William II of Holland
|William II, Count of Holland|
|Spouse(s)||Elisabeth of Brunswick-Lüneburg|
|Noble family||House of Holland|
|Father||Floris IV, Count of Holland|
|Mother||Matilda of Brabant|
|Died||28 January 1256(aged 27)|
He was the son of Floris IV and Matilda of Brabant. When his father was killed at a tournament at Corbie, William was only seven years old. His uncles William and Otto (Bishop of Utrecht) were his guardians until 1239.
With the help of Henry II, Duke of Brabant and the archbishop of Cologne, he was elected in 1247 as king of Germany after Emperor Frederick II was excommunicated. After a siege of five months, he took Aachen in 1248 from Frederick's followers. Only then could he be crowned as king. He gained a certain amount of theoretical support from some of the German princes after his marriage to Elizabeth, daughter of Otto the Child, Duke of Brunswick-Lüneburg, in 1252; but, although "William lacked neither courage nor chivalrous qualities... his power never extended beyond the Rhineland."
In his home county, William fought with Flanders for control of Zeeland. He made himself (being king of Germany) count of Zeeland. In July 1253, he defeated the Flemish army at Westkapelle (in modern-day Belgium) and a year later a cease-fire followed. His anti-Flemish policy worsened his relationship with France.
Melis Stoke, a scribe to William's son Floris V of Holland, wrote about William's death that, in battle near Hoogwoud on 28 January 1256, William tried to traverse a frozen lake (by himself, because he was lost), but his horse fell through the ice. In this vulnerable position, William was killed by the Frisians, who secretly buried him under the floor of a house. His body was forcefully recovered 26 years later by his son Floris V, who was only 2 years old when he succeeded his father. William was then buried in Middelburg. Independent chronicles confirm his death at that time, by failing to jump over a muddy water way during a skirmish. Much of Stoke's writing may have been to justify his employer's deeds and his claim on current-day West Frisia, so that the details of the mishap and subsequent events could be largely legendary.
|Ancestors of William II of Holland|
- Kantorowicz, Ernst, Frederick II, p. 638.
- Willem II, koning van Allemaigne, graaf van Holland (Dutch)
William II of HollandBorn: Febaurary 1228 Died: 28 January 1256
|Count of Holland and Zeeland
|King of Germany
(formally King of the Romans)
(anti-king to Conrad IV until 1254)
Richard of Cornwall and
Alfonso of Castile