William V, Prince of Orange

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William V
Prince of Orange
J. G. Ziesenis - State Portrait of Prince William V.jpg
Stadtholder of the Dutch Republic
Reign 22 October 1751 – 9 April 1806
Predecessor William IV
Successor none (Function abolished)
Prince of Orange-Nassau
Reign 22 October 1751 – 9 April 1806
Predecessor William IV
Successor William VI
Spouse Wilhelmina of Prussia
Issue Louise, Hereditary Princess of Brunswick
William I of the Netherlands
Prince Frederick
Full name
Willem Batavus
House House of Orange-Nassau
Father William IV, Prince of Orange
Mother Anne of Great Britain
Born (1748-03-08)8 March 1748
The Hague
Died 9 April 1806(1806-04-09) (aged 58)
Brunswick
Religion Protestantism

William V, Prince of Orange-Nassau (Willem Batavus; 8 March 1748 – 9 April 1806) was the last Stadtholder of the Dutch Republic, and between 1795 and 1806 he claimed the Government of the Dutch Republic in London. He was succeeded by his son William I.

Earliest years[edit]

He was born in 1748, the only son of William IV, who had the year before been restored as stadtholder of the United Provinces. He was only 3 years old when his father died in 1751, and a long regency began. His regents were:

William was made the 568th Knight of the Order of the Garter in 1752.

Stadtholder[edit]

William V assumed the position of stadtholder (chief executive) and Captain-General of the Dutch States Army in 1766. On 4 October 1767 in Berlin, Prince William married Princess Wilhelmina of Prussia, the daughter of Augustus William of Prussia, niece of Frederick the Great and a cousin of George III.

The position of the Dutch during the American War of Independence was one of neutrality. William V, leading the pro-British faction within the government, blocked attempts by pro-independence, and later pro-French, elements to drag the government to war in support of the Franco-American alliance. However, things came to a head with the Dutch attempt to join the Russian-led League of Armed Neutrality, leading to the outbreak of the Fourth Anglo-Dutch War in 1780. In spite of the fact that Britain was engaged in fighting on several fronts, the war went badly for the Dutch and the Republic was eventually forced to cede some territory to the British. The United Provinces recognized the United States in February 1782, after much political debate and pressure from American and French diplomats. Joan van der Capellen tot den Pol and Court Lambertus van Beyma took the initiative.

In The Orangerie (1796), James Gillray caricatured William's dalliances during his exile, depicting him as an indolent Cupid sleeping on bags of money, surrounded by pregnant amours.

After the signing of the Treaty of Paris (1783), the impoverished nation grew restless under William's rule. In the meantime, a band of young revolutionaries, called Patriots, was challenging his authority more and more. In 1785 William left the Hague and removed his court to Guelders, a province remote from the political centre. In September 1786 he had to send an army to stop Herman Willem Daendels, organizing an overthrow at the cities' vroedschap. In June 1787 his energetic wife Wilhelmina tried to travel to the Hague. Outside Schoonhoven, she was stopped by militia, taken to a farm near Goejanverwellesluis and within two days made to return to Nijmegen.

To Wilhelmina and her brother, Frederick William II of Prussia, this was an insult. Frederick sent in an army to attack the dissidents. Many Patriots fled to the North of France, around Saint-Omer, in an area where Dutch was spoken. Until his overthrow they were supported by King Louis XVI of France.

Flight to Britain and Exile[edit]

With the coming of the French Revolution William V joined the First Coalition against Republican France in 1793. His troops fought in the Flanders Campaign, but in 1794 the military situation deteriorated and the Dutch Republic was threatened by invading armies. The year 1795 was a disastrous one for the ancien régime of the Netherlands. Supported by the French Army, the revolutionaries returned from Paris to fight in the Netherlands, and in 1795 William V fled to the safety of England. A few days later the Batavian Revolution in Amsterdam occurred, and the Dutch Republic was replaced with the Batavian Republic.[1]:1121 [2]:190–192

Directly after his arrival in England the Prince wrote a number of letters (known as the Kew Letters) from his new residence in Kew to the governors of the Dutch colonies, instructing them to hand over their colonies to the British "for safe-keeping." Though only a few complied this contributed to their confusion and demoralisation. Almost all Dutch colonies were in the course of time conquered by the British, who returned some, but not all, first at the Treaty of Amiens and later with the Convention of London 1814.[1]:1127

In 1799 the Hereditary Prince took an active part in the Anglo-Russian invasion of Holland, engineering the capture of a Batavian naval squadron in the Vlieter Incident. The surrender of the ships (that had been paid for by the taxpayers of the Batavian Republic) was formally accepted in the name of William V as stadtholder, who was later allowed to "sell" them to the Royal Navy for an appreciable amount.[3] But that was his only success as the troops and civilians of the Batavian Republic proved quite unwilling to welcome the old regime back. The arrogance of the tone in his proclamation, demanding the restoration of the stadtholderate, may not have been helpful, according to Simon Schama.[2]:393–394

After the Peace of Amiens in 1802, in which Great Britain recognised the Batavian Republic, an additional Franco-Prussian Convention of 23 May 1802 declared that the House of Orange would be ceded in perpetuity the abbatial domains of Fulda and Corvey in lieu of its Dutch estates and revenues (this became the Principality of Nassau-Orange-Fulda). As far as Napoleon was concerned this cession was conditional on the liquidation of the stadtholderate and other hereditary offices of the Prince. William V, however, wanted more: his arrears in salary and other financial perquisites since 1795, or a lumpsum of 4 million guilders. The foreign minister of the Batavian Republic Maarten van der Goes was willing to secretly try and persuade the Staatsbewind of the Batavian Republic to grant this additional indemnity, but Napoleon put a stop to it, when he got wind of the affair.[2]:452–454

The last of the Dutch stadtholders, William V died in exile at Brunswick, now in Germany. His body was moved to the Dutch Royal Family crypt in the Nieuwe Kerk in Delft on 29 April 1958.

In 1813, his son, King William I returned to the Netherlands and became the first Dutch monarch from the House of Orange.

Children[edit]

Willem V of Orange and Wilhelmina of Prussia with their children from left to right: the future King William I of the Netherlands, Frederick, and Frederica Louise Wilhelmina, later Princess of Brunswick-Luneburg.

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

Ancestors[edit]

William's ancestors in three generations
William V, Prince of Orange Father:
William IV, Prince of Orange
Paternal Grandfather:
John William Friso, Prince of Orange
Paternal Great-grandfather:
Henry Casimir II, Count of Nassau-Dietz
Paternal Great-grandmother:
Henriëtte Amalia van Anhalt-Dessau
Paternal Grandmother:
Marie Louise of Hesse-Kassel (or Hesse-Cassel)
Paternal Great-grandfather:
Charles I, Landgrave of Hesse-Kassel (or Hesse-Cassel)
Paternal Great-grandmother:
Maria Amalia of Courland
Mother:
Anne, Princess Royal and Princess of Orange
Maternal Grandfather:
George II of Great Britain
Maternal Great-grandfather:
George I of Great Britain
Maternal Great-grandmother:
Sophia Dorothea of Celle
Maternal Grandmother:
Caroline of Ansbach
Maternal Great-grandfather:
Johann Friedrich, Margrave of Brandenburg-Ansbach
Maternal Great-grandmother:
Eleonore Erdmuthe of Saxe-Eisenach

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Israel, J.I. (1995). The Dutch Republic. Its Rise, Greatness, and Fall 1477-1806. Clarendon Press. 
  2. ^ a b c Schama, Simon (1992). Patriots and Liberators. Revolution in the Netherlands 1780-1813. Vintage books. 
  3. ^ James, W.M. (2002). The Naval History of Great Britain: During the French Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars. Vol. 2 1797-1799. Stackpole books. pp. 309–310. 
William V, Prince of Orange
Cadet branch of the House of Nassau
Born: 8 March 1748 Died: April 9 1806
Dutch nobility
Preceded by
William IV
Prince of Orange
1751–1806
Succeeded by
William VI
Regnal titles
Preceded by
William IV of Orange
Prince of Orange-Nassau
1751–1806
Succeeded by
William VI of Orange
Baron of Breda
1751–1795
Lordship dissolved
incorporated in Batavian Republic
General Stadtholder of the United Provinces
1751–1795
Function abolished
followed by Batavian Republic