Bill of Rights 1689, Duke of Gloucester, Duke of Marlborough, Glorious Revolution, James VII of Scotland, King James II of England, Prince William, Queen Anne of England, Sarah Churchill, William and Mary, William III of Orange
William of Orange invaded England on November 5, 1688 in an action known as the Glorious Revolution, which ultimately deposed King James II-VII of England, Scotland and Ireland. Forbidden by James to pay Mary a projected visit in the spring of 1687, Anne corresponded with her and was aware of the plans to invade.
On the advice of the Churchills, Anne refused to side with James after William landed and instead wrote to William on November 18, declaring her approval of his action. Churchill abandoned the unpopular King James on the 24th. Prince George followed suit that night, and in the evening of the following day James issued orders to place Sarah Churchill under house arrest at St James’s Palace.
Anne and Sarah fled from Whitehall by a back staircase, putting themselves under the care of Bishop Compton. They spent one night in his house, and subsequently arrived at Nottingham on December 1.
Two weeks later and escorted by a large company, Anne arrived at Oxford, where she met Prince George in triumph. “God help me!”, lamented James on discovering the desertion of his daughter on November 26, “Even my children have forsaken me.”
On December 19, Anne returned to London, where she was at once visited by William. James fled to France on the 23rd. Anne showed no concern at the news of her father’s flight, and instead merely asked for her usual game of cards. She justified herself by saying that she “was used to play and never loved to do anything that looked like an affected constraint”.
In January 1689, a Convention Parliament assembled in England and declared that James II-VII had effectively abdicated when he fled, and that the thrones of England and Ireland were therefore vacant. The Parliament or Estates of Scotland took similar action, and William and Mary were declared joint monarchs of all three realms as King William III-II and Mary II of England, Scotland and Ireland.
The Bill of Rights 1689 and Claim of Right Act 1689 settled the succession. Anne and her descendants were to be in the line of succession after William and Mary, and they were to be followed by any descendants of William by a future marriage.
On 24 July 1689, Anne gave birth to a son, Prince William, Duke of Gloucester, who, though ill, survived infancy. As King William III-II and Queen Mary II had no children, it looked as though Anne’s son would eventually inherit the Crown.
William III-II and Mary II
Soon after their accession, William and Mary rewarded John Churchill by granting him the Earldom of Marlborough and Prince George was made Duke of Cumberland. Anne requested the use of Richmond Palace and a parliamentary allowance.
William and Mary refused the first, and unsuccessfully opposed the latter, both of which caused tension between the two sisters. Anne’s resentment grew worse when William refused to allow Prince George to serve in the military in an active capacity.
The new king and queen feared that Anne’s financial independence would weaken their influence over her and allow her to organize a rival political faction. From around this time, at Anne’s request she and Sarah Churchill, Lady Marlborough, began to call each other the pet names Mrs. Morley and Mrs. Freeman, respectively, to facilitate a relationship of greater equality between the two when they were alone.
In January 1692, suspecting that Marlborough was secretly conspiring with James’s followers, the Jacobites, William and Mary dismissed him from all his offices. In a public show of support for the Marlboroughs, Anne took Sarah to a social event at the palace, and refused her sister’s request to dismiss Sarah from her household.
Lady Marlborough was subsequently removed from the royal household by the Lord Chamberlain, and Anne angrily left her royal lodgings and took up residence at Syon House, the home of the Duke of Somerset. Anne was stripped of her guard of honour; courtiers were forbidden to visit her, and civic authorities were instructed to ignore her.
In April, Anne gave birth to a son who died within minutes. Mary visited her, but instead of offering comfort took the opportunity to berate Anne once again for her friendship with Sarah. The sisters never saw each other again. Later that year, Anne moved to Berkeley House in Piccadilly, London, where she had a stillborn daughter in March 1693.
When Queen Mary II died of smallpox in 1694, William III-II continued to reign alone. Anne became his heir apparent, since any children he might have by another wife were assigned to a lower place in the line of succession, and the two reconciled publicly.
William III-II restored her previous honours, allowed her to reside in St James’s Palace, and gave her Mary’s jewels, but excluded her from government and refrained from appointing her regent during his absences abroad. Three months later, William restored Marlborough to his offices. With Anne’s restoration at court, Berkeley House became a social centre for courtiers who had previously avoided contact with Anne and her husband.
According to James II-VII, Anne wrote to him in 1696 requesting his permission to succeed William, and thereafter promising to restore the Crown to James’s line at a convenient opportunity; he declined to give his consent. She was probably trying to ensure her own succession by attempting to prevent a direct claim by James II-VII.