7 May 2010
Queen Anne of Stuart (1702–1714)
Queen of England, Scotland and Ireland
Reign 8 March 1702 – 1 May 1707
Coronation 23 April 1702
Predecessor William III & II
Queen of Great Britain and Ireland
Reign 1 May 1707 – 1 August 1714
Successor George I
Spouse Prince George of Denmark
14 other childrenIssue
Prince William, Duke of Gloucester
House House of Stuart
Father James II & VII
Mother Lady Anne Hyde
Born 6 February 1665(1665-02-06)
St. James’s Palace, London
Died 1 August 1714 (aged 49)
Kensington Palace, London
Burial Westminster Abbey, London
Anne (6 February 1665 – 1 August 1714) became Queen regnant of England, Scotland and Ireland on 8 March 1702, succeeding her brother-in-law and cousin, William III of England and II of Scotland. Her Catholic father, James II and VII, was deemed by the English Parliament to have abdicated when he was forced to retreat to France during the Glorious Revolution of 1688/9; her brother-in-law and her sister then became joint monarchs as William III & II and Mary II. After Mary’s death in 1694, William continued as sole monarch until his own death in 1702.
On 1 May 1707, under the Acts of Union 1707, England and Scotland were united as a single sovereign state, the Kingdom of Great Britain. Anne became its first sovereign, while continuing to hold the separate crown of Queen of Ireland and the title of Queen of France. Anne reigned for twelve years until her death in August 1714. Anne was therefore, technically, the last Queen of England and the last Queen of Scots.
Anne’s life was marked by many crises, both personally and relating to succession of the Crown and religious polarisation. Because she died without surviving issue, Anne was the last monarch of the House of Stuart. She was succeeded by her second cousin, George I, of the House of Hanover, who was a descendant of the Stuarts through his maternal grandmother, Elizabeth, daughter of James VI & I.
Anne was born at St. James’s Palace, London, the second daughter of James, Duke of York (afterwards James II), and his first wife, Lady Anne Hyde. Her paternal uncle was King Charles II and her older sister was the future Queen Mary II. Anne and Mary were the only children of the Duke and Duchess of York to survive into adulthood.
As a child, Anne suffered from an eye infection; for medical treatment, she was sent to France. She lived with her grandmother, Henrietta Maria of France who resided near Paris at the Château de Colombes which Henrietta Maria had bought in 1650; Anne later lived with her aunt, Henriette Anne, Duchess of Orléans, following her grandmother’s death in 1669. She grew up with her cousins Marie Louise d’Orléans and Anne Marie d’Orléans, future maternal grand mother of Louis XV. Anne returned to England in 1670, at the death of her aunt Henriette Anne.
In about 1673, Anne made the acquaintance of Sarah Jennings, who became her close friend and one of her most influential advisors. Jennings later married John Churchill (the future Duke of Marlborough), who was to become Anne’s most important general.
In 1673, Anne’s father’s conversion to Roman Catholicism became public. On the instructions of Charles II, however, Anne and her sister Mary were raised as Protestants.
On 28 July 1683, Anne married the Protestant Prince George of Denmark-Norway, brother of King Christian V of Denmark-Norway (and her second cousin once removed through Frederick II), an unpopular union but one of great domestic happiness. Sarah Churchill became Anne’s Lady of the Bedchamber, and, by Anne’s desire to mark their mutual intimacy and affection, all deference due to her rank was abandoned and the two ladies called each other Mrs. Morley and Mrs. Freeman.
Accession of James II
When Charles II died in 1685 (possibly converting to Catholicism on his deathbed), Anne’s father became king as James II. But James was not well received by the English people, concerned about his Catholicism. Public alarm increased when James’s second wife, Mary of Modena, gave birth to a son (James Francis Edward) on 10 June 1688, and a Catholic dynasty became more likely. Anne was not present on the occasion, having gone to Bath, and this gave rise to a belief that the child was spurious; but it is most probable that James’s desire to exclude all Protestants from affairs of state was the real cause. “I shall never now be satisfied”, Anne wrote to her sister Mary, “whether the child be true or false. It may be it is our brother, but God only knows… one cannot help having a thousand fears and melancholy thoughts, but whatever changes may happen you shall ever find me firm to my religion and faithfully yours.”
Princess Anne’s brother-in-law and sister, William and Mary, subsequently invaded England to dethrone the unpopular James II in the Glorious Revolution.
The “Glorious Revolution”
Forbidden by James to pay Mary a projected visit in the spring of 1688, Anne corresponded with her and was no doubt aware of William’s plans to invade. On the advice of the Churchills—Anne’s conduct during this period was probably influenced a great deal by them—she refused to show any sympathy for James after William landed in November and wrote instead to William, declaring her approval of his action. Churchill abandoned the king on the 24th of that month, Prince George on the 25th, and when James returned to London on the 26th, he found that Anne and her lady-in-waiting had done likewise the previous night. He put the women under house arrest in the Palace of Whitehall. However, escaping from Whitehall by a back staircase they put themselves under the care of the bishop of London, spent one night in his house, and subsequently arrived on 1 December at Nottingham, where the princess first made herself known and appointed a council. Thence she travelled to Oxford, where she met Prince George, in triumph, escorted by a large company. Like Mary, she was reproached for showing no concern at the news of the king’s flight, but her justification was that “she never loved to do anything that looked like an affected constraint.” She returned to London on 19 December, where she was at once visited by her brother-in-law William.
In 1689, a Convention Parliament assembled and declared that James had abdicated the realm when he attempted to flee, and that the Throne was therefore vacant. The Crown was offered to Mary, but accepted jointly by William and Mary, who thereafter ruled as the only joint monarchs in British history. The Bill of Rights 1689 settled succession to the Throne; Princess Anne and her descendants were to be in the line of succession after William and Mary. They were to be followed by any descendants of William by a future marriage.