Prince William of Orange and Mary, Princess Royal

oil painting portrait of young royal boy dressed in red and gold and young royal girl in silver dress, standing, holding hands, circa 1642

Anthony van Dyck (1599–1641)
Prince William of Orange and Mary, Princess Royal, 1641
Oil on canvas
71 7/8 × 55 7/8 in. (182.5 × 142 cm)
Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam

The marriage of William of Orange and Mary, daughter of Charles I and Henrietta Maria, provided an important link between the English court and the Dutch Republic. In this smoothly executed formal wedding portrait, Van Dyck depicts the two children with linked hands, calling attention to the princess’s wedding ring. The reversal of the traditional hierarchical placement of the husband on the left and wife on the right may reflect Mary’s superior status as the daughter of a king. Account books record William’s many purchases on the occasion of his wedding, including the diamond brooch for Mary and suit of pink silk faithfully reproduced here.

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