The 16 Children of William of Orange

William of Orange

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:

  1. Maria (born in 1553)
  2. Philip William, (b. 1554)
  3. Maria (b. 1556)
  4. Justinus (b. 1559)
  5. Anna (b. 1562)
  6. Anna (b. 1563)
  7. Maurice August Philip (b. 1564)
  8. Maurice (b. 1567)
  9. Emilia (b. 1569)
  10. Louise Juliana (b. 1576)
  11. Elisabeth (b. 1577)
  12. Catharina Belgica (b. 1578)
  13. Charlotte Flandrina (b. 1579)
  14. Charlotte Brabantina (b. 1580)
  15. Emilia Antwerpiana (b. 1581)
  16. Frederick Henry (b. 1584)

Each of the regions/locations honored with a name responded by “bestow[ing] pensions upon the children”:

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).

Sources:

  • 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

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