Early Life and Marriage
Anne was the second daughter of the Duke of York, King Charles II's brother, and Anne Hyde. She and her older sister Mary were the only two children of the couple who survived into adulthood. Following the King's wish, they were raised as Protestants, even though their father was a Catholic. As Charles II had no children, the Duke of York was the next one in the line of succession, followed by Mary and Anne.
Mary married William III of Orange in 1667 whereas Anne was married to George of Denmark in 1683. Anne's match was arranged by Charles II, as he wished a prince who would be accepted both by his Protestant subjects and his Catholic allies. Two years later, in 1685, Charles passed away and the Duke of York became King James II of England and V of Scotland. After ascending to the throne, he started giving more power to the Catholic church, which made him unpopular among his subjects and was heavily disapproved by Anne. The birth of James' son, which meant that the country would have a Catholic heir, was the outbreak of the Glorious Revolution that deposed him in 1688. He then was succeeded by William III of Orange and Queen Mary II. However, the latter died six years later.
On March 8 1702, Anne succeeded her sister and became Queen of England. She put the Duke of Marlborough and Sydney Godolphin, two of her closest confidants, in charge of the government. The Queen relied on both of them to handle the issue of the War of the Spanish Succession (1701-1713), in which England had become involved in support of the Habsburgs against King Louis XIV of France. During the conflict, the country attained several victories, such as the one in the Battle of Blenheim (1704).
Aside from military success, the Government also put into effect the Union between Scotland and England by approving the Acts of Union in 1707. This document established the creation of the United Kingdom of Great Britain.
Nevertheless, England’s participation in the war didn’t count with the support of the whole of the British Parliament. As the Tories stood against it, Queen Anne was eventually forced to rely on the Whig party. She then formed a more moderate government led by Tory leader Robert Harley and his rival Viscount Bolingbroke. During their government, the Treaty of Utrecht (1713), which put to an end the Spanish War of Succession, was signed and England was ceded Menorca and Gibraltar by Spain.
Death and legacy
Queen Anne had suffered from ill health most of her life. However, her condition deteriorated heavily during her last years of life and she died of a stroke in 1714. As none of her children had survived into adulthood, she became the last Stuart monarch to rule in England and was succeeded by her second cousin George I of the House of Hanover, her closest Protestant relative.
Even though Queen Anne does not enjoy the same popularity as other English Queens such as Elizabeth I, her reign was a brilliant one. England’s military victories in the War of Succession led to it replacing the Netherlands as the most powerful maritime and commercial European nation. Moreover, they set the basis for England’s 18th century Golden Age.
- queen anne
- great britain
- charles ii
- james i
- mary ii
- william of orange
- spanish war of succession
- louis xiv