Stadtholder Johan Willem Friso

1687-1711 1696-1711

Johan Willem Friso (John William Friso) succeeded his father Hendrik (Henry) Casimir II as stadtholder of Friesland and Groningen. He was still a minor at the time, so his mother Henriette Amalia became regent. King-Stadtholder Willem III was his second cousin. Because Willem had no children, he named Johan Willem Friso as his heir. Like Willem III, Johan Willem Friso was a descendant of Willem of Orange and Frederik Hendrik (Frederick Henry). Both Johan Willem Friso’s grandmothers (Albertine Agnes and Henriette Catharina) were daughters of Frederik Hendrik.

Johan Willem Friso may have been the official heir apparent, but the Republic of the United Netherlands decided not to appoint a joint stadtholder for all provinces after Willem III’s death in 1702. Therefore he remained only stadtholder in the provinces of Friesland and Groningen. Another setback was that the title ‘Prince of Orange’, which he had inherited from Willem III, was also claimed by others, including the King of Prussia. The issue had not been resolved when Johan Willem Friso drowned at the age of 23. Johan Willem Friso was married to Maria Louise of Hesse-Kassel. They had a daughter and a son; the latter was born seven weeks after his father’s death, and later became Stadtholder Willem IV.