- Henry III of Nassau-Breda
Infobox Military Person
name=Henry III of Nassau-Dillenburg-Dietz
12 January 1483– 14 September 1538
caption=Henry III by
Bernard van Orley
Siegen, County of Nassau
Breda, Duchy of Brabant
War of the League of Cambrai Italian War of 1521 CountHenry III of Nassau-Dillenburg-Dietz ( 12 January 1483, Siegen– 14 September 1538, Breda), Lord(from 1530 Baron) of Breda, Lord of the Lek, of Diest, etc. was a count of the House of Nassau.
He was the son of Count
John V of Nassau-Dillenburgand Elisabeth of Hesse. His younger brother was William I, Count of Nassau-Dillenburg(the father of William the Silent).
In 1499 Henry's uncle, count Engelbert II, invited Henry to the Burgundian Netherlands as his heir. He travelled with
Philip the Handsometo 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 Bredain the duchy of Brabant. The next year he was chosen a knight of the Golden Fleece. He again travelled to Spainin 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 relation between Charles and Henry is evident in the fact that Charles did not name a new Upper Chamberlain after Henry's death.
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 Bolognain 1530. He was a member of the Privy Councilof Charles since 1515 and of the Privy Council of Archduchess Margaret of Austria between 1525-1526. He temporarily served as stadholderof the conquered parts of Gueldersand was stadtholder of Hollandand Zeelandbetween 1515 and 1521. Henry was again in Spain between 1522 and 1530 (accompanying Charles) and in 1533-1534 (with his wife and son).
Henry served as an important military commander in the Netherlands, defending Brabant from
Gueldersin 1508. He was Captain Generalin the war with Guelders between 1511 and 1513, and fought with Maximilian of Austria against Franceuntil 1514, participating in the battle of Guinegate(1513). He again commanded the armies against Guelders and Francebetween 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.
Although Henry, who attended the
Diet of Augsburgin 1530, was at first not averse to Martin Lutherand 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 Renaissanceand especially its arts, examples of which he encountered on his journeys to Spainand Italy. For example, he commissioned Italian architectTomasso Vincidor da Bologna to completely rebuild his castleat 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 Erasmusonly considered him a "platonic friend of science".
Family Life and Death
Henry married three times:
* Louise-Françoise of Savoy (†
17 September 1511) on 3 August 1503.
Claudia of Châlon(° 1498 - † 31 May 1521) in May 1515.
Mencia de Mendoza y Fonseca(° 30 November 1508- † 4 January 1544) on 26 June 1524.
With Claudia of Châlon he had a son,
René of Châlon(° 5 February 1519), who became prince of Orangein 1530 on the death of Claudia's brother Philibert. Henry had no further legitimate children, although he is known to have had some bastard offspring. His marriage to Mencia de Mendoza y Fonseca was mainly encouraged by Charles V, as part of his plan to make the nobility of Spainand 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.
* 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)
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