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Anne,1665–1714, queen of England, Scotland, and Ireland (1702–7), later queen of Great Britain and Ireland (1707–14), daughter of James II and Anne Hyde; successor to William III.
Reared as a Protestant and married (1683) to Prince George of Denmark (d. 1708), she was not close to her Catholic father and acquiesced in the Glorious RevolutionGlorious Revolution,
in English history, the events of 1688–89 that resulted in the deposition of James II and the accession of William III and Mary II to the English throne. It is also called the Bloodless Revolution.
..... Click the link for more information. (1688), which put William III and her sister, Mary II, on the throne. She was soon on bad terms with them, however, partly because they objected to her favorite, Sarah Jennings (later Sarah Churchill, duchess of MarlboroughMarlborough, Sarah Churchill, duchess of,
1660–1744, confidante of Queen Anne of England. Born Sarah Jennings, she was a childhood friend of Princess Anne. In 1677 she married John Churchill, later 1st duke of Marlborough.
..... Click the link for more information. ), who was to exercise great influence in Anne's private and public life.
Of Anne's many children the only one to live much beyond infancy—the duke of Gloucester—died at the age of 11 in 1700. Since neither she nor William had surviving children and support for her exiled Catholic half-brother rose and fell in Great Britain (see Stuart, James Francis EdwardStuart or Stewart, James Francis Edward,
1688–1766, claimant to the British throne, son of James II and Mary of Modena; called the Old Pretender.
..... Click the link for more information. ; JacobitesJacobites
, adherents of the exiled branch of the house of Stuart who sought to restore James II and his descendants to the English and Scottish thrones after the Glorious Revolution of 1688. They take their name from the Latin form (Jacobus) of the name James.
..... Click the link for more information. ), the question of succession continued after the Act of SettlementSettlement, Act of,
1701, passed by the English Parliament, to provide that if William III and Princess Anne (later Queen Anne) should die without heirs, the succession to the throne should pass to Sophia, electress of Hanover, granddaughter of James I, and to her heirs, if they
..... Click the link for more information. (1701) and after Anne's accession.
The last Stuart ruler, Anne was the first to rule over Great Britain, which was created when the Act of Union joined Scotland to England and Wales in 1707. Her reign, like that of William III, was one of transition to parliamentary government; Anne was, for example, the last English monarch to exercise (1707) the royal veto. Domestic and foreign affairs alike were dominated by the War of the Spanish SuccessionSpanish Succession, War of the,
1701–14, last of the general European wars caused by the efforts of King Louis XIV to extend French power. The conflict in America corresponding to the period of the War of the Spanish Succession was known as Queen Anne's War (see French and
..... Click the link for more information. , known in America as Queen Anne's War (see French and Indian WarsFrench and Indian Wars,
1689–1763, the name given by American historians to the North American colonial wars between Great Britain and France in the late 17th and the 18th cent.
..... Click the link for more information. ). In the actual fighting on the Continent, Sarah Churchill's husband, the duke of MarlboroughMarlborough, John Churchill, 1st duke of
, 1650–1722, English general and statesman, one of the greatest military commanders of history.
..... Click the link for more information. , won a series of spectacular victories. At home the costs of the fighting were an issue between the Tories, who were cool to the war, and the Whigs, who favored it.
Party lines were slowly hardening, but party government and ministerial responsibility were not yet established; intrigues and the favor of the queen still made and unmade cabinets, though the influence of public opinion, shaped by an increasingly powerful press and elections, was growing. Thus it was at least partly through the pressure of the Marlboroughs that Anne was induced, despite her Tory sympathies, to oust Tory ministers in favor of Whigs. The Marlboroughs were even able to force the dismissal of Robert HarleyHarley, Robert, 1st earl of Oxford,
1661–1724, English statesman and bibliophile. His career illustrates the power of personal connections and intrigue in the politics of his day.
..... Click the link for more information. in 1708, though the scolding duchess had already lost much of her power to Anne's new favorite, the quiet Abigail MashamMasham, Abigail, Lady
, d. 1734, favorite of Queen Anne of England. Her maiden name was Abigail Hill. A plain, intelligent person, she became (1704) bedchamber woman to the queen through the influence of her cousin Sarah Churchill, duchess of Marlborough.
..... Click the link for more information. , kinswoman and friend of Harley.
When the unpopularity of the war and the furor over the prosecution of Henry SacheverellSacheverell, Henry
, 1674?–1724, English clergyman, the center of a religio-political incident in the reign of Queen Anne. In two sermons (1709) Dr. Sacheverell attacked the Whig government, lashing out especially against its toleration of religious dissenters.
..... Click the link for more information. showed the power of the Tories (who won the elections of 1710) and made the move feasible, Anne recalled Harley to power, and the Marlboroughs were dismissed. Harley, created earl of Oxford, was political leader until 1714, when he was replaced by his Tory colleague and rival, Viscount Bolingbroke (see St. John, HenrySt. John, Henry, Viscount Bolingbroke
, 1678–1751, English statesman. Political Rise
Although he was one of England's great orators, Bolingbroke was also an unstable profligate, and he was generally distrusted.
..... Click the link for more information. ). Soon afterward the queen died, and Jacobite hopes were dashed by the succession of George IGeorge I
(George Louis), 1660–1727, king of Great Britain and Ireland (1714–27); son of Sophia, electress of Hanover, and great-grandson of James I. He became (1698) elector of Hanover, fought in the War of the Spanish Succession, and in 1714 succeeded Queen Anne
..... Click the link for more information. of the house of Hanover.
Character and Period
Queen Anne was a dull, stubborn, but conscientious woman, devoted to the Church of England and within it to the High Church party. She supported the act (1711) against "occasional conformity" and the Schism Act (1714), both directed against dissenters and both repealed in 1718. She also created a trust fund, known as Queen Anne's Bounty, for poor clerical benefices. During Anne's reign such thinkers as George Berkeley and Sir Isaac Newton and such scholars and writers as Richard Bentley, Swift, Pope, Addison, Steele, and Defoe were at work, while Sir Christopher Wren and Sir John Vanbrugh were at the same time setting in stone and brick the rich elegance of the period.
See biographies by M. R. Hopkinson (1934), D. Green (1970), E. Gregg (1984), and A. Somerset (2012); G. M. Trevelyan, England under Queen Anne (3 vol., 1930–34); G. N. Clark, The Later Stuarts (2d ed. 1955).