In 1650, on this day William Henry of Orange was born in The Hague in the Dutch Republic. He was the only child of stadtholder William II, Prince of Orange, and Mary, Princess Royal. Mary was the eldest daughter of King Charles I of England, Scotland and Ireland, and sister of King Charles II and King James II & VII.
King Billy survives the Velvet Coated AssassinFrom 1672 he governed as Stadtholder William III of Orange (Dutch: Willem III van Oranje) over Holland, Zeeland, Utrecht, Gelderland, and Overijssel of the Dutch Republic. From 1689 he reigned as William III over England and Ireland. By coincidence, his regnal number (III) was the same for both Orange and England.
At the age of fifty-two, he narrowly avoided a serious injury when his favourite horse Sorrel stumbled into a mole's burrow at Windsor Park. Had he perished at the hands of this so-called "Velvet Coated Assassin" then his successor under the Bill of Rights would have been his late wife's sister Anne Stuart. But when she died childless a dozen years later, the succession then passed to Electress Sophia and her issue. Determined to prevent the rise of an Anglo-German Royal House of Hanover, William married again in order to have children that would be his legal successors.
His son William IV would be the driving force behind the Act of Anglo-Dutch Union that ensures the territories of Britain and the Netherlands would not drift apart due to a ridiculous accident of fate.