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Anne (February 6, 1665 – August 1, 1714) was Queen of England, Scotland and Ireland between March 8, 1702 and May 1, 1707. On May 1, 1707, under the Acts of Union, the kingdoms of England and Scotland united as a single sovereign state known as Great Britain. She continued to reign as Queen of Great Britain and Ireland until her death in 1714.

Queen Anne of Great Britain

Anne was born at St James’s Palace, London, the fourth child and second daughter of the James, Duke of York (afterwards James II-VII), and his first wife, Anne Hyde. Her father was the younger brother of King Charles II, who ruled the three kingdoms of England, Scotland and Ireland, and her mother was the daughter of Lord Chancellor Edward Hyde, 1st Earl of Clarendon.

Scottish Militia Bill
UK legislation of 1708

The Scottish Militia Bill (known formerly as the Scotch Militia Bill) was a bill that was passed by the House of Commons and House of Lords of the Parliament of Great Britain in early 1708. However, on March 11, 1708, Queen Anne withheld royal assent on the advice of her ministers for fear that the proposed militia would be disloyal.


The bill’s long title was “An Act for settling the Militia of that Part of Great Britain called Scotland”. Its object was to arm the Scottish militia, which had not been recreated at the Restoration. This happened as the unification between Scotland and England under the Acts of Union 1707 had been passed.

On the day the bill was meant to be signed, news came that the French were sailing toward Scotland for the planned invasion of 1708 and there was suspicion that the Scots might be disloyal. Therefore, support for a veto was strong.

King William III-II of England, Scotland and Ireland

The Scottish Militia Bill is the last bill to have been refused royal assent. Before this, King William III had vetoed bills passed by Parliament six times. Royal assent to bills generally came to be viewed as a mere formality once both Houses of Parliament had successfully read a bill three times, or a general election had taken place.

King George III of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland

In the British colonies, the denial of royal assent had continued past 1708, and was one of the primary complaints of the United States Declaration of Independence in 1776: that King George III of Great Britain has refused his Assent to Laws, most wholesome and necessary for the public Good” and “He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing Importance”.