Who was William of Orange, when did King Billy win the Battle of the Boyne and how will he be celebrated on The Twelfth in 2019?

WILLIAM of Orange fought his way to the English crown in the late 17th century in what was later known as The Glorious Revolution.

In Northern Ireland, where he is known as "King Billy", he is still commemorated every year with The Twelfth celebrations. Here is his story and how he will be celebrated in 2019.

Who was William of Orange?

William of Orange was born in the Hague, then part of the Dutch Republic, on November 4, 1650.

His father William II died before his birth, giving William the title of Prince of Orange – a region in the south of modern-day France – from the moment he was born.

In 1672 he became a Stadtholder, or head of state, and in the years that followed extended his power over the Netherlands, which were then a series of separate states.

Throughout the early 1670s he was engaged in a series of brutal conflicts, with the Protestant Dutch fighting back from the brink against the powerful Catholic French and their allies.

With peace gradually secured, William sought to improve his position with marriage by getting hitched to his first cousin Mary, the daughter of the future King James II of England.

As he was the grandson of King Charles I, this gave him a strong claim to the English throne.

His father-in-law was a Catholic, and when he became King English Protestants urged William to invade and seize the crown.

Though he was initially wary of how a foreign king would be received, in June 1688 a group of powerful political figures called the "Immortal Seven" invited William to invade.

He landed in November with a huge fleet and army, with King James's support quickly crumbling.

William allowed his father-in-law to flee after he realised his situation was desperate, and was crowned King William III of England, Ireland and Scotland alongside his wife on April 11, 1689.

The event, which secured William and Mary as joint monarchs, became known as the Glorious Revolution.

In taking the throne, he became the last person to successfully invade England by force.

When was the Battle of the Boyne?

Although James had fled England, he still enjoyed plenty of support in Ireland, which was controlled by Roman Catholics.

In the summer of 1689, William sent his army and navy to fight the Catholic forces who had been bolstered with troops from France.

The Battle of the Boyne began on July 1, 1690, (July 11 under the modern calendar) across the River Boyne near the town of Drogheda in the east of Ireland.

William personally led the army north of the river and James led his troops stationed on the south side.

The newly-crowned king won a decisive victory over his father-in-law, helping to scupper James's hopes of regaining the crown.

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How does The Twelfth celebrate 'King Billy'?

William of Orange is known fondly as "King Billy" by Protestants in Northern Ireland and Scotland, with murals commemorating the king commonplace.

His victory at the Battle of the Boyne is considered a key moment in the Protestant ascendancy in Ireland.

The Glorious Twelfth is a bank holiday in Northern Ireland every July 12, with as many as 200,000 people line the routes to take part in the fervent pro-British celebrations

Orange Walks are held by Protestant affiliated organisations, in the run up to the "anniversary" of the battle.

Some have expressed criticism as to why it is celebrated on July 12, claiming there was a miscalculation of dates – but the celebrations have been going on for more than 200 years.

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