Sixteenth-century Dutch nobleman William of Orange (also known as William the Silent) was the primary leader of the Dutch Revolt (1566-1648).
William had a total of 16 children with five different women (four wives, one mistress). All 16 received traditional first names, but four of his daughters were given location-inspired middle names — symbols of the political alliances between William and “the lands for which he fought.”
Here are the names of all 16:
- Maria (born in 1553)
- Philip William, (b. 1554)
- Maria (b. 1556)
- Justinus (b. 1559)
- Anna (b. 1562)
- Anna (b. 1563)
- Maurice August Philip (b. 1564)
- Maurice (b. 1567)
- Emilia (b. 1569)
- Louise Juliana (b. 1576)
- Elisabeth (b. 1577)
- Catharina Belgica (b. 1578)
- Charlotte Flandrina (b. 1579)
- Charlotte Brabantina (b. 1580)
- Emilia Antwerpiana (b. 1581)
- Frederick Henry (b. 1584)
Each of the regions/locations honored with a name responded by “bestow[ing] pensions upon the children”:
- Catharina Belgica was provided with an annuity of 3,000 florins by the States General of the Dutch Republic.
- Charlotte Flandrina was provided with 2,000 florins by the States of Flanders.
- Charlotte Brabantina was provided with 2,000 florins by the States of Brabant.
- Emilia Antwerpiana was provided with 2,000 florins by the city of Antwerp.
This inspired other parents with connections to the House of Orange-Nassau to adopt similar naming practices. For instance, Ernst Casimir I — the Stadtholder of Friesland, Groningen and Drenthe — named his daughter Elisabeth Friso (b. 1620). And Henri Charles de Le Trémoille — a direct descendant of William of Orange via Charlotte Brabantina — named his son Charles Belgique Hollande (b. 1655).
- Broomhall, Susan and Jacqueline Van Gent. Gender, Power and Identity in the Early Modern House of Orange-Nassau. London: Routledge, 2016.
- Steen, Jasper van der. Memory Wars in the Low Countries, 1566-1700. Leiden: Brill, 2015.
- William the Silent – Wikipedia