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3 Oct 2014
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This Sceptred Isle

The Return to War
William III was a gifted statesman. Parliament wanted a compliant and Protestant monarch. William surrounded himself with Whigs. The Tories wanted Mary to rule as regent on James II's behalf but James's escape amounted to abdication and since nobody believed that his son was legitimate, indeed was even of royal blood, Mary was the only heir. The Declaration of Rights announced William and Mary as joint sovereigns.

William III's first interest was war with France. Within a year he would be fighting in Scotland and be victorious at the Battle of the Boyne.

Mary II
Mary II
MARY II (1662-1694)

  • Queen of England, Ireland and Scotland 1689-1694
  • Daughter of James II and wife of her cousin, William of Orange
  • Ruled in joint monarchy with William from April 1689
  • Architectural and furniture styles of this time are often known as William & Mary
  • Died of smallpox in December 1694

did you know?
The Declaration of Rights excluded any king or queen "that is, are or shall be reconciled to, or shall hold communion with, the see or church of Rome." No Catholic could be monarch.

The said lords spiritual and temporal, and the commons assembled at Westminster, do resolve, that William and Mary, prince and princess of Orange, be and be declared, King and Queen of England, France and Ireland, and the dominions thereunto belonging, to hold the crown and royal dignity of the said kingdoms and dominions to them the said prince and princess during their lives, and the life of the survivor of them; and after their decease, the said crown and royal dignity of the said kingdoms and dominions to be to the heirs of the body of the said princess; and for default of such issue to the princess Anne of Denmark and heirs of her body; and for default of such issue to the heirs of the body of the said prince of Orange.

Select historical period

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1677 Princess Mary marries William of Orange
1685 Charles II dies
James II becomes king of England
Monmouth Rebellion put down
1687James II dissolves Parliament
1688Seven 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
1690 Irish Jacobites defeated at Boyne
1691Treaty of Limerick
1694 Death of Mary II
1701 Death of James II
Louis XIV of France recognizes the Old Pretender as king
1702Anne becomes queen
1704Battle of Blenheim

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