Talk:William III (Britain)

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 Definition (1650-1702) King of England, Scotland and Ireland (1689–1702),Prince of Orange and Stadholder of the Netherlands. [d] [e]
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Should the word Britain be in this title? Perhaps there is a more appropriate and accurate disambiguation word we could use. Britain narrows things down to that island, though William was king of Ireland also. Then of course, he was Dutch too. Maybe that would help. Or something along the lines of William III (of Orange)? --Mal McKee 11:26, 13 May 2008 (CDT)

Britain is both a geography term and a history term, and here it's history. That is "Britain" is the usual historians' term for the country he ruled. --although the "The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland" terminology came 5 years after his death. Richard Jensen 11:59, 13 May 2008 (CDT)
Right, but William III wasn't known as "William III of Britain" necessarily, was he? He was the third other than Scotland, so far as I know. I suppose, technically speaking, he should be regarded as William I of Ireland. Scotland though, as I'm sure you know, is part of Britain - both historically and geographically.
I still think the mention of Britain in the title is potentially misleading and inaccurate, especially given the wealth of confusion surrounding the term - even by inhabitants, and perhaps a better title could be found. --Mal McKee 13:22, 13 May 2008 (CDT)
Well, we need something to disambiguate him from the other William III's. Is there something you can suggest which would be better?
If we could separate the 'page name' and the 'article title' (as suggested here) it would be nice (so the title would only be "William III"), but there's still some resistance to doing that. J. Noel Chiappa 13:52, 13 May 2008 (CDT)
I added a footnote to the first sentence to clear it up a little--I got it wrong the first couple times! He was crowned William III for England, and separately crowned Willian II for Scotland. He was never crowned king of Netherlands, Wales or Ireland.Richard Jensen 14:07, 13 May 2008 (CDT)
[Edit conflict] response to J. Noel Chiappa:
Yeah - I thought possibly "William III (of Orange)" or "William III (Nassau)" (did I spell that correctly!?). Maybe Richard Jensen or someone else can come up with a more appropriate alternative. Of course, he was a British king, so that gives us another possibility: "William III (British)" or "William III (British monarch)" or something along those lines.
One thing that should probably be decided early on (if a change to the title is made) is that the titles should have some measure of consistency throughout. We shouldn't have a situation whereby there are articles titled "William III (British)", "Elizabeth II (English)" and "George VI of England", for example. Having said that, perhaps official titles should be considered, though this is made complex by the fact that many British monarchs have held multiple titles concurrently (King/Queen of.. Scotland, Ireland, England, United Kingdom etc etc). The more generic "British" might serve us well to that end though.
Thanks for pointing out the forum discussion to me - I've not joined it yet, but I should hopefully be doing that tomorrow. I'll have a look at the pros and cons of the system you describe and maybe add my own thoughts to the discussion there. --Mal McKee 14:10, 13 May 2008 (CDT)
Britain becomes the formal term starting in 1707, but that was five years after William's death. I think we can stretch Britain to cover him (he promoted the UK union idea). As the discussions on Naming make clear, CZ does not use a person's official titles to name the article; rather CZ uses the most commonly used name. In this case I found only one historian who calls him "William III and II" and no one who calls him "William II". There are several other William II and William III in history. Richard Jensen 15:02, 13 May 2008 (CDT)
If it's policy for us to use the most commonly used name, then that would probably be William of Orange, or even "King William" or "King Billy"! I think we're probably all agreed that those names are unworkable or inappropriate! I've never heard him referred to as "King William III (Britain)" though. Sorry to be a pain in the arse about this, but I think that at this relatively early stage in the development of CZ, it might be a good idea to thrash things out - even matters which might seem trivial to some: the fact is, the title works. In effect, there's nothing really wrong with it as such. I just think it might be a good idea to come up with a better one, and one which also allows for a certain level of consistency throughout similar articles. As all the kingdoms were British at the time, I think I'd favour "(British)" after the name. "(Britain)" refers only to the kingdoms of England (with Wales as a principality) and Scotland, whereas "(British)" implies all the British kingdoms. Perhaps "British monarch" might be better. Just to be clear, I'm not so much concerned with his technical number in each of the kingdoms, as I think it's well established that William III is the designation he's usually given. --Mal McKee 18:22, 13 May 2008 (CDT)
The whole naming system is still not totally worked out. The current policy is at CZ:Naming Conventions, but we are having a lengthy debate about how to name people at CZ Talk:Naming Conventions, and especially CZ:Proposals/Naming Conventions for Biographies; there may be a thread on the forums too. I think Richard's using (Britain) because we'd kind of decided on using the name of the place they ruled to disambiguate among multiple rulers with the same 'common' (i.e. not full formal) name. Of course that falls down when there's no simple description of what, exactly, it was that they ruled, as here. 19:57, 13 May 2008 (CDT)
De-indenting here If there has been no naming convention thoroughly fleshed out yet, then we should probably go with what's been done and come back to it later, if necessary, once some conventions have been put firmly in place. I think in the case of William III and other British monarchs it might be more logical to suggest the name of the people they ruled in the title, rather than a singular geographic or political region. I think that solves the problem of where they ruled - presenting instead who they ruled.
Ultimately the content of the article is more important, and I'd like to extend a further apology to Richard for distracting him from that. That's not to say that the issue shouldn't be looked at, at some point. --Mal McKee 20:28, 13 May 2008 (CDT)
I think that's kind of the unspoken state we're in; naming turned into a big swamp, and people went off to write content, figuring that's more important anyway. No doubt we'll go around on naming again at some point in the future.
I'm hoping that people will, after a chance to get over the novelty and get used to it, agree with my 'split the page-name and article-title' proposal, because it will make some of these naming issues slightly less problematic.
PS: I'd probably go with 'William of Orange' as the name here, because that's what I most often seem him referred to. J. Noel Chiappa 20:38, 13 May 2008 (CDT)
Just a wee note on that last suggestion - I think.. weren't both his father and grandfather known as William of Orange? It's never easy! I must remember to get into the discussion forum and look at some more of the CZ policies. --Mal McKee 20:45, 13 May 2008 (CDT)
William had two important roles, in Netherlands (William of Orange) and as King of England (William III). I think the latter role is much more important, but both are covered in the article. The issue is not William's name or title, it's how we title the article to separate it from other men named William III and William of Orange. I note that the standard history of Netherlands (by Israel) prefers William III (even before he became king). Wikipwedia gives about 20 different people called William of Orange! Richard Jensen 06:04, 14 May 2008 (CDT)
Let's not forget the brave pigeon named William of Orange. --Paul Wormer 06:20, 14 May 2008 (CDT)
There was a pigeon..?! "The issue is not William's name or title, it's how we title the article to separate it from other men named William III and William of Orange." - I agree with that, absolutely. --Mal McKee 08:46, 14 May 2008 (CDT)
I agree he's more important as the King of England, but somehow I seem to remember his under the label 'William of Orange'. But I guess that won't work either.
Sigh, there's no way to win! I see once again that our policy of 'best known as' has, in practise, to give way to 'let's find the least tasteless way to distinguish him from others'. Blargh. Well, maybe a few more of these, and the page-name/article-title split will look more appealing to those who don't like it. J. Noel Chiappa 09:21, 14 May 2008 (CDT)


You seem to be quite the advocate of the proposal Noel! Is there a 'quick list' of the pros and cons anywhere? --Mal McKee 09:25, 14 May 2008 (CDT)

Not that I know of. I think the subject was fairly fully thrashed out in the thread. There's more here too. J. Noel Chiappa 12:26, 14 May 2008 (CDT)
Thanks Noel. At first glance it seems like a good idea to have the article identifier and the page title separate - or at least to have that possibility available. There should be a default whereby the page identifier and title are the same. The title is part of the article, whereas a link (or identifier) is just that. The identifier should obviously still be somewhat meaningful, as that it one of the purposes of a wikilink.
I wonder if it's possible to propose a trial with a selection of articles. --Mal McKee 13:16, 14 May 2008 (CDT)


Richard, you write: The hereditary title "Prince of Orange" had been purchased by the family; there was no longer a country called Orange. I seem to recall that the house of Orange ruled the city of Orange (south of France) and environments until the death of William III, after which Louis XIV confiscated the possessions. Also William the Silent inherited the title from his cousin Rene of Orange, he didn't buy it (again from the top off my head). --Paul Wormer 05:47, 30 May 2008 (CDT)

PS I checked a Dutch encyclopedia (Winkler Prins) and found that what I wrote is correct. Further, the title "Prince of Orange" went to Prussia at the treaty of Utrecht (1713). Then the Frisian Nassaus got (perhaps purchased?) the title back from Prussia in 1732. As you know the now living Oranges descend from the Frisian Nassau branch, not from William the Silent (although for political reasons this fact is more or less kept a secret in my country). --Paul Wormer 06:25, 30 May 2008 (CDT)

thanks for the tip on this confusing situation. There never was a country called Oranger, just a little strip of land with a couple thousand people. What mattered was the title "prince." Today there are two princes of Orange these days I'm told. You're right the sale of the title came later.Richard Jensen 13:22, 30 May 2008 (CDT)
Why don't you mention in two or three words that the title came from the city of Orange? It is fairly unexpected since the Netherlands are far removed from this city and of some interest, especially for the Irish and the Dutch.--Paul Wormer 02:06, 31 May 2008 (CDT)
I'll look into it some more. I believe Orange was a small village in France and surrounding area, and was never a city or country. It did have a count and sometime in the 12th century the count started calling himself a prince. The Nassau house got the title by marriage about 1530. Then title was bequethed (not sold) in 1544 by the Nassau "prince" to his cousin William the Silent. Richard Jensen 03:02, 31 May 2008 (CDT)
I believe Orange to be an old city (I have been there and it looks like one). Maurice of Orange built walls around it in the early 17th century. You confirm what I write (using bequethed instead of inherited). However, I didn't know until yesterday that the title "Prince of Orange", held by our crown prince, hasn't been continuously in the family since the 1540s. I didn't know that the Nassaus had to purchase it in 1732 from Prussia. If you'd know how much weight is given in this country to the name "Van Oranje" and its "historical bond with the Dutch people" you would understand why I'm shocked. --Paul Wormer 03:42, 31 May 2008 (CDT)
it's an unexpected story indeed! Richard Jensen 16:28, 31 May 2008 (CDT)

Article title (revisited)

Please refer to the discussion above. I still think the word "Britain" in brackets is inappropriate. It appears awkward, and ambiguous. One might as well title the article 'William III (Europe)'. Any thoughts? --Mal McKee 10:03, 25 February 2011 (UTC)

Brief summary:
  1. The English administration called him William III
  2. His Scottish royal seal says William II
  3. The Scottish Parliament just called him King William
  4. He called himself William III of Great Britain
The existing title isn't really very sensible, but I don't know what it should be instead. I don't think the EC consideration of royal titles has got very far yet. Peter Jackson 11:13, 25 February 2011 (UTC)
William called himself "King of Great Britain, France and Ireland" (MAG BR, FRA, ET HIB REX) and, in fact, he was joint monarch of the British peoples along with his wife, Mary. He also refered to himself and Mary as "King and Queen of England, Scotland, France and Ireland". At the same time, he was also "Prince of Orange" and "Baron of Breda". As the union of the kingdoms of Scotland and England (and therefore also the principality of Wales) did not occur until 1707, he was not really the king of Great Britain, except by the fact that that covered that territory. However, that territory also includes Ireland in certain perspectives - technically incorrect, as the proper title would have been "British Isles". The union of Scotland, England and Ireland didn't take place for a further hundred years. But, his kingship was primarily of the British peoples, with the French kingdom being of some debate. He also had other titles, of course.
My proposals would be, in lieu of a better suggestion:
* William III (Dutch)
* William III of Orange
* William III (House of Orange)
I would also suggest William III of England, though the King himself proved, I think, that he regarded his principality of his homeland as very important. I therefore favour the last proposal in my list - House of Orange - or House of Orange-Nassau. We could then use that to describe other monarchs - House of Stuart, House of Tudor etc. I think the 'House' is something which distinguishes monarchs of Europe quite well, and is probably the most unique (less confusion than simply denoting the Roman numerals).
What do you think? --Mal McKee 17:36, 25 February 2011 (UTC)
Well, I don't think it makes all that much sense to refer to him by the title of Orange, which was simply a territory in France whose title he held, without any (significant) powers there, rather like peerages. And Dutch is even worse, because William III of the Netherlands was a completely different person, (I think). As to houses, remember that James I of England and James I of Scotland both belonged to the House of Stewart/Stuart.
Usual practice is to disambiguate where necessary by country. In this case England seems most appropriate, unless we want to call him William III & II, which is hardly ever done. Peter Jackson 12:04, 26 February 2011 (UTC)
Well obviously I was throwing some ideas out there to see if any could catch! But I think I'd be happy enough to go with William III of England, if there are no objections to it. --Mal McKee 12:12, 26 February 2011 (UTC)