1st Edition

William III, the Stadholder-King A Political Biography

By Wout Troost Copyright 2005

    In Britain the name of William III is synonymous with sectarianism and Orangism. Ever since he burst onto the English political landscape in 1688 to take the throne of his catholic uncle, James II, William has tended to be viewed within a largely domestic sphere. Yet, it has been acknowledged that William's main motivation in accepting the English crown was to aid the ongoing struggles of the United Provinces against the might of Louis XIV's France. Whilst both the British and European aspects of William's activities have been studied before, there has until now been no English language book that draws together both his Dutch and British concerns. In this book, made available in English for the first time, Wout Troost exploits his detailed knowledge of Dutch, English, Scottish and Irish sources to paint a holistic and convincing political analysis of William's reign. Beginning with a brief biography of William, the real strength of this book lies in its analysis of the first part of William's reign before the events of 1688. It is this crucial period that has been most neglected by English-speaking historians, despite the fact that it is crucial to understanding the events that follow. For without an appreciation of William's formative years as Stadholder and soldier, his actions and decisions relating to the English crown cannot be properly construed. Providing a truly balanced insight into the political career of William, this book will be welcomed by all those with in interest in European history, or who wish to better understand the political and religious geography of modern Britain. The translation of this book was made possible by a generous subsidy from NWO, the Nederlandse Organisatie voor Wetenschappelijk Onderzoek.

    Contents: Preface; The House of Orange on the death of William II; Youth (1650-66); The path to power; The year of catastrophe, 1672; The task and the tools; The Peace of Nijmegen (1672-78); The Twenty Years' Truce of Regensburg (1679-84); James II, William III and Louis XIV (1685-88); The Glorious Revolution (1688-89); William III as King of England (1689-1702); War or peace? (1689-1702); William III and Scotland (1660-1702); William III in Ireland; Conclusion; Bibliography; Index.


    Dr Wout Troost is an Independent Scholar from The Netherlands.

    '... the best account that we have to date, being particularly strong on the international aspects and in its thorough use of the literature in half a dozen languages. No-one interested in any aspect of William III's reign or of the Glorious Revolution will be able to dispense with it. Troost is splendidly judicious and shrewd in assessing William's notoriously difficult and elusive personality.' Professor Jonathan Israel, Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton. 'Troost's book is now the best available introduction to the life and especially the political career of William III. It stands out in particular from other biographies in English of the king-stadholder through the expert account which it provides of his Dutch experiences before 1688, without which neither his motivations nor his view of the world can be properly understood. Overall, this is an interesting, concise and well balanced biography, chiefly political in focus but with a notably sensible discussion of William's supposed homosexuality.' Dr J.L. Price, Reader in History, University of Hull. 'In many respects this is the book scholars of late Stuart Britain have been waiting for... few texts have made available the fruits of recent continental researches into William's career in the United Provinces and so allowed English-speaking historians to understand his upbringing, resources and formative experiences in the Netherlands. Wout Troost's clear and judicious narrative of William's life supplies this need.' Journal of Ecclesiastical History ’Troost's balanced approach has resulted in what will probably prove to be the standard biography of William III for the foreseeable future.’ Journal of Modern History ’Troost's book asks questions that should be asked of both the Stadholder-King and his historians. It presents a sound narrative from an interesting perspective.’ H-Albion