Mary II (April 30, 1662 - December 28, 1694), Queen of England, Scotland and Ireland, was the daughter of King James II and Anne Hyde. She would become the wife of William of Orange, and together they ruled from February 13, 1689 until Mary's death on December 28,1694; their reign is usually known as that of "William and Mary".
Mary was born in London, the daughter of the then Duke of York and his first wife, Anne Hyde (whose father, Edward Hyde, 1st Earl of Clarendon, was chief adviser to King Charles II. Mary and her younger sister, Anne, were brought up in the Protestant faith of their mother. They were the only children of this marriage to survive into adulthood, and were not considered likely ever to accede to the throne. However, following their mother's death, their father married the Roman Catholic Mary of Modena, which helped confirm him in his own Catholic faith. Following his accession to the throne on February 6,1685, concern grew that he planned to turn the clock back and restore Catholicism to Britain. When his second wife gave birth to a son and heir on June 10, 1688 (see James Francis Edward Stuart), the event added urgency to the popular movement to overthrow him.
Mary had, on November 4, 1677, married William of Orange, a Dutch Protestant prince. The English Parliament saw William as a suitable alternative to James II, who was deposed by the "Glorious Revolution" and went into exile. Mary was invited to take the throne, but she refused to do so unless her husband was named King as well. Parliament agreed and William and Mary became joint rulers - the only time this happened in British history. Mary had the legitimate claim of succession to the throne, while William had the armies of the Dutch republic to defend it.
On the continent William used England's forces to continue his long series of wars against Louis XIV of France. This kept him out of England for much of his reign. In his absence it was Mary who dealt with the court and parliament of England. She was a expert politician and her presence in Britain gave her husband a great deal of freedom to wage his wars. It is believed that their personal relationship was not a successful one. Mary's three pregnancies all ended in stillbirth.
King William was succeeded by Mary's younger sister, Anne.
See also British Monarchs
William and Mary preceded by:|
James II of England/
James VII of Scotland
|List of British monarchs||