Mary, Princess Royal and Princess of Orange

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Mary of England
Princess Royal
Mary Princess of Orange.jpg
Mary Henrietta Stuart (1652 painting by Bartholomeus van der Helst)
Princess of Orange;
Countess of Nassau
Tenure 14 March 1647 – 6 November 1650
Spouse William II, Prince of Orange
Issue William III of England
Full name
Mary Henrietta
House House of Stuart
Father Charles I of England
Mother Henrietta Maria of France
Born 4 November 1631
St. James's Palace, London
Died 24 December 1660(1660-12-24) (aged 29)
Whitehall Palace, London
Burial Westminster Abbey, London

Mary, Princess Royal (Mary Henrietta; 4 November 1631 – 24 December 1660) was Princess of Orange and Countess of Nassau as the wife of Prince William II. She was the eldest daughter of King Charles I of England, Scotland, and Ireland and his wife, Henrietta Maria of France. Her only child later reigned as King William III of England and Ireland and II of Scotland.

Mary was the first daughter of a British sovereign to hold the title Princess Royal. She was co-regent for her son as Sovereign Prince of Orange from 1651 to 1660.

Early life[edit]

Betrothed William and Mary

Princess Mary Henrietta was born at St. James's Palace, London. Charles I designated her Princess Royal in 1642, thus establishing the tradition that the eldest daughter of the British Sovereign might bear this title. The title came into being when Queen Henrietta Maria, the daughter of King Henry IV of France wished to imitate the way the eldest daughter of the French king was styled (Madame Royale). Until that time, the eldest daughters of English and Scottish kings were variously titled Lady or Princess (The younger daughters of British Sovereigns were not consistently titled princesses of Great Britain and styled Royal Highness until the ascension of George I in 1714).

Marriage[edit]

Mary Stuart, Princess Royal, and William II, Prince of Orange.

Her father, Charles I, wished the Princess Royal to marry a son of Philip IV, king of Spain, while her first cousin, Karl Ludwig, the Elector Palatine, was also a suitor for her hand. Both proposals fell through and she was betrothed to Willem, the son and heir of Frederick Henry, Prince of Orange and Stadtholder of the United Provinces, and of Amalia of Solms-Braunfels. The marriage took place on 2 May 1641 at the Chapel Royal, Whitehall Palace, London. The marriage was not consummated for several years due to the bride's age when married: nine. In 1642, Mary moved to the Dutch Republic with her mother, Queen Henrietta Maria, and in 1644, as the daughter-in-law of the stadtholder, Frederick Henry, she became visible in courtly and public events.

Later life[edit]

In March 1647, Mary's husband, William II, succeeded his father as stadholder. However, in November 1650, just after his attempt to capture Amsterdam from his political opponents, he died of smallpox. The couple's only child, Willem (later William III), was born a few days later. Mary, now the Dowager Princess of Orange, was obliged to share the guardianship of her infant son with her mother-in-law, Amalia of Solms-Braunfels, and uncle-in-law, Frederick William I, Elector of Brandenburg. She was unpopular with the Dutch because of her sympathies with her family, the Stuarts. She lived in the palace of the Stadthouder at the Binnenhof in the Hague, the building complex that now houses the Senate of the Netherlands. Her boudoir is still intact. At length, public opinion having been further angered by the hospitality that she showed to her brothers, the exiled Charles II and the Duke of York (later James II), she was forbidden to receive her relatives. From 1654 to 1657, the princess was usually not in Holland. In 1657, she became regent on behalf of her son for the principality of Orange, but the difficulties of her position led her to implore the assistance of her first cousin Louis XIV of France; the French king answered by seizing the principality.[citation needed]

The restoration of Charles II in England and Scotland greatly enhanced the position of the Princess of Orange and her son in Holland. In September 1660, she returned to England. She died of smallpox on 24 December 1660, at Whitehall Palace, London and was buried in Westminster Abbey.

Ancestry[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]

Media related to Mary, Princess Royal and Princess of Orange at Wikimedia Commons

Mary, Princess Royal and Princess of Orange
Born: 4 November 1631 Died: 24 December 1660
British royalty
New title Princess Royal
1642–1660
Succeeded by
Anne