Gerard van Honthorst: Portrait of William II, Prince of Orange, and his wife Maria Henriëtte Stuart (1647)

(Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam, The Netherlands)

Prince William II of Orange was the son of Frederick Henry, Prince of Orange, and Amalia of Solms-Braunfels. After the death of his father in 1647 he succeeded him as Prince of Orange and stadtholder of five of the seven provinces: Holland, Zeeland, Utrecht, Guelders and Overijssel. William II opposed the negotiations with Spain which would result in the Peace of Münster in 1648 which marked the end of the Dutch war of independence (1568-1648). during his reign as stadhoulder he also quarreled with the powerful province of Holland regard the army. Holland wanted to reduce the army to save money which would also diminish the authority of William II. William imprisoned eight members of the States of Holland in the castle of Loevestein. In addition, he sent his cousin, Willem Frederik of Nassau-Dietz with an army of 10,000 men to seize Amsterdam by force. Bad weather foiled this campaign, but Amsterdam did give in. William soon died after this incident of smallpox in 1650, he was only 24 years old. The only child of William and his wife Maria Henriëtte Stuart would succeed his father as stadtholder in 1672 and later, in 1689, also became King of England. This portrait is from 1647.

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