WILLIAM OF ORANGE: A Personal Portrait by Nesca A. Robb

WILLIAM OF ORANGE: A Personal Portrait

By
Email this review

KIRKUS REVIEW

This second volume of Dr. Robb's scholarly ""portrait"" of William, Prince of Orange, Stadholder of Holland and King William III of England, begins where Vol. I (p. 750, 1963) leaves off, with the Treaty of Westminster and the French withdrawal from Holland; it ends with William's death. In her introduction the Irish author states that she is not ""writing a general survey of the late 17th century"" but is simply painting a portrait, ""keeping the man in the foreground and the times in the background."" She does, however, also present a charming picture of William's wife and first cousin Mary, a ""Stuart beauty,"" daughter of the deposed King James II of England, and gives a vivid account of their public and private lives in England and Holland, and of their troubled era. William, a good general and a conscientious ruler, suffered from asthma and overworked, loved gardens and cleanliness, was discreetly unfaithful to the wife he loved, and hated religious persecutions; by his Act of Grace he ended political reprisals in England. Always unpopular as ""Dutch William,"" accused of misdeeds he never committed, he was forced by political circumstances to actions against his principles. After Mary's death in 1694 he lapsed into illness and loneliness but worked on, trying -- and failing -- to prevent the outbreak of the devastating Wars of the Spanish Succession. Both volumes of this outstanding biography belong in all major historical libraries, but amateur historians are warned to begin with Vol. I.

Publisher: St. Martin's Press