Time Orange Order distanced itself from slaver King Billy

Posted By: June 23, 2023




Distributed to Congress by Irish National Caucus

“The Orange Order (think the White Citizens’ Council, in the Deep South, USA, 1954-79) is the very personification, and proudly so, of Protestant Supremacy in Northern Ireland. They would have been cheering King Charles’ recent very public anti-Catholic Coronation Oath. The Orange Order, like other supremacist Unionist leaders, have always warned the London Parliament and the Monarch of England that their allegiance is not just to The Crown but to Protestant Succession to The Throne … And, King Charles swore the oath to keep Catholics from ever inheriting The Throne, which condoned and justified Orange bigotry and bitter anti-Catholicism.”–Fr. Sean McManus

Time Orange Order distanced itself from slaver King Billy

Given his links to slave trading, should King William be commemorated quite so proudly on Orange banners and statues?

Tom Collins. Irish News. Belfast. Friday, June 23, 2023.


The Grand Orange Lodge of Ireland (good to know it will not have to rebrand when the country is once again united) says it is committed to protecting the principles of William’s Glorious Revolution “which enshrined civil and religious liberty for all”.

The phrase ‘for all’ is used without irony. But Order membership is restricted to adult males. Women and children have their own associations, and Catholics need not apply.

The Orange Order says its core values include “religious tolerance and respect”. You can make your own mind up on that.

Like the members of the cult who can see only good in Boris Johnson, King Billy’s status as the embodiment of “civil and religious liberty for all” is visible only to those who believe the pope is the anti-Christ and that All Kinds of Everything is a republican anthem.

You can’t blame King Billy for the Orange Order, he was dead 90 years before it was founded. But his reputation as a champion for liberty is about to take another knock.

A year before the Battle of the Boyne, William III was gifted shares in the Royal African Company – thousands of men, women and children (186,827 to be precise) were seized by the company and enslaved. It operated under a royal charter, and King Billy was the company’s governor.

Next week, on July 1, his descendent King Willem-Alexander is expected to make a formal apology for the Dutch royal house’s role in the slave trade. The House of Orange earned the equivalent of £800 million from the trade which was developed by William of Orange.

A further reckoning is to come when a UK study, supported by William’s successor King Charles, is completed.

Unlike other port cities, Belfast rejected the slave trade. But slavery played a significant role in enriching its sister city, Glasgow. The city council there has commissioned a study to look at its slaving past.

And in critics’ sights is a statue of King Billy near Glasgow’s medieval cathedral. The lines of a battle between those who believe the statue should be removed, and the Orange Order in Scotland, are already being mapped out.

Grand Master Jim McHarg told The Times this week: “It is news to me that King William was involved in the slave trade.” News indeed.

The plinth on King Billy’s statue says he saved Europe from the ‘yoke of slavery intended by the French’. That is no consolation to the hundreds of thousands he and his minions enslaved.

Or, to put it another way, he stood for civil and religious liberty for all, but only if you are European, white, and Protestant.

Never mind the royals, it’s time the Orange Order distanced itself from the slaver king and genuinely embraced liberty ‘for all’.