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Prince of Orange

Prince of Orange (Dutch: Prins van Oranje) is a title given to the Heir Apparent of the Netherlands.

Table of contents
1 History and Use
2 Bearers of the title (with dates):

History and Use

The title originally referred to the sovereign principality of Orange in southern France, which was a property of the House of Orange (from 1702 Orange-Nassau). Because Orange was a sovereign principality the title contained feudal rights. In 1673, Louis XIV of France annexed the principality as part of the war actions against the stadtholder-king William III of England (d.1702) undertook against him.

The king Willem III died childless and the principality was inherited by Frederic of Prussia, who ceded it to France in 1713. In this way the title lost its feudal and secular privileges. The title remained in the Prussian family until 1918, and was also given to Louis de Mailly, whose family still holds the title today.

Nevertheless, the title is also used today by the Dutch Royal Family. The title remained in use as a title given to the stadtholder of the Dutch Republic but only as a personal (not constitutional) title, which means that the title is related to the House of Orange.

After the establishment of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in 1815 the title was partly reconstitutionalized in a bill and granted to the eldest son of King Willem I, Prince Willem. In the 19th century the female variant of the title was also granted to the Heir Apparent's wife. Instead of gaining the title by courtesy, the title has to be granted on wives. The current wife of the Heir Apparent (Princess Maxima) hasn't got the title "Princess of Orange" officially, but she may use it as wife of the Heir Apparent.

The title doesn't need to be granted necessarily, but has always been granted until now.

The Prince(ss) of Orange is styled "His/Her Royal Highness the Prince(ss) of Orange" (Zijne/Hare Koninklijke Hoogheid de Prins(es) van Oranje)

William the Silent was the first bearer in the House of Orange. The title descended upon all his descendants. Since 1815, as already mentioned, the title is in the hands of the Heir Apparent.

The current bearer of the title is Prince Willem-Alexander

Bearers of the title (with dates):

as sovereign prince of Orange

Until 1340, it was customary for all sons of the prince of Orange to inherit the title. Only the direct line of descent to Raimund V is shown here.

William is better known as William I of Orange-Nassau; the House of Orange-Nassau starts with him.

as a personal title

as Heir Apparent

And so the current Heir Apparent is the 15th bearer of the title in the House of Orange-Nassau.