King Willem III

1817-1890 1849-1890

When Willem II died, the intention was that his son Willem III would succeed him. Willem III was unhappy with the revised constitution which had reduced the power of the king. Eventually, however, he had no choice but to become king. 

Willem III was a difficult man – erratic and irritable, caring little for the feelings of others. No surprise, then, that he was sometimes called ‘King Gorilla’. The King did however invest a lot of money in art and music.

Willem married his first cousin Sophie of Württemberg. Willem and Sophie were very different and their marriage was not a success. The couple led separate lives in different palaces. Despite this, they had three sons, one of whom died young. The sons Willem and Alexander also died before their father. After Sophie’s death Willem married Emma of Waldeck and Pyrmont, more than forty years his junior. Willem III and Emma had a daughter, Wilhelmina. She would succeed her father as queen.