William Of Orange Facts: History, Significance, Rule And More

Martha Martins
Jan 24, 2024 By Martha Martins
Originally Published on Dec 28, 2021
William of Orange facts will tell you more about William's birth and death.
Age: 3-18
Read time: 5.6 Min

William III, also known as William Henry and William of Orange, was an only son of William II, the Prince of Orange and Mary, Princess of Orange and Princess Royal.

Due to his father's death shortly before he was born, William of Orange was a prince from birth. Born in Hague in 1650, then a part of the Dutch Republic, William of Orange or William III was baptized William Henry, which translates to Willem Hendrik in Dutch. He was of Protestant faith and fought several battles against the French Catholic ruler, Louis XIV.

William's father, William II, died eight days before the birth of William III of smallpox, resulting in William III being born as a sovereign Prince of Orange. His mother, Mary, was the daughter of Charles I, King of England, Ireland, and Scotland, and sister of Charles II and James II and VII. William III married his cousin, daughter of his maternal uncle James II and VII, Mary. On account of his father's death, William's grandmother and mother were initially at loggerheads regarding his guardianship, which was resolved by a court, after which his mother showed little interest in him.

After reading about King William III, his stint with the Dutch army, and his fight against the French forces, also check out William of Normandy facts and William Gilbert facts.

Fun Facts About William Of Orange

William III's guardianship was shared by his paternal grandmother Amalia of Solms-Braunfels, his mother, and his father's brother-in-law, Fredrick William, Elector of Brandenburg.

His mother, Mary, Princess Royal, was mentioned as his sole guardian in his father's will. But this was held null and void by the court because William II passed away without actually signing the will.

Mary wanted to name William III as Charles after her own father and brother. In contrast, Amalia wanted to name him William III in honor of her late son and increase the infant's chances to the title of Stadtholder.

As a young prince, William's education was looked over by governesses initially, after which he was under the tutelage of several teachers. He first got instruction from a Calvinist preacher, then by Constantijn Huygens, following which he spent seven years at the University of Leiden. His mother took no interest in his personal life.

William III, starting 1670s, became the Stadtholder of Holland, Zeeland, Guelders, Utrecht and Overjissel in the Dutch Republic. He became the King of England, Scotland, and Ireland in 1689 and retained that title till his death in 1702.

A fascinating fact about him is that he was also known as King Billy in Scotland and Ireland. He was also known as King William II in Scotland. In 1677, William III married his cousin Mary, daughter of his uncle James, Prince of York, later King of England. She was 11 years younger than him.

Mary was unable to conceive after a period of illness in 1678, because of which William could not have any heirs to succeed him. He was succeeded by his cousin John Friso as the Prince of Orange. Soon after Mary's death, the people who had their loyalties vested with King James conspired to murder William and bring King James back. However, none of these attempts were successful.

William died in 1702, succeeded by his sister-in-law Anne, in Britain. He was buried in Westminster Abbey. William's death was the result of him falling off a horse.

Historical Facts About William Of Orange

King William III and his wife Queen Mary II ruled Britain together, and their reign is popularly known as that of William and Mary.

William is known famously for achieving the title of King of England when he defeated his uncle, King James, in what is known as the Glorious Revolution.

The Glorious Revolution against King James was started because he was of staunch Catholic beliefs, and when he came to rule England, a great fear spread among the Protestants residing there. William, a Protestant himself, gained help from religious and political heads and defeated and deposed King James, becoming King of England himself.

The Battle of Boyne was one final (failed) attempt by the then deposed King James to regain control over Great Britain. However, his failure in the war finally ensured Protestant Religion domination in the region.

He proposed his marriage to Mary to gain inheritance and become the sole monarch of England, Scotland, and Ireland after King James. King James, who was not happy about this proposal, was convinced to agree by Charles II (his elder brother), hoping to use the union in their favor in situations like wars. William had also hoped to draw England's monarch away from pro-French policies.

King William and his wife Mary II became king and queen of England in 1689.

Facts About William Of Orange's Rule

During his early years, William III could not become a Stadtholder because of the Franco-Dutch War and the Third Anglo-Dutch War. 1672, when he was supposed to become a stadtholder, became known as the Rampjaar, which translates to Disaster Year because of these wars.

In July, he took oath as the Stadtholder of Holland, and about two weeks later, he was offered the position of Stadtholder of Zeeland.

While he was occupied with the Battle of Nine Years, his wife Mary ruled Britain. The day of the English Coronation was  April 11; following the Glorious Revolution, King James was declared to be no longer holding a position as King.

The final years of William's rule were not the best. Shaken by the death of his wife by smallpox, William was struggling to keep his popularity among his subjects. Many of his final ruling years were trying to establish his hold in more parts of Europe, especially in Spain.

Facts About William Of Orange's Significance

In 1689, William and Mary approved the Bill of Rights, one of the most historically significant British history documents. This document was especially important as it made the monarch liable to follow parliamentary directives and procedures in many ways.

The monarch could no longer single-handedly make abrupt decisions. For a long time, after the death of William II, the act of Seclusion had disabled the members of the House of Orange from gaining titles like Stadtholder, debarring any descendants (including William III) from becoming a Stadtholder. In 1660, when Charles II restored his throne of England, the Act of Seclusion was rescinded, enabling William of Orange to be placed in the position of Stadtholder.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created many interesting family-friendly facts for everyone to enjoy! If you liked our suggestions for 'William Of Orange Facts: History, Significance, Rule And More,' then why not take a look at William Penn facts or William Wallace facts?

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Written by Martha Martins

Bachelor of Arts specializing in Linguistics

Martha Martins picture

Martha MartinsBachelor of Arts specializing in Linguistics

Martha is a full-time creative writer, content strategist, and aspiring screenwriter who communicates complex thoughts and ideas effectively. She has completed her Bachelor's in Linguistics from Nasarawa State University. As an enthusiast of public relations and communication, Martha is well-prepared to substantially impact your organization as your next content writer and strategist. Her dedication to her craft and commitment to delivering high-quality work enables her to create compelling content that resonates with audiences.

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