Dutch royalty. King of the Netherlands. Born in Brussels, Prince William Alexander Paul Frederik Lodewijk was the eldest son of King William II and his queen, Grand Duchess Anna Pavlovna of Russia. As was expected, William pursued a career in the military. He was simple, conservative, and devoted to his mother, and his views of leadership leaned more toward the absolute power of his grandfather than the constitutional monarchy of his father. He married his cousin Princess Sophie of Wurttemberg in 1839, and the marriage produced three sons. William's womanizing lifestyle - the New York Times called him "The greatest debauchee of the age" - and anti-intellectual simplicity made the marriage little more than a war in the palace. He succeeded his father in 1849, and spent the 41 years of his reign dismissing several cabinets, disbanding States-Generals, and even, in 1867, trying to sell the grand duchy of Luxembourg. Following the death of Sophie in 1877, William married Princess Emma of Waldeck and Pyrmont, who was 41 years his junior. Emma had a stabilizing effect on the king, and the final decade of his reign was the best. William's only daughter, Princess Wilhelmina, was born in 1880. In 1884 his last surviving son died, leaving Wilhelmina as his only heir. William died at Het Loo Palace at the age of 73. Dowager Queen Emma served as regent to the young Queen Wilhelmina until her enthronement in 1898.
Bio by: Kristen Conrad