William II (Willem Frederik George Lodewijk, anglicized as William Frederick George Louis; 6 December 1792 – 17 March 1849) was King of the Netherlands, Grand Duke of Luxembourg, and Duke of Limburg.
In the Books Edit
In the book Sharpe's Waterloo
In the TV series Edit
In the TV movie Sharpe's Waterloo William was an officer at the Battle of Waterloo where he earned the hatred of Sharpe for his inexperience and pretentiousness. He refused to order his men to adopt a square formation despite the presence of French cavalry which lead to the men taking heavy casualties. Later in battle he was trapped in the farmhouse of La Haye Sainte and deciding to attempt to flee he ordered the gate be opened, this lead to high casualties among the defenders including Hagman and Harris. Sharpe's grief at the loss of his two friends and hoping to prevent the Prince from costing more lives with his blunders caused Sharpe to attempt to assassinate the Prince, however he escaped only wounded.
He was played by Paul Bettany
Historical Accuracy Edit
The depiction of William of Orange in the TV movie is unusual as it is entirely fictional in a series which often is well researched and true to history. Firstly, the Prince is depicted as militarily inept, whereas in reality he has served with the Duke of Wellington since 1811. Secondly, he is shown to be cowardly, despite reputedly being courageous. Finally he is depicted as being unpopular with the British troops, who scornfully call him 'Silly Billy' however he was actually very popular with the men who affectionately nicknamed him 'Slender Billy'.
Also the Prince tries to force Sharpe to wear a Dutch uniform during the battle, however the Prince himself was commissioned in the British Army, not the Dutch, so would have been wearing a British uniform himself.