The Revolutionary Committee of the Batavian Republic was formed on 17 January 1795, when revolution broke out in The Netherlands against the regime of prince William V of Orange. The Dutch army was defeated by the French, and the French were seen as liberators. William V fled to Great Britain. Many refugees could return home. They had to flee out of the Netherlands after the Prussian invasion on behalf of prince William V in 1787. The presidents of the Revolutionary Committee acted as heads of state of the Netherlands (only recognized by France).