William V (1748-1806), the last stadholder

William V was a stubborn and conservative yet amiable man. While William certainly had talent and abilities, of all the stadholders he was the least suited to the task. He had no idea how to wield his power. He worked chaotically and failed to set priorities. At the time, the Republic was in tumult: the Dutch Patriots were demanding a greater say in running the country, and wanted to limit the power of the ruling regents. William was forced to make critical decisions under great pressure. Dispirited by his ineptitude, he sighed: (I am nothing, I have nothing to say). In the end, the Patriots stripped him of his power. However, his dynamic consort, Wilhelmina of Prussia, arranged for Prussian troops to force the rebels out of the country and William V was restored to his position. This dramatic stadholdership ultimately ended in 1795, when the revolution broke out and the Batavian Republic was proclaimed. The stadholder and his family fled to England.

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