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King William III was born on 19 February 1817. His parents were King William II and Anna Paulowna of Russia. In 1838 he met his future wife Sophie van Würtemberg for the first time. Sophie was born on June 17th, 1818 her parents were the German King William I of Würtemberg and Grand duchess Catharina Paulowna of Russia (sister of Anna Paulowna).

Sophie did not want to start the relationship, but under pressure from her parents the marriage was fulfilled in 1839.
The relationship with her mother-in-law Anna was bad; she was against this marriage because it was a marriage between a full cousin and niece.

In 1849 Willem became King and Sophie became Queen of the Netherlands. A number of souvenirs were  made for this occasion.

Here some examples:

Porcelain pipe made in 1849 for the Enthronement of King Willem III

Case made of metal and leather for playing cards. It has a hand painted portrait on Ivory of Queen Sophie, the first wife of King Willem III. Made in 1849 when she became Queen of the Netherlands.The case measures 14 x 9 cm.

It was not a good marriage; Sophie was cheated on by Willem and, in her own words,she was  physically and mentally abused. However they produced three children.

Sophie wanted to divorce but that was not allowed because this would damage the position of the royal family. The marriage finally ended in a legal separation in 1855.

They still appeared together on official occasions. Sophie went to live at Palace Huis ten Bosch and Willem stayed mostly at Palace Het Loo.

In 1864 they “celebrated” their silver wedding anniversary, a commemorative plate was made for this occasion.

In 1874 King Willem III celebrated his silver jubilee, several souvenirs were made to celebrate this.

Sophie died in 1877 and was buried in her wedding dress because she said her life had already ended on her wedding day.

This ended the era of William III and Sophie.


Plate made in the Dutch Indies for the silver wedding of KIng Willem III and Queen Sophie 1864

Terra cotta figurine of King Willem III with metal sword made in Germany for his silver jubilee in 1874.Maker : Bernard Bloch from Bohemia (now Czech republic).

Terra cotta bust of King Willem III  made in Germany for his silver jubilee in 1874.Maker : Bernard Bloch from Bohemia (now Czech republic).


Zijden sjerp en strik Zilveren regeringsjubileum Koning Willem III 1874

Opaline glass vase King Willem III 1849-1874 silver jubilee.

Commemorative textile In memoriam Queen Sofie of The Netherlands 1877, 1st wife of King Willem III


Mourning coin Queen Sofie of The Netherlands, 1st Queen Consort of King Willem III, this coin enabled the holder to pay their last respects to the queen at 11. 45 am at the Royal Palace Huis Ten Bosch in the Hague.