She was born, on either March 12 or March 22, 1637, at Windsor, her mother being Frances, daughter of Sir Thomas Aylesbury. Her father was the loyal Royalist advisor Sir Edward Hyde, later 1st Earl of Clarendon. In 1659, at Breda in the Netherlands, she is believed to have married James, then Duke of York, in a secret ceremony. The royal family was still in exile following the English Civil War, and Anne's father was chief adviser to the prospective King Charles II of England, James older brother. The couple were officially married on September 3, 1660, in London, following the Restoration of the monarchy. Their first child, Charles, was born less than two months later, but died in infancy, as did several other sons and daughters. The two surviving children were both girls, Mary and Anne. A few weeks after the birth of their youngest child, Anne died of cancer at St James's Palace and was buried in Westminster Abbey.
Late in her life, Anne secretly converted to Catholicism, much to the horror of her staunchly Anglican family. After her death, her husband also converted to the Roman Catholic faith. At the order of James's older brother the King, however, James and Anne's daughters were raised in the Protestant faith.