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On this date in History: February 13, 1689. William III-II and Mary II were created joint sovereigns of England, Scotland and Ireland.

William III (Dutch: Willem; November 4, 1650 – March 8, 1702), also widely known as William of Orange, was sovereign Prince of Orange from birth, Stadtholder of Holland, Zeeland, Utrecht, Gelderland and Overijssel in the Dutch Republic from 1672 and King of England, Ireland and Scotland from 1689 until his death in 1702. As King of Scotland, he is known as William II. He is sometimes informally known in Northern Ireland and Scotland as “King Billy.”

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William III-II, Prince of Orange, Stadtholder of Holland, Zeeland, Utrecht, Gelderland and Overijssel in the Dutch Republic. King of England, Ireland and Scotland.

Mary II (April 30, 1662 – December 28, 1694) was Queen of England, Scotland, and Ireland, co-reigning with her husband and first cousin, King William III and II, from 1689 until her death; popular histories usually refer to their joint reign as that of William and Mary. William and Mary, both Protestants, became king and queen regnant following the Glorious Revolution, which resulted in the adoption of the English Bill of Rights and the deposition of her Roman Catholic father, James II and VII. William became sole ruler upon her death in 1694. He reigned as such until his own death in 1702, when he was succeeded by Mary’s sister Anne.

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Mary II, Queen of England, Scotland, and Ireland.

William summoned a Convention Parliament in England, which met on January 22, 1689, to discuss the appropriate course of action following James’s flight. William felt insecure about his position; though his wife preceded him in the line of succession to the throne, he wished to reign as king in his own right, rather than as a mere consort. The only precedent for a joint monarchy in England dated from the 16th century, when Queen Mary I married Felipe II of Spain. Felipe II remained king only during his wife’s lifetime, and restrictions were placed on his power.

William, on the other hand, demanded that he remain as king even after his wife’s death. When the majority of Tory Lords proposed to acclaim her as sole ruler, William threatened to leave the country immediately. Furthermore, Mary, remaining loyal to her husband, refused.

The House of Commons, with a Whig majority, quickly resolved that the throne was vacant, and that it was safer if the ruler were Protestant. There were more Tories in the House of Lords, which would not initially agree, but after William refused to be a regent or to agree to remain king only in his wife’s lifetime, there were negotiations between the two houses and the Lords agreed by a narrow majority that the throne was vacant. The Commons made William accept a Bill of Rights, and, on February 13, 1689, Parliament passed the Declaration of Right, in which it deemed that James, by attempting to flee, had abdicated the government of the realm, thereby leaving the throne vacant.

The Crown was not offered to James’s infant son, who would have been the heir apparent under normal circumstances, but to William III-II and Mary II as joint sovereigns. It was, however, provided that “the sole and full exercise of the regal power be only in and executed by the said Prince of Orange in the names of the said Prince and Princess during their joint lives.”

William III-II and Mary II were crowned together at Westminster Abbey on April 11, 1689 by the Bishop of London, Henry Compton. Normally, the coronation is performed by the Archbishop of Canterbury, but the Archbishop at the time, William Sancroft, refused to recognise James’s removal.

William also summoned a Convention of the Estates of Scotland, which met on March 14, 1689 and sent a conciliatory letter, while James sent haughty uncompromising orders, swaying a majority in favour of William. On April 11 the day of the English coronation, the Convention finally declared that James was no longer King of Scotland. William II and Mary II were offered the Scottish Crown; they accepted on May 11.