The Kingdom of Holland was set up by Napoleon Bonaparte for his brother Louis Bonaparte, who became the first King of Holland in 1806. Louis was – unhappily – married to Napoleon’s stepdaughter Hortense, who was thus the first – and as it would turn out the last – Queen of the Kingdom of Holland.
The new King and Queen received a surprisingly warm welcome in their new Kingdom. However, Hortense was deeply unhappy in Holland, and the couple lived in different wings of the Royal Palace of Amsterdam. Hortense only lived briefly in her new Kingdom and returned to France after the death of their elder son.
Louis was a better King than Napoleon had expected and wanted him to be. Louis was determined to learn the language and even adopted the Dutch spelling of his name. Napoleon forced Louis to abdicate in 1810 and his eldest surviving son, the six-year-old Louis, became King Louis II of Holland for one week when the Kingdom was annexed into the French Empire. Hortense acted as regent for him.
And so after just four years, the Kingdom of Holland came to an end. After the fall of Napoleon, the House of Orange returned to power, eventually becoming Kings of the Netherlands in 1815.