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William IV, Prince of Orange
Born September 1, 1711
Died October 22, 1751 (aged 40)
Huis ten Bosch
Title Prince of Orange

William IV, Prince of Orange and Nassau-Dietz (1 September 1711 – 22 October 1751), born Willem Karel Hendrik Friso, was the first hereditary stadtholder of the Netherlands.


Early life

William was born in Leeuwarden, The Netherlands, the son of Johan Willem Friso, Prince of Orange, head of the Frisian branch of the House of Orange-Nassau, and of his wife Marie Louise of Hesse-Kassel (or Hesse-Cassel). He was born six weeks after the death of his father.

William succeeded his father as Stadtholder of Friesland and also, under the regency of his mother until 1731, as Stadtholder of Groningen. In 1722 he was elected Stadtholder of Guelders.

Marriage and children

In 1733 William was named the 549th Knight of the Order of the Garter. On 25 March 1734 he married at St. James' Palace Anne, Princess Royal, eldest daughter of King George II of Great Britain and Caroline of Ansbach. William and Anne had five children:

Later life

In 1739 William inherited the estates formerly owned by the Nassau-Dillenburg branch of his family, and in 1743 he inherited those formerly owned by the Nassau-Siegen branch of his family.

Portrait of William, 1751

In April 1747 the French army entered Flanders. In an effort to quell internal strife amongst the various factions, the States-General of the Netherlands appointed William to the hereditary position of General Stadtholder of all seven of the United Provinces. William and his family moved from Leeuwarden to The Hague. William first met Ludwig Ernst von Brunswick-Lüneburg-Bevern in 1747, and 2 years later appointed him a field marshal in the Dutch army, which later led to his being one of the regents to William's heir. On 4 May 1747 he was confirmed as Hereditary Stattholder of the United Provinces (the Netherlands).

Although he had little experience in state affairs, William was at first popular with the people. He stopped the practice of indirect taxation by which independent contractors managed to make large sums for themselves. Nevertheless, he was also a Director-General of the Dutch East India Company, and his alliance with the business class deepened while the disparity between rich and poor grew.

William served as General Stadtholder of all the Netherlands until his death in 1751 at The Hague.

The city of Orangeburg, SC is named after him.


8. William Frederick, Count of Nassau-Dietz
4. Henry Casimir II, Count of Nassau-Dietz
9. Princess Albertine Agnes of Nassau
2. John William Friso, Prince of Orange
10. John George II, Prince of Anhalt-Dessau
5. Princess Henriëtte Amalia of Anhalt-Dessau
11. Princess Henriette Catharine of Orange-Nassau
1. William IV, Prince of Orange
12. William VI, Landgrave of Hesse-Kassel
6. Charles I, Landgrave of Hesse-Kassel
13. Margravine Hedwig Sophia of Brandenburg
3. Landgravine Marie Louise of Hesse-Kassel
14. Jacob, Duke of Courland
7. Princess Amalia of Courland
15. Margravine Louise Charlotte of Brandenburg

External links

William IV, Prince of Orange
Cadet branch of the House of Nassau
Born: September 1 1711 Died: October 22 1751)
Dutch nobility
Preceded by
Johan Willem Friso of Orange
Prince of Orange
Succeeded by
William V of Orange
Regnal titles
Preceded by
Johan Willem Friso of Orange
Prince of Orange-Nassau
Succeeded by
William V of Orange
Baron of Breda
Stadtholder of Friesland and Groningen
Titles obsolete
merge of all stadtholderships
Preceded by
William III of Orange
Stadtholder of Guelders
Stadtholder of Holland, Zeeland, Utrecht, and Overijssel
New title General Stadtholder of the United Provinces
Succeeded by
William V of Orange


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