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William III,1817–90, king of the Netherlands and grand duke of Luxembourg (1849–90), son and successor of William II. William III ruled as a constitutional monarch, and his long reign was unmarred by friction with the States-General. He granted a parliamentary constitution to his Luxembourg subjects and maintained Luxembourg's neutrality in the Franco-Prussian War (1870–71). The leading Dutch statesman during his reign was Jan ThorbeckeThorbecke, Jan Rudolf
, 1798–1872, Dutch statesman. An eminent jurist and the leading liberal politician of his day, he was one of the men appointed in 1848 by King William II to revise the constitution.
..... Click the link for more information. , who obtained full emancipation of the Dutch Catholics and also promoted economic growth and political reform. With William's death the male Dutch line of the house of Orange-Nassau became extinct. The Netherlands crown passed to his daughter, WilhelminaWilhelmina
, 1880–1962, queen of the Netherlands (1890–1948), daughter and successor of William III. Her mother, Emma of Waldeck-Pyrmont, was regent until 1898. Wilhelmina married (1901) Prince Henry of Mecklenburg-Schwerin (d.
..... Click the link for more information. , but Luxembourg went to Duke Adolph of Nassau, from a collateral line of the family.
William III,1650–1702, king of England, Scotland, and Ireland (1689–1702); son of William IIWilliam II,
1626–50, prince of Orange, stadtholder of the United Provinces of the Netherlands (1647–50), son and successor of Frederick Henry. He married (1641) Mary, eldest daughter of Charles I of England.
..... Click the link for more information. , prince of Orange, stadtholder of the United Provinces of the Netherlands, and of Mary, oldest daughter of King Charles ICharles I,
1600–1649, king of England, Scotland, and Ireland (1625–49), second son of James I and Anne of Denmark. Early Life
He became heir to the throne on the death of his older brother Henry in 1612 and was made prince of Wales in 1616.
..... Click the link for more information. of England. William's personality was cold and his public policy calculating, but he was an able soldier and an astute politician, and his reign was of momentous constitutional importance.
He was born at The Hague after his father's death, when the office of stadtholder was suspended and power fell into the hands of Jan de WittWitt, Jan de
, 1625–72, Dutch statesman. Like his father, Jacob de Witt, burgomaster of Dort, he became a leading opponent of the house of Orange and played a vital role in the three successive Dutch Wars.
..... Click the link for more information. . In 1672, however, a revolution was precipitated by Louis XIV's invasion of the Netherlands; De Witt was overthrown, and William was made stadtholder, captain general, and admiral for life. In the ensuing warfare with France (see Dutch WarsDutch Wars,
series of conflicts between the English and Dutch during the mid to late 17th cent. The wars had their roots in the Anglo-Dutch commercial rivalry, although the last of the three wars was a wider conflict in which French interests played a primary role.
..... Click the link for more information. (3)), William was able to drive the French out of the Netherlands. He made peace with England in 1674 and finally with France in 1678. Thereafter he endeavored to build up a European coalition to prevent further French aggression.
The Glorious Revolution
In 1677, William had married the English Princess Mary (see Mary IIMary II,
1662–94, queen of England, wife of William III. The daughter of James II by his first wife, Anne Hyde, she was brought up a Protestant despite her father's adoption of Roman Catholicism. In 1677 she married her cousin William of Orange and went with him to Holland.
..... Click the link for more information. ), Protestant daughter of the Roman Catholic James, duke of York (later James IIJames II,
1633–1701, king of England, Scotland, and Ireland (1685–88); second son of Charles I, brother and successor of Charles II. Early Life
..... Click the link for more information. ). After James's succession (1685) to the English throne, the Protestant William kept in close contact with the opposition to the king. Finally, after the birth of a son to James in 1688, he was invited to England by seven important nobles.
William landed in Devon with an army of 15,000 and advanced to London, meeting virtually no opposition. James was allowed to escape to France. Early in 1689, William summoned a Convention Parliament and accepted its offer of the crown jointly with his wife. The Glorious RevolutionGlorious Revolution,
in English history, the events of 1688–89 that resulted in the deposition of James II and the accession of William III and Mary II to the English throne. It is also called the Bloodless Revolution.
..... Click the link for more information. was thus accomplished in England without bloodshed, and it proved a decisive victory for Parliament in its long struggle with the crown; William was forced to accept the Bill of RightsBill of Rights,
1689, in British history, one of the fundamental instruments of constitutional law. It registered in statutory form the outcome of the long 17th-century struggle between the Stuart kings and the English Parliament.
..... Click the link for more information. (1689), which greatly limited the royal power and prescribed the line of succession, and to give Parliament control of finances and of the army.
In Scotland, the JacobitesJacobites
, adherents of the exiled branch of the house of Stuart who sought to restore James II and his descendants to the English and Scottish thrones after the Glorious Revolution of 1688. They take their name from the Latin form (Jacobus) of the name James.
..... Click the link for more information. resisted violently, but after their defeat at Killiecrankie (1689) William was able to make Scottish Presbyterianism secure. He blackened his reputation, however, by apparently condoning the bloody massacre of GlencoeGlencoe
, valley of the Coe River, Highland, W Scotland. It was the scene of the massacre of the Macdonald clan (Feb., 1692) by the Campbells, under the direction of John Campbell, 1st earl of Breadalbane, and John Dalrymple, 1st earl of Stair.
..... Click the link for more information. (1692). In Ireland, after William's victory over the exiled James at the battle of the Boyne (1690) and the conclusion of the Treaty of Limerick (1691), the Penal LawsPenal Laws,
in English and Irish history, term generally applied to the body of discriminatory and oppressive legislation directed chiefly against Roman Catholics but also against Protestant nonconformists.
..... Click the link for more information. against Roman Catholics were increased in severity.
Foreign Policy and Constitutional Change
The Jacobite effort in Ireland had been supported by Louis XIV, who hoped thus to divert William from the larger war then being fought on the Continent (see Grand Alliance, War of theGrand Alliance, War of the,
1688–97, war between France and a coalition of European powers, known as the League of Augsburg (and, after 1689, as the Grand Alliance).
..... Click the link for more information. ). William, however, took an English army to the Spanish Netherlands in 1691 and was constantly involved in campaigning until the conclusion of peace by the Treaty of Ryswick (1697). William attempted to ignore the party divisions in England, but he was forced to rely increasingly on Whig ministers because only the Whigs supported his foreign policy fully.
His Whig ministers, most notably Charles Montagu, earl of HalifaxHalifax, Charles Montagu, earl of
, 1661–1715, English statesman. He and Matthew Prior were coauthors of a parody of John Dryden's The Hind and the Panther, entitled The Town and The Country Mouse (1687).
..... Click the link for more information. , were responsible for establishment (1694) of the Bank of EnglandBank of England,
central bank and note-issuing institution of Great Britain. Popularly known as the Old Lady of Threadneedle Street, its main office stands on the street of that name in London. The bank has eight branches, all of which are located in the British Isles.
..... Click the link for more information. and the policy of the national debt. William and the Whigs were also responsible for the Toleration Act (1689), which lifted some of the disabilities imposed on Protestant nonconformists, and for allowing the Licensing Act to lapse (1695), a great step toward freedom of the press. William sought to maintain royal prerogatives but was unable to prevent passage of the Triennial Act (1694), which required a new Parliament every three years, and the Act of SettlementSettlement, Act of,
1701, passed by the English Parliament, to provide that if William III and Princess Anne (later Queen Anne) should die without heirs, the succession to the throne should pass to Sophia, electress of Hanover, granddaughter of James I, and to her heirs, if they
..... Click the link for more information. (1701), which imposed the first statutory limitation on royal control of foreign policy.
A center of disaffection from c.1690 was the household of the queen's sister Anne (later Queen AnneAnne,
1665–1714, queen of England, Scotland, and Ireland (1702–7), later queen of Great Britain and Ireland (1707–14), daughter of James II and Anne Hyde; successor to William III.
..... Click the link for more information. ), who with her favorites, the Marlboroughs, had been alienated by the hostile attitude of William and Mary. William's popularity diminished greatly after the death (1694) of the childless Queen Mary, and his concern near the end of his life with the Partition Treaties and with the War of the Spanish Succession (see Spanish Succession, War of theSpanish Succession, War of the,
1701–14, last of the general European wars caused by the efforts of King Louis XIV to extend French power. The conflict in America corresponding to the period of the War of the Spanish Succession was known as Queen Anne's War (see French and
..... Click the link for more information. ), in which England was involved in another long duel with France, did nothing to improve it.
A standard source for William's time is the history of Gilbert BurnetBurnet, Gilbert
, 1643–1715, Scottish bishop and writer. He studied in Scotland, England, and abroad, held minor ecclesiastical office in Scotland, and was appointed (1669) professor of divinity at Glasgow Univ. He went to London in 1673 and was lecturer at St.
..... Click the link for more information. . See also biographies by N. A. Robb (2 vol., 1962–66), S. Baxter (1966), and H. and B. C. Van der Zee (1973); studies by L. Pinkham (1954, repr. 1969), D. Ogg (1956, repr. 1969), and G. Barany (1986); G. N. Clarke, The Later Stuarts (2d ed. 1956); R. P. MacCubbin and M. Hamilton-Phillips, ed., The Age of William III and Mary II (1988).
William III,prince of Orange: see William IIIWilliam III,
1650–1702, king of England, Scotland, and Ireland (1689–1702); son of William II, prince of Orange, stadtholder of the United Provinces of the Netherlands, and of Mary, oldest daughter of King Charles I of England.
..... Click the link for more information. , king of England.