René of Chalon

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René of Châlon, Prince of Orange
Rene van Chalon.jpg
René of Châlon
Born (1519-02-05)5 February 1519
Breda, Duchy of Brabant
Died 15 July 1544(1544-07-15) (aged 25)
Saint-Dizier, Kingdom of France
Buried Grote Kerk (Breda)
Noble family Châlon-Arlay and Nassau-Breda
Spouse(s) Anna of Lorraine
Father Henry III of Nassau-Breda
Mother Claudia of Châlon

René of Châlon (5 February 1519 – 15 July 1544), also known as Renatus of Châlon, was a Prince of Orange and stadtholder of Holland, Zeeland, Utrecht and Gelre.


René was born in Breda, the only son of Count Henry III of Nassau-Breda and Claudia of Châlon. Claudia's brother, Philibert of Châlon, was the last Prince of Orange from the house of Châlon. When Philibert died in 1530, René inherited the Princedom of Orange on condition that he used the name and coat of arms of the Châlon-Orange family. History knows him therefore as René of Châlon instead of as "René of Nassau-Breda." [1]

Coat of arms of René of Chalons as Prince of Orange. The 1st and 4th grand quarters show the arms of the Chalons-Arlay (the gold bend) princes of Orange (the bugle). The blue and gold checkers represent the arms of Jeanne of Geneva, who married one of the Chalons prices. The 2nd and 3rd show the quarterings of Brittany and Luxembourg-St. Pol. The inescutcheon overall is his paternal arms quartered of Nassau and Breda.[2]

René of Châlon married Anna of Lorraine (1522–1568) on 20 August 1540 at Bar-le-Duc. They had only one child, a daughter named Maria, who lived only 3 weeks and was buried in the Grote Kerk in Breda.


In 1544, René took part in the siege of St. Dizier in the service of Emperor Charles V. He was mortally wounded in battle and died with the Emperor attending at his bedside.[3] René was buried in Grote Kerk in Breda, near the resting-place of his infant daughter. A commemorative monument (Cadaver Tomb of René of Chalon) stands in the church of St. Etienne in Bar-le-Duc.


René of Châlon had inherited the principality of Orange from his uncle, who had been the last male member of the House of Chalon. Like his uncle, Rene also had no surviving children, and in his last will and testament, he left all his landed possessions, including the principality, to his father's brother's son, William of Nassau-Dillenburg, better known as "William the Silent." Thus, the estates belonging to Rene's mother brother passed into the family of Rene's father's brother, and William the Silent came into possession of the principality despite having no connection at all to the original House of Orange. The only condition placed by Rene was that his heir, William, should receive a catholic education. William's father agreed on behalf of his minor son and the succession was endorsed by the Emperor, who was the overlord of most of Rene's possessions. William the Silent duly added the name of Orange to his own paternal dignities and became in 1544 the founder of the House of Orange-Nassau.

The principality of Orange had already passed, through the female line, from the first dynasty of Orange to the families Les Baux, and then to De Châlon.[4] It now passed to a family which was not descended in blood at all from any of the preceding families.



  1. ^ Grew, Marion Ethel (1947). The House of Orange. 36 Essex Street, Strand, London W.C.2: Methuen & Co. Ltd. 
  2. ^ Rietstap, Johannes Baptist (2003). Armorial general. vol.2. Genealogical Publishing Co. p. 297. ISBN 0-8063-4811-9. 
  3. ^ Rowen, Herbert H. (1988). The princes of Orange: the stadholders in the Dutch Republic. Cambridge University Press. p. 11. ISBN 0-8063-4811-9. 
  4. ^ Motley, John Lothrop (1855). The Rise of the Dutch Republic. vol.1. Harper Brothers Publishers. p. 235. 
René of Chalon
Born: 5 February 1519 Died: 15 July 1544
Regnal titles
Preceded by
Philibert of Chalon
Prince of Orange
Succeeded by
William the Silent
Preceded by
Henry III of Nassau-Breda
Baron of Breda
Political offices
Preceded by
Antoine I de Lalaing
Stadtholder of Holland, Zeeland and Utrecht
Succeeded by
Louis of Praet
Preceded by
Floris van Egmont
Stadtholder of Guelders
Succeeded by
Philip de Lalaing