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29 Oct 2014
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This Sceptred Isle

William of Orange
Protestant Europe and England looked to William of Orange as their champion. His first and foremost duty, however, was to the States-General, he had to obtain their approval to claim the English throne on his wife's behalf. The French were ready to do battle on Catholicism's behalf but James did not ally himself with France, he did nothing.

Too late James II repealed all Catholic legislation and deserted the standard he had set up hoping to placate the country. William set to sea. By the end of the year it was all over. James was allowed to escape to France. He would return two years later invading Ireland with French troops. He died in France in 1701.

There is no evidence that William ever intended to be more than Mary's regent but she was adamant she did not want to rule alone.

William III
William III

  • King of England and Scotland 1689-1702
  • In 1677 married the daughter of the future James II of England
  • In 1688 English Protestants asked him to invade England to dislodge his father-in-law James II
  • Landed 5th November and James fled
  • Parliament offered William and Mary joint monarchy in February 1689
  • In July1690 he led his army against James's Jacobites in Ireland at the famous Battle of the Boyne
  • Died in 1702 after falling from his horse

did you know?
The Declaration of Rights in 1689 settled the succession in favour of Mary's children, then Anne and her children and then William's children by any later marriage.

Bishop Burnet's description of James II

  • He was a prince that seemed made for greater things than will be found in the course of his life, more particularly of his reign.
  • He was esteemed in the former parts of his life a man of great courage.
  • He had no vivacity of thought, invention of expression; but he had a good judgement where his religion or his education gave him not a bias, which it did very often.
  • He was bred with strange notions of the obedience due to princes, and came to take up as strange ones of the submissions due to priests.
  • He was naturally a man of truth, fidelity and justice; but his religion was so infused in him, and he was so managed in it by his priests, that the principles which nature had laid in him had little power over him when the concern of his church stood in the way.
In a word, if it had not been for his popery, he would have been, if not great, yet a good prince.
Select historical period

[an error occurred while processing this directive] Chronology
1677Princess Mary marries William of Orange
1685 Charles II dies
James II becomes king of England
Monmouth Rebellion put down
1687 James II dissolves Parliament
1688 Seven bishops imprisoned
Birth of James's son
William of Orange lands in England
James flees abroad
1689William III and Mary II become king and queen of England
1690Irish Jacobites defeated at Boyne
1691Treaty of Limerick
1694 Death of Mary II
1701Death of James II
Louis XIV of France recognizes the Old Pretender as king
1702Anne becomes queen
1704Battle of Blenheim

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