Friday, November 4, 2011


On the banks of that beautiful river
There the bones of our forefathers lie
Awaiting the sound of the trumpet
To call them to glory on high
In our hearts we will cherish their memories
And we all like true brethren will join
And praise God for sending us King William
To the green grassy slopes of the Boyne.
From "On the Green Grassy Slopes of the Boyne," an Irish folk ballad.

William Henry of Orange was born in The Hague in the Dutch Republic on this date in 1650.  

In 1672, he became Stadtholder (chief of state) William III of Orange of the Dutch Republic.  In 1688, after a male heir had been born to James II, the Catholic king of England, William invaded England in response to an invitation from a number of Protestant lords and deposed James, who was his father-in-law.  (William's wife, Mary, was not only the daughter of James but also William's first cousin.  James was not only William's father-in-law but also his uncle. )

William and Mary's hold on the English, Scottish, and Irish thrones was contested by James until July 1690, when his Dutch, Danish, French, English, and Scottish Protestant troops decisively defeated James's Irish Catholic and French forces near Drogheda, a port town located where the River Boyne flows into the Irish Sea.  James left his army behind and fled to France, where he remained until his death in 1701.

William reigned as William III in England and Ireland and as William II in Scotland until his death in 1702.  

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