Birthday: February 6, 1665
Died At Age: 49
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Born in: St James's Palace, Westminster, England
Famous as: Queen of Britan
Empresses & Queens
Spouse/Ex-: Prince George of Denmark (m. 1683; d. 1708)
father: James VII and II
mother: Anne Hyde
siblings: 1st Duke of Berwick, Charles Stuart, Duke of Cambridge, Duke of Kendal, Edgar Stuart, Henrietta FitzJames, Henry FitzJames, Isabel Stuart, James FitzJames, James Francis Edward Stuart, James Stuart, Louisa Maria Teresa Stuart, Mary II of England
children: Anne Sophia, Duke of Gloucester, George, Mary, Prince William
Died on: August 1, 1714
place of death: Kensington Palace, Middlesex, England, Great Britain
Who was Anne, Queen of Great Britain?
Anne Stuart was the reigning queen of Great Britain and Ireland from 1702 to 1714 AD. She was a controversial queen, as she was considered to be unfit for the throne. She also suffered from personal and health issues that had the ministers in her court taking almost all the decisions. Anne was born to James II, the duke of York, and his wife, Anne Hyde. A royal match was made between Anne and Prince George of Denmark. He was an emotionally unavailable man and would often get drunk. Anne never had a fulfilling marital life, and her husband did not pay attention to her needs. King Charles II of Great Britain died in 1686, giving the throne to Anne’s father, who ascended to the throne as King James II. Following James’s death, the throne went to Anne’s older sister, Mary, and her husband, Prince William of Orange. Once they died, Anne ascended to the throne and ruled the country with her husband, George, who had no interest whatsoever in politics or in ruling the kingdom. Anne was considered a weak queen since the beginning of her reign. People criticized her lack of intellect and physical fitness. Sarah Churchill, Anne’s childhood friend, attempted to manipulate Anne on several occasions. Anne died on August 1, 1714. She got pregnant 17 times but was unable to give an apt successor to the throne of Britain. William, one of the children she gave birth to, was the only child who lived. However, he, too, died at the age of 11.
Anne was born on February 6, 1665, at the ‘St. James Palace’ in London. She was the second daughter and the fourth child of Duke James II, and his wife, Anne Hyde. Her uncle, Charles II, was the king of England, Ireland, and Scotland. All her siblings, except her elder sister, Mary, died before they attained adulthood.
Anne remained a sickly child since the day she was born. Her illness followed her into adulthood. She caught an eye condition and often suffered from watery eyes. She was then sent to her paternal grandmother’s house in France to get treated.
Anne’s grandmother passed away in 1669, upon which she went to live with her aunt. Her aunt died the following year, after which Anne returned to England. Soon, she lost her mother.
According to the tradition in the royal houses of England, Anne and her sister, Mary, did not live with their father. They lived a few miles away, in Richmond, England. Both the sisters were raised as Protestants as instructed by their uncle, King Charles II. In 1671, she met Sarah Jennings, who remained her friend throughout her life.
James II, the duke of York, had converted into a Roman Catholic by then. This led to a slight uproar in the royal family. He married a Catholic princess named Mary of Modena, who was only six and a half years older than Anne. King Charles had no legitimate children of his own. Thus, his younger brother, the duke of York, was next in the line of succession, followed by his daughters, Mary and Anne.
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Anne had a second cousin named George of Hanover, who kept visiting London around 1680 AD and was thought to be her future husband. However, the marriage did not take place. Anne’s elder sister, Mary, had already married her first cousin, William of Orange. Anne could not attend her sister’s marriage, as she was suffering from smallpox at that time.
King Charles took the responsibility of finding the best suitor for Anne, and the search ended with Prince George of Denmark. The marriage took place in 1683, and the newlywed couple was gifted the ‘Cockpit’ in the ‘Palace of Whitehall’ as their London residence.
Her childhood friend Sarah Churchill was then appointed as the “Lady of the Bedchamber.” Anne got pregnant shortly after her marriage, but the pregnancy ended in a miscarriage. Anne later gave birth to two daughters, Anne and Marry Sophia, but both the daughters died shortly afterward.
The royal family was dragged into controversy, when Anne’s father, James II, turned to Roman Catholicism, along with Anne’s mother. Anne and Mary were, however, kept away from Catholicism and were raised as Protestants.
King Charles died in 1686. Soon, Anne’s father, James II, was made the king, as he was next in the line of succession. However, his adherence to the Roman Catholic faith became the biggest obstacle in his road to becoming an efficient king. He also wanted to construct a court without parliamentary intervention.
Such actions did not sit well with the parliament, and soon, there were plans to overthrow James. This led to one of the most significant events in English history, the ‘Glorious Revolution’ of 1688.
Mary and her husband, William of Orange, were called upon by the parliament to overthrow her father. William invaded England in 1688 and overthrew James. Anne knew about these actions in advance, and she wanted to help her father. However, she was stopped by her friend Sarah Churchill, who believed not helping her father would be the best thing for Anne in the long run.
When King James came to know about Sarah’s intentions, he imprisoned her. Sarah and Anne ran away at night, and this led King James to get emotionally hurt. Both his daughters were against him now, and he fled to France.
The throne of England, Scotland, and Ireland remained vacant for some time, and the parliament declared William of Orange and Mary as the rulers of the three kingdoms. Anne was next in the line of succession.
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Ascension to the Throne
Mary and Anne never got along well when Mary and William ruled the kingdoms. By 1702, both Mary and William passed away, and the throne went to Anne. Anne thus became the first married queen to rule England. Her half-brother, James, who was a Roman Catholic and was exiled to France, was next in the line of succession.
Anne’s reign was weak from the beginning. Rumors claimed that Anne was a weak decision-maker and that it was very easy to manipulate her. Sarah Churchill, her childhood friend, was known to be her most effective manipulator. Anne trusted her greatly.
Apart from being made the “Lady of the Bedchamber,” Sarah was made the “Keeper of the Privy Purse” and “Mistress of the Robes.” Anne was extremely fond of Sarah and kept showering her with expensive gifts from time to time. Sarah and her husband were also gifted the expensive ‘Blenheim Estate.’ It was primarily a gift for John, Sarah’s husband, for his gallant performances on the battlefield during the War of Spanish Succession.
Sarah and Anne’s friendship was highly talked-about, but it ended after Anne understood how she was getting manipulated. Petty arguments followed, and Sarah was replaced by one of Anne’s close cousins.
A lot of political reasons, too, were behind their split. The War of Spanish Succession, also known as the Whig War, was at its peak during Anne’s reign. Sarah was a Whig, while Anne was a Tory. Hence, when Anne replaced Sarah with another Tory, her cousin, Abigail Masham, it became obvious that the queen had focused more on her powers than on her friendship with Sarah.
Anne disagreed about the strategies of war with the Tories. Anne, the duke of Marlborough, and the Whigs wanted the English troops to embark on Continental campaigns. The Whigs grew more powerful by 1710, during the peak of the War of Spanish Succession. Following this, Anne dismissed several of them from her office. This led Sarah to mention Anne in a very bad light in her memoirs.
Anne also paved way for the ‘Act of Union’ in 1707, which had England and Scotland becoming a single nation called “Great Britain.”
Personal Life & Death
Anne suffered from ill health all her life. This followed her into her later years, too. She had been pregnant 17 times in her lifetime but was unable to give the throne a natural successor. Most of her miscarriages were due to her perpetual ill health.
She loved her husband, George of Denmark, dearly. Although he was a drunkard, she seldom complained. However, her married life remained sad and unfulfilled till her death.
In the middle of 1713, her health worsened and she was unable to walk. She had a stroke on July 30, 1714, and passed away on August 1 that year.
A number of recent historians have claimed that Anne was, contrary to popular opinion, a strong ruler. Under her rule, the military prospered. Similarly, the unification of Scotland and England, which was a difficult feat, was achieved during her reign.
According to some historians, she was a misunderstood and underrated ruler of Great Britain.