Portrait of Wilhelm of Orange with his bride Maria Stuart by Anthony Van Dyck

Portrait of Wilhelm of Orange with his bride Maria Stuart by Anthony Van Dyck

On the portrait Maria Henrietta Stewart and Wilhelm of Orange. They are the bride and groom. She is 9 years old, he is 15. Maria is an English princess, Wilhelm is a Dutch prince. Maria is the daughter of the English King Charles I and Henrietta Maria of France. She is the eldest daughter, and by her seniority in 1642 she was awarded the title of First Royal Princess.

This was done at the request of Queen Henrietta Maria, in imitation of the French court, where the eldest daughter of the king was called Madame Royal. Two of the brothers Mary, Karl and Jacob, became kings of England. Charles I wanted to marry the princess to the son of Philip IV, the King of Spain, as well as her cousin, Karl Ludwig, the kurfust of Palatine, also sought her hand. Both plans were not implemented. In January 1640 negotiations began between the States of the General and Charles I of England about a possible marriage between Princess Mary and Prince William of Orange. The English king gave consent to the marriage, but put forward his condition: his inner position was already weak at that time.

However, the General States refused to undertake such obligations, and Karl was forced to agree to this marriage. The wedding took place in London, in the chapel of the Royal Palace of Whitehall in accordance with the Anglican rite. The groom was dressed in a red velvet suit, and his bride – in a traditional silver wedding dress.

The train was carried by 16 women. Wilhelm II of Orange, the prince, the state of the Netherlands, was commander-in-chief of the Dutch troops who participated in the 30-year war. The marriage was not completed for several years due to the age of the bride. They say that their marriage was not happy, but they were friendly with each other. They had only one child, a son, whom, however, his father did not see – a week before the birth of his son, he died of smallpox.

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