Henry III of Nassau-Breda

Count Henry III of Nassau-Dillenburg-Dietz (12 January 1483, Siegen – 14 September 1538, Breda), Lord (from 1530 Baron) of Breda, Lord of the Lek, of Dietz, etc. was a count of the House of Nassau.

He was the son of Count John V of Nassau-Dillenburg and Elisabeth of Hesse-Marburg.[1] His younger brother was William I, Count of Nassau-Dillenburg (the father of William the Silent).

Henry III of Nassau-Dillenburg-Dietz
'Portrait of Hendrik III, Count of Nassau-Breda', oil on panel painting by Jan Gossart (Mabuse)
Henry III by Jan Gossaert
Born12 January 1483
Siegen, County of Nassau
Died14 September 1538
Breda, Duchy of Brabant
AllegianceHabsburg dynasty
RankCaptain General
Battles/warsWar of the League of Cambrai Italian War of 1521


In 1499 Henry's uncle, count Engelbert II, invited Henry to the Burgundian Netherlands as his heir.[1] He travelled with Philip the Handsome to Castile in 1501-1503. Upon the death of his uncle in 1504 Henry inherited the Nassau possessions in the Netherlands, including the wealthy lordship of Breda in the duchy of Brabant. The next year he was chosen a knight of the Golden Fleece. He again travelled to Spain in 1505-1506. He became a close confidant of the young Charles V as well as his Chamberlain (1510), becoming his Upper Chamberlain upon the death of William of Croÿ-Chièvres in 1521. The good relations between Charles and Henry is evident in the fact that Charles did not name a new Upper Chamberlain after Henry's death. Henry was named Grand Huntsman of Brabant, a position at court he held until the end of his life.

In 1519 he was part of the delegation that had Charles chosen king of the Romans. He was also prominently present at Charles' coronation to Emperor in Bologna in 1530. He was a member of the Privy Council of Charles since 1515 and of the Privy Council of Archduchess Margaret of Austria between 1525-1526. He temporarily served as Stadtholder of the conquered parts of Guelders and was Stadtholder of Holland and Zeeland between 1515 and 1521. Henry was again in Spain between 1522 and 1530 (accompanying Charles) and in 1533-1534 (with his wife and son).

Military commander

Henry served as an important military commander in the Netherlands, defending Brabant from Guelders in 1508. He was Captain General in the war with Guelders between 1511 and 1513, and fought with Maximilian of Austria against France until 1514, participating in the battle of Guinegate (1513). He again commanded the armies against Guelders and France between 1516 and 1521, defeating the Black Band, which was in the employ of Charles of Guelders, in 1518 and defeating Robert van der Marck, Lord of Sedan in 1521. He also repelled Francis I of France, who invaded Hainaut that same year. Subsequently Henry conquered Tournai.

Castle Breda
The Castle of Breda after it was rebuilt in the Renaissance style.
Guilliam van Schoor and Gillis van Tilborgh 001
Guilliam van Schoor (landscape) and Gillis van Tilborch (figures). The Palace of Nassau in Brussels. 1658, Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium


Although Henry, who attended the Diet of Augsburg in 1530, was at first not averse to Martin Luther and his teachings, he later followed Charles' example and remained a staunch Catholic. He didn't approve of the choice of his brother William, who did become a Lutheran, but remained supportive of him throughout his life. He was very impressed with the Renaissance and especially its arts, examples of which he encountered on his journeys to Spain and Italy. For example, he commissioned Italian architect Tomasso Vincidor da Bologna to completely rebuild his castle at Breda in a renaissance style in 1536, one of the first of such buildings north of the Alps. However, his interests seem to have been superficial. Desiderius Erasmus only considered him a "platonic friend of science".

Family life and death

The grave monument of Engelbert II at the Grote kerk in Breda, Netherlands. Both Henry III and his son René are buried here.

Henry married three times:

  • On 3 August 1503 Henry III married firstly Louise-Françoise of Savoy (° bef. 1486 - † 17 September 1511).[1] They had no children.
  • In May 1515 Henry III married secondly Claudia of Châlon (° 1498 – † 31 May 1521).[1] They had one son, René of Châlon (° 5 February 1519 - † 18 July 1544), who became prince of Orange in 1530 on the death of Claudia's brother Philibert.
  • On 26 June 1524 Henry III married thirdly Mencia de Mendoza y Fonseca (° 30 November 1508 – † 4 January 1554).[1] They had one son, born in March 1527, who lived only a few hours.

Henry had no further legitimate children, although he is known to have had some illegitimate offspring, amongst them Alexis of Nassau-Corroy and Isabelle of Nassau, both legitimised after the death of their father, and both had an impressive descendance. One of his descendants is Philippe François de Berghes, 1st Prince of Grimberghen.

His third marriage to Mencia de Mendoza y Fonseca was mainly encouraged by Charles V, as part of his plan to make the nobility of Spain and the Low Countries mix. Henry was however never really liked by the Spaniards, who regarded him as a loud and barbarian German parvenu. Upon his death in 1538 he was succeeded by his only son, but René was himself slain in battle only a few years later in 1544. Henry lies buried beneath the grave monument he had erected for his uncle Engelbert in the Grote kerk at Breda.

Blason Nassau-Vianden
Coat of arms of Henry III. The 1st and 4th quarters show the arms of Nassau. The 2nd and 3rd show the arms of the lordship of Breda & Vianden.[2]


  1. ^ a b c d e Guenther 1995, p. 5.
  2. ^ Rietstap, Johannes Baptist (2003). Armorial general. vol.2. Genealogical Publishing Co. p. 297. ISBN 0-8063-4811-9.


  • Guenther, Ilse (1995). "Henry III of Nassau". In Bietenholz, Peter G.; Deutscher, Thomas Brian (eds.). Contemporaries of Erasmus: A Biographical Register of the Renaissance and Reformation. Vol. 2. University of Toronto Press.

Further reading

  • Hans Cools, Mannen met Macht (Walburg Pers, Zutphen, 2001)
  • H.P.H. Jansen, Nassau en Oranje in de Nederlandse geschiedenis (Sijthoff, Alphen a/d Rijn, 1979)
  • Grew, Marion Ethel, "The House of Orange" ( Methuen & Co. Ltd., 36 Essex Street, Strand, London W.C.2, 1947)
  • Rowen, Herbert H., "The princes of Orange: the stadholders in the Dutch Republic", (Cambridge University Press, 1988).
  • Motley, John Lothrop "The Rise of the Dutch Republic" vol.1. (Harper Brothers Publishers, 1855)
Henry III of Nassau-Breda
Born: 12 January 1483 Died: 14 September 1538
Preceded by
Engelbert II of Nassau
Lord (Baron) of Breda
Succeeded by
René of Châlon
Preceded by
John III of Egmond
Stadtholder of Holland and Zeeland
Succeeded by
Antoine de Lalaing, Count of Hoogstraten
Preceded by
John V
Count of Nassau-Dillenburg
Succeeded by
William I, Count of Nassau-Dillenburg
Preceded by
John III
Count of Nassau-Beilstein

Year 1483 (MCDLXXXIII) was a common year starting on Wednesday (link will display the full calendar) of the Julian calendar).


Year 1538 (MDXXXVIII) was a common year starting on Tuesday (link will display the full calendar) of the Julian calendar.

Breda Castle

Breda Castle is a castle in the city of Breda, in the Netherlands.

Claudia of Chalon

Claudia of Chalon-Orange (1498 – May 31, 1521, Diest) was the second wife of Henry III of Nassau-Breda, whom she had married in 1515. She was the mother of René of Chalon, lord of Breda, the first Nassau to be Prince of Orange.

Claudia of Chalon was the daughter of John of Chalon, lord of Arlay and Philiberte of Luxembourg-Ligny. She was raised mainly at the French court.

She was buried in the Grote kerk ("big church") in Breda.

After the death of her brother Philibert of Chalon the title of Prince of Orange went to her son René of Châlon.


Corroy may refer to:

Corroy, County Mayo, Ireland

Corroy, Marne, France

Alexis of Nassau-Corroy, bastard son of Henry III of Nassau-Breda

Castle of Corroy-le-Château

Elisabeth of Nassau-Dillenburg, Countess of Wied

Elisabeth of Nassau-Dillenburg (1 December 1488 – 3 June 1559 in Dillenburg) was a member of the House of Nassau. She was a daughter of John V of Nassau-Dillenburg and his wife Elisabeth of Hesse-Marburg. Her brothers were Henry III of Nassau-Breda, John of Nassau-Vianden-Dietz, Ernest of Nassau and William the Rich. Her sister was Maria of Nassau.

Grand Huntsman of Brabant

Grand Veneur de Brabant or Grand Huntsman of Brabant was a feudal function at the court of the Duchy of Brabant.

Grote Kerk (Breda)

The Grote Kerk or Onze-Lieve-Vrouwekerk (Church of Our Lady) is the most important monument and a landmark of Breda. The church is built in the Brabantine Gothic style. The tower of the church is 97 meters tall. The plan is in the shape of a Latin Cross.

Henry III

Henry III may refer to:

Henry III, Duke of Bavaria (940–989)

Henry III, Holy Roman Emperor (1017–1056)

Henry III, Count of Louvain (died 1095)

Henry III, Count of Luxembourg (died 1096)

Henry III, Duke of Carinthia (1050–1122)

Henry the Lion (died 1195), Henry III of Saxony, (1129–1195)

Henry III, Duke of Limburg (1140s–1221)

Henry III, Count of Sayn (died 1246)

Henry III of England (1207–1272)

Henry III, Margrave of Meissen (1215–1288)

Henry III, Marquis of Namur (1216–1281)

Henry III the White (1227–1266), Duke of Wrocław

Henry III, Duke of Brabant (c. 1230–1261)

Henry III, Count of Champagne (1244–1274), also King Henry I of Navarre

Henry III, Count of Bar (1259–1302)

Henry III, Count of Gorizia (1263–1323)

Henry III, Lord of Waldeck (died 1267)

Henry III, Prince of Anhalt-Aschersleben (died 1307)

Henry III, Duke of Głogów (died 1309/60–1309)

Henry III, Duke of Mecklenburg (c. 1337–1383)

Henry III of Castile (1379–1406)

Henry III, Count of Holstein-Rendsburg (died 1421)

Henry III, Count of Schauenburg-Holstein (died 1421)

Henry III, Duke of Brunswick-Grubenhagen (1416–1464)

Henry III, Landgrave of Upper Hesse (1440–1483)

Henry III of Nassau-Breda (1483–1538)

Henry III, Duke of Brunswick-Lüneburg (1533–1598)

Henry III, Duke of Münsterberg-Oels (1542–1587)

Henry III of France (1551–1589), also King of Poland and Grand Duke of Lithuania

Henry III of Navarre (1553–1610), later King Henry IV of France

Henry III, Prince of Condé (1643–1709)

House of Orange-Nassau

The House of Orange-Nassau (Dutch: Huis van Oranje-Nassau, pronounced [ˈɦœys fɑn oːˌrɑɲə ˈnɑsʌu]), a branch of the European House of Nassau, has played a central role in the politics and government of the Netherlands and Europe especially since William the Silent organized the Dutch revolt against Spanish rule, which after the Eighty Years' War (1568–1648) led to an independent Dutch state.

Several members of the house served during this war and after as stadtholder ("governor"; Dutch: stadhouder) during the Dutch Republic. However, in 1815, after a long period as a republic, the Netherlands became a monarchy under the House of Orange-Nassau.

The dynasty was established as a result of the marriage of Henry III of Nassau-Breda from Germany and Claudia of Châlon-Orange from French Burgundy in 1515. Their son René inherited in 1530 the independent and sovereign Principality of Orange from his mother's brother, Philibert of Châlon. As the first Nassau to be the Prince of Orange, René could have used "Orange-Nassau" as his new family name. However, his uncle, in his will, had stipulated that René should continue the use of the name Châlon-Orange. History knows him therefore as René of Châlon. After the death of René in 1544, his cousin William of Nassau-Dillenburg inherited all of his lands. This "William I of Orange", in English better known as William the Silent, became the founder of the House of Orange-Nassau.

Ignace-François de Glymes-Brabant, Lord of la Falize

Ignace-François de Glymes-Brabant (29 March 1677 - 5 November 1755) was a Flemish born general in the service of Imperial Spain.

Jan Gossaert

Jan Gossaert (c. 1478 – 1 October 1532) was a French-speaking painter from the Low Countries also known as Jan Mabuse (the name he adopted from his birthplace, Maubeuge) or Jennyn van Hennegouwe (Hainaut), as he called himself when he matriculated in the Guild of Saint Luke, at Antwerp, in 1503. He was one of the first painters of Dutch and Flemish Renaissance painting to visit Italy and Rome, which he did in 1508–09, and a leader of the style known as Romanism, which brought elements of Italian Renaissance painting to the north, sometimes with a rather awkward effect. He achieved fame across at least northern Europe, and painted religious subjects, including large altarpieces, but also portraits and mythological subjects, including some nudity.

From at least 1508 he was apparently continuous employed, or at least retained, by quasi-royal patrons, mostly members of the extended Habsburg family, heirs to the Valois Duchy of Burgundy. These were Philip of Burgundy, Adolf of Burgundy, Christian II of Denmark when in exile, and Mencía de Mendoza, Countess of Nassau, third wife of Henry III of Nassau-Breda.He was a contemporary of Albrecht Dürer and the rather younger Lucas van Leyden, whom he knew, but he has tended to be less highly regarded in modern times than they were. Unlike them, he was not a printmaker, though his surviving drawings are very fine, and are preferred by some to his paintings.

Johann V of Nassau-Vianden-Dietz

Johann V of Nassau-Vianden-Dietz (Breda, 9 November 1455 – Dillenburg, 30 July 1516) was count of Nassau (in Siegen, Dillenburg, Hadamar and Herborn), Vianden and Diez, and Lord of Breda. He was the paternal grandfather of William the Silent.

He was the son of Jan IV of Nassau and his wife Maria of Loon-Heinsberg.

Johann V was in 1504 and 1505 stadtholder of Guelders and Zutphen. In 1504, he inherited Breda and Vianden from his brother Engelbrecht II of Nassau.

Johann V married in 1482 to Elisabeth of Hesse-Marburg, a daughter of Henry III, Landgrave of Upper Hesse and his wife Anna of Katzenelnbogen. They had 6 children:

Henry III of Nassau-Breda (1483–1538)

Johann of Nassau-Vianden-Dietz (1484–1504)

Ernst (1486)

William I, Count of Nassau-Dillenburg (1487–1559), father of William the Silent.

Elisabeth of Nassau (1488–1559)

Maria of Nassau (1491–1547)Count Johann V was buried at Siegen.

His Dutch possessions went to his eldest son Henry, his German possessions to his other son William.

Mencía de Mendoza

Mencía de Mendoza y Fonseca (30 November 1508 - 4 January 1554) was a Dutch culture patron. She was a leading figure of the Renaissance in the Netherlands and known for her progressive opinions of the education of women. She was the daughter of Rodrigo Díaz de Vivar y Mendoza, 1st Marquis of Cenete and María de Fonseca y Toledo and married in 1524 to Henry III of Nassau-Breda.


The house of Nassau-Corroy is a bastard branch of the House of Nassau. Unlike the main branch of the House of Nassau, this bastard branch was faithful to the king of Spain and Roman Catholic.

René de Renesse, 1st Count of Warfusée

René III of Renesse, Viscount of Montenaecken, Baron of Gaesbeeck, Lord of Elderen (ca. 1580 – Liège, 17 April 1637) was a Dutch nobleman, who became the 1st Count of Warfusée in 1609. He acquired Gaasbeek Castle in 1615.

René of Chalon

René of Chalon (5 February 1519 – 15 July 1544), also known as Renatus of Chalon, was a Prince of Orange and stadtholder of Holland, Zeeland, Utrecht and Gelre.

Van Renesse

Van Renesse is an old Dutch aristocratic family that stems from the town of Renesse in Zeeland. The current Belgian branch resides in 's Herenelderen Castle since 1540.

William I, Count of Nassau-Dillenburg

William I, Count of Nassau-Dillenburg (nicknamed William the Rich, Dutch: Willem de Rijke; 10 April 1487 – 6 October 1559) was a count of Nassau-Dillenburg from the House of Nassau. His nickname the Rich refers to him having many children. However, he owned a number of counties: Nassau-Dillenburg, Nassau-Siegen, Nassau-Dietz and Vianden.

William was born in Dillenburg as the younger son of Count John V of Nassau-Dillenburg and Landgravine Elisabeth, daughter of Landgrave Henry III of Hesse-Marburg and Anna of Katzenelnbogen. He was the brother of count Henry III of Nassau-Breda and the father of William I of Orange.

His eldest son William the Silent inherited the principality of Orange in Southern France from his cousin René of Chalon, as well as the vast properties of the House of Nassau-Dillenburg in the Netherlands from his father, which Engelbert I of Nassau had received by marriage in 1403. The early House of Orange-Nassau descends from William I., the Silent, while the later House of Orange-Nassau (and the Dutch royal family) descends in the male line from his younger brother John, Count of Nassau-Dillenburg, and from the latter's fifth son, Count Ernst Casimir of Nassau-Dietz, however in the female line also from William of Orange.

Stadtholders of Holland, Zeeland and (from 1528) Utrecht

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