Emperor Charles V took a liking to the young Prince, which helped William’s swift rise to high office.

In 1559 the Emperor’s successor as sovereign lord of the Netherlands, his son King Philip II of Spain, appointed William stadholder of Holland, Zeeland and Utrecht. After that the relationship between the two men deteriorated rapidly.

Statue of William of Orange in the garden of museum Prinsenhof in Delft.

William took issue with the King’s efforts to centralise government in Brussels, and objected to Philip’s persecution of the Protestants.

On 10 July 1584 William was assassinated in Delft by Balthasar Gerards.


William of Orange is known as the ‘Father of the Fatherland’. His nickname was ‘William the Silent’, not because he said little but because he did not reveal his thoughts. His official titles were: William I, Prince of Orange, Count of Nassau, Katzenelnbogen, Vianden, Dietz, Buren, Lingen and Leerdam, Marquis of Veere and Bergen op Zoom, Viscount of Antwerp, Baron of Breda, IJsselstein, Diest and Cuyck.