Stadtholder Willem II

1626-1650 1647-1650

Frederik Hendrik (Frederick Henry) and Amalia – Willem II’s parents – had huge ambitions. They wanted to make the House of Orange a leading royal family, equal to other European royal families. It was therefore very important that their children make good marriages. Their son Willem married Mary, Princess Royal, the oldest daughter of the English king, Charles I. He was fourteen at the time, and Mary was just nine years old.

The Treaty of Münster was signed a year after Willem succeeded his father as stadtholder, bringing the war with Spain to an end. Willem came into conflict with the Dutch provinces over the peace treaty, and even attempted to occupy Amsterdam. Two years later, at the age of 24, Willem II died suddenly of smallpox. Eight days after his death his son was born, who would later become Stadtholder Willem III. The states of Holland, Zeeland, Utrecht, Gelderland and Overijssel decided not to appoint a new stadtholder. This became known as the ‘first stadtholderless period’ (1650-1702).