Anne of England


Anne of Great Britain was the last of the Stuart Monarchs. She was personally timid and indecisive as a ruler, and always under the influence of her advisors, most notably the Duke and Duchess of Marlborough. Nevertheless, her reign was an important one which coincided with the critical War of the Spanish Succession in Europe, and was also notable for the rise of party politics and the Act of Union, which joined England and Scotland into Great Britain.

Anne did not ascend to the throne until her late thirties. Although she was the daughter of the Catholic James II, she married a Protestant prince, and was therefore acceptable as a monarch of England after the death of her brother-in-law and sister, William and Mary of England. Although Anne had many pregnancies, they mostly ended in miscarriage and stillbirth. Her only surviving son died the year before she ascended to the throne so the succession problems which followed her reign were already apparent when she assumed the crown. Since her girlhood, Anne had been under the influence of Sarah Jennings, who later married the Duke of Marlborough. Marlborough (a direct ancestor of Winston Churchill) therefore became the most influential person in the kingdom for the duration of Anne's reign, especially after he led England to a critical victory at the Battle of Blenheim in 1704. The battle did not finish the war, by any means, but it dramatically reduced the power of Louis XIV, by severing his alliances with several German principalities.

Two important legislative matters arose during Anne's reign. The first was the act of Union, which united the Parliaments of England and Scotland into a single body. The second was the Act of Settlement which provided for the succession of the Hanoverians at the death of Anne, bypassing any Catholic Stuart claimants to the throne. Her reign also saw the rise of the Tory (originally a pejorative Celtic word meaning robber), and Whig (originally a pejorative Celtic word meaning cattle) parties in England, who vied for control of the government and ministries. Anne died in 1714 shortly after the close of hostilities in the War of the Spanish Succession.

Key events during the life of Anne of England:

Birth of Anne, second daughter of James II.
Anne falls under the influence of Sarah Jennings (later Lady Marlborough).
Anne marries Prince George of Denmark.
Glorious revolution deposes James II, and puts William and Mary on the throne.
Death of Anne's only surviving son.
War of the Spanish Succession breaks out. England allies with empire against France.
Anne ascends to the throne on the death of William III.
Battle of Blenheim, important English victory against Louis XIV.
Act of Union joins Scotland and England as Great Britain.
Death of Anne's husband, Prince George of Denmark.
Battle of Malplaquet is a costly victory for the allies.
End of the War of the Spanish Succession.
Death of Anne.

Other Resources

Story Links
Book Links
Good Queen Anne and Her Son  in  Stories from English History, Part Third  by  Alfred J. Church
Queen Anne, the Last of the Stuarts  in  The Story of England  by  Samuel B. Harding
Anne—How the Union Jack was Made  in  Scotland's Story  by  Henrietta Elizabeth Marshall
Queen Anne and Marlborough  in  The Tudors and the Stuarts  by  M. B. Synge

Image Links

The Act of Union presented to Queen Anne
 in The Tudors and the Stuarts

Short Biography
William III King of Netherlands, called to be king of England when James II, his father-in-law, was deposed.
James II Catholic king of England, deposed by his daughter Mary and William III.
Duke of Marlborough Most renowned general of his age. Prevailed against the French at the Battle of Blenheim.
Old Pretender Son of James II, led Jacobites in a bid to restore Stuarts to the throne of England.
Prince George of Denmark Husband of Anne, and Lord High Admiral of England.
Sarah (Jennings) Churchill Wife of Marlborough and important advisor to Anne.