Commonly known as William of Orange or ‘King Billy’, William III ruled England jointly with his wife Mary from 1689 until her death in 1694, carrying on alone until his own passing in 1702. Groomed to lead the powerful Dutch Orange Order, fear of a Catholic succession in Protestant England would see him add this foreign throne to his natural birthright.
William’s invasion force landed in Devon in 1688. The English monarch James II, who chose not to fight, was captured and then exiled in France. Early the following year William and Mary were offered the English throne in the ‘Glorious Revolution’ but James was not prepared to sit idly by. Landing in Ireland in 1689 with French troops supplied by William’s sworn enemy, Louis XIV of France, James II intended to use the country as a base for invasion, only to be defeated by William at the Battle of the Boyne in 1690.
Crowns have a long history, derived from a gold coin introduced by Henry VIII in 1526 to replace the Sovereign. The gold of that Sovereign was too soft, so hard-wearing crown gold was introduced. This has been the standard of British gold coins ever since. In 1551 coins of the same size and weight but made from silver were brought in. They adopted the name crown from the gold version and became the sole carrier of that name after 1662, when gold crowns were no longer produced. This coin is offered in ‘Fine or Better’ condition, retaining the clarity and definition of its crowned cruciform design.