William III of England – King William of Orange

We take a closer look at the history, personal life and legacy of His Majesty William III of England, King William of Orange.

William is a name that many consider to be synonymous with the royal family.

It is a strong and noble name, so it is little wonder why the name has seen to be so prestigious over the last several centuries and has become a prominently used name within the monarchy.

The William we’re going to be looking at today is a Dutchman with a very unique title, though once you delve a little deeper into the history and heritage behind the name, it will all start to make sense.

The William we’re looking at today went by the name of William of Orange.

Who Was William III Of England?

William III of England, also known as William of Orange, was a Dutchman by birth and was a part of the House of Orange.

He would later go on to preside over the countries of England, Scotland and Ireland until he passed away in 1702.

William began his reign over the UK at a very precarious time with a lot of issues happening all across Europe, thanks to religious divides.

William would go on to reveal himself as a very prominent Protestant figurehead. In fact, the Orange Order located in Northern Ireland is actually named after this very man.

Early Life

William III was the son of William II, the Prince of Orange, and Mary, daughter of Charles I.

Born at The Hague, back on the 4th of November 1650, he was born 8 days after his father passed away. Despite being a bright and intelligent young boy, his mother showed very little interest in her son and intentionally distanced herself from Dutch society. She passed away in 1660 from smallpox.

In 1666, William was named Ward of the State, which is where things really began to take off in terms of his leadership.

Reign And The Battle Of The Boyne

In 1677, William married his cousin, Mary, daughter of the man who would go on to become King James II of England.

In England, the Protestant majority despised James, and as he was William’s uncle, he was overthrown where he escaped to France. The crown was offered to William where he became the new King of England. William actually became the last individual to invade England, in a showdown that has come to be known as the Glorious Revolution.

William, in 1689, summoned the Convention of the Estates of Scotland, where he sent them a “friendly letter” known as a conciliatory, which gave them undisclosed orders. Days later, James was no longer accepted as the king of Scotland and William took over on the 11th of May.

Because James had escaped to France, he was helped by Louis XIV, the King of France. Following this, he and William became mortal enemies.

In Ireland, reinforced by forces from France led by the Jacobites, Roman Catholics were defeated in the Battle of the Boyne, in a battle in which William fought and personally led his army.

To this day, many parts of Canada, Scotland and Northern Ireland still celebrate this victory on the 12th of July.

On the 8th or March 1702, William passed away aged 51 at Kensington Palace due to pneumonia. This was the result of a complication from a broken collarbone after having fallen off of his horse.