Wilhelmina of Prussia, Princess of Orange
|Painting by Johann Friedrich August Tischbein (1789)|
|Tenure||4 October 1767 – 9 April 1806|
|Spouse||William V, Prince of Orange|
|Frederika, Hereditary Princess of Brunswick
William I of the Netherlands
|Father||Augustus William of Prussia|
|Mother||Luise of Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel|
|Born||7 August 1751|
|Died||9 June 1820(aged 68)|
Wilhelmina of Prussia, born 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.
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.
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
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
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.
Wilhelmina and William V of Orange were parents to five children:
- An unnamed son (23–24 March 1769)
- Frederika Luise Wilhelmina (28 November 1770 in The Hague – 15 October 1819 in The Hague), married in The Hague on 14 October 1790 to Karl, Hereditary Prince of Brunswick (1766–1806), a son of Karl Wilhelm Ferdinand, Duke of Brunswick-Luneburg and Princess Augusta of Great Britain, without issue.
- An unnamed son (born and deceased on 6 August 1771)
- William I, King of the Netherlands (25 August 1772 – 12 December 1843)
- Willem Georg Frederik, Prince of Orange-Nassau (15 February 1774 The Hague – 6 January 1799 in Padua), unmarried and without issue.
Wilhelmina of Prussia, Princess of OrangeBorn: 7 August 1751 Died: 9 June 1820
Title last held byAnne, Princess Royal
|Princess Consort of Orange
Wilhelmine of Prussia