Portrait by Sir Godfrey Kneller, 1690
| Queen of England, Scotland and Ireland |
|Reign||1689 – 28 December 1694|
|Coronation||11 April 1689|
|Predecessor||James II & VII|
|Successor||William III & II|
|Co-monarch||William III & II|
|Born||30 April 1662|
(N.S.: 10 May 1662)
St James's Palace, London
|Died||28 December 1694 (aged 32)|
(N.S.: 7 January 1695)
Kensington Palace, London
|Burial||5 March 1695|
Westminster Abbey, London
William III & II (m. 1677)
|Father||James II & VII|
Mary II (30 April 1662 – 28 December 1694) was Queen of England, Scotland, and Ireland, co-reigning with her husband, King William III & II, from 1689 until her death. Popular histories usually refer to their joint reign as that of William and Mary.
Although their father James, Duke of York, was Roman Catholic, Mary and her younger sister Anne were raised as Anglicans at the wishes of their uncle, King Charles II. Charles lacked legitimate children, making Mary second in the line of succession. She married her Protestant first cousin, William of Orange, in 1677. Charles died in 1685 and James took the throne, making Mary heir presumptive. James's attempts at rule by decree and the birth of his son, James Francis Edward, led to his deposition in the Glorious Revolution of 1688 and the adoption of the English Bill of Rights.
William and Mary became king and queen regnant. Mary mostly deferred to William, a renowned military leader and principal opponent of Louis XIV, when he was in England. She did, however, act alone when William was engaged in military campaigns abroad, proving herself to be a powerful, firm, and effective ruler. Mary's death left William as sole ruler until his own death in 1702, when he was succeeded by Mary's sister, Anne.
Mary, born at St James's Palace in London on 30 April 1662, was the eldest daughter of the Duke of York (the future King James II & VII), and his first wife, Anne Hyde. Mary's uncle was King Charles II, who ruled the three kingdoms of England, Scotland and Ireland; her maternal grandfather, Edward Hyde, 1st Earl of Clarendon, served for a lengthy period as Charles's chief advisor. She was baptised into the Anglican faith in the Chapel Royal at St James's, and was named after her ancestor, Mary, Queen of Scots. Her godparents included her father's cousin, Prince Rupert of the Rhine.Although her mother bore eight children, all except Mary and her younger sister Anne died very young, and King Charles II had no legitimate children. Consequently, for most of her childhood, Mary was second in line to the throne after her father.
The Duke of York converted to Roman Catholicism in 1668 or 1669 and the Duchess about eight years earlier, but Mary and Anne were brought up as Anglicans, pursuant to the command of Charles II.They were moved to their own establishment at Richmond Palace, where they were raised by their governess Lady Frances Villiers, with only occasional visits to see their parents at St James's or their grandfather Lord Clarendon at Twickenham. Mary's education, from private tutors, was largely restricted to music, dance, drawing, French, and religious instruction. Her mother died in 1671, and her father remarried in 1673, taking as his second wife Mary of Modena, a Catholic who was only four years older than Mary.
From about the age of nine until her marriage, Mary wrote passionate letters to an older girl, Frances Apsley, the daughter of courtier Sir Allen Apsley. Mary signed herself 'Mary Clorine'; Apsley was 'Aurelia'. In time, Frances became uncomfortable with the correspondence,and replied more formally. At the age of fifteen, Mary became betrothed to her cousin, the Protestant Stadtholder of Holland, William III of Orange. William was the son of the King's late sister, Mary, Princess Royal, and thus fourth in the line of succession after James, Mary, and Anne. At first, Charles II opposed the alliance with the Dutch ruler—he preferred that Mary wed the heir to the French throne, the Dauphin Louis, thus allying his realms with Catholic France and strengthening the odds of an eventual Catholic successor in Britain; but later, under pressure from Parliament and with a coalition with the Catholic French no longer politically favourable, he approved the proposed union. The Duke of York agreed to the marriage, after pressure from chief minister Lord Danby and the King, who incorrectly assumed that it would improve James's popularity among Protestants. When James told Mary that she was to marry her cousin, "she wept all that afternoon and all the following day".
William and a tearful Mary were married in St James's Palace by Bishop Henry Compton on 4 November 1677.The bedding ceremony to publicly establish the consummation of the marriage was attended by the royal family, with the King himself drawing the bedcurtains. Mary accompanied her husband on a rough sea crossing back to the Netherlands later that month, after a delay of two weeks caused by bad weather. Rotterdam was inaccessible because of ice, and they were forced to land at the small village of Ter Heijde, and walk through the frosty countryside until met by coaches to take them to Huis Honselaarsdijk. On 14 December, they made a formal entry to The Hague in a grand procession.
Mary's animated and personable nature made her popular with the Dutch people, and her marriage to a Protestant prince was popular in Britain.She was devoted to her husband, but he was often away on campaigns, which led to Mary's family supposing him to be cold and neglectful. Within months of the marriage Mary was pregnant; however, on a visit to her husband at the fortified city of Breda, she suffered a miscarriage, which may have permanently impaired her ability to have children. She suffered further bouts of illness that may have been miscarriages in mid-1678, early 1679, and early 1680. Her childlessness would be the greatest source of unhappiness in her life.
From May 1684, King Charles's illegitimate son, James Scott, Duke of Monmouth, lived in the Netherlands, where he was fêted by William and Mary. Monmouth was viewed as a rival to the Duke of York, and as a potential Protestant heir who could supplant the Duke in the line of succession. William, however, did not consider him a viable alternative and correctly assumed that Monmouth had insufficient support.
Upon the death of Charles II without legitimate issue in February 1685, the Duke of York became king as James II in England and Ireland and James VII in Scotland. Mary was playing cards when her husband informed her of her father's accession, and that she was heir presumptive.
When Charles's illegitimate son the Duke of Monmouth assembled an invasion force at Amsterdam, and sailed for Britain, William informed James of the Duke's departure, and ordered English regiments in the Low Countries to return to Britain.To William's relief, Monmouth was defeated, captured and executed, but both he and Mary were dismayed by James's subsequent actions.
James had a controversial religious policy; his attempt to grant freedom of religion to non-Anglicans by suspending acts of Parliament by royal decree was not well received.Mary considered such action illegal, and her chaplain expressed this view in a letter to the Archbishop of Canterbury, William Sancroft, on her behalf. She was further dismayed when James refused to help when the Catholic King of France, Louis XIV, invaded Orange and persecuted Huguenot refugees there. In an attempt to damage William, James encouraged his daughter's staff to inform her that William was having an affair with Elizabeth Villiers, the daughter of her childhood governess Frances Villiers. Acting on the information, Mary waited outside Villiers's room and caught her husband leaving it late at night. William denied adultery, and Mary apparently believed and forgave him. Possibly, Villiers and William were not meeting as lovers but to exchange diplomatic intelligence. Mary's staff was dismissed and sent back to Britain.
Disgruntled Protestant politicians and noblemen were in contact with Mary's husband as early as 1686.After James took the step of forcing Anglican clergymen to read the Declaration of Indulgence—the proclamation granting religious liberty to Catholics and dissenters—from their churches in May 1688, his popularity plunged further. Alarm amongst Protestants increased when his wife, Mary of Modena, gave birth to a son—James Francis Edward—in June 1688, for the son would, unlike Mary and Anne, be raised a Roman Catholic. Some charged that the boy was "supposititious", having been secretly smuggled into the Queen's room in a bed-warming pan as a substitute for her stillborn baby. Seeking information, Mary sent a pointed list of questions to her sister, Anne, regarding the circumstances of the birth. Anne's reply, and continued gossip, seemed to confirm Mary's suspicions that the child was not her natural brother, and that her father was conspiring to secure a Catholic succession.
On 30 June, the "Immortal Seven" secretly requested William—then in the Dutch Republic with Mary—to come to England with an army to depose James.William had made known earlier that a military intervention, for which he had been assembling forces, would be conditional on such an invitation. At first, William was still reluctant; possibly he was jealous of his wife's position as the heiress to the English Crown and feared she would become more powerful than he was. According to Gilbert Burnet, however, Mary convinced her husband that she did not care for political power, and told him "she would be no more but his wife, and that she would do all that lay in her power to make him King for life". She would, she assured him, always obey her husband as she had promised to do in her marriage vows.
William agreed to invade and issued a declaration which referred to James's newborn son as the "pretended Prince of Wales". He also gave a list of grievances of the English people and stated that his proposed expedition was for the sole purpose of having "a free and lawful Parliament assembled".William and the Dutch army, without Mary who stayed behind in the Netherlands, finally landed on 5 November 1688, having been turned back by storms in October. The disaffected English Army and Navy went over to William, and on 11 December the defeated King James attempted to flee, but was intercepted. A second attempt at flight, on 23 December, was successful; William deliberately allowed James to escape to France, where he lived in exile until his death.
Mary was upset by the circumstances surrounding the deposition of her father, and was torn between concern for him and duty to her husband, but was convinced that her husband's actions, however unpleasant, were necessary to "save the Church and State".When Mary travelled to England after the New Year, she wrote of her "secret joy" at returning to her homeland, "but that was soon checked with the consideration of my father's misfortunes". William ordered her to appear cheerful on their triumphant arrival in London. As a result, she was criticised by Sarah Churchill among others, for appearing cold to her father's plight. James, too, wrote a diatribe against her criticising her disloyalty, an action which deeply affected the pious Mary.
In January 1689, a Convention Parliament summoned by the Prince of Orange assembled, and much discussion relating to the appropriate course of action ensued.A party led by Lord Danby held that Mary should be sole monarch, as the rightful hereditary heir, while William and his supporters were adamant that a husband could not be subject to his wife. William wished to reign as a king, rather than function as a mere consort of a queen. For her part, Mary did not wish to be queen regnant, believing that women should defer to their husbands, and "knowing my heart is not made for a kingdom and my inclination leads me to a retired quiet life".
On 13 February 1689, Parliament passed the Declaration of Right, in which it deemed that James, by attempting to flee on 11 December 1688, had abdicated the government of the realm, and that the Throne had thereby become vacant.Parliament offered the Crown not to James's eldest son, James Francis Edward (who would have been the heir apparent under normal circumstances), but to William and Mary as joint sovereigns. The only precedent for a joint monarchy dated from the sixteenth century: when Queen Mary I married Philip of Spain, it was agreed that the latter would take the title of king, but only during his wife's lifetime, and restrictions were placed on his power. William, however, would be king even after his wife's death, and "the sole and full exercise of the regal power [would be] executed by the said Prince of Orange in the names of the said Prince and Princess during their joint lives." The declaration was later extended to exclude not only James and his heirs (other than Anne) from the throne, but all Catholics, since "it hath been found by experience that it is inconsistent with the safety and welfare of this Protestant kingdom to be governed by a papist prince".
The Bishop of London, Henry Compton (one of the "Immortal Seven"), crowned William and Mary together at Westminster Abbey on 11 April 1689. Normally, the Archbishop of Canterbury performs coronations, but the incumbent Archbishop, William Sancroft, although an Anglican, refused to recognise the validity of James II's removal.Neither William nor Mary enjoyed the ceremony; she thought it "all vanity" and William called it "Popish". On the same day, the Convention of the Estates of Scotland—which was much more divided than the English Parliament—finally declared that James was no longer King of Scotland, that "no Papist can be King or Queen of this Realm", that William and Mary would be joint sovereigns, and that William would exercise sole and full power. The following day, they were proclaimed king and queen in Edinburgh. They took the Scottish coronation oath in London on 11 May.
Even after the declaration, there was still substantial support for James in Scotland. Viscount Dundee raised an army in the Scottish Highlands and won a convincing victory at Killiecrankie on 27 July. The huge losses suffered by Dundee's troops, however, coupled with his fatal wounding at the start of the battle, served to remove the only effective resistance to William and the uprising was quickly crushed, suffering a resounding defeat the next month at the Battle of Dunkeld.
In December 1689, Parliament passed one of the most important constitutional documents in English history, the Bill of Rights. This measure—which restated and confirmed many provisions of the earlier Declaration of Right—established restrictions on the royal prerogative; it declared, among other things, that the Sovereign could not suspend laws passed by Parliament, levy taxes without parliamentary consent, infringe the right to petition, raise a standing army during peacetime without parliamentary consent, deny the right to bear arms to Protestant subjects, unduly interfere with parliamentary elections, punish members of either House of Parliament for anything said during debates, require excessive bail, or inflict cruel or unusual punishments. The Bill of Rights also confirmed the succession to the throne. Following the death of either William III or Mary II, the other was to continue to reign. Next in the line of succession would be any children of the couple, to be followed by Mary's sister Anne and her children. Last in the line of succession stood any children William III might have had from any subsequent marriage.
From 1690 onwards, William was often absent from England on campaign, each year generally from the spring until the autumn. In 1690, he fought Jacobites (who supported James) in Ireland. William had crushed the Irish Jacobites by 1692, but he continued with campaigns abroad to wage war against France in the Netherlands. Whilst her husband was away, Mary administered the government of the realm with the advice of a nine-member Cabinet Council.She was not keen to assume power and felt "deprived of all that was dear to me in the person of my husband, left among those that were perfect strangers to me: my sister of a humour so reserved that I could have little comfort from her." Anne had quarrelled with William and Mary over money, and the relationship between the two sisters had soured.
When her husband was away, Mary acted on her own if his advice was not available; whilst he was in England, Mary completely refrained from interfering in political matters, as had been agreed in the Declaration and Bill of Rights,and as she preferred. However, she proved a firm ruler, ordering the arrest of her own uncle, Henry Hyde, 2nd Earl of Clarendon, for plotting to restore James II to the throne. In January 1692, the influential John Churchill, 1st Earl of Marlborough, was dismissed on similar charges; the dismissal somewhat diminished her popularity and further harmed her relationship with her sister Anne (who was strongly influenced by Churchill's wife, Sarah). Anne appeared at court with Sarah, obviously supporting the disgraced Churchill, which led to Mary angrily demanding that Anne dismiss Sarah and vacate her lodgings.
Mary fell ill with a fever in April 1692, and missed Sunday church service for the first time in 12 years.She also failed to visit Anne, who was suffering a difficult labour. After Mary's recovery and the death of Anne's baby soon after it was born, Mary did visit her sister, but chose the opportunity to berate Anne for her friendship with Sarah. The sisters never saw each other again. Marlborough was arrested and imprisoned, but then released after his accuser was revealed to be an impostor. Mary recorded in her journal that the breach between the sisters was a punishment from God for the "irregularity" of the Revolution. She was extremely devout, and attended prayers at least twice a day.
Many of Mary's proclamations focus on combating licentiousness, insobriety and vice.She often participated in the affairs of the Church—all matters of ecclesiastical patronage passed through her hands. On the death of Archbishop of Canterbury John Tillotson in December 1694, Mary was keen to appoint Bishop of Worcester Edward Stillingfleet to the vacancy, but William over-ruled her and the post went to Bishop of Lincoln Thomas Tenison.
Mary was tall (5 foot 11 inches; 180 cm) and apparently fit; she would regularly walk between her palaces at Whitehall and Kensington. In late 1694, however, she contracted smallpox. She sent away anyone who had not previously had the disease, to prevent the spread of infection. Anne, who was once again pregnant, sent Mary a letter saying she would run any risk to see her sister again, but the offer was declined by Mary's groom of the stool, the Countess of Derby. Mary died at Kensington Palace shortly after midnight on the morning of 28 December, at the young age of 32.
William, who had grown increasingly to rely on Mary, was devastated by her death, and told Burnet that "from being the happiest" he was "now going to be the miserablest creature on earth".While the Jacobites considered her death divine retribution for breaking the fifth commandment ("honour thy father"), she was widely mourned in Britain. During a cold winter, in which the Thames froze, her embalmed body lay in state in Banqueting House, Whitehall. On 5 March, she was buried at Westminster Abbey. Her funeral service was the first of any royal attended by all the members of both Houses of Parliament. For the ceremony, composer Henry Purcell wrote Music for the Funeral of Queen Mary .
Mary endowed the College of William and Mary (in the present day Williamsburg, Virginia) in 1693, supported Thomas Bray, who founded the Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge, and was instrumental in the foundation of the Royal Hospital for Seamen, Greenwich, after the Anglo-Dutch victory at the Battle of La Hogue.She is credited with influencing garden design at Het Loo and Hampton Court Palaces, and with popularising blue and white porcelain and the keeping of goldfish as pets.
Mary was depicted by Jacobites as an unfaithful daughter who destroyed her father for her own and her husband's gain.In the early years of their reign, she was often seen as completely under the spell of her husband, but after she had temporarily governed alone during his absences abroad, she was portrayed as capable and confident. Nahum Tate's A Present for the Ladies (1692) compared her to Queen Elizabeth I. Her modesty and diffidence were praised in works such as A Dialogue Concerning Women (1691) by William Walsh, which compared her to Cincinnatus, the Roman general who took on a great task when called to do so, but then willingly abandoned power.
A week before her death, Mary went through her papers, weeding out some, which were burnt, but her journal survives, as do her letters to William and to Frances Apsley.The Jacobites lambasted her, but the assessment of her character that came down to posterity was largely the vision of Mary as a dutiful, submissive wife, who assumed power reluctantly, exercised it with considerable ability when necessary, and willingly deferred it to her husband.
Mary is portrayed by:
The joint style of William III and Mary II was "William and Mary, by the Grace of God, King and Queen of England, France and Ireland, Defenders of the Faith, etc." when they ascended the English throne. From 11 April 1689—when the Estates of Scotland recognised them as sovereigns—the royal couple used the style "William and Mary, by the Grace of God, King and Queen of England, Scotland, France and Ireland, Defenders of the Faith, etc.".
The coat of arms used by the King and Queen were: Quarterly, I and IV Grandquarterly, Azure three fleurs-de-lis Or (for France) and Gules three lions passant guardant in pale Or (for England); II Or a lion rampant within a double tressure flory-counter-flory Gules (for Scotland); III Azure a harp Or stringed Argent (for Ireland); overall an escutcheon Azure billetty a lion rampant Or (for the House of Orange-Nassau).
|Ancestors of Mary II of England|
| Edward Hyde |
| Charles I |
| Henry Hyde |
| Anne Hyde |
| James II & VII |
| Mary of Modena |
| Mary |
| Charles II |
| James |
the old pretender
| Anne |
| William III & II |
The Act of Settlement is an Act of the Parliament of England that was passed in 1701 to settle the succession to the English and Irish crowns on Protestants only. The next Protestant in line to the throne was the Electress Sophia of Hanover, a granddaughter of James VI of Scotland, I of England and Ireland. After her, the crowns would descend only to her non-Roman Catholic heirs.
Mary I, also known as Mary Tudor, was the queen of England from July 1553 until her death. She is best known for her vigorous attempt to reverse the English Reformation, which had begun during the reign of her father, Henry VIII. Her attempt to restore to the Church the property confiscated in the previous two reigns was largely thwarted by parliament, but during her five-year reign, Mary had over 280 religious dissenters burned at the stake in the Marian persecutions, which led to her denunciation as "Bloody Mary" by her Protestant opponents.
Sophia of Hanover was the heir presumptive to the thrones of England and Ireland under the Act of Settlement 1701. She died less than two months before she would have become queen. Consequently, it was her son George I who succeeded her first cousin once removed, Anne.
George II was King of Great Britain and Ireland, Duke of Brunswick-Lüneburg (Hanover) and a prince-elector of the Holy Roman Empire from 11 June 1727 (O.S.) until his death in 1760.
Anne was Queen of England, Scotland and Ireland between 8 March 1702 and 1 May 1707. On 1 May 1707, under the Acts of Union, the kingdoms of England and Scotland united as a single sovereign state known as Great Britain. She continued to reign as Queen of Great Britain and Ireland until her death in 1714.
William III, also widely known as William of Orange, was sovereign Prince of Orange from birth, Stadtholder of Holland, Zeeland, Utrecht, Guelders and Overijssel in the Dutch Republic from the 1670s and King of England, Ireland and Scotland from 1689 until his death. Popular histories usually refer to his joint reign with his wife, Queen Mary II, as that of William and Mary. As King of Scotland, he is known as William II. He is sometimes informally known as "King Billy" in Ireland and Scotland. His victory at the Battle of the Boyne in 1690 is still commemorated by unionists, who display orange colours in his honour.
Caroline of Brandenburg-Ansbach was Queen consort of Great Britain as the wife of King George II.
Frederick, Prince of Wales, KG, was heir apparent to the British throne from 1727 until his death from a lung injury at the age of 44. He was the eldest but estranged son of King George II and Caroline of Ansbach, and the father of King George III.
James Francis Edward Stuart, nicknamed The Old Pretender by Whigs, was the son of King James II and VII of England, Scotland and Ireland, and his second wife, Mary of Modena. He was Prince of Wales from July 1688 until, just months after his birth, his Catholic father was deposed and exiled in the Glorious Revolution of 1688. James II's Protestant elder daughter, Mary II, and her husband, William III, became co-monarchs and the Bill of Rights 1689 and Act of Settlement 1701 excluded Catholics from the English then, subsequently, the British throne.
Mary of Modena was queen consort of England, Scotland, and Ireland as the second wife of James II and VII (1633–1701). A devout Roman Catholic, Mary married the widower James, who was then the younger brother and heir presumptive of Charles II (1630–1685). She was uninterested in politics and devoted to James and their children, two of whom survived to adulthood: the Jacobite claimant to the thrones, James Francis Edward, and Louisa Maria Teresa.
Anne Hyde was Duchess of York and Albany as the first wife of James, Duke of York.
An heir apparent is a person who is first in an order of succession and cannot be displaced from inheriting by the birth of another person. An heir presumptive, by contrast, is someone who is first in line to inherit a title but who can be displaced by the birth of a more eligible heir.
Prince George of Denmark and Norway, Duke of Cumberland, was the husband of Queen Anne, who reigned over Great Britain from 1702 to 1714.
Anne, Princess Royal and Princess of Orange was the second child and eldest daughter of King George II of Great Britain and his consort Caroline of Ansbach. She was the spouse of William IV, Prince of Orange, the first hereditary stadtholder of all seven provinces of the Northern Netherlands. She was Regent of the Netherlands from 1751 until her death in 1759, exercising extensive powers on behalf of her son William V. She was known as an Anglophile, due to her English upbringing and family connections, but was unable to convince the Dutch Republic to enter the Seven Years' War on the side of the British. Princess Anne was the second daughter of a British sovereign to hold the title Princess Royal. In the Netherlands she was sometimes known as Anna van Hannover.
Succession to the British throne is determined by descent, sex, legitimacy, and religion. Under common law, the Crown is inherited by a sovereign's children or by a childless sovereign's nearest collateral line. The Bill of Rights 1689 and the Act of Settlement 1701 restrict succession to the throne to the legitimate Protestant descendants of Sophia of Hanover who are in "communion with the Church of England". Spouses of Roman Catholics were disqualified from 1689 until the law was amended in 2015. Protestant descendants of those excluded for being Roman Catholics are eligible.
The Jacobite succession is the line through which Jacobites believed that the crowns of England, Scotland, and Ireland should have descended, applying primogeniture, since the deposition of James II and VII in 1688 and his death in 1701. It is in opposition to the line of succession to the British throne in law since that time.
Prince William, Duke of Gloucester, was the son of Princess Anne and her husband, Prince George of Denmark. He was their only child to survive infancy. Styled Duke of Gloucester, he was viewed by contemporaries as a Protestant champion because his birth seemed to cement the Protestant succession established in the "Glorious Revolution" that had deposed his Catholic grandfather James II the previous year.
Mrs. Pack was a wet nurse to the infant William, Duke of Gloucester (1689–1700); she was believed indispensable to the boy's health, and because of that, came to exercise considerable control over the household of his mother, the future Queen Anne. She has been called a forerunner of the British nanny.
The English Convention (1689) was an assembly of the Parliament of England which met between 22 January and 12 February 1689 and transferred the crowns of England and Ireland from James II to William III and Mary II.
England's Happiness in the Crowning of William and Mary is an English broadside ballad composed in 1689 and takes as its primary focus the coronation of William III of England and Mary II of England. William III and Mary II's coregency began in February 1689 when the Convention Parliament, summoned by William after his invasion of England in 1689, offered him the crown. Though this ballad never comments explicitly on William and Mary's 1689 penning of the English Bill of Rights, it nevertheless focuses heavily on one specific component of the act, namely the reestablishment of Protestant liberty, as William III and Mary II were both Protestants: "For a Protestant King and a Protestant Queen, / The like in old England long time hath not been."
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Mary II of England .|
Mary IIBorn: 30 April 1662 Died: 28 December 1694
Title last held byJames II & VII
| Queen of England,|
Scotland and Ireland
with William III & II
William III & II
as sole monarch