Carolina of Orange-Nassau
The grandmother of Europe's royal houses.
The grandmother of Europe's royal houses.
The grandmother of Europe's royal houses.
18th century, Royalty, Women
Carolina of Orange-Nassau (1743 – 1787) was born the daughter of William IV, Prince of Orange, and Anne, Princess Royal and was thus the granddaughter of King George II. It was upon the King's orders that she was named after his wife, Caroline of Ansbach. She was the first of Anne and William's children to survive to adulthood. When her father was at last made stadtholder of all seven united provinces, Carolina was included in the line of succession, in the event she had no brothers. A brother was eventually born, but due to his weak health, she remained an important figure. Carolina married Charles Christian of Nassau-Weilburg and suffered the loss of half her children, either in childbirth or infancy. Despite this, she acted as regent for her minor brother while heavily pregnant and remained devoted to him and the Dutch republic. Her children married well and her descendants sit upon the royal thrones of Europe, truly making her a grandmother of Europe.
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I’ve had an interest in royal history since I was a kid so any book on that subject always peaks my interest. I hadn’t particularly heard of Carolina of Orange-Nassau but once I started reading this book I discovered that her mother was Anne, Princess Royal, daughter of George II and this information reeled me in. I learnt that Carolina invited Mozart to her court when he was nine years old and that he and his sister became ill with typhoid fever whilst there. As their illness became life threatening Carolina sent her own doctor to attend on them and they made a speedy recovery. Mozart was to visit Carolina’s court again as an adult. Carolina endured sixteen pregnancies only for over half of her children dying. Her marriage appears to have been a true love match and her husband genuinely mourned her passing. I did enjoy this book as the subject matter is one of my great interests and I did learn things from it. Thanks go to NetGalley and John Hunt Publishing for providing me with the ebook version for me to review. ~ Joanne Tinkler (Reviewer), NetGalley
It is well written and seems well researched, I've learned new things about her contemporaries and and her era in the dutch republic. She was an impressive woman. ~ Susanne Glaser, NetGalley
Princess Wilhelmina Carolina of Orange-Nassau was born in 1743 to William IV Prince of Orange and Anne of Hanover. When her father was made Stadtholder to the Dutch Republic, she was included in the line of succession, in the event that there were no male heirs. But as a little brother was later born, he eventually took the position of his father although Carolina did act as regent for him until he came of age. I have to admit, probably like a lot of readers I didn't know anything about Carolina of Orange-Nassau before reading this book. And I agree with the author that she has been largely forgotten by history, which is a pity because she seemed to play such an essential role in her brother's early life and when acting as regent on his behalf. But what struck me most was the fact that by the time she was 43 years old she'd had sixteen pregnancies that resulted in fifteen births of which only seven children survived to adulthood. Of course, this wasn't unusual at the time, and the author points out the numerous pregnancies and deaths of Carolina's mother and others. However, it is so difficult to imagine the hardships these women and especially Carolina endured. Despite the numerous pregnancies and changing circumstances, Carolina was able to run a household, take an interest in her husband's affairs and find time for promoting the music she loved. At one point while organizing a concert, she took an interest in Mozart and his sister. Both were ill at the time of their visit, and due to her care and attention, they were able to recover in her home, perhaps shaping the history of music in the course. This account of her life is fascinating on its own but also noteworthy due to the fact that her descendants are scattered across the Royal Houses of Europe. I was also happy to learn that the author runs a blog devoted to the history of royal women. Thanks to Chronos Books for allowing me to read this book in exchange for an honest review. ~ Susan Miller, susannesbooklist.blogspot.com/
Carolina of Orange Nassau Review This book acts as an overview of Carolina of Orange Nassau’s life, and is a timeline of this Dutch Royal who lived between 1743 and 1787. It portrays the immense impact she had on those around her, her important patronage of the arts (we learn at one point she had at least three hundred musicians in her service), her love of the Dutch republic, and her lifelong friendship with Mozart. A factual book, the information is derived from Dutch royal archive’s letters and documents. Born in Leeuwarden in the Netherlands, Carolina was named after her grandmother. The book informs us that her grandfather, King George II of England, insisted that she was named after his wife we are offered an account stating ‘there has never been a child so easy to wean and she sleeps elevens hours a night.’ The daughter of William IV, Prince of Orange, Stadtholder of the Netherlands and Anne, Princess Royal, her only surviving sibling was a brother Willem, born five years later. The young Princess was heir presumptive to Stadtholder until Willem’s birth, and it was he who subsequently inherited the title, Willem V. following the death of their father. Only three years of age and unable to rule, both his mother and grandmother acted as Regents until their deaths. The documents show how lovingly Princess Carolina spoke of both. Letters also show us that she was a devoted sister who adored her younger brother, acting as his regent for a year until 1766 when Willem turned eighteen. She was pregnant at the time. Her rather drawn out engagement to Karl Christian, Prince of Nassau-Weilburg is outlined and finally, in 1760, her marriage in The Hague which fulfilled her mother’s dying wish. The heartbroken Carolina had stayed with her mother until her death. The couple appear to have been quite happy, but their marriage was marred by one tragedy after another as only seven of their fifteen children survived. We read of sixteen pregnancies and the heartbreak suffered when she lost her son William Louis at the age of 8. Once her brother was Stadholder, she moved to Germany. We read of her travels to relatives, and overall her love of music inherited from both her mother and grandmother. She was a talented singer and musician who played several instruments. She befriended Mozart, whom she first met when he was nine years old. We learn he wrote several arias for her which she often played. She reputedly saved his life as a child by sending her own physician to heal both himself and his sister when suffering from typhoid. She died in 1787 in Germany, aged 44, multiple pregnancies and loss evidently having taken a massive toll on her wellbeing. Devoted to her family and the Dutch republic, the author states that her children married well and her descendants sit upon the royal thrones of Europe, truly making her a ‘grandmother of Europe.’ Although rather short, this well researched biography explores Princess Carolina’s life in detail, the last chapter focusing on her residences. Extremely factual, the details of her wedding dress made particularly good reading, and I felt the book would have benefited greatly from more personal anecdotes of this nature. Overall, for anyone interested in historical female figures, this is a well written story. ~ Carina McNally, Book Reviewer
A little book, but a good book because what do we know about Carolina of Nassau? Not too much, so even it is a small book it has enough information about ancestress of the royal houses of Europe. The Book is an easy read, it reads like a roman. Carolina was the daughter of William IV, Prince of Orange and Anne of Hanover. Carolina married Charles Christian, Prince of Nassau-Weilburg. They had fifteen children but only seven survived to adulthood. When you read the book, you get to now Caroline as a strong woman, in these days we called it a power woman. Carolina died young, she became the ancestress of the European Royal Houses, in the book the author has made a list which explains exactly who is related to Carolina. In the book we also read on the places where Carolina visited and lived. ( Most of those places and buildings can still be visited.) Moniek Bloks has written a well explained book, with the little info she had. She definitely puts Carolina on the royal map. For those who love history and want to know more about the Dutch royal family, then I definitely recommend this book. ~ Elma, The New Royalty World
A fascinating introduction to a somewhat neglected royal and chronologically accounts her life from birth right up to her death and all of the time in between. It is clear that the author has undertaken meticulous research to bring this book to fruition. ~ Lou, Reader's Retreat/NetGalley
In less than one hundred pages Moniek Blok depicts the fascinating figure of Carolina of Orange-Nassau, an almost forgotten princess and ancestress of twelve Royal Houses of Europe. Carolina is not only represented as a princess and regent, but also as a devoted wife and sister, a protector of music, a lover of the opera and an accomplished musician. What I really liked about this biography is to read the letters that she wrote and received during her life, something that let us know how she really was and what she really thought. Also very interesting is to see all the portraits included and to read a detailed list of the places that marked Carolina’s life. ~ Francesco Camodeca , NetGalley
This was an extremely well written and obviously extensively researched book by Moniek Bloks. I loved all the details from Carolina’s wedding dress to the heartache of her many miscarriages and stillbirths. It was well laid out in chapters and I found it an easy and interesting read. I liked how Moniek has quoted letters written mainly between Carolina and her brother Willem, these are well referenced in the book and a reference section is also included at the end. ~ Jenny Gordon, NetGalley
I've read a lot of history books, and this one is definitely a fast, light, short, interesting read, that will be easily accessible to those who aren't used to reading history books, while remaining interesting for history lovers. I think it would make a perfect introduction to Carolina of Orange-Nassau. ~ Camille Brown, Camille's Book Adventures
The author did an admirable job of writing Carolina's story with the information available. I recommend this book for anyone with an interest in the European royals. ~ Marissa Giles, NetGalley
This is a good book that was difficult to put down. Being a history buff I started reading and realized I was going to have to get through the hectic days of the holidays to complete since wouldn't want to put it down. When life finally slowed down for me I read the book in one day. This in a fast and enjoyable read and I highly recommend this book to all, but especially those interested in European history. ~ Patt Wardle, NetGalley
Moniek does a good job in presenting what little is known of Caroline, and presenting a short, but detailed life of this woman. Caroline's life takes up just over half of this tome, however, that is not the end of her story. Moniek goes on to detail just how many royal houses are descended from her; and also gives us an insight into Caroline's royal residences - thank you for putting this as an appendix and not boring us with details just to fill pages when telling Caroline's story. As I said - short, concise, interesting. Recommended. ~ Melisende d'Outremer, NetGalley
This is a short but fantastic read, and I would recommend this to anyone who is interested in royal history. Carolina of Orange-Nassau is ancestress of 12 different royal houses in Europe, and is related to a 13th, and although she doesn't get much attention as a regent for the Dutch throne, she is a fascinating royal. Bloks covers Carolina's life, as well as the reigning houses that she is ancestress of, and the different palaces and castles that she would have lived in. As someone who knew nothing about her before starting this book, I loved how straightforward and brief this book is. I learned the "basics" of Carolina without being overwhelmed with detail! ~ Jessica Storoschuk, NetGalley
As an American, we are not really exposed much to royalty. However, they've always fascinated me, and Sweden, Netherlands, and Denmark are personal favorites so when I saw this book, I immediately wanted to know more and it did not disappoint. It read almost like a diary with spots of history intermingled, plus paintings of Carolina with her family. Historical information on the homes she lived in and continuing information on her brother. All in all, considering how little information is likely available on Carolina, this was a fascinating, interesting, albeit, quick read, of this beloved woman. ~ Christie Sheppard , NetGalley
This is one fascinating woman who I had never heard of to read about! I cannot imagine what the losses of her children did to her psyche but she was a strong, resilient woman who went through a lot of (EXCREMENT) yet lived a fascinating life. Victoria was also known as a Grandmother of Europe and she is widely written about but Carolina is basically unknown. The book is beautifully crafted and written and at least three of my book clubs (yes, clubs, I belong to eight of them) will be reading this booklet in the new year. (I am thinking of a book about Victoria and one about Carolina so we can compare them!!) Bravo! Great job!! I only wish that the book was more than 96 pages ... yet it certainly deserves five stars! ~ Janet Cousineau, NetGalley
Carolina of Orange- Nassau is a quick read. The first part is about her life, which was brief. She died at the age of 43, her body worn from repititive pregnancies. The poor woman was pregnant 16 times, but only seven of her children survived to maturity. The second part of the book detailed the houses that were associated with Carolina. While interesting, the second part didn't really add that much to her story. Bloks does a nice job of introducing modern readers to a woman who provided integral ancestors for many European royal families, ~ Janilyn Kocher , NetGalley