The Prince of Orange 6 December 1792 – 17 March 1849                                              

The Prince of Orange, Willem Frederik George Lodewijk was born on 6 December 1792 in The Hague. He is the eldest son of King William I of the Netherlands and Wilhelmine of Prussia. His maternal grandparents were King Frederick William II of Prussia and his second wife Frederika Louisa of Hesse-Darmstadt. When William was three The Prince of Orange and his family fled to England after allied British-Hanoverian mercenaries left the Republic and entering French troops joined the anti-orangist Patriots. William spent his youth in Berlin at the Prussian court.

There he followed a military education and served in the Prussian army. Afterwards he studied at the University of Oxford. The Prince of Orange entered the British Army, and in 1811, as aide-de-camp to Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington, took part in several campaigns of the Peninsular War. He returned to the Netherlands in 1813 when his father became king.


In 1815, The Prince of Orange became crown prince and he took service in the army when Napoleon I of France escaped from Elba. He fought as commander of 1st English Corps at the Battle of Quatre Bras(16 June 1815) and the Battle of Waterloo (18 June 1815), where he was wounded. He showed personal courage and energy, but frequently displayed atrocious military judgement, leading to many heavy casualties. The Duke of Wellington attributed this to his lack of command experience, however, rather than to his being a bad leader. In 1814, William became briefly engaged with Princess Charlotte of Wales, only daughter of the Prince Regent, later George IV of the United Kingdom and his estranged wife Caroline of Brunswick. The engagement was arranged by the Prince Regent, but it was broken because Charlotte's mother was against the marriage and because Charlotte did not want to move to The Netherlands.

On 21 February 1816 at the Chapel of the Winter Palace in St. Petersburg, The Prince of Orange married Grand Duchess Anna Pavlovna of Russia, youngest sister to Czar Alexander I of Russia, who arranged the marriage to seal the good relations between Imperial Russia and the Netherlands. On 17 February 1817 in Brussels, his first son Willem Alexander was born, the future King William III. Because he lived in Brussels, he became affiliated with the Southern industrials. In 1819, he was blackmailed over what the then Minister of Justice Van Maanen termed in a letter as his "shameful and unnatural lusts": presumably bisexuality. He may also have had a relationship with a dandy by the name of Pereira.

The Prince of Orange enjoyed considerable popularity in what is now Belgium (then the Southern Netherlands), as well as in the Netherlands for his affability and moderation, and in 1830, on the outbreak of the Belgian revolution, he did his utmost in Brussels as a peace broker, to bring about a settlement based on administrative autonomy for the southern provinces, under the House of Orange-Nassau. His father then rejected the terms of accommodation that he had proposed; afterwards, relations with his father were tense. In April 1831, William II was military leader of the Ten days campaign in Belgium which was driven back to the North by French intervention. European intervention established Leopold of Saxe-Gotha on the new throne of Belgium. Peace was finally established between Belgium and the Netherlands in 1839.

William II was King of the Netherlands, Grand Duke of Luxembourg, and Duke of Limburg from 7 October 1840 until his death.

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