Maurice of Nassau, Prince of Orange

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Maurice of Nassau, Prince of Orange (Dutch: Maurits van Nassau) (14 November 1567, Dillenburg – 23 April 1625) was sovereign Prince of Orange from 1618, on the death of his eldest half brother, Philip William, Prince of Orange, (1554–1618). Maurice was stadtholder of the United Provinces of the Netherlands from earliest 1585 until his death in 1625.



Maurice was a son of William the Silent and Princess Anna of Saxony and was born at the castle of Dillenburg. He was named after his maternal grandfather, the Elector Maurice of Saxony, who was also a noted general.

Maurice never married but was the father of illegitimate children by Margaretha van Mechelen (including Willem of Nassau, lord of the Lek and Louis of Nassau, lord of den Lek and Beverweerd) and Anna van de Kelder. He was raised in Dillenburg by his uncle Johan of Nassau (Jan the Old).

Together with his cousin Willem Lodewijk he studied in Heidelberg and later with his eldest half brother Philip William, Prince of Orange in Leiden where he met Simon Stevin. The States of Holland and Zeeland paid for his studies, as their father had run into financial problems after spending his entire fortune in the early stages of the Dutch revolt.

Only 16 when his father was murdered in Delft in 1584, he soon took over as stadtholder (Stadhouder), though this title was not inheritable. The monarchs of England and France had been requested to accept sovereignty, but had refused. This had left Maurice as the only aceptable candidate for the position of Stadtholder. He became stadtholder of Holland and Zeeland in 1585, of Guelders, Overijssel and Utrecht in 1590 and of Groningen and Drenthe in 1620 (following the death of Willem Lodewijk, who had been Stadtholder there and in Friesland).

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