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A letter from an alum about the use of the name Nassau

February 18, 2003

Perhaps some of your readers have wondered about the ultimate origin of the word Nassau in Nassau Hall, Nassau Street, the song, and of the orange stripes of the Princeton Tiger. I am reading a weighty tome (854 p.) by two French historians about Charles Quint (Charles the Fifth, Holy Roman emperor) and his times. The book records that in about 1515, the 32-year-old widower, Henry of Nassau, in the Rhineland, married Claude of Chalons, heiress to the lands of Orange, in the south of France. He was also appointed to the posts of governance in the Low Countries. These events were of "great consequence" for "future kings," among them William of Orange, who in 1688 became king of England, along with Mary, under the name of William the Third. You can take it from there.

J.C. Harle ’42
Oxford, England

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