William III (of Orange) (r. 1689-1702)

William III Landing at Brixham, Torbay, 5 November 1688, by Jan Wyck
BHC3095 © National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London

William was born on 4 November 1650 in The Hague. He was groomed to lead the powerful House of Orange and to become the head of state of the Dutch Republic.

In 1677, William married his cousin Mary. The marriage of William and Mary had been encouraged by Charles II, Mary's uncle and James's brother.

Charles II died in 1685 and James became King James II. Many in Protestant England were deeply suspicious of the new Catholic monarch. When his wife gave birth to a son in the summer of 1688 it confirmed their worst fears of a Catholic succession.

This meant that James II's Protestant daughter, Mary, wife of William of Orange, was no longer next in line to the throne. Alarmed by the situation, a group of James's Protestant opponents secretly invited William to invade England and oust his father-in-law.

Born: 4 November 1650
Died: 8 March 1702

Father: William II of Orange
Mother: Mary, Princess Royal

King William III by Unknown artist (c.1690)
NPG 4153 © National Portrait Gallery, London

King William III by Unknown artist (c.1690)
NPG 1026 © National Portrait Gallery, London