Alternative History
Johan Philip
Johan Philip, Prince of Orange-Nassau (1744) by Bernard Accama
Prince of Orange
Reign 21 March 1712 – 25 May 1745
Predecessor William III
Successor Charles X of France
Prince of Orange-Nassau
Reign 10 October 1745 – 14 July 1748
Predecessor Office established
Successor Johan William
Stadtholder of Holland, Zeeland, Utrecht, Gelderland, Overijssel, Artois, Hainault, Flanders, Luxemburg, Calais, Cambrai and Walloon-Flanders
Reign February 1714 - 14 July 1748
Predecessor William III and II
Successor Johan William (in 1771)
Spouse Anna Elisabeth of the Palatine
Elisabeth of Orange-Nassau
Sophia of Mecklenburg-Schwerin
Johan William
Full name
Frederick William Henry
House House of Orange-Nassau
Father William III and II
Mother Mary II
Born 12 February 1695
[N.S.: 22 February 1695]
Kensington Palace, London
Died 14 July 1748 (aged 53)
Brussels, Brabant
Burial 10 August 1748
The Hague, Holland
Religion Protestantism

Johan Philip (22 February 1695 – 14 July 1748) was the titular Prince of Orange from his ascension in 1712 to 1745 after which he became the Prince of Orange-Nassau until his death. He was also Stadtholder over several of the most prominent states in the Dutch Republic, making him the de facto head of the Dutch state.

As the second and youngest son of William III of England, Johan Philip grew up in the shadow his his elder brother Fredrick William, the heir of the kingdoms of England, Scotland and Ireland, as well as the heir presumptive to the position of Stadtholder of the Dutch Republic. However, due to Dutch dissatisfaction with the prospect of a long term personal union between their state and those of the British Isles, William III came to an agreement with the princes of the seventeen provinces; the future king of of the British states would forswear all governance over the Dutch states if Johan Philip would be promised the Stadtholder titles of his father, including the revered title of Prince of Orange.

After his father's death in 1712, Johan ascended to the position of Prince of Orange (but not that of Stadtholder which was to pass onto him after he reached adulthood), having proven himself an able aid to his father during his dying years on the battlefields of the Fifteen Years War. Leading several campaign throughout northern France during the remainder of the conflict, he won over the respect of the Dutch states who one by one appointed him Stadtholder of their respective provinces, finally taking all his fathers titles following the end of hostilities in 1725.

During peacetime, the new head of the Dutch state had soon proven himself far more affable and humble than his aggressive and aloof brother in England, and although he had control over far less than his immediate family he had soon proven himself as capable of an administrator as most other European heads of state; returning large profits from overseas ventures (like the Dutch East India company) whilst simultaneously reforming the vastly underwhelming Dutch navy. The high point of his early reign was undoubtedly the defeat of the Portuguese navy off of the South American coast during a brief naval war against Portugal during 1735 when an outnumbered Dutch fleet successfully defeated the overwhelming enemy flotilla, thereby bringing an end to the conflict.

In the latter half of his reign Johan Philip became increasingly encumbered by bouts of gout and even a battle with cholera that left him significantly weakened in his capacity to help run 'his' state, passing off many of his roles as leader of the Republic to the powerful princes and the legislature. With his health in deep decline, the Stadtholder had soon found himself swept up in the War of the French Succession on the side of England and Prussia. After suffering a series of crushing blows against France on sea and land, the Dutch were forced to cede the land granted to them in 1725 as part of the Treaty of Paris, the document also stipulating that Johan Philip would have to give up the title of 'Prince of Orange' to Charles X in favour of the 'Prince of Orange-Nassau' which severely diminished his credibility. Shortly after his death in 1748, the provinces of the Dutch Republic passed over on the appointment of Philips's son to the position of Stadtholder after pointing to the failure of his father's late reign.