HISTORY MEME | FASCINATING WOMEN [8/10} → Anne, Queen of Great Britain l (1665 – 1714)
Anne was born at 11:39 pm, 6 February 1665 in London, the second daughter of James, Duke of York, brother of Charles II. She spent her early years in France living with her aunt and grandmother. Although Anne’s father was a Catholic, on the instruction of Charles II Anne and her sister Mary were raised as Protestants. In 1683, Anne married Prince George of Denmark. It was to be a happy marriage, although marred by Anne’s frequent miscarriages, still births and the death of children in infancy.
Her sister Mary married William of Orange but Anne was forbidden by her father to visit her in the Netherlands. When William landed in England in 1688 to take the throne, Anne on the influence of her close friend Sarah Churchill (1650–1744) the wife of John Churchill (1650–1722), supported her sister and brother-in-law against her father James. Churchill was created Duke of Marlborough by William when he was crowned King William III and her sister Queen Mary II. Anne detested her brother-in-law and she was led by Churchills’ influence to briefly engage in Jacobite intrigues during William’s reign.
Mary died in 1694 and on William’s death in 1702 Anne succeeded to the throne as Queen Anne. When she was crowned in April 1702 Anne was 37 years old and after her many pregnancies had poor health and no longer her youthful figure. She was shy and stubborn and very different from her outgoing sister Mary. Anne and Sarah Churchill, Duchess of Marlborough, remained close friends – Anne addressed Sarah as ‘Mrs Freeman’ and she called Anne ‘Mrs Morley’. Sarah’s husband the Duke of Marlborough commanded the English Army in the War of Spanish Succession. The influence of the Churchill’s however began to decline and after a violent quarrel in 1710, Sarah Churchill was dismissed from court. Abigail Masham succeeded the duchess as Anne’s favourite, using her influence to further the Tories.
Towards the end of her life, Anne suffered from gout and she could hardly walk. On her death in 1714 her body had swollen so large that she was buried in an almost square coffin. On the question of succession, Anne’s family loyalty had convinced her that this should fall to her father’s son by his second wife (Mary of Modena), James Edward Stuart, known as the Old Pretender. However, the Act of Settlement in 1701 ensured Protestant succession to the throne, and Anne was succeeded by George I, great-grandson of James I.