William Gerrit Van de Hulst. William of Orange: The Silent Prince. Translated by Alice Veenendaal. 8085 Kraft Ave S.E., Caledona, MI: Inheritance Publications: 1992. 142 pp. (ages 5-25)
William of Orange: The Silent Prince is a soft-cover biography, (with illustrations!) translated from the Dutch for a younger audience! This young adult’s book recounts the exciting and scary life of Count William of Nassau (1533-1584).
The book informs the reader that this firstborn son’s mother was the pious Juliana of Stolberg (1506-1580). His father was the mighty Prince William, ruler of the earldom of Nassau/Orange. As a powerful man he attended the 1521 Diet of Worms with Martin Luther (Here I stand…)! Read also about William, Jr.’s large family: he had four brothers and seven sisters. As firstborn, Jr. would inherit Dillenberg Castle. (Note: in 1713 King Lous XIV annexed the realm of Orange and made it a province of France.)
This privileged child of royalty attended school and lived in Brussels, Belgium within the courts of the most powerful man of Europe: the Holy Roman Emperor, Charles V of Spain. Turn the pages to learn why William of Orange received the name “The Silent Prince” (31-37). Watch a wiser Prince win the hearts and minds of the Dutch folk, when he chose to suffer affliction for a season with his comrades by fighting with them against the Spanish persecution!
See his courage when he refused to let the two wicked Spaniards, King Philip of Spain and Duke Alvarez de Toledo of Alva, kill him. Watch him write personal letters of encouragement to the citizens, people just like you and me! Ache with him when he comforts his mother, when her sons and his brothers die in battle against the murderous Roman Catholics. Follow him as he bravely leads armies into battle against the imperial Spanish army! Discover how his faith withstood the trials of battle and doubt. Experience with him the love of the people. Hear and see as an assassin tries to kill him! Does he survive?
Learn about his tragic death at the young age of 51. Weep with the whole nation. They buried him with honors in the “New Church at Delft,” in the province of South Holland. Thus did William of Orange become the spiritual and political Father of the Netherlands.
Today the Netherlands’ national anthem is sung in his memory, in which each stanza’s first letter forms “William of Nassau.” Find out about the vivid reminder of his death still present in the walls at Prisenhof, Delft, South Holland (118-129, 131).
Sadly, though, at two points in this book, the author revises and distorts the history, by claiming that the merciful William was a religious pluralist. In truth the Prince really wished to free the Reformed congregations from the Roman Catholic murderers, so that the kliene leiden (little people) would not be tortured for believing in justification by faith alone and Christ’s spiritual presence at the table of the Lord’s Supper.
Highly recommended for all ages.