Royal Central’s reporter Moniek has a new series entitled ‘The Fifteen Princesses of Orange’, which will cover the lives of the fifteen women who carried the title Princess of Orange as the consort of the Prince of Orange or in their own right. Though the title Prince of Orange is much older than any of the fifteen Princesses, we begin the series when the title is inherited by William of Nassau, who is probably better known William the Silent and it became entangled with the fate of the Kingdom of the Netherlands.
You can now compare the title to the ‘Prince of Wales’ title in the United Kingdom as it is carried by the heir apparent to the throne of the Netherlands. The only differences are that the title does not have to be invested, and it is not shared with the wife or husband of the heir apparent.
William inherited the title from René of Châlon in 1544, who had no children. Though William had no relation to the Orange family, he was René’s heir general. René had inherited the title via his mother, Claudia of Châlon, and William was related to him through his father, Henry III of Nassau-Breda. Are you still with me?
He inherited the title and vast estates (while his father was still alive!) on the condition that he receive a Roman Catholic education. He was only 11 years old, and it was decided that the Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor would act as regent of the principality until he became of age. William was sent to the Low Countries, first to Breda and later in Brussels under the supervision of Mary of Hungary, Charles V’s sister, who also happened to be the Governor of the Habsburg Netherlands.
William would go on the marry four times, and we begin the series tomorrow with his first wife, Anna van Egmont.