Anne, Princess Royal and Princess of Orange

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Princess Anne
Princess Royal
Accama Anna van Hannover.jpg
Portrait by Bernard Accama, 1736
Princess consort of Orange
Tenure 1734-1751
Born (1709-11-02)2 November 1709 (New Style)
Herrenhausen Palace, Hanover
Died 12 January 1759(1759-01-12) (aged 49)
The Hague
Burial Nieuwe Kerk (Delft)
Spouse William IV, Prince of Orange
Issue Carolina, Princess of Nassau-Weilburg
Princess Anna
William V, Prince of Orange
House Hanover
Father George II of Great Britain
Mother Caroline of Ansbach
British Royalty
House of Hanover
Quarterly, I Gules three lions passant guardant in pale Or impaling Or a lion rampant within a double-tressure flory-counter-flory Gules; II Azure three fleurs-de-lys Or; III Azure a harp Or stringed Argent; IV tierced per pale and per chevron, I Gules two lions passant guardant Or, II Or a semy of hearts Gules a lion rampant Azure, III Gules a horse courant Argent, overall an escutcheon Gules charged with the crown of Charlemagne Or
George II
Frederick, Prince of Wales
Anne, Princess Royal and Princess of Orange
Princess Amelia
Princess Caroline
Prince William, Duke of Cumberland
Mary, Landgravine of Hesse-Cassel
Louise, Queen of Denmark and Norway
Augusta, Duchess of Brunswick
George III
Prince Edward, Duke of York and Albany
Princess Elizabeth of Wales
Prince William Henry, Duke of Gloucester and Edinburgh
Prince Henry, Duke of Cumberland and Strathearn
Princess Louisa of Wales
Prince Frederick of Wales
Caroline Matilda, Queen of Denmark and Norway
Princess Sophia of Gloucester
Prince William Frederick, Duke of Gloucester and Edinburgh

Anne, Princess Royal and Princess of Orange (2 November 1709 – 12 January 1759) was the second child and eldest daughter of King George II of Great Britain and his consort, Caroline of Ansbach. She was the spouse of William IV, Prince of Orange, the first hereditary stadtholder of the Netherlands. Princess Anne was the second daughter of a British sovereign to hold the title Princess Royal. She was Regent of the Netherlands from 1751 until her death in 1759, exercising extensive powers on behalf of her son William V. She was known as an Anglophile due to her English upbringing and family connections, but was unable to convince the Dutch Republic to enter the Seven Years' War on the side of the British.[citation needed]

Early life

Anne was born at Herrenhausen Palace, Hanover, five years before her paternal grandfather, Elector George Louis, succeeded to the British throne as George I. She was christened shortly after birth at Herrenhausen Palace.[1] She was named after her paternal grandfather's second cousin Anne, Queen of Great Britain.[2]

She learned German, French and English,[3] and was taught music (including singing, harpsichord, and composition) by Georg Friedrich Händel. Händel did not like teaching, but said he would "make the only exception for Anne, flower of princesses".[4] She remained a lifelong supporter, attending his operas and subscribing to his music.[5]

She contracted and survived smallpox in 1720,[6] and two years later her mother helped to popularise the practice of variolation (an early type of immunisation against smallpox), which had been witnessed by Lady Mary Wortley Montagu and Charles Maitland in Constantinople. At the direction of Caroline, six prisoners condemned to death were offered the chance to undergo variolation instead of execution: they all survived, as did six orphan children given the same treatment as a further test. Convinced of its medical value, the Queen had her two younger daughters, Amelia and Caroline, inoculated successfully.[7] Anne's face was scarred by the disease, and she was not considered as pretty as her two younger sisters.[8]

Princess Royal

On 30 August 1727, George II created his eldest daughter Princess Royal. Charles I first bestowed this title on his eldest daughter, Mary, Princess of Orange (mother of William III), in 1642. However, the title fell from use until the reign of George II. (Princess Anne became Princess Royal during the lifetime of her aunt, Queen Sophia Dorothea of Prussia. Although the eldest daughter of a British monarch, George I, Sophia Dorothea had already married the King of Prussia eight years before her father's succession.)


The princess took drawing and painting lessons from Herman van der Mijn and made a self-portrait in 1740 that is in the collection of the House of Orange-Nassau Historic Collections Trust. She also made a portrait of Van der Mijn himself while he was at work making portraits of other family members.[9]


A potential marriage contract between Anne and King Louis XV of France was eventually discarded when the French insisted that Anne convert to Roman Catholicism.[3] On 25 March 1734 (New Style) in the Chapel Royal at St. James's Palace, she married William IV, Prince of Orange.[10] William had a spinal deformity, which affected his appearance, but Anne said she would marry him even "if he were a baboon".[11] She ceased to use her British style in favour of the title she gained by marriage. The music played on her wedding, This is the day was set by Handel to the princess's own words based on Psalms 45 and 118.[12] Handel also composed an operatic entertainment, Parnasso in Festa, in honour of her wedding which was performed for the first time at the King's Theatre, London, on 13 March 1734, with great success.[13] She quarreled with her brother, the Prince of Wales, about her choice[clarification needed].

William and Anne sailed to Holland after a honeymoon at Kew. Anne soon felt homesick when her husband went on campaign in the Rhineland, and she travelled back to England believing herself to be pregnant. Eventually, her husband and father commanded her to return to Holland.[14] By April 1735, it was clear she was not with child after all.[15] In 1736, she did become pregnant, but the child (a daughter) was stillborn.[16]


When her husband died at the age of 40 in 1751, Anne was appointed regent for her 3-year-old son, Prince William V. She was hard-working, but arrogant and imperious, which made her unpopular.[17] This would help William later in his tough life.[citation needed] The 1750s were years of increasing tension and commercial rivalry between Holland and Britain, which placed her in a difficult position.[18]

Later life

She continued to act as regent until her death from dropsy in 1759, at The Hague, Netherlands, when she was replaced by her mother-in-law, Marie Louise of Hesse-Kassel, and by Duke Louis Ernest of Brunswick-Lüneburg. When she too died, Anne's daughter, Carolina, was made regent until William V turned 18 in 1766.

Princess Anne, Maryland is named for her.


On 31 January 1719, as a grandchild of the sovereign, Anne was granted use of the arms of the realm, differenced by a label argent of five points, each bearing a cross gules. On 30 August 1727, as a child of the sovereign, Anne's difference changed to a label argent of three points, each bearing a cross gules.[19]


Name Birth Death Notes
Miscarriage 30 June 1735 30 June 1735
Stillborn Daughter 19 December 1736 19 December 1736
Miscarriage 1738 1738
Stillborn Daughter 22 December 1739 22 December 1739
Carolina, Princess-Regent of Friesland 28 February 1743 6 May 1787 married 1760, Karl Christian of Nassau-Weilburg; had issue
Anna 15 November 1746 29 December 1746
Willem V Batavus 8 March 1748 9 April 1806 married, 1767, Princess Wilhelmina of Prussia; had issue



  1. Yvonne's Royalty Home Page: Royal Christenings
  2. Van der Kiste, p. 24
  3. 3.0 3.1 Van der Kiste, p. 84
  4. Van der Kiste, p. 85
  5. Vickers, David. "Programme Notes for "Parnasso in Festa"". Retrieved 17 May 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  6. Van der Kiste, p. 73
  7. Van der Kiste, p. 83
  8. Van der Kiste, p. 78
  9. Clayton, Ellen Creathorne. English female artists, volume 2 (London, Tinsley brothers, 1876) p. 81 ff.
  10. Van der Kiste, p. 132
  11. Van der Kiste, p. 131
  12. Van der Kiste, p. 133
  13. Lang, Paul Henry (2011). George Frideric Handel (reprint ed.). Dover Books on Music. pp. 249–50. ISBN 978-0-486-29227-4.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  14. Van der Kiste, pp. 135–136
  15. Van der Kiste, p. 136
  16. Van der Kiste, p. 150
  17. Van der Kiste, p. 198
  18. Van der Kiste, p. 209
  19. Marks of Cadency in the British Royal Family
Anne, Princess Royal and Princess of Orange
Cadet branch of the House of Welf
Born: 2 November 1709 Died: 12 January 1759
Dutch royalty
Title last held by
Marie Louise of Hesse-Kassel
Princess consort of Orange
Title next held by
Wilhelmina of Prussia
British royalty
Title last held by
Princess Mary
Princess Royal
Title next held by
Princess Charlotte