chapter  1
20 Pages

Letters Make the Family: Nassau Family Correspondence at the Turn of the Seventeenth Century

On July 10, 1584, William the Silent, after lunching at the Prinsenhof, the family’s home in Delft, with his wife, sister, and several of his daughters, rose from the table. Crossing the hallway he was intercepted by the Catholic assassin, Balthasar Gérard, shot three times with a pistol, and died several hours later. Thus, as William was lamented across the Dutch Republic and wider Protestant world, the small community of the Nassau family lost its patriarch, a wife turned widow, and all but one of his children became orphans.