Stuart King and Queen: William III – Mary II

William Henry Stuart was born on the 14th November 1650 in the Hague, Netherlands to parents William II of Orange and Mary Stuart.

Mary was born on the 30th April 1662 at St.James Palace, London to parents James II and Anne Hyde.

William Henry Stuart (William III of Orange) married Mary II in 1677.

In 1689 Parliament declared to England, that King James II had abdicated his position as King of England.  His daughter Mary and husband William of Orange were crowned; King William III and Queen Mary II of England, on the 11th April 1689 at Westminster Abbey.

In 1689, a “Declaration of Rights,” had been drawn up by Parliament, thus limiting the monarch’s power, and control of legislation, and taxes came under Parliament.

Jacobite Hylanders rose up in support of James II, victorious at “Killiekrankie,” but defeated in 1689 at “Dunkelds.”

James II, former King of England, attempted to regain his throne, when he was defeated at the “Battle of Boyne,” in 1690.

An Anglo-Dutch naval force, is defeated by the French navy at Beachy Head in 1690.

In 1691, William offer the Scottish Highlanders, a pardon for their part in the Jacobite uprising, in return they sign an allegiance to him.

In 1692, the Campbells kill the MacDonalds at Glencoe, for refusing to sign the oath of allegiance.

Queen Mary II dies of smallpox in 1694, and was buried at Westminster Abbey.

In 1697, “Peace of Ryswick,” becomes a turning point, and marks the end of the war with France.

In 1701 an “Act of Settlement” comes into force establishing Hanoverian and Protestant successions to the English throne.

William forms alliances between England, Holland and Austria, preventing a union of French and Spanish crowns in 1701.

King William III dies on the 8th March 1702 at Kensington Palace from pneumonia following a broken collar bone, after falling from his horse, and is buried in Westminster Abbey.

2nd Wife of King James II: Mary of Modena

Mary Beatrice d’Este was born on the 5th October 1658 at the Ducal Palace of Modena in Italy, to parents Alfonso IV, Duke of Modena and Laura Martinozzi.  Mary Beatrice; a descendant of the Bourbon royal family of France and the Medici family of Italy.

In 1669, James (James II), Duke of York, a Roman Catholic and younger brother to King Charles II and heir to the English throne, proposed marriage.

On the 30th September 1673 Mary Beatrice and James, Duke of York, were married by proxy in Modena, and married in person on the 23rd November 1673, and had two children who survived infancy; James and Louise Maria.

In 1688, the Popish Plot, headed by Anthony Ashley Cooper, was aimed at excluding the Catholic, Duke of York, his rightful successor to the English throne.

James and Mary Beatrice were forced into exile in Brussels.  Returning when Charles II was taken ill, fearing James Scott, Duke of Monmouth, illegitimate son of Charles II, would seize the throne… fortunately Charles recovered.

James and Mary, were sent to Edinburgh by Charles, and resided at Holyrood House.

In 1683, the Rye House Plot, was aimed at the assassination of King Charles II and his brother James, and Monmouth would become Lord Protector of England.

In 1684, James was re-admitted to the Privy Council.

King Charles II died on the 6th February 1685, and Charles and Mary were crowned on the 23rd April.

On the 19th July 1687, Mary’s mother, Laura the Duchess of Modena died.

Catherine Sedley, one time mistress of James II, and mother to two of his illegitimate children, had an affair tolerated by Mary.  However, James went one step too far, making her the Countess of Dorchester.

Mary threatened to renounce her throne, and go into a convent, unless he rid himself of her.  Mary won, Catherine Sedley was banished to Ireland, for the duration of her life, with a comfortable pension.

William of Orange, supported by Protestants in England, landed at Torbay in Devon on the 5th November 1688.  Plymouth fell to William, and many switched allegiance from James to William.

With his Queen in France, James chose to leave his throne, he had abdicated, reaching France on Christmas Day 1688.

William and Mary accepted the English throne in 1689.

James II, sought to recover the English throne, but after being defeated at the “Battle of the Boyne,” in Ireland in 1690, accepted the inevitable.

On the 6th September 1701, James, the former King James II of England died, and was buried at St.Germaine.

Mary received a request from Scotland, to surrender the custody of her son; James Francis Edward over to them, and agree to his conversion to Protestantism.  The first step in him succeeding to the English throne on William III’s death.

William III died in March 1702, and Lord Lovat begged Mary to release her son, and come to Scotland.  A rising had been planned of 15,000 soldiers, seizing the throne for James Francis Edward.  Mary refused… the uprising never got started.

Mary entered the Convent of the Visitations, Chaillot, on the outskirts of Paris, where she would live out the rest of her days, in near poverty.

On the 7th May 1718, she passed away, and was buried at Chaillot.  Her tomb was destroyed, during the French Revolution.

Wife of King Charles II: Catherine of Braganza

Catherine of Braganza was born on the 25th November 1638, at the Ducal Palace of Vila Vicosa in Alentego, Portugal to parents John, Duke of Braganza and Luisa de Guzman.

In 1640, her father John, the Duke of Braganza accepted the crown of Portugal, and became King John IV of Portugal.

On the 23rd June 1661, a contract of marriage was signed, and Catherine of Braganza and Charles II were married by proxy, on the 23rd April 1662 in Lisbon.

The terms of the contract, meant England obtained Tangiers, the Seven islands of Bombay, trading privileges in Brazil and East Indies, plus two million Portuguese crowns.  In return Portugal obtained military and naval support against Spain.

On the 21st May 1662, Catherine of Braganza married King Charles Ii, in two ceremonies; one a private Catholic service, the other a public Anglican service.

It wasn’t long before Catherine realised Charles had a number of mistresses, and marriage or no marriage they were here to stay.

One Barbara Palmer, mistress to King Charles II was appointed “Lady of the Bedchamber” to Queen Catherine.  Inspite of her objections, Charles had no intentions of changing his mind, and Catherine had to agree with the wishes of her husband and king.

The King’s advisors had put forward, he should seek divorce, for after twelve years of marriage, his Queen had not bore him a son and heir, he rejected the suggestion.

In 1675, English Catholics were ordered out of England, and Catherine a Catholic had no priest to confide in.

Francisco de Mello, became her Lord Chamberlain, but in 1676 was sent packing, for the printing of a catholic Book.  Catherine was isolated from her Catholic faith.

Charles passed away on the 6th February 1685, and Catherine expressed great grief at his death.  She remained in England, residing at Somerset House, being godmother to James Francis Edward, son of James II.

During the reign of William III and Mary II Parliament introduced a bill, which limited the number of Catholic servants she could employ.

In March of 1699, Catherine returned to her homeland of Portugal, becoming tutor to Prince John, son of the recently deceased Maria Sofia of Neuburg.

In 1703, she was one of the supporters in the “Treaty of Methuen” between Portugal and England.

In 1701 and 1704-05, she acted as Regent for Peter III, her brother.

On the 31st December 1705, Catherine of Braganza died at Bemposta Palace in Lisbon, and was buried at the Monastery of Sao Vicente de Fora, Lisbon, the Royal Pantheon of the Braganza Dynasty.

Wife of James I: Anne of Denmark

Anne of Denmark was born on the 12th December 1574 at Skanderborg Castle, Denmark, to parents King Frederick II and Sophie of Mecklenburg-Gustrow.

On the 20th August 1589 Anne of Denmark and King James VI of Scotland were married by proxy at Kronburg Castle.

On the 1st September 1589, the Danish fleet carried Anne to Scotland, but got stranded on route in Norway, and violent storms forced the fleet to abandon its winter crossing.

On the 12th September, James heard the news, that the Danish fleet had to dock at Oslo for safety.  He sent his fleet, arriving at Oslo on the 19th November.  On the 23rd November 1589, Anne of Denmark and King James VI of Scotland were married at Old Bishop’s Palace in Oslo, and the service was performed in French.

They arrived back in Leith, Scotland on the 1st May 1590, and on the 17th May she was crowned Queen of Scotland, in the Abbey Church at Holyrood.

Anne bore James seven children, of which only three would survive infancy:

Henry Frederick, the Prince of Wales (1594)

Elizabeth Stuart (1596), who would become Queen of Bohemia and whose grandson would become King George I of England.

Charles Stuart (1600) who would become King Charles I of England, and be executed by order of Parliament.

In the mid 1590’s Anne converted to Catholicism, putting a strain on their marriage, and their royal position, in a Presbyterian Scotland.

On the 25th July 1603 James and Anne were crowned King and Queen of England at Windsor Castle.  Anne as a practising Catholic, refused to par take of Anglican Communion.

In November of 1612, Henry Frederick, the Prince of Wales died of typhoid.

In February of 1613, Elizabeth Stuart married Frederick, Elector Palatine, becoming Queen of Bohemia.

Anne of Denmark, Queen of England and Scotland, died on the 4th March 1619 at Hampton Court Palace, and was buried in the Henry VII chapel in Westminster Abbey on the 13th May.

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