Philip de Montmorency, Count of Horn

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Count of Horn

Philip de Montmorency (1524 – 5 June 1568, Brussels) was also known as Count of Horn or Hoorne or Hoorn.

Biography[edit]

De Montmorency was born between 1518 and 1526, possibly at the Ooidonk Castle, the son of Jozef van Montmorency, Count of Nevele and Anna van Egmont. His father died in 1530 in Italy, and his mother remarried Johan II, Count of Horn, one of the wealthiest nobles of the Netherlands, who, in 1540, left the County of Horne to his wife's children on condition that they should assume his name.

A page and later chamberlain at the court of Charles V, de Montmorency married Walburgis of Neuenahr in 1546. He became stadtholder of Guelders in 1555, an Admiral of Flanders, and a knight of the Golden Fleece in 1556.

In 1559 he commanded the stately fleet which conveyed Philip II from the Netherlands to Spain, and he remained at the Spanish court until 1563. On his return he placed himself with the Prince of Orange and Count of Egmont at the head of the party which opposed the policy of Cardinal Granvelle and ultimately forced his resignation. When Granvelle retired, the three nobles continued to resist the introduction of the Spanish Inquisition and of Spanish rule in the Netherlands. Though Philip appeared for a time to give way, he had made up his mind to punish the opponents of his policy. The regent, Margaret, duchess of Parma, was replaced by the duke of Alva, who entered the Netherlands at the head of a veteran army. Orange fled from the country, but Egmont and Horn, despite his warning, decided to remain and face the storm. They were both seized, tried and condemned as traitors. Ceaseless but vain efforts were made to obtain a fair trial for Horn, and appeals for clemency on his behalf were made by potentates in all parts of the continent. Egmont and Horn were decapitated on 5 June 1568 in the great square of the Grand Place before the town hall in Brussels.

Legacy[edit]

Statue of Egmont and Hoorne, Petit Sablon Square, Brussels.

Nowadays, a statue erected on the Petit Sablon / Kleine Zavel Square, near the Large Market Square in Brussels commemorates the Counts of Egmont and Hoorne, in historical overview usually mentioned together as "Egmond en Hoorne" and hailed as the first leaders of the Dutch revolt, as the predecessors of William of Orange, who grew to importance and obtained the leadership after their execution, and who was assassinated in 1584 in Delft, having succeeded in liberating parts of The Netherlands in the early years of the Eighty Years' War (1568–1648).[citation needed]

Van Egmont("Egmond") and De Montmorency ("Hoorne"), who both remained faithful to Catholicism, are mostly celebrated as the symbolic leaders in the national history of Belgium, with its catholic majority. William of Orange, brought up as a Lutheran, was a proponent of freedom of religion for all people, and grew to fame as the actual powerful leader in the national history of The Netherlands, where Protestantism dominated and for many years even ruled as an official state religion.[citation needed]

The sentence "Den Coninck van Hispaengien heb ick altijt gheeert" in the 1st stanza of the Dutch national hymn Het Wilhelmus ("To the King of Spain I always paid my respect") refers to the initial loyalty of these three leading figures of the Dutch Revolt, the Counts of Hoorne and Egmont and the Prince of Orange, to Philip II and their claim that they merely objected against some hardships of the Spanish rule over The Netherlands as executed by Philips' emissaries, especially concerning the taxation and the merciless and cruel religious prosecutions, in the form of hanging and burning of Protestants by the Spanish Inquisition, the latter being a human rights issue before this term was coined in the 18th Century.[citation needed]

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