William I of the Netherlands

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William I Frederick, born Willem Frederik Prins van Oranje-Nassau (24 August 1772 – 12 December 1843), was a Prince of Orange and the first King of the Netherlands and Grand Duke of Luxembourg.

In Germany, he was ruler (as Fürst) of the Principality of Nassau-Orange-Fulda from 1803 until 1806 and of the Principality of Orange-Nassau in the year 1806 and from 1813 till 1815. In 1813 he was named 'Sovereign Prince' of the Netherlands, and proclaimed himself King of the Netherlands and Duke of Luxembourg on 16 March 1815. In the same year on 9 June William I became also the Grand Duke of Luxembourg and after 1839 he was furthermore the Duke of Limburg. After his abdication in 1840 he named himself King William Frederick, Count of Nassau.



King William I's parents were the last stadtholder William V, Prince of Orange and his wife Wilhelmina of Prussia. Until 1813, William was known as William VI, Prince of Nassau-Dietz, Prince of Orange. In Berlin on 1 October 1791, William married his first cousin (Frederica Louisa) Wilhelmina, born in Potsdam. She was the daughter of King Frederick William II of Prussia. After Wilhelmina died in 1837, William married Countess Henriette d'Oultremont de Wégimont (Maastricht, 28 February 1792 - Schloss Rahe, 26 October 1864), created Countess of Nassau, on 17 February 1841 in Berlin. This was a morganatic marriage. Two years later, William died.


William V was hereditary stadtholder when the Republic of the Seven United Provinces was invaded by the French Revolutionary armies in 1794. In January 1795 he fled with his son to England. Unlike his father, who gave his people permission to collaborate with the French[citation needed], William was a strong personality and he tried to regain the Republic.

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