The Prince of Orange received much claim for his personal conduct during the Battle of Waterloo, in which he was wounded. This showed how he as oldest son of the new king had been willing to to put his own life in danger for the sake of the young state of the United Kingdom of the Netherlands. The prince's endeavours at Waterloo and his wound personified the new bonds between the people of the Netherlands and the Orange family. Moreover... the final battle to destroy Bonapartist France was delivered on Netherlands soil! What a great honour this was... and still is.
King & Country.. a wounded prince..., a Hero of Waterloo... a new country was born and its people received their first victorious laurels!
Read here what Major-General van Reede witnessed when the Prince of Orange was wounded in the final stages of the Battle of Waterloo. More ofcourse in our next book "Standing firm at Waterloo"!
Here is what Van Reede later wrote in response to the Dutch historian Scheltema, who had just published his history on the campaign entitled De laatste veldtogt van Napoleon Buonaparte:
The Hague, 10 June 1816
With gratitude and recognition I return your work about the last Campaign, I have read it with the utmost pleasure and am convinced of the general approval, it will receive concerning the exactness of the deeds * [note left of the letter: * I would not know what to add], I only need to edit pag. 189. That the Prince was carried from the Battlefield lying in a woollen blanket by, as I think, 8 or 10 Hanoverian soldiers, that first on the highway to Waterloo one tore a door from a house to place him on it and that it was moments before this that I took the opportunity when he opened his eyes on which occasion he recognised me, to ask him about how he felt of his wound, and I received the answer. The Prince was not covered with a cloak; while put on the door, he mostly sat straight up with various isolated [men] whom we met there and who had left the battlefield to return to their corps [= battalions], predicting them the good outcome and entrusting that the participation in the Battle of the Corps of General Hill, which then first took place since a short moment, would turn the affairs entirely into our favour.
General Alava may have followed the Prince in the first moments, but was no longer there when I arrived, he left the battlefield almost ½ hour later when one of his best friends Lord Fitzroy Somerset, adjutant of the Duke, was so dearly wounded that one had to amputate both his arms in the [house] where the Prince was and before he, as I remember well, was bandaged. Perhaps one has mistaken the Russian General and Minister Pozzo di Borgo, with whom I rode along the entire day, for mister Alava.
With the most perfect esteem I have the honour to call myself
Your Honourable Servant
W.F. van Reede