René of Chalon

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René of Châlon, Prince of Orange
File:Rene van Chalon.jpg
René of Châlon
Spouse(s) Anna of Lorraine
Noble family Châlon-Arlay and Nassau-Breda
Father Henry III of Nassau-Breda
Mother Claudia of Châlon
Born (1519-02-05)5 February 1519
Breda, Duchy of Brabant
Died Script error: The function "death_date_and_age" does not exist.
Saint-Dizier, Kingdom of France
Buried Grote Kerk (Breda)

René of Châlon (5 February 1519 – 15 July 1544), also known as Renatus of Châlon, was a Prince of Orange and stadtholder of Holland, Zeeland, Utrecht and Gelre.


René was born in Breda, the only son of Count Henry III of Nassau-Breda and Claudia of Châlon. Claudia's brother, Philibert of Châlon, was the last Prince of Orange from the house of Châlon. When Philibert died in 1530, René inherited the Princedom of Orange on condition that he used the name and coat of arms of the Châlon-Orange family. History knows him therefore as René of Châlon instead of as "René of Nassau-Breda." [1]

Coat of arms of Rene of Chalons as Prince of Orange. The 1st and 4th grand quarters show the arms of the Chalons-Arlay (the gold bend) princes of Orange (the bugle). The blue and gold checkers represent the arms of Jeanne of Geneva, who married one of the Chalons prices. The 2nd and 3rd show the quarterings of Brittany and Luxembourg-St. Pol. The inescutcheon overall is his paternal arms quartered of Nassau and Breda.[2]

René of Châlon married Anna of Lorraine (1522–1568) on 20 August 1540 at Bar-le-Duc. They had only one child, a daughter named Maria, who lived only 3 weeks and was buried in the Grote Kerk in Breda.


In 1544, René took part in the siege of St. Dizier in the service of Emperor Charles V. He was mortally wounded in battle and died with the Emperor attending at his bedside.[3] René was buried in Grote Kerk in Breda, near the resting-place of his short-lived daughter. A commemorative cenotaph stands in the church of St. Etienne in Bar-le-Duc.


René of Châlon, as the last descendant of the original princes, left the principality to his first cousin William of Nassau-Dillenburg (better known as "William the Silent"), who was not a descendant of the original Orange family but became the legal heir to the principality of Orange, and all of René's lands. Thus, the principality which René had inherited from his mother was passed to his father's brother's son.

The principality of Orange had already passed, through the female line, from the first dynasty of Orange to the families Les Baux, and then to De Châlon.[4] It now passed to a family which was not descended in blood at all from any of the preceding families.

William added the name of Orange to his own paternal dignities and thus became in 1544 the founder of the House of Orange-Nassau.


Family of René of Chalon
16. Engelbert I of Nassau
8. Jan IV of Nassau
17. Johanna van Polanen
4. Johann V of Nassau-Vianden-Dietz
18. John I, Count of Loon-Heinsberg
9. Maria of Loon-Heinsberg
19. Margaret of Solms-Braunfels
2. Henry III of Nassau-Breda
20. Louis I, Landgrave of Hesse
10. Henry III, Landgrave of Upper Hesse
21. Anna of Saxony
5. Elisabeth of Hesse-Marburg
22. Philip I, Count of Katzenelnbogen
11. Anna of Katzenelnbogen
23. Anna of Württemberg
1. René of Châlon
24. Louis II of Chalon-Arlay
12. William VII of Chalon
25. Johanna of Montfaucon
6. John IV of Chalon-Arlay
26. Richard of Vertus-en-Champagne
13. Catherine of Brittany
27. Margaret of Orleans
3. Claudia of Châlon
28. Louis de Luxembourg, Count of Saint-Pol
14. Anthony I, Count of Ligny
29. Jeanne de Bar, Countess of Marle and Soissons
7. Philiberte of Luxembourg-Ligny
30. Peter of Bauffremont
15. Antoinette de Bauffremont
31. Marie of Bourgogne


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René of Chalon
Born: 5 February 1519 Died: 15 July 1544
Preceded by Prince of Orange
Succeeded by
William of Orange-Nassau
Preceded by Baron of Breda
Succeeded by
William of Orange-Nassau
Preceded by Stadtholder of Holland, Zeeland and Utrecht
Succeeded by
Louis of Praet
Preceded by Stadtholder of Guelders
Succeeded by
Philippe de Lalaing