William II, Prince of Orange
William II of Orange and Mary Stuart, Princess Royal.
(27 May 1626 – 6
November 1650) was sovereign Prince of
United Provinces of
from 14 March 1647 until his death.
William II, Prince of Orange, was the son of stadtholder Frederik Hendrik of Orange
Amalia of Solms-Braunfels
William the Silent
succeeded in the position of stadtholder and as military commander
by his son Maurits of Nassau
in turn was followed by his brother Frederick Henry. William II’s ancestors
governed in conjunction with the States-General, an assembly made
up of representatives of each of the seven provinces but usually
dominated by the largest and wealthiest province, Holland.
On May 2,
1641 William married Mary
Henrietta Stuart, the Princess Royal, the eldest daughter of
King Charles I of England and
Queen Henrietta Maria in
the Chapel Royal, Whitehall Palace, London.
In 1648 he opposed acceptance of the Treaty of Münster, despite the
fact that it recognized the independence of the Netherlands.
Secretly, William opened his own negotiations with France with the
goal of extending his own territory under a centralized government.
In addition, he worked for the restoration of his brother-in-law,
, 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, like Andries Bicker
and his cousin Cornelis de Graeff
over troop reduction
following the Treaty of Münster
William opposed the reduction in the size of the army which would
diminish his powerbase. This resulted in William putting eight
members (oa. Jacob de Witt)
of the provincial assembly in prison in the castle of Loevestein. In addition he sent his cousin Willem Frederik of
Nassau-Dietz with an army of 10 thousand troops with the aim of taking
Amsterdam by force.
Bad weather foiled this campaign
having served as stadtholder of Holland, Zeeland, Utrecht, Guelders and Overijssel for only three years, he died of
smallpox in 1650.
His son William
was born one week after his
death. This was the beginning of the First Stadtholderless Period
for the provinces Holland, Zeeland, Utrecht, Guelders and Overijssel.
His son succeeded him in 1672
as stadtholder and later, in 1689, also became king of