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William III, King of Great Britain (1650-1702)

  • The son of Charles I’s daughter, Mary (1631–60), and Prince William of Orange (1626–50), born eight days after the latter’s death
  • Following political turmoil in the Netherlands during his minority, he eventually succeeded as Stadtholder (ruler) in 1672
  • In 1688, was invited to England by seven leading Whig politicians to oppose James II’s pro-Catholic policies
  • He and his wife (and first cousin) Mary were created Joint Sovereigns by Act of Parliament in February 1689, the first constitutional monarchs
  • As an asthmatic William preferred Hampton Court to the polluted atmosphere of central London, including Whitehall Palace (destroyed by fire in 1698)
  • Commissioned Christopher Wren to rebuild the royal apartments at Hampton Court
  • Acquired Nottingham House in 1689 and had it remodelled as Kensington Palace by Wren
  • Commissioned furniture (including silver furniture) and furnishings for Kensington and Hampton Court Palace
  • Commissioned portraits by Kneller of members of the royal family and the court
  • Took a keen interest in clocks and was the patron of Thomas Tompion

Reigned: 1689–1702
Consort of Mary II 


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