William, Prince of Orange, assassinated in Prinsenhof.

Date: 
July 10, 1584

Willem I, Prince of Orange (1533–1584), was shot dead in the Prinsenhof by the French Catholic Balthasar Gérard. Gérard was captured immediately, tried publicly on July 13 and executed the next day in the Markt square in front of the Stadhuis. The accompanying torture included using a red-hot iron to cut off the (right) hand that Gérard had used to fire the gun. Then with pincers, the sheriff ripped the muscles off his bones in six different places. Gérard was still alive, so they quartered and disemboweled him. Once he was dead, they tore out his heart and flung it in his face. Then they cut off his head. All that wasn't nearly as bad as the previous three days of torture. It is best described in Gemeentearchief Delft, Oud Rechterlijk Archief, inv 46 (Eerste Crimineel Boeck 1536 – 1591), folio 170recto - 171verso. The text is available online (Dutch only).

On August 3, Willem was buried across the square in the Nieuwe Kerk (click image for larger size), cementing Delft's place as the Prince's City.

Tomb of William of Orange in Delft's Nieuwe Kerk

The elaborate monument in the Nieuwe Kerk, above, was built by Hendrick de Keyser, who worked on it from 1614 until his death in 1621. It was completed two years later by his son Pieter.

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