English Royalty: Anne (1702-14)


Figure 1.--This portrait was done of Anne and her son William Henry Duke of Gloucester before Anne became queen. It was painted by Godfey Kneller, probably about 1695-96. William would have been about 5-6 years old. William like his many other brothers and sisters did not survive the Queen. William died a few years after this portrait was taken in 1790. It is not clear to me how all of the 17 royal children could have died.

Princess Anne was born in 1665. She was the second daughter of James II and Anne Hyde. She was still very young at the time of her father's short reign (1685-89) and had no official positon. She sided with her sister and brother-in-law (Mary II and William III) during the Glorious Revolution. She married Prince George of Denmark, they but failed to produce a heir toth throne that survived. Queen Anne died at the relatively young age of 49 years as a result of the blood disease porphyria which she had suffered since childhood. King William III's untimely death effectively nullified the Settlement Act of 1701. As a result, James' daughter through Protestant daughter was an acceptable new queen. Anne in a rare behavior for a Stuart, maintained good relations with Parliament. She was, however, th the last British sovereign to veto an act of Parliament. One of the most significant acts in British history occurred during her reign--the 1707 Act of Union which created modern Britain by fully uniting England with Scotland--Ireland did not join the Union until 1801. The Stuart monarchs were noted for their reliance on favorites. Anne followed in this tradition. Anne's closest confidant was Sarah Churchill. She had considrable influence over the Queen--king. This provided Sarah's husband, the Duke of Marlborough, great influence in th British Government. The Duke was perhaps the greatest military genius in British history. The Duke led the English -Dutch resistance to Louis XIV in the War of Spanish Succession. Anne and Sarah for many years were inseparable for years. She was perhaps the most powerful woman (non-monarch) in British history until Margaret Thatcher. Sarah gradually overstepped the bound of their relationship. She irritated the Queen by showing a lack of respect and even reproched Anne in private. Understanding the impotance of cultivating the Queen, Tory leaders installed Abigail Hill in the Queen's household. She was much more differential toward Anne than Sarah and gradually Anne turned to Abigail. The Queen and Marlbourough quarreled over the issue of succession. Anne dismissed Marlborough, ignorring his military achievements, and Sarah was forced to leave court. Britain'a modern two-party system wasborn in the struggles beteen Whigs and Torries during Queen Ane' reign. Anne was undecided about the succession. Family ties compelled her to favor her half-brother--the Old Pretender who was favored by the Tories. She had however sided with th Whigs when she supported Williamand Mary against her father James II. After considerable soul searching, Anne aceded to the the Act of Settlement. The result was that she was the final Stuwart monarch. The Whigs succeded ith their cndcidate, King Geoge of Hanover. paved the way for the succession of their candidate, King George of Hanover.

Parents

Anne was the second daughter of James II and Anne Hyde.

James II (1633-1701)

James II was the second surviving son of Charles I. His father had been executed by Cromwell, but he and his elder brother Charles fled to France for saftey. James inherited the throne from his elder brother, Charles II, in 1685. He ws known as James II in England, but James VII of Scotland. His brother had quarlled with Parliament and covertly accepted money from France, but was cautious on the religious issue. James ignored his brother's advise and his militant Catholcism cost him the throne. The unexpected birth of a Catholic male heir was the cause of his down fall. James ruled for only 3 years, when he was overthrown in what has become knon as the Glorious Revolution.

Anne Hyde (1637-71)

Lady Anne Hyde's dather was Edward Hyde, 1st Earl of Clarendon. She was King James II's first wife. She was born in 1637 at Windsor Castle. Her mother was Frances Aylesbury, the daughter of Sir Thomas Aylesbury. Her father was Sir Edward Hyde, later 1st Earl of Clarendon, an important adviser to King Charles II. Anne apparently secretly married James who was at the time the Duke of York at Breda in the Netherlands (1659), The marriage was in the Netherlands, because the royal family after the execution of Charles I was exiled. Anne is believed to have married James, then Duke of York, in a secret ceremony. James and Anne were officially married the following year in London after the Restoration (1660). Anne secretly converted to Catholicism at the end of her life. Her husband did likewise after Anne died. Shortly after the birth of their last child, Anne died of cancer. Interestingly, Anne Hyde was the last English born woman to marry an heir to the throne until Diana married Prince Charles (1981).

Siblings

James and Mary's first child, Charles, was born only 2 months after their official marriage. He died in infancy as did several other of their children. Only two children suyrvived, Mary and Anne. Despite their parent's convictions, both Mary and Anne were raised as Protestants Anglicans). This was done on the expressed orders of their uncle, Charles II.

Childhood

Princess Anne was born in 1665.

Father's Reign

She was still very young at the time of her father's short reign (1685-89) and had no official positon.

Glorious Revolution

King James had none of the political judgement of his brother Charles II. Only after a few years of reigning, James was deposed in a bloodless revolution known as the Glorious Revolution. The British were disposed to putting up with James until he and his second wife had a son who would be a Catholic heir. James was the last Catholic monarch of Britain. Anne sided with her sister and brother-in-law (Mary II and William III).

Marriage

She married Prince George Oldenburg of Denmark. He was the son of King Frederick III of Denmark (1609- ) and Sophia Amelia of Brunswick (1628- ).

Children

With many royal families there are delightful paintings of the monarch and spouse surrounded by their children. Tragically with Anne this is not possible. All of Anne's many children died, often at very early age. Anne failed to produce a heir to the throne that survived. I often regard Queen Anne as being one of the most unfortunate mothers in history. It certainly was not for lack of effort and pregnancy was a daunting ptoposition at the time. The fact that she had so many children testifies to both her desire to be a mother as well as her patriotism in an effort to produce a heir. Incredibly, Anne and George produced 17 children, all of whom died before his mother. I am not sure how this could have happened. Many of the babies were still born or died as infants. Some or only identified as a child and the gender of some of the othersis disputed. Many of the children were not even named: Daughter (1684- ), Mary (1685- ), Anne Sophia (1686- ), Child (1687- ), Son (1687- ), Child (1688- ), William of Gloucester, Duke of Gloucester (1689-90), Mary (1690- ), George (1692- ), Daughter (1693- ), Daughter (1694- ), Daughter (1695- ), Son (1696- ), Twins (1697- ), Son (1697- ), Son (1698- ), and Daughter (1700-1700). The portrait here shows Anne with Prince William (figure 1). He looks healthy in the portrait. William was styled Duke of Gloucester, but died July 29, 1790 before the great seal was put to his patent. The question as to why so many children died has perplexed British historians. It is not surprising given the state of medical science thyat some would have died, but all 17? This is astonishing. Unlike Henry VIII, there seems to have been nothing wrong with her husband! One source suggests that her blood was somewhat thicker or stickier than normal. Apparently this was not a cause of worry as far as general health was concerned, but it did mean that the blood had difficulty traversing the small blood vessels in the placenta, which resulted in the baby being underfed or not fed at all. The result was still births and sickly babies. Of course, in those days medical science was baffled, today, we would probably prescribe a course of tablets to thin the blood or dilate the blood vessels, as is done in treating high blood pressure. It seems very probable that if she had lived today nothing more complicated than a course of aspirin tablets would have done the trick, and the poor woman would have produced heirs a plenty!

Accession (1702)

King William III's untimely death effectively nullified the Settlement Act of 1701. As a result, James' daughter through Protestant daughter was an acceptable new queen.

Reign (1702-14)

Anne in a rare behavior for a Stuart, maintained good relations with Parliament. She was, however, th the last British sovereign to veto an act of Parliament. One of the most significant acts in British history occurred during her reign--the 1707 Act of Union which created modern Britain by fully uniting England with Scotland--Ireland did not join the Union until 1801. The Stuart monarchs were noted for their reliance on favorites. Anne followed in this tradition. Anne's closest confidant was Sarah Churchill. She had considrable influence over the Queen--king. This provided Sarah's husband, the Duke of Marlborough, great influence in th British Government. The Duke was perhaps the greatest military genius in British history. The Duke led the English -Dutch resistance to Louis XIV in the War of Spanish Succession. Anne and Sarah for many years were inseparable for years. She was perhaps the most powerful woman (non-monarch) in British history until Margaret Thatcher. Sarah gradually overstepped the bound of their relationship. She irritated the Queen by showing a lack of respect and even reproched Anne in private. Understanding the impotance of cultivating the Queen, Tory leaders installed Abigail Hill in the Queen's household. She was much more differential toward Anne than Sarah and gradually Anne turned to Abigail. The Queen and Marlbourough quarreled over the issue of succession. Anne dismissed Marlborough, ignorring his military achievements, and Sarah was forced to leave court. Britain'a modern two-party system wasborn in the struggles beteen Whigs and Torries during Queen Ane' reign.

Succession

Without a successo, Anne was undecided about the succession. Family ties compelled her to favor her half-brother--the Old Pretender who was favored by the Tories. She had however sided with th Whigs when she supported William and Mary against her father James II. After considerable soul searching, Anne aceded to the the Act of Settlement. The result was that she was the final Stuart monarch. The Whigs succeded ith their cndcidate, King Geoge of Hanover. paved the way for the succession of their candidate, King George of Hanover.

Death

Queen Anne died at the relatively young age of 49 years as a result of the blood disease porphyria which she had suffered since childhood.







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Created: 2:32 AM 8/29/2004
Last updated: 12:26 AM 2/6/2005