William III, William of Orange (1650-1702), is a key figure in English history. Grandson of Charles I and married to Mary, eldest daughter of James II, the pair became the object of protestant hopes after James lost the throne. Though William was personally unpopular - his continental ties the source of suspicion and resentment - Tony Claydon argues that William was key to solving the chronic instability of seventeenth-century Britain and Ireland. It took someone with a European vision and foreign experience of handling a free political system, to end the stand-off between ruler and people that had marred Stuart history. Claydon takes a thematic approach to investigate all these aspects in their wider context, and presents William as the crucial factor in Britain's emergence as a world power, and as a model of open and participatory government.
Tony Claydon is head of the Department of History at the University of Wales, Bangor. He is author of "William III and the Godly Revolution "(CUP, 1996).