Prince William V (1748-1806)

Willem Batavus, Prince William V, was born in The Hague in 1748. He was Prince of Orange and hereditary stadholder of the Republic of the United Provinces.

©RVD
Prince William V.

After his father’s death, his mother, Princess Anne of Hanover, acted as regent for her son. When she died in 1759, the Duke of Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel, who was also a field marshal in the army, took over as regent. In 1766, when William V came of age, he and the Duke signed a secret agreement known as the Acte van Consulentschap stating that the Duke would continue to advise the young prince.

In 1767 William married Wilhelmina of Prussia. Their son, later King Willem I, was born in 1772. In 1784 the Acte van Consulentschap became public and the Duke had to resign his post and leave the country. In 1792 war broke out between the revolutionary French Republic and an alliance of Austria, Prussia, the Netherlands and Britain. After a French army under General Pichegru invaded the Netherlands in January 1795, William V and his family fled to England. He spent the last five years of his life in exile in Germany, partly in his Nassau domains.