|Queen Anna Pavlovna, by Nicaise de Keyser, 1849.|
|King Willem II, by Nicolaas Pieneman, 1849.|
Willem II (Willem Frederik George Lodewijk; 6 December 1792, The Hague – 17 March 1849, Tilburg), King of the Netherlands, Grand Duke of Luxembourg, and Duke of Limburg. He was born the eldest son of the future King Willem I of the Netherlands and Wilhelmine of Prussia. At the time of his birth, European politics were quite unstable; throughout his childhood and youth, tensions between Republican and later Napoléonic France, England, and the Netherlands, and their frequently shifting allegiances, meant that the fortunes of his family - the House of Orange - were often in flux. When he was two, he and his family were forced to flee to England, but he later spent his youth in Berlin at the Prussian court, where he received a military education and served for a time in the Prussian Army. Returning to England, he studied at Oxford - where he reportedly involved himself in the homosexual dalliances that would continue for the rest of his life - before, at the age of nineteen, commencing a very successful career with the British Army as aide-de-camp to the Duke of Wellington; within two years he was promoted major-general. His courage and good nature made him very popular with the British who affectionately nicknamed him "Slender Billy." He returned to the Netherlands in 1813 when his father became sovereign prince, and the next year succeeded to the command of the British forces stationed there. He was wounded at Waterloo - which would greatly endear him to the Dutch - and with the fall of Napoléon, the Netherlands, at the urging of the Congress of Vienna, was proclaimed a kingdom, his father becoming the first king of the current Orange-Nassau dynasty. In 1814, Willem had been briefly engaged to Princess Charlotte of Wales, only child of the Prince Regent, but two years later he made a dynastic and politically advantageous marriage to the Grand Duchess Anna Pavlovna of Russia, youngest sister to Czar Alexander I.
|The King at the age of fifty-six, in the year of his death.|
|The Queen at the age of fifty-four.|
|The Inauguration of King Willem II in the Nieuwe Kerk in Amsterdam on 28 November 1840, by Nicolaas Pieneman, circa 1840-1845.|
|The two state portraits were painted almost a decade after the event, but mostly reflect the dress and setting of the inauguration.|
|If we are able to trust the claimed date of 1848, this painting would have been completed before the state portrait.|
Nicaise de Keyser (26 August 1813, Zandvliet – 17 July 1887, Antwerp), Belgian painter and teacher. Prolific, he is most remembered for his portraits - his clients numbered among them the royal families of Belgium, the Netherlands, and Württemberg - and history paintings. He is considered one of the key figures in the Belgian Romantic-historical school of painting.
Nicolaas Pieneman (1 January 1809, Amersfoort – 30 December 1860, Amsterdam), Dutch painter, lithographer, sculptor, teacher, and art collector. He specialized in portraits and in portrayals of recent history. He was a personal friend of William II of the Netherlands and was frequently commissioned by the king and other members of the royal family, and later painted several portraits of the king's son and successor, Willem III.