Stadholder Willem III and Princess Mary, King and Queen of England & Scotland

If you have answers, please help by responding to the unanswered posts.
Elizabeth Villiers was defintely a mistress of William's, but she seems to have been the only one. She later married and had children when she was older ( and she wasn't really young when she was William's mistress), proving she could at least have children. But I agree it was illness of Mary's. It could have been both of them, too.
I think you are right actually. Mary's face is usually somewhat different like in the first painting and her eyes are smaller.
Out of curiosity, why wouldn't Mary wear the Edwards crown?

Apparently a separate crown was made for Queen Mary II to be crowned as reigning queen (William probably would have been crowned with the st. Edwards). I have no idea what this special crown looked like, would love to know more about it.

Mary's crown could off course have been a smaller version of the st. Edwards, point is that I cant remember having seen any painting of Mary in full regalia without William next to her
William III

Why didnt William marry again after the death of Mary?
Some people suggested him that he should remarry, but he replied that angry: did they forget about the Queen already? Though many assumed he was cold towards his wife, William III grieved for weeks, wept constantly and sunk into a depression after his death. Now his real motives might be less sentimental. If he would have children it would leave a tricky situation: princess Anne and her son (who died in 1700) were before Williams children in the line of succession for example. And if the child inherited both the British crown and the Dutch stadholdership.
Queen Mary also left him a letter, which she wrote shortly before she died, with advise etc. After he read that letter he never saw his mistress (forgot the first name) Villiers again and he became even more punctual in his religion. But we don't know what else was written in the letter.
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William III

Thank you very much for that information.
William III

An equestrian statue of William III by the Dutch sculptor Grinling Gibbons was erected in Dublin, Ireland in 1701, it was removed in 1929 after a small explosion did minor damage. It was melted down in the 1940 s, a sad loss.


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I'm a bit confused.... According to Wikipedia, Stadtholder was the de facto Head of State in the Low Countries in the 18th century. Did he have to renounce his Dutuch positions to reign in the UK or was he King of England and Head of state of the Netherlands as well as Stadtholder was a hereditary position?
He definately stayed on as Stadholder in The Netherlands, the entire idea behind the glorious revolution and all was to prevent England from forming another alliance WITH the catholic French to start another war against the Dutch republic. Instead, the Anglo-Dutch(-Austrian-Spanish) alliance prevented France from becoming too dominant on the continent.

He stayed stadholder until he died, he kept visiting the Netherlands regularly and on several occassions for months, esp. during the militairy campaigns in spring/summer. But also to relax with his friends at Het Loo. His wife Mary stayed home in England, much to her dismay as she never wanted to leave her Dutch friends and palaces. Life in the quiet, tidy, small and calvinist The Hague suited her better than all the intregues at the British court. After Mary died the king did not visit The Netherlands very often (or at all), and stayed in London.

Originally the stadholdership was NOT hereditairy. The stadholders were the representants of the dukes of Burgundy (later the German emperor/king of Spain) in the 17 dutch provinces. At the time of the Dutch revolt against the Spanish, prince William of Orange was stadholder of Holland & Zeeland. The stadholdership became de facto hereditairy, both his sons became stadholders, and his grandson Willem II became stadholder too. However, the house of Orange usually had the powerful regents of Holland and esp. those of Amsterdam against them. So when Willem II died the position of stadholder did not go to his son (who was born after his death), but remained vacant. In the 'disaster year' 1672 the Netherlands was invaded by France, England, Colgne, Münster etc. and the mob blamed the regents. Willem III was installed as stadholder, and over the years he would get more and more powers. During this time the stadholdership became hereditairy officially, but Willem III had no children.

After his death in 1702 the regents wasted no time to claim a second stadholder-free period. Though the heir of Willem III was his Frisian cousin Johan-Willem-Friso of Nassau Dietz. JWF was however stadholder of the three northern provinces: Friesland, Groningen and Drenthe. The other provinces (Holland, Zeeland, Utrecht, Guelders) had no stadholder. When the French invaded in 1747, in what proved to be another bad war for the republic, people turned to the house of Orange again. Johan-Willem-Friso was already dead, but his son Willem IV became stadholder of one province after another. In the end he would be the first stadholder of ALL 7 provinces, and the court would move from Leeuwarden (Friesland) to The Hague. The stadholdership became hereditairy once more, and this time also in the female line. The republic was a monarchy in all but in name, though not an absolute monarchy like France. Willem IV was married to a British princess Royal btw: Anne of Hanover. In 1795 stadholder Willem V and his family had to flee from The Netherlands for French troops. He would be the last stadholder, after the congress of Vienna in 1815, his son WIllem VI would become king WIllem I.
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So does this mean that in a way the Netherlands and the UK were the one country during his time on the throne?
No, they were two seperate countries with the same head of state. Pretty much like Norway and Sweden under the Bernadotte rule.
Is there any thruth in the rumours that Willem III had a gay relationship with Hans Willem Bentinck, the first Earl of Portland.

Another thing I heard is that the States of Gueldres offerend Willem III the title Duke of Guelders. Why didn´t this work out?

If William had any sort of intimate relationship with a man (this is doubtful) it would have been with Arnold Joost van Keppel, 1st Earl of Albemarle, the King's Master of the Robes (who just happens to be a direct ancestor of Camilla Parker Bowles). This man rivaled Bentinck for William's affections, but these favors were probably not romantic. Keppel was something of a womanizer anyway. And the Earl of Portland never gave any indication to William or to the rest of the world that he was 'overly fond' of the king in that manner. Of course some authors like to argue that Jacobite claims were correct and that Keppel had been William's lover from early on in life, before the Glorious Revolution. However, this is debatable and has not been proven to be true.
I m not sure if William ever had a mistress actually. I believe there were rumours about Elizabeth Villiers, who was aknowledged as his mistress but the nature of their relationship is unclear. Historians still disagree about William's (supposed) homosexuality though.

In any case, Mary was pregnant but miscarried. After an illness (I do not know which one) she was unable to have children anymore.

In my personal opinion, I'd say that sex did enter into the relationship, but I doubt that the affair was as notorious as most historians make it out to be. William was so discreet about this liaison that no one knows when he even saw Elizabeth. I read that he was ashamed of his errors and this could explain not only his discretion, but also the fact that until he decided to bestow upon Mistress Villiers confiscated Irish estates belonging to James II, he never so much as furnished apartments for her, which was the usual treatment. Elizabeth was a force in politics, and a great conversationalist, but since William's interest in sex was far from being strong, it's doubtful their meetings were always of a romantic nature.
1672 is known as the 'rampjaar' (disaster year). The French attack and the English betrayal has led the population to be desperate. Although the position of Willem III was being strengthened for some time, the disaster made the pro-Orangist population of the Hague lynch & canibalize the De Witt brothers, after which Willem III and the Orange party rose to power.

Johan De Witt was the greatest statesman in Dutch history. But he was fiercely republican. Much against his wishes he eventually became a tutor of young Willem. Mostly to make sure the Prince received a proper Dutch education. De Witt always thought Willem would be a stooge of his uncle Charles II & feared he would be a triator.

It is unknown how far the prince was involved in the murder. Though in his novel 'The Black Tulip' Alexandre Dumas places him behind a window at the inner court, looking down on the mass lynching.

Willem's mother Pss Mary raised the prince as an Englishman. She surrounded him with English people and she looked down upon anything Dutch. This was much to the dismay of her mother-in-law Pss Amalia, who tried to ensure more Dutch elements in the prince's surroundings. Amalia knew that the only credible and honourable way the prince could and should rise to power was through political changes and support in Holland and not by foreign intervention.

The relationship of the two women was notoriously bad. Mary was impossible -even Louis XIV thought his cousin Mary was excessively proud- while Amalia was somewhat in awe of her royal daughter-in-law, at one time even throwing over a glass of lemonade as she trembled for Pss Mary. She never forgot that Mary's family had never paid the promissed dowry of 2 million guilders. After her death Mary left everything she owned to her mother Q. Henrietta-Marie and nothing to her son, to much consternation in The Hague.

Although Willem III resented Johan De Witt and saw him as an enemy, he later confessed that he learned a lot from him.
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The Dutch support for Oliver Cromwell is believed to have caused the Princess Royal's apparent disdain for the Dutch :previous:

The authorities also prohibited Mary from receiving any of her English family members during the Commonwealth period and further caused her resentment.
I think her disdain for everything Dutch predated the events of Cromwell. It was not only reserved for her opponents - the anti-Orangist regents of Holland- but also for relatives such as the Frisian stadholder Willem-Frederik of Nassau-Dietz and her mother-in-law.

Mary saw a fair deal of her family. She even lived with her mother in France for a year, leaving her son in The Hague. At the same time the republic could not be supporting Charles as it would antagonise the English. Charles lived in The Hague for some time after he left England.

Charles II -lived in Breda when he received the news of his accession. Financed by the Dutch state. Though in the years before he travelled around Europe, being reliant on grants from whatever government hosted him. He was forced to leave France when Louis XIV signed a treaty with Cromwell.

The Dutch support for Cromwell was never great. Cromwell himself was seen as an extremist and the first Anglo-Dutch sea war was initiated by him. A Union of republics as was proposed by Cromwell was never seriously considered in The Hague.

Part of the treaty of Westminster was the act of exclusion. This was pushed for by Cromwell, and it stated that Willem could never be stadholder of Holland. In Holland itself it was controversial, though it suited De Witt. He still remembered Willem II, who had forced a -reckless- pro-Orangist push through much of Holland, wielding out much anti-Orangist regents. This included Jacob De Witt -father of Johan- who was emprisoned in Castle Loevenstein for no other reason than that he was the only regent from his city available in The Hague to arrest.

Willem II's death shortly afterwards was a disaster for the Orange-party and a miracle for the anti-Orangist regents, who were able to rise to power again. Johan De Witt thought that the natural inclination for the House of Orange would always be to seek more power. Power that would be acquired at the expence of 'Hollander Freedoms'

In 1670 -before he was stadholder- Willem III visited his English uncle, mostly to settle his finances and to settle the outstanding and large Stuart debts. De Witt had feared that Willem would be sensitive to proposals of betrayal. And Charles did propose to make him stadholder of a severely amputated Dutch state -other parts were to go to England and to France. De Witt's Dutch education had bore some fruit - Willem refused the proposal and on a personal level could not like his uncle, the two men were very different in character.
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Its also interesting that Amalia van Solms first arrived as a lady-in-waiting to Elizabeth Stuart the Winter Queen.

Elizabeth lived in exile in the Netherlands until 1661 and the court of Elizabeth and her niece Princess Mary was often refereed to as a "nest of vipers".
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