William the Silent


William the Silent : biography

24 April 1533 – 10 July 1584

Exactly when and by whom the nickname "the Silent" (Modern Dutch: "de Zwijger", meaning more "the Taciturn". The verbs "zwijgen" in Dutch, "schweigen" in German, "tiga" in Swedish, "se taire" in French, "callar/callarse" in Spanish and "tacere" in Italian have no real equivalent in English; they mean the opposite of "to talk".) was used for the first time is not known with certainty. It is traditionally ascribed to Cardinal de Granvelle, who is said to have referred to William as "the silent one" sometime during the troubles of 1567. Both the nickname and the accompanying anecdote are first found in a historical source from the early 17th century."den swijger", "den Schweiger": Emanuel van Meteren, 1608 and 1614; cf. "Taciturnus": Famiano Strada, 1635. The Dutch historian Fruin (1864) has argued that this is in fact an erroneous rendering of the phrase "astutus Gulielmus", "cunning William", found in a Latin source of 1574 and attributed there to the Flemish inquisitor Pieter Titelmans. See Leiden University, De Tachtigjarige Oorlog. .

In the Netherlands, William is known as the Vader des Vaderlands, "Father of the Fatherland", and the Dutch national anthem, the Wilhelmus,The song is named after the first word of the first line, Wilhelmus, a Latinised form of the prince’s first name. was written in his honour.


–>Name Birth Death –>Notes
By Anna of Egmond (married 6 July 1551; b. est 1534, d. 24 March 1558)
Countess Maria of Nassau.  22 November 1553 ca. 23 July 1555 Died in infancy.
Philip William, Prince of Orangeand Count of Nassau  19 December 1554  20 February 1618 married Eleonora of Bourbon-Condé.
Countess Maria of Nassau  7 February 1556  10 October 1616 married Count Philip of Hohenlohe-Neuenstein
By Anna of Saxony (married 25 August 1561 annulled 22 March 1571; b. 23 December 1544, d. 18 December 1577)
Countess Anna of Nassau  31 October 1562  23 November 1562 Died in infancy
Countess Anna of Nassau  5 November 1563  13 June 1588 married Count Wilhelm Ludwig von Nassau-Dillenburg
Maurits August Philips von Nassau|Count Maurice August Phillip of Nassau}}  18 December 1564  8 December 1566 Count, Died in infancy.
Maurice of Nassau, Prince of Orangeand Count of Nassau  14 November 1567  23 April 1625 never married
Countess Emilia of Nassau  10 April 1569  16 March 1629 married Manuel de Portugal (son of pretender to the Portuguese throne António, Prior of Crato), 10 children
By Charlotte of Bourbon (married 24 June 1575; b. about 1546, d. 5 May 1582)
Countess Louise Juliana of Nassau  31 March 1576  15 March 1644 married Frederick IV, Elector Palatine, 8 children. Her son, Frederick V, Elector Palatine would be the grandfather of George I of Great Britain.
Countess Elisabeth of Nassau  1577  1642 married to Henri de La Tour d’Auvergne, and had issue, including Frédéric Maurice, duc de Bouillon and Henri de la Tour d’Auvergne, Vicomte de Turenne
Countess Catharina Belgica of Nassau  1578  1648 Countess, married to Count Philip Louis II of Hanau-Münzenberg
Countess Charlotte Flandrina of Nassau  1579  1640 A nun. After her mother’s death in 1582 her French grandfather asked for Charlotte Flandrina to stay with him. She converted to Roman Catholicism and entered a convent in 1593.
Countess Charlotte Brabantina of Nassau  1580  1631 married Claude, Duc de Thouars, and had issue, including Charlotte Stanley, Countess of Derby.
Countess Emilia Antwerpiana of Nassau  1581  1657 married Frederick Casimir, Count Palatine of Zweibrücken-Landsberg
By Louise de Coligny (married 24 April 1583; b. 23 September 1555, d. 13 November 1620)
Frederick Henry, Prince of Orangeand Count of Nassau b. 29 January 1584 d. 14 March 1647 married to Countess Amalia of Solms-Braunfels, father of William II and grandfather of William III, King of England, Scotland, Ireland and Stadtholder of the Netherlands