Williams War

Williams War

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Amsterdam, Belfast, London




Transmission 20/05/1990


59min 02sec




Betacam SP



Digitised as part of the UTV Archive Partnership Project (ITV, Northern Ireland Screen and PRONI)


Department for Communities, ITV, Public Record Office of Northern Ireland

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It is illegal to download, copy, print or otherwise utilise in any other form this material, without written consent from the copyright holder.


The retelling of the history surrounding King William and King James and the Battle of the Boyne, broken into two parts and mainly using the tool of reenactment with inserts with a narrator. 

Dr James McGuire, introduces the programme and how the victory of the infamous Battle of the Boyne is seen with celebrations every year which underlie "the mistrust, that is still prevalent today between the protestant and catholic communities".

So first, before we get to the battle itself, we must explore who King Williams was. Set in Amsterdam in the 17th Century, this was a republic that was fast becoming a powerhouse in economic power. Louis XIV of France, believed that Holland was a threat and soon began military preparations, he then attack without even a declaration of war. This sent a ripple of shock throughout Europe as many sent support but the French had overran the local troops, defeat finally came to France once the navy became involved. Following this, William strengthened his position by marrying his first cousin, Mary, the eldest daughter of the heir of England. 

Unrest in England began due to the king's conversion to catholicism, this was heightened when he became a father to a male heir. English politicians travelled to Holland to ask William to intervene, this is the beginning of what led to the Battle of the Boyne. 

When William arrived in Belfast, bonfires were lit in celebration, a lasting tradition seen today. However, it's suspected that the legacy of the Boyne, was not one which Williams would have wanted as he was fundamentally tolerant and the victory which followed the battle led to prosecution and civil persecution. 


An Ulster Television Production. 

Written and Directed by Roy Heayberd 

Narrated by Dr. James McGuire

Editor: Steve Ward

Executive Producer: Andy Crockart

Produced by: Bruce Milliard and Roy Heayberd

Ulster Television Wish to Thank the Following: William and Mary by Henri and Barbara Vander Zee published by Macmillian London Ltd.

The Embarrassment of Riches by Simon Schama published by William Collins Sons and Co. Ltd

The Shadow of the Crown by Merrill Trevor published by Constabke and Co, Ltd

Louis XIV: The Other Side of the Sun by Prince Michael of Greece Published by Orbis Publishing Ltd.



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