Mary II (England)

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Mary II (Stuart), painting by Sir Peter Lely .

Maria's signature:
Signature Maria II. (England) .PNG
Portrait of Queen Mary II of England by the artist Caspar Netscher , 1676

Mary II , English Mary II (born April 30, 1662 in St James's Palace in London , † December 28, 1694 in Kensington Palace in Kensington ), was Queen of England , Scotland and Ireland . She was the eldest daughter of the later Jacob II of England , was raised Protestant and in 1677 with her cousin Wilhelm III. of Orange , governor of the United Netherlands . When her father was overthrown because of his pro-Catholic policies, she stood by her husband's side and ascended the English throne with him in 1689 during the Glorious Revolution . During her husband's frequent and long absences on foreign campaigns, she ran the affairs of state alone, but died of smallpox at the age of only 32 .

Origin and youth

Maria was the eldest daughter of the Duke of York and later King James II of England (1633–1701) and his first wife, Lady Anne Hyde (1637–1671). Her birth "did not please anyone", as Samuel Pepys put it in his diary entries, since her birth did not bring the hoped-for ancestor. Her parents had married two years earlier (1660), but Anne Hyde's eldest son, Charles, had died in infancy a year before Mary was born. Although Anne Hyde had a total of eight children, only Maria and her younger sister Anna would reach adulthood. Maria, who was her father's favorite child, was named after her paternal aunt, Princess Maria of Orange , and her great-great-grandmother, the Scottish Queen Maria Stuart . She spent part of her childhood in a house in Twickenham that her parents had received as a wedding present from Anne Hyde's father Edward Hyde, 1st Earl of Clarendon . From 1665 to 1667 Maria lived in York because the plague was raging in southern England .

Since the English King Charles II had no legitimate descendants, the children of his younger brother, Maria's father Jacob, became more and more important for the succession to the throne. However, the Duke of York and his wife Anne Hyde showed growing inclinations for the Catholic religion , which worried the king. After the early death of Anne Hude (March 1671) Jacob had to agree to a Protestant upbringing for his daughters. Now Maria lived with her sister Anna in Richmond Palace under the supervision of the governess Lady Frances Villiers and saw her father only occasionally. When he visited her in the autumn of 1673, he told her that he had entered into a new marriage with Maria Beatrice von Modena , who was only 15 years old . Maria found her young stepmother funny, beautiful and educated.

The Bishop of Winchester, George Morley , and the Bishop of London, Henry Compton , with whom Mary always remained on friendly terms, as well as she was to cling to Protestantism throughout her life, took care of Mary's religious training in the Protestant sense . Her chaplains included Edward Lake , who later became the Archdeacon of Exeter. In addition, Maria u. a. Dance, singing and drawing lessons. In the latter subject, she gave the dwarf Richard Gibson instruction, which she later, after her marriage to Wilhelm III. from Orange, also accompanied to the Netherlands. Pierre de Laine was her teacher in the French language , which she finally mastered quite well. On the other hand, she did not acquire any knowledge of Latin and Greek , and her skills in mathematics and spelling were very poor, so that she often made spelling mistakes.

Maria's playmates included the daughters of her governess Frances Villiers as well as Anne Trelawney , Sarah Jennings and Frances Apsley . With the latter, Maria conducted a correspondence of passionate, adolescent love letters she had received. In them she adopted a pseudonym, Mary Clovin , and slipped into the role of a woman who wrote to her husband. Her childhood friend Frances Apsley, who was addressed as this fictional husband and who was a few years older than her, called herself Aurelia in the correspondence . In addition, Maria enjoyed playing cards and doing handicrafts in her free time. All in all, the young princess, who was described as tall, slender and had dark curly hair, spent her youth, at the request of her uncle King Charles II, in a rather secluded place, shielded from the public.

Marriage to Wilhelm III. of Orange

Princess Maria, 1677, portrait by Adriaen de Hennin
William III. of Orange

Since 1671 Maria was second in line to the throne after her father, so the question of her marriage played an important role in European politics. Already in the winter of 1670/71, the strictly Protestant-minded Wilhelm (III) traveled from Orange to England and wooed her as a future bride. However, Maria's father refused such a marriage. In 1672 Wilhelm became the military commander-in-chief of the United Netherlands and hereditary governor of most of its provinces. He pursued an anti-French policy, while the English king sought good relations with Louis XIV in the near future . He promised the Duke of York that Mary would marry the Dauphin Louis de Bourbon, dauphin de Viennois . In 1674 the marriage project between the Dutch governor and the English duke's daughter was nevertheless considered again. The influential Earl of Danby in particular endorsed this connection, but an English delegation who had traveled to the Netherlands for talks on this matter was received coolly by Wilhelm.

It was not until autumn 1677 that Wilhelm traveled personally to the English court to conduct the marriage negotiations. Under the pressure of Charles II, Maria's father finally gave up his resistance to the marriage project. With this marriage, the king wanted to reassure his opponents in parliament who feared a re-Catholicization of England by marrying the daughter of the heir to the throne with the currently most prominent leader of the Protestant denomination.

William asked the Duke of York for the hand of his eldest daughter on October 18, 1677, and Jacob gave his consent three days later. On the afternoon of the same day (October 21), 15-year-old Maria was told that she was going to marry her cousin, who was almost 12 years her senior, and she cried for two days. The good-looking daughter of the duke was faced with a bridegroom suffering from asthma , who was considered unattractive, had a hooked nose and was four inches shorter than she was. While many thought he was cold, rough and shy, Maria was very warm, courteous and helpful. On Wilhelm's 27th birthday (4th November July / 14th November 1677 greg. ) His wedding ceremony with Mary, performed by Bishop Henry Compton, took place at St James's Palace. As was the custom at the time, the English king and others accompanied the newlyweds to bed. It was only on the day after the wedding that Wilhelm presented his wife with the late-arriving state jewels. She was also awarded an annual pension of £ 10,000 and an additional annual needle allowance of £ 2,000. Angry about the marriage, Louis XIV stopped his financial support for Charles II.

Living in the Netherlands

The departure of Wilhelm III. from Orange and his wife to Holland did not take place immediately, as Maria reluctantly left her home and wanted to wait for her sister Anna to develop smallpox. At a on November 15th jul. / November 25, 1677 greg. In honor of the 39th birthday of Catherine of Braganza , the wife of King Charles II, the Dutch governor showed little interest in his wife, whom he had only married for political reasons. When the couple left London four days later and Katharina von Braganza tried to cheer up the weeping Maria by pointing out that she had once had to leave the country of her birth when she married Charles II, Maria replied patriotically that the Queen had finally come to England while she has to leave here. The ladies-in-waiting who now accompanied Maria to Holland included two daughters of her governess Frances Villiers, Anne and Elizabeth (the latter was to become the long-time mistress of William of Orange in 1680), as well as Maria's childhood friend Anne Trelawney and Jane Wroth, who in 1681 was William Nassau de Zuylestein, 1st Earl of Rochford married. Due to adverse weather, Wilhelm, Maria and their entourage made a detour via Canterbury , where they stayed for four days before they sailed from Margate on November 28, 1677 and reached the Dutch coast after a stormy sea voyage. Since the rivers were frozen over, they could not dock in Rotterdam , but had to land at the small village of Ter Heijde , 11 kilometers west of The Hague, and first march on foot in frosty weather. Eventually they were picked up by carriages and drove to the Huis Honselaarsdijk palace . On December 14, 1677, Maria made her acclaimed entry into The Hague at the side of her husband.

In the next few years Maria, who was now Princess of Orange, led a rather uneventful, withdrawn and lonely existence in the Netherlands. She quickly settled in her new home and developed a great affection for the people, for which she won the hearts of the Dutch in return. She usually resided in the Huis ten Bosch palace near The Hague and only stayed in the capital on state occasions. Together with her husband, she had the new Het Loo Castle built in the 1680s not far from Apeldoorn . Over time, she became very pious and also expanded her education. The future Bishop of Bath and Wells , George Hooper , who had traveled with her to the Netherlands as her chaplain and was in her service for 18 months, left a detailed account of her way of life and attested her morally impeccable behavior. William of Orange wanted his wife to understand his Presbyterian beliefs, however, while Hooper, to the annoyance of the Dutch governor, insisted that Mary only attend services according to the liturgy of the Church of England and convinced her to use books by Anglican theologians such as Richard Hooker instead of those works to read that deviated from the Anglican Church.

Although Maria slowly developed devotion to her husband, her first years of marriage were rather unhappy. Her husband showed little affection for her at first, soon adopted Elizabeth Villiers as her lover and was often absent on campaigns. Maria suffered two miscarriages at the beginning of 1678 and a year later, which affected her greatly; the marriage remained childless. Hooper's successor, Thomas Ken , who was in Mary's service from 1679 to 1680, criticized Wilhelm for his infidelity to his wife. Maria spent her time u. a. with sewing, although she had an eye problem that made her unable to read or write at times. She also enjoyed playing cards, was interested in landscaping and began collecting rare plants.

In October 1678 Maria received a visit in The Hague from her stepmother, with whom she got along well, and from her sister, and then in February 1679 from her father. Because of the Dutch climate, she got chills and then traveled to Aachen for a cure . In late September 1679 she was visited by James Scott, 1st Duke of Monmouth , an illegitimate son of King Charles II, and in early October 1679 again by her father, her stepmother and her sister Anna. It was supposed to be the last meeting with her father, but her relationship with him should have remained untroubled until his accession to the throne. In March and April 1680 she became seriously ill. When she traveled to Amsterdam with her husband in February 1681 , she was enthusiastically received there. In early 1685, at the time of the death of Charles II, she liked to pass the time with the Duke of Monmouth, with whom she often went ice skating. But when her father rose as James II to be King of England, Scotland and Ireland, he politely asked Maria in a letter to expel Monmouth, whom he hated from court. This himself claimed the English throne and undertook a military rebellion against Jacob, but was defeated and executed in July 1685.

The clergyman John Covel , who has been Maria's chaplain since 1681, made harsh comments in October 1685 in an intercepted letter to the diplomat Bevil Skelton , who was sent to The Hague by James II as ambassador, about Wilhelm's marital infidelity, whereupon he immediately expelled the country and William Stanley Maria became the new chaplain. He described the princess, who had become a bit more obese, as majestic, virtuous and very charming.

The Scottish theologian, historian and later Bishop of Salisbury, Gilbert Burnet , who had left England after the death of Charles II and became the trusted counselor of the Prince and Princess of Orange in 1686, first drew Mary's attention to the fact that im In the event of her accession to the throne in England, her husband would have no powers there as prince consort. Burnet suggested to her - despite his assertion to the contrary, probably on behalf of Wilhelm - that she should relinquish the actual power of government to her husband and try to secure this legally. Maria had then promised Wilhelm that she would do everything in her power to make him king. Under pressure from Jacob II, Burnet had to leave the Dutch court in 1687, but stayed in contact with Wilhelm and Maria.

Disgruntlement between Maria and her father

In the meantime, James II began to alienate himself from the Toryist and Anglican-minded gentry who had previously supported him as the legitimate heir to the throne and protector of the Anglican state church against the Protestant nonconformists . The cause was an interference in the self-administration rights of the municipalities, v. a. but his pro-Catholic tolerance policy. In April 1687, the English king issued the Declaration of Indulgence , which repealed penal provisions against Catholics and other Christian denominations and granted greater religious freedom. Maria openly supported her husband's sharp rejection of this measure. Maria was increasingly concerned about these political developments in her homeland. She was annoyed that her father ignored her request to intervene with Louis XIV when this monarch invaded the Principality of Orange and persecuted Huguenots who had fled there . Maria herself had given the Protestant French refugees as much as possible. In vain did she advocate her father's dismissal of Bishop Henry Compton.

Nevertheless, Jacob II tried to convert his daughter to Catholicism at the end of 1687. To this end, he explained to her in a detailed letter his reasons for his conversion to the Catholic faith. However, his efforts were unsuccessful; Maria remained true to her religious convictions, although she u. a. had read the notes her mother left regarding their conversion. When she wrote to her father objecting to the recall of the English regiments stationed in Holland, the angry English monarch gave up trying to convert his daughter.

In April / May 1688, James II attended the official protest of the Archbishop of Canterbury, William Sancroft , and six other bishops. He had his opponents imprisoned, but could not obtain their conviction. Maria, who learned of the arrest of the seven bishops in Honselaarsdijk Castle on June 8th, was shocked by her father's approach.

Glorious Revolution

The situation in the British Isles came to a head when Queen Maria Beatrice gave birth to a son, James Francis Edward , on June 10, 1688 , who was now the immediate heir to the throne and would also be raised a Catholic. Although the Prince and Princess of Orange congratulated James II on the birth of his child, Maria was soon convinced of the truth of the rumors that the newborn was not a biological son of Jacob, but an imposed infant and thus an illegal heir to the throne, especially after she was exact Had obtained information from her sister Anna regarding the pregnancy of the Queen of England.

On June 30, 1688, leading English politicians sent the Prince of Orange, the leading Protestant representative and husband of Mary, a letter calling on him to intervene in Great Britain. Wilhelm agreed and began recruiting troops the following summer. Maria decided, albeit with a heavy heart, to fully support her husband. The main reason for this decision was her conviction that her father had wanted to deprive her of the throne by means of an infant and that only a military intervention by her husband would ensure the continued existence of the Anglican state church in her home country.

In a declaration of September 20, 1688, Wilhelm announced his intervention, but did not attack Jacob II in a propagandistic way, but presented himself as a defender of English Protestantism; he just wanted to convene a freely elected parliament that would cope with the political crisis. Meanwhile, Maria, who was very troubled by the thought of the impending violent dethronement of her father, spent her time mostly withdrawn and lonely in the recently completed palace Het Loo . There she meditated and thanked God for the improvement in her visual acuity, which enabled her to read and write again. When her husband's military offensive was about to begin in October, she went to The Hague to see him off, but turned down his proposal to marry again if he did not return. Gilbert Burnet, who had seen her a day or two before Wilhelm's departure, described her as very serious.

Despite the high risk of venturing to England due to the time of year, Wilhelm embarked on this venture, but at the first attempt, launched in mid-October 1688, his fleet had to turn around due to a storm with great losses. When the wind was more favorable, the second invasion operation succeeded, so that Wilhelm was able to land on November 5 with around 15,000 men near Torbay in south-west England. At first he was in a critical situation, but then gained the upper hand due to the indecisive warfare and wrong decisions of his opponent. After a failed attempt to escape, James II managed to escape to France on December 23. Wilhelm temporarily took over the government and announced elections to the convention parliament , which should overcome the constitutional crisis and decide who was now the legitimate English king.

For Maria, who remained in the Netherlands, it was very difficult to say goodbye to her husband. She was very worried about him during his military intervention, with which the Glorious Revolution began, and once again lived in a very secluded life, often attending church services, composing prayers and meditating. When she heard of Wilhelm's happy landing, she gave a few receptions again. On December 30, 1688, she heard of her father's escape and at the same time received her husband's request to be ready for the crossing to England. With her were at this time the Elector Friedrich III. von Brandenburg and his second wife, Sophie Charlotte von Hanover, were guests, but otherwise she remained pretty much alone for the next few weeks.

In England, the lower house of the convention parliament decided on January 29, 1689, the resolution, which was also supported by the upper house and finally enshrined in the Act of Settlement in 1701 , that in future no Catholics would be allowed to become English king. There was, however, a discussion about the question of whether Wilhelm and Maria should become monarchs with equal rights or whether Mary alone was entitled to the succession to the throne and her husband only had the role of a prince consort. The latter solution preferred a strong group of peers and bishops of the House of Lords led by the Earl of Danby . Wilhelm firmly refused a position as a mere prince consort and threatened to return to the Netherlands in such a case. This perspective, which was uncomfortable for the political elite due to the power vacuum that then developed, contributed to a decision in his mind, as did Maria's attitude, which indicated that she only wanted to rule together with her husband. On February 6, the House of Lords gave up its resistance to the elevation of Wilhelm to king. Maria now became queen in her own right, but should leave the management of the political affairs to her husband.

On February 1, 1689, the admiral and later Earl of Torrington, Arthur Herbert , came by ship to pick up Maria. Nine days later she sailed, not without a certain sorrow, from the Netherlands, which had become her home, and arrived in London on the afternoon of February 12th. She was happy to see her husband and sister Anna again, but was depressed at the thought of her father's fate. Wilhelm told her to be as cheerful as possible. According to the admittedly exaggeratedly negative report of her former childhood friend Sarah Jennings (who was now Countess of Marlborough), she must have followed this advice too much; accordingly she walked around the palace and looked into all the rooms and under all the blankets, which is otherwise only done on arrival at an inn. Others also found her behavior tactless in the face of their father's misfortune. Lady Cavendish, however, judged more positively that Maria looked very pretty and that her figure and movements were very graceful. On February 13, members of the Convention Parliament offered Wilhelm and Maria the English crown in the Banqueting House and at the same time presented them with a Declaration of Rights , which considerably strengthened the rights of Parliament and curtailed the sovereignty of the monarch. The couple agreed to both applications. This marked the beginning of England's path to constitutional monarchy.


Maria II. And Wilhelm III.

Mary and William were crowned together on April 11, 1689 in a double coronation, which is extremely rare in Europe, in Westminster Abbey . John von Collas , then ten years old, was allowed to carry her train. Both rulers found the pompous, overloaded program of this ceremony a burden. In the morning they had traveled from their palace in Whitehall to the parliament building in Westminster and from there, accompanied by the nobility and high clergy, moved on to Westminster Abbey. Gilbert Burnet, now promoted to Bishop of Salisbury, delivered a sermon. At the next coronation act, members of the lower house took a significant place in the coronation church for the first time in English history. The royal couple swore a new oath that obliged them to observe the laws passed by parliament, which showed its strengthened role. Then it sat down on two chairs, received the royal insignia and was crowned by the Bishop of London, Henry Compton, because the Archbishop of Canterbury, William Sancroft, who was actually responsible for this, did not recognize William as a legitimate monarch and therefore did not perform this act. In the evening there was finally a banquet.

The Scottish Parliament also recognized William and Mary as sovereigns on Coronation Day, and both formally accepted the Scottish crown on May 12, 1689 at the Banqueting House in the presence of high-ranking Scottish officials. In Ireland, on the other hand, they could not enforce their authority so quickly, since the expelled James II had meanwhile begun to regain his empire with French support, for this purpose he landed with his troops in Kinsale on March 12, 1689 and then stayed until June 1690 in large parts of Ireland. In a bitter letter he accused his daughter of violating God's command to respect her parents, which struck the pious Mary very much.

A commemorative medal of the coronation, on the reverse of which Wilhelm III. was depicted as Jupiter hurling a bolt of lightning at Jacob II, portrayed as Phaethon and jumping out of a carriage. According to the propaganda of the supporters of the dethroned king, the Jacobites , however, the carriage of Maria was represented as Tullia . The latter was a demonic, historically not reliably verifiable female figure from the ancient Roman royal times, who overthrew her father, King Servius Tullius , and then drove over her father's corpse in her cab. While the Whigs in particular generally portrayed Mary as a faithful, conscientious wife, the Jacobites characterized her on many occasions as a treacherous daughter. Maria herself felt guilty for the rest of her life because of her father's fate. In contrast to her father and husband, she was very popular with most of her subjects.

English queen

Initial political reluctance

At the beginning of her reign, Maria only took a small share in political affairs, as she wished. After living in the Netherlands for eleven years, she was no longer familiar with the elaborate ceremonies and elaborate English court etiquette. She would have preferred to continue to lead a withdrawn existence and felt uncomfortable in the now noisy court life and criticized from many sides. She was also alienated by the loose moral mores prevailing in England. The Countess of Derby was appointed her chief chambermaid ( groom of the stole to the queen ), an important court office.

Due to Wilhelm's health, the court soon moved from Whitehall to Hampton Court Palace , where Maria and her husband spent the summer of 1689. The queen had her collection of Chinese porcelain brought there and she could pursue her leisure activity of landscaping. From October the royal couple lived for a few weeks at Holland House in Kensington and on December 23, 1689 settled in Kensington Palace , which it had acquired from the Earl of Nottingham.

When Maria returned to England, her relationship with her sister Anna had been good, but since the second half of 1689 it began to deteriorate more and more. This development began with the fact that Anna wanted to have her own financial income and reached through agreements with various members of parliament that this allowed her an annual cash payment of 50,000 pounds in December 1689, which Maria was angry. In the same month, the Bill of Right was passed, which confirmed many provisions of the Declaration of Right , such as the power restrictions of the king and the rule of succession, according to which the surviving spouse should continue to rule after the death of Mary or William; If they had children, they would be next in line to the throne, whereupon Mary's sister Anna and her children would follow; Ultimately, Wilhelm’s children from a possible further marriage would be the last to inherit.

Since the rule of the royal couple was not peaceful and Wilhelm therefore often led foreign military expeditions, Maria had to become more politically active since 1690. A rebellion in Scotland had been suppressed in 1689, but Ireland was still out of William's hands. When he set out to cross over to Ireland in June 1690 to personally lead the war against his father-in-law James II, he apparently did not initially want to relinquish government responsibility to his wife during his absence, but then voted in favor of the Regency passed by parliament Act , according to which Maria always had to take over rule during Wilhelm's absence.

First reign 1690

The first time Mary exercised the affairs of state in England alone from June to September 1690, while her husband fought in Ireland. She tried to fulfill her new obligation to Wilhelm's satisfaction, but was never trained for such a task. She passed important matters that did not need to be dealt with immediately to her husband for decision. The latter had appointed a privy council , which he believed to be trustworthy , and which consisted of nine important politicians, five Tories and four Whigs, to assist her . However, the monarch did not particularly appreciate any of them. The fact that their advisors belong to different parties also contributed to their frequent disagreement.

Maria's nine advisers, in turn, initially believed that Maria's political inexperience would make it easier for them to pursue their own interests during Wilhelm's absence. They underestimated the queen, who managed to rule quite prudently and competently. For example, the Tory Thomas Osborne , Marquess of Carmathen and Earl of Danby said that he owed the greatest influence due to his position as chairman of the Privy Council, and he tried to take Maria for himself in this sense. To compensate, the Queen turned to another member of the Privy Council, Edward Russell, 1st Earl of Orford , who belonged to the opposing party of the Whigs. At the end of June 1690, she had several people suspected of Jacobite activities arrested, including her maternal uncle, Henry Hyde, 2nd Earl of Clarendon , who then had to spend almost two months in the Tower of London .

The defeat of the English Admiral Arthur Herbert, 1st Earl of Torrington, in the Battle of Beachy Head (June 30 jul. / July 10, 1690 greg. ) Against those of Tourville commanded French fleet set off a crisis in England whose coping However, Maria showed herself to be quite grown. Torrington had at first shied away from confrontation with the superior enemy fleet, but had finally been forced to accept the battle on the orders of Mary, who had followed a majority opinion of her Privy Council. Torrington was blamed for the following defeat; he gave incompetently or even acted treasonously. The Queen had him locked up in the Tower; but he was acquitted. Against opposition from the Admiralty, Maria was able to push through the appointment of Richard Haddock , Sir John Ashby and Sir Henry Killigrew as successors of Torrington with the support of the Privy Council . When the news of William's decisive victory over James II. On the River Boyne (July 1 jul. / July 11, 1690 greg. ) Six days after this fight Maria arrived, this was very pleased because now an invasion of England seemed unlikely again and furthermore, both her husband and father survived the battle unharmed.

After the king had besieged Limerick in vain in August 1690 , he returned to Hampton Court Palace on September 10th. Maria was relieved that she could now hand him back the leadership of the government and that, in his opinion, she had mastered her first foray into politics well. Both chambers of parliament thanked her in October for her wise management of the country.

Reign 1691

Maria II. And Wilhelm III. on a coin from 1691

When Wilhelm set out for the Netherlands in January 1691, Maria again took over rule in England, supported by her Privy Council. This time she ruled for nine months, since the king - apart from a brief stay in England in the second half of April - did not return until October. She usually got up very early, around six in the morning, and showed her religiosity through regular church visits.

In January 1691 a Jacobite conspiracy was uncovered. a. Lord Preston was involved, for which he faced the death penalty; but he was able to obtain his release in June through a comprehensive confession. The Queen was only marginally concerned with the matter, since Wilhelm took care of it himself on his brief return. On February 6th, Jul. / February 16, 1691 greg. she organized a court ball on the occasion of her sister Anna's 26th birthday. Two months later, on the night before her husband's brief return home, she narrowly escaped a devastating fire at the Palace of Whitehall .

For the most part, Wilhelm gave his wife a free hand in appointing high clerical dignitaries. For example, it was necessary to find successors for those bishops who had been deposed because of their refusal to take the oath to the new royal couple ( non-jurors ). The most prominent representative affected by this was the Archbishop of Canterbury, William Sancroft, who was replaced by the reluctant John Tillotson . The Bishop of London, Henry Compton, was very disappointed that he had not received this highest Anglican church office. Tillotson now became the Queen's chief advisor on church promotions. Mary also made her former chaplain George Hooper dean of Canterbury, to the displeasure of her husband.

The Queen suspected many enemies at court and the Earl of Marlborough as the mastermind of the intrigues. She moved to Whitehall in June 1691, where she felt more secure. The lack of money to continue the war and their sometimes necessary consent to death sentences weighed on them. After her husband returned in October, the court moved back to Kensington.

Break between Maria and Anna

In the course of 1691, Maria's relationships with her sister Anna continued to cool. As early as 1690, Wilhelm had failed to appreciate Anna's husband, Prince George of Denmark's military achievements during the Irish campaign, and the latter was also not allowed to serve in the navy in May 1691 on the orders of the Queen - who followed an instruction from her husband led to a violent argument between Maria and Anna.

Tensions intensified further when, in January 1692, William resigned the Earl of Marlborough, Anna's favorite, on suspicion of being in conspiratorial contact with the dethroned James II, and banished them from court with his wife. When Anna showed up three weeks later with her favorite Sarah Churchill, Marlborough's wife, demonstratively at court, Maria demanded her dismissal from Anna's service. Anna flatly refused and had to move with her husband from her apartment wing in Whitehall Palace, Cockpit-in-Court , to Syon House . During another long absence of Wilhelm on foreign campaigns (March 5 to October 18, 1692), the Queen, who was again in government at that time, suffered from a serious illness in April in Whitehall. After her recovery she visited Anna, who shortly before (April 17, 1692) had given birth to a son Georg who died immediately after the birth. Because Anna continued to refuse to fire her best friend Sarah Churchill, the break between the sisters was now final; there was no further meeting between them. Maria deeply regretted this development.

Last years of government

When Maria again led the reign for her absent husband, which was very burdensome for her, in 1692, she may have made more decisions than in the previous year only after consulting Wilhelm. He may have been dissatisfied with some of their previous resolutions. A French invasion of England threatened at the end of April. A cheater named Robert Young also stated at the time that there was allegedly a plot to return Jacob II to the English throne. It would be u. a. also involved the Earl of Marlborough, who therefore had to spend five weeks in the Tower in May and June on Mary's orders until the fraud was discovered. However, after Marlborough's arrest, many officers feared that a wave of purges was imminent. It was rumored that a number of naval officers and their crews were planning to take the side of Maria's father. The Queen then wrote a haunting letter to Admiral Edward Russell, in which she emphasized her confidence in the loyalty of the naval forces. This resulted in a show of loyalty from 64 naval officers. In the battle of La Hogue (May 25 jul. / June 4, 1692 greg. ) Was the combined Anglo-Dutch fleet then a decisive naval victory over the command of Tourville French squadron win, after France had to give up the invasion plans of England. Maria made a significant cash gift to the victorious naval teams and announced the construction of a hospital for injured seafarers in Greenwich. Her relationship with her father, however, deteriorated further when his involvement in a murder plot against Wilhelm was discovered.

The Queen, who saw the Glorious Revolution and the ensuing overthrow of her father as well as her own assumption of power as part of a divinely willed providence to save the Anglican Church, considered a moral uplift in the manners of her countrymen to be necessary. If this did not happen, she believed, the nation would incur the wrath of God. So she tried to set a model of piety herself. In 1692 she gave all English magistrates the order to ruthlessly enforce the laws against vicious and immoral behavior. In particular, she was anxious to intervene against any code of conduct that she believed profaned the Lord's Day (Sunday). This measure Mary agreed to her husband when he was back in England in the winter of 1692/93 and behaved unusually friendly towards her. In contrast, the domestic political situation was very difficult for Maria in the course of 1693, when she led the government for the absent Wilhelm from March 24th to October 29th. Her Privy Council was extremely divided, there was little to say in Parliament, and her husband had no praise for her government work when he returned home. This was mainly due to the fact that Maria was now more inclined towards the Tories and Wilhelm towards the Whigs. At the end of 1693, her memoirs suddenly break off.

Although Maria was only 32 years old in the spring of 1694, she said she was already suffering increasingly from tiredness and old age problems. When Wilhelm was on foreign campaigns again that year, she exercised her reign for the last time from May 6th to November 9th, albeit less intensively than before. She was deeply distressed by the death of the Archbishop of Canterbury, John Tillotson (November 22, 1694). Contrary to their wishes to replace the Bishop of Worcester, Edward Stillingfleet , the King appointed the Bishop of Lincoln, Thomas Tenison , as the new head of the Church of England.


From the middle of November 1694 Maria felt uncomfortable. The first serious symptoms of the disease appeared on December 19, from which she recovered for a short time. She put her papers in order and wrote her husband a suicide note, in which she accused him of his marital infidelity; after her death Archbishop Tenison was to present this letter to her husband. Another flare-up followed on December 23, and doctor John Radcliffe initially believed she had measles . On the evening of Christmas Day, however, a virulent attack of smallpox was diagnosed. Devoutly, she accepted the news of her imminent death two days later that Tenison had conveyed to her. Wilhelm was deeply upset and sad; he slept on an emergency bed in Maria's room. Anna also wanted to see her terminally ill sister again, but because of the risk of infection, the king refused her request. After receiving the sacraments on December 27th, Mary passed away at Kensington Palace on December 28th, 1694 at around one o'clock in the morning. She left no offspring.

The very sad and melancholy Wilhelm only now gave up his longstanding relationship with his lover Elisabeth Villiers and did not enter into a new marriage. He presented the gems to his deceased wife, her sister Anna. While the Jacobites declared Mary's untimely death in pamphlets as divine punishment for her intercourse with her father (breaking the Fifth Commandment), her followers claimed that her untimely death was due to the sinful life of the English nation.

The Queen, beloved and mourned by her people, was embalmed on the day of her death and, after appropriate preparations, laid out in public from February 21 to March 5, 1695 in the Banqueting House in Whitehall. Finally, on March 5, she was buried in the chapel of Henry VII in Westminster Abbey, which was celebrated with great pomp , and Archbishop Tenison gave the funeral sermon. Henry Purcell had composed the Music for the Funeral of Queen Mary for this festive occasion . Unusually, members of both Houses of Parliament were also present at this event, while the latter was otherwise dissolved after the death of a monarch. Funeral ceremonies were also held in Holland. James II, on the other hand, forbade holding such devotions to his daughter at his exile court in France.


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Wikisource: Mary II (England)  - Sources and full texts


  1. Marita A. Panzer, Englands Königinnen , pp. 157-160; Adolphus William Ward, DNB, Vol. 36, p. 354.
  2. ^ William Arthur Speck, ODNB, Vol. 37, p. 125; Adolphus William Ward, DNB, Vol. 36, pp. 354f.
  3. Marita A. Panzer: England's queens , p. 161f .; William Arthur Speck, ODNB, Vol. 37, pp. 125ff .; Adolphus William Ward, DNB, Vol. 36, pp. 355ff.
  4. William Arthur Speck, ODNB, Vol. 37, pp. 126f .; Adolphus William Ward, DNB, Vol. 36, pp. 357f.
  5. Eckhart Hellmuth., English Kings and Queens , pp. 165–173; Marita A. Panzer: England's Queens , pp. 162-164; William Arthur Speck, ODNB, vol. 37, pp. 127f .; Adolphus William Ward, DNB, Vol. 36, pp. 358f.
  6. Seven years earlier, on June 25, 1682, Peter I and his half-brother Ivan V were crowned tsars with equal rights in Moscow .
  7. Eckhart Hellmuth., English Kings and Queens , pp. 157–161; Marita A. Panzer: England's Queens , p. 164f .; William Arthur Speck, ODNB, Vol. 37, pp. 128f .; Adolphus William Ward, DNB, Vol. 36, pp. 359f.
  8. ^ William Arthur Speck, ODNB, Vol. 37, p. 129; Adolphus William Ward, DNB, Vol. 36, p. 360.
  9. ^ William Arthur Speck, ODNB, Vol. 37, pp. 130f; Adolphus William Ward, DNB, Vol. 36, p. 361.
  10. ^ William Arthur Speck, ODNB, Vol. 37, p. 131; Adolphus William Ward, DNB, Vol. 36, pp. 361f.
  11. William Arthur Speck, ODNB, Vol. 37, pp. 131f .; Adolphus William Ward, DNB, Vol. 36, p. 362.
  12. William Arthur Speck, ODNB, Vol. 37, pp. 132f .; Adolphus William Ward, DNB, Vol. 36, pp. 362f.
  13. ^ Marita A. Panzer: Englands Queens , p. 167f .; William Arthur Speck, ODNB, vol. 37, p. 134; Adolphus William Ward, DNB, Vol. 36, pp. 363f.
predecessor Office successor
Jacob II./VII./II. Queen of England
William III.
Jacob II./VII./II. Queen of Scotland
William III.
Jacob II./VII./II. Queen of Ireland
William III.