Daily Archives: April 23, 2013

Once Upon A Time #3

willem_3In a country far, far away… Sorry this is not a fairy tale, but it includes castles, palaces, princes, princesses, kings, regent…

King William III
Actually, William III doesn’t want to be king. In 1848 he shares with his father William II that he waives his rights to the throne. However, he will, not even a year later, succeed him as the third Dutch monarch.

William was born in 1817, three years after William I came to power. He is therefore the first Dutchman who grows up with the idea that he will be later king of our country. But the constitutional amendments under his grandfather and father states that less and less.

William seems like a personal affront to conceive. With sorrow he must watch how Thorbecke further undresses the power of the king. Outraged he wrote the letter to his father and left for England.

Dissolute
The sudden appearance is no surprise to whom personally know the Crown Prince. He is known for his temper and his whims. In the press he will later be dismissed as ‘king gorilla’. He also holds a promiscuous lifestyle, he shall be fined for exhibitionism.

Although William is hardly cut of the right stuff and he seems little point in the track itself, there is little to choose from in March 1849. When William II dies quite unexpectedly at the age of 56, his son is persuaded by confidants to take the throne. A questionable successor is always better than no king.

William tries to break the parliament. During his reign he tries to gain the lost power. He insists to appoint conservative government informers, and even tries to tackle the Thorbecke government. There are even rumors that he is preparing a coup to restore the former glory of the king in honor.

Quarrel
At home it’s war. With his intellectual wife Sophie, “peasant” William makes life unbearable. They even argue about the treatment of their son Maurits as the 6-year-old is on his deathbed. Because a separation is not possible, the two life finally separated from bed and board.

With his two other sons William also has a dysfunctional connection. Both become disappointed and estranged from their royal calling, they develop poor health and die at a young age.

With the disappearance of the heirs a royal crisis a likely in the Netherlands again. William is keenly aware that he needs a descendant, to ensure that he marries in his sixties the 20-year-old German princess Emma. Their daughter Wilhelmina will be the salvation of the royal family.

Kidney disease
William himself will not live to see it. Increasingly indifferent he pulls back further from public life and dies in 1890 from a kidney ailment.

As regent of the 10-year-old Wilhelmina, Emma breaks radically with the authoritarian style of her late husband. She lays the seeds for the ruling style of the three queens the Netherlands will know the next 123 years.