Wilhelmina of Prussia, Princess of Orange

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For her niece and daughter-in-law, see Wilhelmine of Prussia, Queen of the Netherlands.
Princess Wilhelmina
Johann Friedrich August Tischbein - Portret van Frederika Sophia Wilhelmina, prinses van Pruisen (1751-1820), echtgenote van Willem V, prins van Oranje.jpg
Painting by Johann Friedrich August Tischbein (1789)
Princess of Orange
Tenure 4 October 1767 – 9 April 1806
Spouse William V, Prince of Orange
Issue Frederika, Hereditary Princess of Brunswick
William I of the Netherlands
Prince Frederik
Full name
Frederika Sophia Wilhelmina
House House of Hohenzollern (by birth)
House of Orange-Nassau (by marriage)
Father Prince Augustus William of Prussia
Mother Duchess Luise of Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel
Born (1751-08-07)7 August 1751
Died 9 June 1820(1820-06-09) (aged 68)

Princess Wilhelmina of Prussia (Frederika Sophia Wilhelmina; 7 August 1751 in Berlin – 9 June 1820 in Het Loo), was the consort of William V of Orange and also the de facto leader of the dynastic party and contra revolution in the Netherlands. She was the daughter of Prince Augustus William of Prussia and Luise of Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel. She was the longest serving Princess consort of Orange.

Background[edit]

Princess Wilhelmina of Prussia

She was brought up with her grandmother. On 4 October 1767 in Berlin, Wilhelmina was married to William V of Orange, the last Dutch Stadtholder. She received her uncle, Frederick the Great, at Het Loo in 1768. She was a proud person and very politically ambitious. Wilhelmina dominated her spouse and exerted influence on the politics of state.

The revolution[edit]

Equestrian portrait of Wilhelmina by Tethart Philipp Christian Haag hangs in the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam

She was deeply involved in the revolutionary political conflicts in the Netherlands from 1781 and not only a supporter and partner, but the power behind the party of her spouse. She was recognized openly as the true leader of the dynastic stadtholder party, and their followers encouraged her to take the leading role. She held a large correspondence with foreign powers and used foreign supporters to influence Dutch policy. In 1785, her spouse was forced to leave Den Haag and put under a demand to abdicate. She persuaded him not to give in. She went to Friesland, officially to visit a jubilee but in reality to gain supporters in the ongoing political conflict. In 1786, the family moved to Nijmegen. When revolution broke out in the Netherlands and William moved his court to Guelders, she attempted to travel back to the capital at the Hague in 1787; on 28 June she was stopped, waiting at Goejanverwellesluis for a decision and at the end of the day sent back to William in Nijmegen.

Leader of the counter revolution[edit]

After having returned to Nijmegen, she asked her brother for a military intervention. She and her royal brother, King Frederick William II of Prussia, only for a year in power, perceived this as an insult, and Frederick attacked the Dutch Republic on 13 September 1787. Many rebels had to flee to France, and William was restored to power. She returned to The Hague with the support of foreign troops, and was celebrated by her followers as the true ruler of the Netherlands.

Exile and later life[edit]

However, the Dutch patriots returned in 1795 with support from the French, and William fled to his ally, his cousin George III of England. The couple lived alternately in Kew, Nassau and Braunschweig, where William died.

In 1802–1805 they lived in Germany. When Wilhelmina and her daughter were both widowed in 1806, they lived together at various places in the Confederation of the Rhine. Their son went with his father into exile, but returned in 1813 to eventually become King William I of the Netherlands, the founder of the present Dutch monarchy. Wilhelmina and her daughter returned to the Netherlands in 1814. She received Tsar Alexander in Haarlem in 1815.

Children[edit]

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

Sources[edit]

This article incorporates information from the equivalent article on the Dutch Wikipedia.
Wilhelmina of Prussia, Princess of Orange
Born: 7 August 1751 Died: 9 June 1820
Dutch royalty
Vacant
Title last held by
Anne, Princess Royal
Princess Consort of Orange
1767–1806
Succeeded by
Wilhelmine of Prussia