John William Friso, Prince of Orange

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John William Friso
Louis Volders 001.jpg
John William Friso, Prince of Orange (1710)
by Louis Volders
Prince of Orange
Period 19 March 1702 – 14 July 1711
Predecessor William III
Successor William IV
Prince of Nassau-Dietz
Reign 25 March 1696 – ca. 1702
Predecessor Henry Casimir II
Prince of Orange-Nassau
Reign ca. 1702 – 14 July 1711
Successor William IV
Stadtholder of Friesland and Groningen
Reign 25 March 1696 – 14 July 1711
Predecessor Henry Casimir II
Successor William IV
Spouse Landgravine Marie Louise of Hesse-Kassel
Issue Amalia of Nassau-Dietz
William IV, Prince of Orange
House House of Orange-Nassau
Father Henry Casimir II, Prince of Nassau-Dietz
Mother Henriëtte Amalia of Anhalt-Dessau
Born 14 August 1687
Dessau, Anhalt
Died 14 July 1711(1711-07-14) (aged 23)
Hollands Diep, between Dordrecht and Moerdijk

John William Friso, Prince of Orange-Nassau (Dutch: Johan Willem Friso van Oranje-Nassau; 14 August 1687 – 14 July 1711) became the titular Prince of Orange in 1702. He was stadtholder of Friesland until his death by drowning in the Hollands Diep in 1711.

Background[edit]

He was the son of Henry Casimir II, Prince of Nassau-Dietz, and Princess Henriëtte Amalia of Anhalt-Dessau who were both first cousins of William III. As such, he was a member of the House of Nassau and through the testamentary dispositions of William III became the progenitor of the new line of the House of Orange-Nassau.

Succession[edit]

With the death of William III, Prince of Orange, the legitimate male line of William the Silent (the second House of Orange) became extinct. John William Friso, the senior agnatic descendant of William the Silent's brother and a cognatic descendant of Frederick Henry, grandfather of William III, claimed the succession as stadtholder in all provinces held by William III. This was denied to him by the republican faction in the Netherlands.

The five provinces over which William III ruled – Holland, Zeeland, Utrecht, Gelderland and Overijssel – all suspended the office of Stadtholder after William III's death. The remaining two provinces – Friesland and Groningen – were never governed by William III, and continued to retain a separate Stadtholder, John William Friso. He established the third House of Orange, which went extinct in the male line in 1890. His son William IV, Prince of Orange, however, later became stadtholder of all seven provinces.

Because William III's heir general was King Frederick I of Prussia, the latter also claimed part of the inheritance (for example Lingen). Under William III's will, Friso stood to inherit the Principality of Orange. However, the Prussian King Frederick I also claimed the Principality of Orange in the Rhône Valley, which he later ceded to France.

Military career and death[edit]

On coming of age in 1707, John William Friso became a general of the Dutch troops during the War of Spanish Succession, under the command of the Duke of Marlborough, and turned out to be a competent officer. He commanded Dutch infantry in the battle of Oudenarde, siege of Lille, and battle of Malplaquet. The prestige that he acquired from his military service, could have favored his eventual election as a stadtholder in the remaining five provinces. However, in 1711, when traveling from the front in Flanders to The Hague in connection with his suit in the succession dispute, he drowned on 14 July, when the ferry boat on the Moerdyk was overturned in heavy weather. His son was born six weeks after his death.

Marriage and issue[edit]

On 26 April 1709, he married Princess Maria Louise of Hesse-Kassel (1688–1765), daughter of Charles I, Landgrave of Hesse-Kassel, and granddaughter of Jacob Kettler, Duke of Courland. They had two children.

Name Birth Death Notes
Anna Charlotte Amalia 1710 1777 married Frederick, Hereditary Prince of Baden-Durlach; had issue, including Charles Frederick, Grand Duke of Baden
William IV, Prince of Orange 1711 1751 married Anne, Princess Royal; had issue, including William V, Prince of Orange

John William Friso and his wife are the most recent common ancestors to all currently reigning European monarchs. This is a title he has held since 1938, when Franz Joseph II- a descendant of John William Friso, succeeded Franz I- who was not a descendant, as Prince of Liechtenstein.

Ancestry[edit]

References[edit]

John William Friso, Prince of Orange
House of Orange-Nassau
(second creation)
Cadet branch of the House of Nassau
Born: 14 August 1687 Died: 14 July 1711
Dutch nobility
Preceded by
William III
Prince of Orange
1702–1711
Vacant
Title next held by
William IV
Regnal titles
Preceded by
Henry Casimir II
Prince of Nassau-Dietz
1696–1702
Title obsolete
merged into German
principality of Orange-Nassau
New title Prince of Orange-Nassau
1702–1711
Succeeded by
William IV
Preceded by
William III
Baron of Breda
1702–1711
Political offices
Preceded by
Henry Casimir II
Stadtholder of Friesland and Groningen
1696–1711
Succeeded by
William IV