Anne Stuart
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Anne Stuart (1665 - 1714)

Anne "Queen of Great Britain and Ireland" Stuart
Born in St James's Palace, Westminster, Middlesex, Englandmap
Ancestors ancestors
Wife of — married 28 Jul 1683 in Chapel Royal, St James's Palace, Westminster, Middlesex, Englandmap
Died at age 49 in Kensington Palace, Kensington, Middlesex, Englandmap
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Preceded by
William III & II
Queen of England, Scotland, and Ireland (later Queen of Great Britain and Ireland)
8 March 1702 - 1 August 1714
Succeeded by
George I



The House of Stuart crest.
Anne Stuart is a member of the House of Stuart.

Anne was the last monarch of the Stuart dynasty and the first of a united Great Britain.

Heir in Waiting

Anne was the younger of two surviving daughters of James II and VII of England, Scotland and Ireland, and his first queen Anne Hyde. She was born 6 February 1665 at St James Palace. As James had no surviving male heirs to his throne, Anne became the second in the line of succession after him, following her sister Mary II.[1] [2] [3]

At her birth, she was the Lady Anne Stuart, her father being then the Duke of York, whose succession to the throne was not yet established. As she was found to have an eye problem, she was sent for medical treatment in France, where she lived first with her grandmother, Queen Mother Maria Henrietta, and at her death in 1669, with her aunt Henrietta-Anne, Duchess d'Orléans. Anne only returned home at the age of five after Henrietta's death in 1670, soon after which she was put into the care of a governess to ensure her a protestant religious upbringing, her father James having converted to Catholicism. Her mother had died in 1671. The Duke of York remarried in 1673 to Mary of Modena, and Anne soon became attached to one of her maids of honor, an older girl, Sarah Jennings. It is easy to suppose that her unsettled childhood caused Anne to become emotionally needy, but regardless, the relationship between her and Sarah (Churchill at her marriage) greatly defined the rest of Anne's life. Sarah was an dominating figure and ambitious for both herself and her husband John Churchill.[2] [3]

Anne was married at the Chapel Royal of St James Palace on 28 July 1683 to Prince Jørgen (known in England as George) of Denmark, second-born son of King Frederick III of Denmark - a choice made because he was a protestant from a nation not at war with Louis XIV of France, with whom Charles II, then the king of England, had a secret treaty. He was a dull man of no ambition, content to enjoy the pleasures of table and bottle at home[4] - unlike the husband of Anne's sister Mary, Willem of Orange, whose ambition would shortly afterward lead him to invade England. At her marriage, Anne named Sarah Churchill as a lady of the bedchamber, and, in Sarah's words, "it is certain she at length distinguished me by so high a place in her favour, as perhaps no person ever arrived at a higher with queen or princess."[3] Anne's sister Mary, soon to become queen of England, harbored a sharp antipathy toward Sarah, which eventually caused an irreparable breach between the sisters.[2] [5]

In 1688, when Willem of Orange invaded England, Sarah led Anne in deserting her father, then King James. It is not clear from the various conflicting accounts of this event just who took the initiative - the princess or her favorite.[3] James was so disheartened by the disaffection of his family that he fled the kingdom,[6] leaving the throne to Willem, who became King William III of England in 1689 and soon initiated war against France. But William offended Anne by refusing her husband a command - for which George was undoubtedly unqualified.[3] He was also reluctant to give many high commands to Sarah Churchill's husband John Churchill - who was manifestly more qualified than William - despite creating him Earl of Marlborough in 1689. John Churchill was later briefly sent to the Tower on a charge of conspiring with the exiled King James.[2] Relations between Anne's family and William's grew colder, until the death of Mary on 28 December 1694,[3] after which relations between Anne and William improved[2] until his death on 19 March 1702.[1]

Queen Anne

Succeeding to the throne of a nation in which Parliament had gained an ascendancy over the crown, Anne also inherited the War of the Spanish Succession, the last and more ruinous of Louis XIV's great wars. The previous reigns had seen the growth of partisan factionalism in England's government. Anne, as a zealous member of the established Anglican church, favored the Tory party,[7] but the Whigs were the party of war, in which their members saw a source of profit from trade. The Churchills constantly pursued the extension of the war, in which John Churchill won great victories and the Dukedom of Marlborough.

Sarah Churchill in particular continued to press the queen for more support for the Whigs, and their personal relationship disintegrated into acrimony, especially after the death in 1708 of Prince George, which devastated Anne but Sarah took as an opportunity to increase her own influence.[8] By then, the French were seeking peace terms in the war and the financial burden of it was angering the nation. Increasingly, Anne favored the Tory peace party, as well as taking on a new favorite, Abigail Hill (later Masham) whom she saw as a comforting presence.[9] But as long as she needed the Marlborough's leadership in the war, she must needs endure his wife.

By 1710, however, the great battles were over and France was seeking peace. Anne dismissed the Whig ministry and brought in the Tories[10], and soon dismissed Sarah Churchill as well.[11]

Peace with France was now imminent, talks were underway, but the House of Lords, under the influence of the Whigs, was recalcitrant about the terms, until Anne raised twelve new Tory Lords to the peerage to give the party the advantage.[12] The Treaty of Utrecht was subsequently signed between England and France on 31 March 1713.[13] France was ruined financially and the Netherlands declined, clearing the way for Great Britain (after the 1707 Acts of Union between England and Scotland) to become the predominant military and commercial power in Europe and, eventually, the world[14] For this, both Anne's peacemaking and Marlborough's victories must be credited.

Children and Health

The great affliction of Anne's life was the loss of all her children, most of whom lived less than a day. Between the ages of 18 and 35, Anne conceived at least 18 times. Two early daughters lived: Marie, b. 2 June 1685, and Anne Sophia, b. 12 May 1686. Both girls died in 1687, probably from the smallpox that Anne had survived in 1677, and which her husband George also contracted at that time. On 24 July 1689, a son William Henry was born, styled Duke of Gloucester. He was a sickly child, apparently suffering from hydrocephalus, but did not die until he was aged 11, on 30 July 1700, from causes then unclearly known. By that time, her last stillborn child had been buried.[1]

There has been a great deal of speculation about the reason for the extreme mortality rate of Anne's offspring and her own subsequent failure of health. This was then ascribed to "gout", which at the time covered a multitude of misunderstood ailments that don't seem to correspond to Anne's recorded symptoms. Contemporary accounts described her as grossly obese, in severe pain and unable to easily walk. Some sort of arthritis seems more likely, and researchers now tend to believe that the overall cause was systemic lupus erythematosus, which can account both for her own symptoms as well as affecting her children - including the hydrocephalus of her son William. (It is possible that the same disease might also have been the cause of her sister Mary's miscarriages.)[15] [16]

Thus, even before ascending to her throne, it was clear that Queen Anne would have no natural heir; her only full sibling was dead and the children of her father's second marriage were disqualified as Catholics (although a few Jacobite Tories did press for the succession of her half-brother James Francis). Fearing this prospect, the Whig Parliament in 1701 enacted the Act of Settlement which provided that the succession would pass through the protestant Electress Sophia of Hanover, grandaughter of Anne's great-grandfather, James I and VI. Anne supported this means of a protestant succession, but she offended the Hanovers by refusing to allow them into her kingdom during her lifetime.[17]

Upon the succession of George I, he immediately dismissed Anne's ministers and brought in a Whig government.[18]

Anne lived only to age 49. She was the last monarch of the House of Stuart, being succeeded by Georg of Hannover as George I. She was buried on 24 August 1714 in the Henry VII Chapel of Westminster Abbey, next to the bodies of her husband and children.[1]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 Weir, Alison. Britain's Royal Families. London: VIntage Books, 2008. pp 267-269.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 1911 Encyclopædia Britannica, Volume 2: Anne, Queen of Great Britain and Ireland by Philip Chesney Yorke.[1]
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900, Volume 0: Anne (1665-1714) by Adolphus William Ward.[2]
  4. Gregg, Edward (2nd ed. 2001). Queen Anne. New Haven: Yale University Press.[3]
  5. Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900, Volume 36: Mary II (1662-1694) by Adolphus William Ward. [4]
  6. Miller, John. James II Yale University Press, 2000. pp. 202-203.
  7. Gregg, pp. 180-181.Tories
  8. Gregg, pp. 276-280.Sarah
  9. Gregg, p. 234.Abigail
  10. Gregg, p. 308. Tories
  11. Gregg, pp. 328-329.Sarah
  12. Gregg, pp. 349-351.Tories
  13. Gregg, pp. 361-362.Treaty
  14. Padfield,New York: The Overlook Press, 2000. pp. 157-169.
  15. Emson, H.E. "For the want of an heir: the obstetrical history of Queen Anne" Medicine and History
  16. Weissmann, Gerald. "Queen Anne's Lupus." Lupus
  17. Gregg, p. 384.Hanover
  18. Gregg, p. 399.George

See also:

  • 'Jane Austen's Family through Five Generations' by Maggie Lane, published by Robert Hale Limited, London. ISBN 0 7090 4832 7. Includes extensive family trees. Details of contemporaries and other connections are also mentioned in the text.Jane Austen's Family through Five Generations

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