saint-Germain-en-Laye, Saint-Germain-en-Laye, Kingdom of France, F ...

Louis XIV
, 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 contemporary 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. Charles II of Spain was an invalid with no prospect of having children; some of his closest relatives included Louis XIV 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 in international relations, balance of power. William and Louis XIV agreed to the First Partition Treaty (1698), which provided for the division of the Spanish Empire: Joseph Ferdinand, Electoral Prince 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 in February 1699, the issue re-opened. In 1700 William and Louis XIV agreed to the Treaty of London, 1700, 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.Troost, 256–257 This arrangement infuriated both the Spanish, who still sought to prevent the dissolution of their empire, and the Holy Roman Emperor, who regarded the Italian territories as much more useful than the other lands. Unexpectedly, Charles II of Spain interfered as he lay dying in late 1700.Troost, 258–260 Unilaterally, he willed all Spanish territories to Philip V of Spain, Philip, the Duke of Anjou, 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 died in September 1701), as ''de jure'' King of England. The subsequent conflict, known as the War of the Spanish Succession, broke out in July 1701 and continued until 1713/1714.


English royal succession

Another royal inheritance, apart from that of Spain, also concerned William. His marriage with Mary had not produced any children, and he did not seem likely to remarry. Mary's sister, Anne, had borne numerous children, all of whom died during childhood. The death of her last surviving child (
Prince William, Duke of Gloucester A prince is a Monarch, male ruler (ranked below a king, grand prince, and grand duke) or a male member of a monarch's or former monarch's family. ''Prince'' is also a title of nobility (often highest), often hereditary title, hereditary, in som ...
) in 1700 left her as the only individual in the line of succession established by the Bill of Rights. As the complete exhaustion of the defined line of succession would have encouraged a restoration of James II's line, the English Parliament passed the
Act of Settlement 1701 The Act of Settlement is an Act of the Parliament of England that was passed in 1701 to settle the order of succession, succession to the List of English monarchs, English and List of Irish monarchs, Irish crowns on Protestants only. This had ...
, which provided that if Anne died without surviving issue and William failed to have surviving issue by any subsequent marriage, the Crown would pass to a distant relative, Sophia, Electress of Hanover (a granddaughter of James VI and I, James I) and to her Protestant heirs.Troost, 235 The Act debarred Roman Catholics from the throne, thereby excluding the Jacobite line of succession to the English and Scottish thrones in 1714, 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.


Death

In 1702, William died of pneumonia, a complication from a broken collarbone following a fall from his horse, Sorrel. The horse had been confiscated from Sir John Fenwick, one of the Jacobites who had conspired against William. Because his horse had stumbled into a mole (animal), mole's burrow, many Jacobites toasted "the little gentleman in the black velvet waistcoat". Years later, 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 and cousin,
Anne Anne, alternatively spelled Ann, is a form of the Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as La ...

Anne
, became queen regnant of England, Scotland and Ireland. William's death meant that he would remain the only member of the Dutch House of Orange-Nassau, House of Orange to reign over England. Members of this House 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 agnatic, patrilineal descendant of William I to be named stadtholder for the majority of the provinces. Under William III's will, John William Friso, Prince of Orange, 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 grandson of William's aunt Countess Henriette Catherine of Nassau, Henriette Catherine. However, Frederick I of Prussia also claimed the Principality as the senior Primogeniture, cognatic heir, his mother Countess Louise Henriette of Nassau, Louise Henriette being Henriette Catherine's older sister. Under the Treaty of Utrecht (1713), Frederick I's successor, Frederick William I of Prussia, ceded his territorial claim to
Louis XIV of France Louis XIV (Louis Dieudonné; 5 September 16381 September 1715), also known as Louis the Great () or the Sun King (), was from 14 May 1643 until his death in 1715. His reign of 72 years and 110 days is the of any monarch of a sovereign country in ...

Louis XIV of France
, keeping only a claim to the title. Friso's posthumous son, William IV, Prince of Orange, William IV, succeeded to the title at his birth in 1711; in the Treaty of Partition (1732) he agreed to share the title "Prince of Orange" with Frederick William.


Legacy

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 Louis XIV (Louis Dieudonné; 5 September 16381 September 1715), also known as Louis the Great () or the Sun King (), was from 14 May 1643 until his death in 1715. His reign of 72 years and 110 days is the of any monarch of a sovereign country in ...

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 of England, 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 The Glorious Revolution of November 1688 ( ga, An Réabhlóid Ghlórmhar; gd, Rèabhlaid Ghlòrmhor; cy, Chwyldro Gogoneddus), the invasion also known as the ''Glorieuze Overtocht'' or Glorious Crossing by the Dutch, was the deposition of ...
of 1688.Claydon, 3–4 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 The Act of Settlement is an Act of the Parliament of England that was passed in 1701 to settle the order of succession, succession to the List of English monarchs, English and List of Irish monarchs, Irish crowns on Protestants only. This had ...
. William endowed the College of William and Mary (in present-day Williamsburg, Virginia) in 1693. 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, New Jersey (and hence the university), were named in his honour, this is probably untrue, although Nassau Hall, the college's first building, is named for him. 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 Amsterdam, fort and administrative centre 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, Bahamas, Nassau, the capital of The Bahamas, is named after Fort Nassau, which was renamed in 1695 in his honour. The Dutch East India Company built a military fort in Cape Town, South Africa, in the 17th century, naming it the Castle of Good Hope. The five bastions were named after William III's titles: Orange, Nassau, Catzenellenbogen, Buuren and Leerdam.


Titles, styles, and arms


Titles and styles

* 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 – 13 February 1689: His Highness The Prince of Orange, Stadtholder of Holland, Zeeland, Utrecht, Gelderland and Overijssel * 13 February 1689 – 8 March 1702: Majesty, His Majesty The King By 1674, William was fully styled as "Willem III, by God's grace
Prince of Orange Prince of Orange (or Princess of Orange if the holder is female) is a title A title is one or more words used before or after a person's name, in certain contexts. It may signify either generation, an official position, or a professional or ...
, Count of Nassau-Dillenburg, Count of Nassau etc.,
Stadtholder In the Low Countries The term Low Countries, also known as the Low Lands ( nl, de Lage Landen, french: les Pays-Bas) and historically called the Netherlands ( nl, de Nederlanden), Flanders, or Belgica, refers to a coastal lowland region in No ...
of
Holland Holland is a geographical region In geography, regions are areas that are broadly divided by physical characteristics (physical geography), human impact characteristics (human geography), and the interaction of humanity and the environment (en ...
,
Zeeland , nl, Ik worstel en kom boven("I struggle and emerge") , anthem = "Zeeuws volkslied"("Zeelandic Anthem") , image_map = Zeeland in the Netherlands.svg , map_alt = , ma ...
, Utrecht etc., Captain-General, 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, King of Scotland, Scotland, British claims to the French throne, France and Kingdom of Ireland, Ireland, Fidei defensor, Defenders of the Faith, etc."


Arms

As Prince of Orange, William's coat of arms was: Quartering (heraldry), Quarterly, I Azure (heraldry), Azure Semé, billetty a lion rampant Or (heraldry), Or (for House of Nassau, Nassau); II Or a lion rampant guardant Gules crowned Azure (Katzenelnbogen); III Gules a fess Argent (Vianden), IV Gules two lions passant guardant Or, armed and langued azure (Dietz); between the I and II quarters an inescutcheon, Or a fess Sable (heraldry), Sable (Moers); at the fess point an inescutcheon, quarterly I and IV Gules, a Bend (heraldry), bend Or (Châlons-en-Champagne, Châlons); II and III Or a bugle horn Azure, stringed Gules (Principality of Orange, 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 (heraldry), pale Or (Royal Arms of England, for England); II Or a lion rampant within a double tressure flory-counter-flory Gules (Royal coat of arms of Scotland, for Scotland); III Azure a harp Or stringed Argent (Coat of arms of Ireland, for Ireland); overall an escutcheon Azure billetty a lion rampant Or. 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 The House of Orange-Nassau (Dutch Dutch commonly refers to: * Something of, from, or related to the Netherlands * Dutch people () * Dutch language () *Dutch language , spoken in Belgium (also referred as ''flemish'') Dutch may also refer to:" ...
, since it came into the family with the Principality of Orange.


Ancestry


Family tree


See also

* Anglo-Dutch Wars * British monarchs' family tree * Constantijn Huygens Jr. – secretary to William III * List of deserters from King James II to William of Orange


Notes


References


Citations


Bibliography

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * *


External links


BBC – History



Het Loo Palace
* N. Japikse, ed.,
Correspondentie van Willem III en van Hans Willem Bentinck, eersten graaf van Portland
' * * , - {{DEFAULTSORT:William 03 of England William III of England, 1650 births 1702 deaths 17th-century Dutch military personnel 17th-century Dutch politicians 18th-century Dutch politicians 17th-century English monarchs 18th-century English monarchs 17th-century Scottish monarchs 18th-century Scottish monarchs 17th-century Irish monarchs 18th-century Irish monarchs Counts of Nassau Accidental deaths in London British military personnel of the Nine Years' War Dutch military personnel of the Nine Years' War Burials at Westminster Abbey Deaths by horse-riding accident in England Dutch Anglicans Dutch stadtholders English monarchs House of Orange-Nassau Knights of the Garter Lord High Admirals of England Lords of Breda Modern child rulers Nobility from The Hague English pretenders to the French throne Princes of Orange Protestant monarchs Glorious Revolution Williamite military personnel of the Williamite War in Ireland