William III
William III Anglia (The Kalmar Union).png
William III
Regent of Anglia
Reign 8th July, 1517 - 4th April, 1523
Predecessor Anna of Norfolk
Successor n/a
King of Anglia
Reign 4th April, 1523 - 18th February, 1540
Predecessor John I
Successor Henry IV
Born 2nd October, 1495
Norwich, Norfolk, Anglia
Died 18th February, 1540
Lincoln, Anglia
Spouse Elizabeth of Luxembourg
Issue Henry IV

John III
Richard II

House Norfolk
Father Henry Olafsson, Duke of Norfolk
Mother Anna of Norfolk

William III was the first King of Anglia following the War of Anglian Succession. To contemporaries this was merely a continuation of the Estridsson line but most historians place him as the first king of the Norfolk dynasty.

The first son of Anna and Henry Olafsson, Duke of Norfolk, William would lament in later life that he had been born two years too late. His uncle, William II, had designated any male child of Anna his successor, with Anna as regent, yet by the time of his death in 1493 Anna had only a daughter, Isabel. Anna would indeed begin a regency, but for her Danish cousin Eric IX not her son. By the time William was born in 1495 Denmark and Anglia were committed to a long and bloody war with Luxembourg and the subject of William's claim to the throne quietly buried.

Anna too would accept the Anglia nobles' reasoning that an adult king was much more desirable than a baby on the throne and as her own position was often poor she acquiesced. She would even champion Eric's son Christopher as rightful heir over William. William's own part in this is perhaps understated thanks to his age. From 1500 he was in Denmark, partly a ploy to prevent any potential pro-William plots but also because Eric genuinely liked his talkative and mischievous cousin. In 1503 he was betrothed to Mary of Denmark though the princess' death a year later meant nothing came of it. In 1509 Eric died and the Anglian crown went to his son Christopher, and William, now 14, happily pledged allegiance to the new king. In return Christopher offered him the Duchy of Luxembourg, an empty promise considering Kalmar's precarious position on the battlefield but enough to spur William into investing all his energies into the war.

By 1517 William had built a considerable reputation as a efficient commander, making use of often understrength forces to keep the larger Luxembourg armies from consolidating their positions. But the Kalmar side was faltering anyway, Denmark's treasury was now empty and Christopher realised he had no choice but to concede. Anglia was still very much at war with Wessex and his mother was ailing quickly. William would rush back to Lincoln in the spring of 1517 in time to be made regent of Anglia only days after hearing of Christopher's resignation of the Anglian crown.

Working quickly William and the Witenage accepted John III of Luxembourg's claim to the Anglian throne and then William left to inflict an utterly devastating victory over Wessex at the Battle of Stafford (causing future chaos for Wessexian politics).

Though John now ruled Anglia William remained as regent and John would never set foot in Anglia itself. The war continued however as Luxembourg still faced the armies of France and Bavaria, whilst John too was almost out of credit and badly needed space to deal with the spread of heretical thought in Thuringia thanks to the teachings of Luther and his followers. William would be employed in this too, campaigning alongside Philip of Hesse against Bavaria and the peasant armies of North Germany.

Portrait of Anne Stafford

Elizabeth of Luxembourg, William's wife.

In 1523 his father died, leaving William to inherit the Earldom of Norfolk, the first parcel of land he actually owned. Later that year he would take a massive Anglian force almost to the gates of Paris. This action effectively ended the war, and the subsequent Treaty of Cleves settled it. Luxembourg would snap up a considerable territory in the Low Countries, including the old Anglian lands of Flanders, Hainault and Brabant but John was aware of his own limitations and recognised how far he could realistically stretch Luxembourg power. In this regard William was granted the hand of his daughter Elizabeth and then John promptly abdicated the throne, leaving William as king in his own right. This was topped by John making the present of the vacant Duchy of Fryslân as a wedding gift.

Having been at the forefront of the age's bloodiest war for so many years William's military career effectively ended there. He would spend much of the rest of his life restoring Anglia's finances, which had been hard pressed by the war and the loss of the wealthy Low Countries and reform the laws which had been neglected and occasionally flouted during the long war. William found controlling the occasionally willful Witenage a chore but like his grandfather and uncle before him had soon molded it into a mere shell of its once powerful self. Decisions once again flowed almost solely through him or his powerful ministers. The convoluted method with which he had attained the throne embarrassed him somewhat, sometimes reckoning his wife had more legitimacy, and many historians have suggested he over-compensated by the toughness of his rule. Several high ranking nobles and advisors would fall foul of the king's bouts of temper.

As a committed Catholic monarch, he would also attempt to root out Lutheran thought, not entirely successfully, from his lands. Fryslân in particular soon became a hotbed of heretical ideas which were exported to Anglia with increased frequency. Some of his ministers suggested an accommodation with the Lutherans, especially considering the changing attitudes and conversions amongst the Kalmar nations but William clung to the Luxembourg alliance and remained firmly Catholic.

William died in 1540 and Anglia and Fryslân would be inherited by his eldest son Henry, though another two sons, John and Richard, would also reign in direct opposition to each other during the Anglian War of Religion.


Although betrothed to several prominent European princesses William only married once. He was married to Elizabeth of Luxembourg in 1423 and they would have six children. She would outlive him by 15 years.

  • Henry IV (1525-1563)
  • Elizabeth (1526-1571)
  • Katherine (1528)
  • John III (1530-1581)
  • Richard II (1532-1577)
  • Estrid (1534-1569)
  • William (1538-1581)
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