Sunday, April 11, 2010
MM Video: William of Orange
Willem III, Prince of Orange, Stadtholder of the United Netherlands came to power in 1667 and faced a number of problems. An expanding France was a threat to the west and republicans opposed to the rule of the House of Orange were a problem at home. However, Willem successfully thwarted the French and became the Protestant champion of Europe. He married Princess Mary Stuart of Great Britain (daughter of King James II) and in 1688 invaded England with a Dutch army to depose his father-in-law and take the British Crown, welcomed by the Protestant Parliament. He defeated an effort by King James II to restore himself in Ireland at the battle of the Boyne and ruled as King William III of Great Britain and Ireland for the rest of his life. Absent for long periods while he fought the French in the Low Countries his liberal supporters in Britain set up the modern style of British constitutional monarchy as we know it today. There were successes at sea but defeats on land nonetheless, William III managed to make peace with France before his death in 1702. He was succeeded by Queen Anne in Britain and Willem IV as Stadtholder of the Netherlands. His legacy is most strongly felt today in Ireland by the Protestant supporters of the union with Britain, known because of William III as the "Orange" party.