English School, circa 1700 William III, Prince of Orange (1650-1702), King of England (1689-1702), wearing gilt-studded armour with the blue sash and star of the Order of the Garter, white lace cravat, his brown wig worn long and curling

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Lot 3
English School
circa 1700
William III, Prince of Orange (1650-1702), King of England (1689-1702), wearing gilt-studded armour with the blue sash and star of the Order of the Garter, white lace cravat, his brown wig worn long and curling

Sold for £ 2,400 (US$ 3,300) inc. premium
English School, circa 1700
William III, Prince of Orange (1650-1702), King of England (1689-1702), wearing gilt-studded armour with the blue sash and star of the Order of the Garter, white lace cravat, his brown wig worn long and curling.
Enamel, gilt-metal frame with pierced spiral cresting.
Oval, 70mm (2 3/4in) high

Footnotes

  • From the moment of his birth at The Hague in November 1650, William was the Sovereign Prince of Orange - his father had died of smallpox only eight days previously. His mother, Mary, was a daughter of Charles I of England but she took little interest in her son's upbringing and responsibility for his education fell mainly to a succession of Dutch governesses, as well as the Calvinist preacher, Cornelis Trigland. From a very early age, therefore, William's Protestant faith was an important and integral part of his life.

    The 1660s and 1670s were turbulent years in the Netherlands, marred by internal strife and wars against England and France. Yet William showed himself to be a shrewd and intelligent ruler, besides being a skilled statesman and bold military strategist. In 1677, he married his first cousin, Mary, who was the daughter of his uncle, James, Duke of York. This union would go on to achieve great significance - James's brother, Charles II, was childless, and James himself stood to inherit the throne. However, as a Catholic, he was wildly unpopular with the British people and, upon his succession in 1685, it became apparent that Parliament would not tolerate his attempts to secure greater liberties for his co-religionists. The birth of a male heir to James and his Italian consort, Mary of Modena, proved to be the final straw and, in the summer of 1688, a group of nobles invited the Protestant William to invade England with his army. When he finally arrived in November, James II lost his nerve and fled to France - leaving his daughter and son-in-law to rule in his place.

    In an arrangement unique in English history, William and Mary were joint sovereigns, Mary's Stuart lineage providing a degree of legitimacy for what came to be known as the Glorious - which is to say, virtually bloodless - Revolution. Whilst the new queen was pretty, cultured and capable ('though I cannot hit upon the right way of pleasing the English', William once remarked, 'I am confident that she will'), it was her husband who naturally took the lead in affairs of state. Having signed a Bill of Rights upon his succession, which ensured a greater degree of co-operation between crown and parliament, William spent the early part of his reign fending off attempts by the supporters of the exiled James II to restore him to his throne. Having delivered a crushing blow to his opponents at the Battle of the Boyne in 1690, followed by his rout of the French at La Hogue in 1692, William's position seemed stronger than ever. However, he was never truly popular with his new subjects, who perceived him as cold, taciturn and unpolished. Following Mary II's premature death in 1694, he was left without an heir of his own. When he died of pneumonia in 1702, the Dutch House of Orange became extinct and the crown passed to his sister-in-law, Anne (see lots 4 & 7).
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