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House of Stuart - Queen Mary II

Name: Queen Mary II
Father: James II
Mother: Anne Hyde
Born: April 30, 1662 at St James Palace, London
Ascended to the throne: February 13, 1689 aged 26 years
Crowned: April 11, 1689 at Westminster Abbey, when William was 38 and Mary was 26
Married: William son of William II of Orange, on November 4, 1677
Children: Three stillborn
Died: December 28, 1694 at Kensington Palace, aged 32 years, 7 months, and 28 days
Buried at: Westminster Abbey

Mary was the eldest daughter of James II and his first wife Anne Hyde. Her mother died when she was 9 years old. Her father converted to Catholicism and remarried, but Mary and her sister Anne were raised as Protestants. In 1677 at the age of 15 she was married in London to her cousin Prince William of Orange. She reportedly wept through the ceremony, but went to live with William in the Netherlands. She was warm-hearted and out-going whereas William was often dour and morose, but the marriage survived although all three of her pregnancies were stillborn.

Her father became King James II but by 1688 had become increasingly unpopular as king, and William and Mary were invited by parliamentary opposition to come to England and take the crown. Mary insisted that she would only do so if she reigned jointly with her husband. Williamís army landed in November 1688 and James fled to exile in France. They were crowned King William III and Queen Mary II in April 1689, although Mary had misgivings about the plight of her father.

William and Mary built a new palace at Hampton Court adjacent to Henry VIIIís Tudor palace. William spent much of his time absent soldiering, first in Ireland, where he defeated James II at the Battle of the Boyne in 1690, and later against the French in Flanders. While he was away Mary acted in her own name but had limited influence in politics following the 1689 Bill of Rights which restricted the political role of the monarch. She did however, briefly imprison her own uncle Henry Hyde, Earl of Clarendon, and John Churchill, Earl of Marlborough (6th great grandfather of Winston Churchill) on charges of plotting to restore James II. This brought her into conflict with her sister Anne who was a friend of the Churchills.

Mary died of smallpox in 1694. She had several stillborn children and died childless. Her husband William continued to rule alone and was succeeded in 1702 by Maryís sister, Anne.

Timeline for Queen Mary II