William V, Prince of Orange

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William V
Prince of Orange
Reign22 October 1751 – 9 April 1806
PredecessorWilliam IV
SuccessorWilliam VI
SpouseWilhelmina of Prussia
Issue
Louise, Hereditary Princess of Brunswick
William I of the Netherlands
Prince Frederick
Full name
Willem Batavus
FatherWilliam IV, Prince of Orange
MotherAnne of Great Britain
Born(1748-03-08)8 March 1748
The Hague
Died9 April 1806(1806-04-09) (aged 58)
Brunswick
ReligionProtestantism
 
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William V
Prince of Orange
Reign22 October 1751 – 9 April 1806
PredecessorWilliam IV
SuccessorWilliam VI
SpouseWilhelmina of Prussia
Issue
Louise, Hereditary Princess of Brunswick
William I of the Netherlands
Prince Frederick
Full name
Willem Batavus
FatherWilliam IV, Prince of Orange
MotherAnne of Great Britain
Born(1748-03-08)8 March 1748
The Hague
Died9 April 1806(1806-04-09) (aged 58)
Brunswick
ReligionProtestantism

William V, Prince of Orange-Nassau (Willem Batavus; 8 March 1748 – 9 April 1806) was the last Stadtholder of the Dutch Republic, and between 1795 and 1806 he led the Government of the Dutch Republic in Exile in London. He was succeeded by his son William I.

Contents

Earliest years

He was born in 1748, the only son of William IV, who had the year before been restored as stadtholder of the United Provinces. He was only 3 years old when his father died in 1751, and a long regency began. His regents were:

William was made the 568th Knight of the Order of the Garter in 1752.

Stadtholder

William V assumed the position of stadtholder (chief executive) and Captain-General of the Dutch States Army in 1766. On 4 October 1767 in Berlin, Prince William married Princess Wilhelmina of Prussia, the daughter of Augustus William of Prussia, niece of Frederick the Great and a cousin of George III.

The position of the Dutch during the American War of Independence was one of neutrality. William V, leading the pro-British faction within the government, blocked attempts by pro-independence, and later pro-French, elements to drag the government to war. However, things came to a head with the Dutch attempt to join the Russian-led League of Armed Neutrality, leading to the outbreak of the Fourth Anglo-Dutch War in 1780. In spite of the fact that Britain was in the midst of fighting several other countries, the ensuing war proved difficult for the Dutch to cope with and the Republic was eventually forced to cede some territory to the British. The United Provinces recognized the United States in February 1782, after much political debate and pressure from American and French diplomats. Joan van der Capellen tot den Pol and Court Lambertus van Beyma took the initiative.

In The Orangerie (1796), James Gillray caricatured William's dalliances during his exile, depicting him as an indolent Cupid sleeping on bags of money, surrounded by pregnant amours.

After the signing of the Treaty of Paris (1783), the impoverished nation grew restless under William's rule. In the meantime, a band of young revolutionaries, called Patriots, was challenging his authority more and more. In 1785 William left the Hague and removed his court to Guelders, a province remote from the political centre. In September 1786 he had to send an army to stop Herman Willem Daendels, organizing an overthrow at the cities' vroedschap. In June 1787 his energetic wife Wilhelmina tried to travel to the Hague. Outside Schoonhoven, she was stopped by militia, taken to a farm near Goejanverwellesluis and within two days made to return to Nijmegen.

To Wilhelmina and her brother, Frederick William II of Prussia, this was an insult. Frederick sent in an army to attack the dissidents. Many patriots fled to the North of France, around Saint-Omer, in an area where Dutch was spoken. Until his overthrow they were supported by King Louis XVI of France.

Flight to Britain

With the coming of the French Revolution William V joined the First Coalition against Republican France in 1793. His troops fought in the Flanders Campaign, but in 1794 the military situation deteriorated and the Dutch Republic was threatened by invading armies. The year 1795 was a disastrous one for the ancien régime of the Netherlands. Supported by the French Army, the revolutionaries returned from Paris to fight in the Netherlands, and in 1795 William V fled to the safety of England. A few days later the Fall of Amsterdam occurred, and the Dutch Republic was abolished by the victorious French.

The last of the Dutch stadtholders, he died in exile at Brunswick, now in Germany. His body was moved to the Dutch Royal Family crypt in the Nieuwe Kerk in Delft on 29 April 1958.

In 1813, his son, King William I returned to the Netherlands and became the first Dutch monarch from the House of Orange. (Note that he was not the first King of Holland; that was Louis Bonaparte (1778–1846), who had reigned from 1806 to 1810.)

Children

Willem V of Orange and Wilhelmina of Prussia with their children from left to right: the future King William I of the Netherlands, Frederick, and Frederica Louise Wilhelmina, later Princess of Brunswick-Luneburg.

William V and Wilhelmina of Prussia were parents to five children:

Ancestors

William's ancestors in three generations
William V, Prince of OrangeFather:
William IV, Prince of Orange
Paternal Grandfather:
John William Friso, Prince of Orange
Paternal Great-grandfather:
Henry Casimir II, Count of Nassau-Dietz
Paternal Great-grandmother:
Henriëtte Amalia van Anhalt-Dessau
Paternal Grandmother:
Marie Louise of Hesse-Kassel (or Hesse-Cassel)
Paternal Great-grandfather:
Charles I, Landgrave of Hesse-Kassel (or Hesse-Cassel)
Paternal Great-grandmother:
Maria Amalia of Courland
Mother:
Anne, Princess Royal and Princess of Orange
Maternal Grandfather:
George II of Great Britain
Maternal Great-grandfather:
George I of Great Britain
Maternal Great-grandmother:
Sophia Dorothea of Celle
Maternal Grandmother:
Caroline of Ansbach
Maternal Great-grandfather:
Johann Friedrich, Margrave of Brandenburg-Ansbach
Maternal Great-grandmother:
Eleonore Erdmuthe of Saxe-Eisenach

See also

References


William V, Prince of Orange
Cadet branch of the House of Nassau
Born: 8 March 1748 Died: April 9 1806
Dutch nobility
Preceded by
William IV
Prince of Orange
1751–1806
Succeeded by
William VI
later became King William I
Regnal titles
Preceded by
William IV of Orange
Prince of Orange-Nassau
1751–1806
Succeeded by
William VI
Baron of Breda
1751–1795
Lordship dissolved
incorporated in Batavian Republic
General Stadtholder of the United Provinces
1751–1795
Function abolished
followed by Batavian Republic