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Anne (England) (1665–1714; Ruled 1702–1714)

ANNE (ENGLAND) (16651714; ruled 17021714)

ANNE (ENGLAND) (16651714; ruled 17021714), queen of Great Britain and Ireland. The last Stuart monarch, Anne was the second daughter of James II (ruled 16851688) and his first wife, Anne Hyde. Married to the Protestant Prince George (16531708) of Denmark in 1683, Anne opposed her by then Catholic father in 16881689, when he was overthrown by her brother-inlaw William III (ruled 16891702) of Orange. This betrayal greatly upset both James and Anne. Anne succeeded to the throne after the death of William, whose coruler, Anne's elder sister Mary (ruled 16891694), had died in 1694.

Anne has been reevaluated as an able and independent monarch, less dependent on her courtiers than was previously believed. Leading politicians could not hope for the physical proximity to the monarch that was possible under a king, and the court was less important politically than it had been under earlier monarchs. But that did not mean that Anne lacked weight. She also sought to take a prominent role, modeling herself on Elizabeth I (ruled 15581603). However, as she had no domestic program of change, Anne was a relatively uncontroversial figure, and political criticism in her reign was centered on ministers, not monarch. Anne followed William III in sustaining the Grand Alliance created to fight Louis XIV (ruled 16431715) of France. In 17011714 Britain took a leading and successful role in the War of the Spanish Succession with France, and John Churchill (16501722) won great glory as well as promotion in the peerage to the dukedom of Marlborough by triumphing at a series of battles, including Blenheim (1704), Ramillies (1706), Oudenaarde (1708), and Malplaquet (1709). Other British forces captured Gibraltar, Minorca, and Nova Scotia. British conquests abroad under Anne were celebrated in the renaming of the French base in Nova Scotia as Annapolis Royal.

By 17091710 Anne realized that a compromise peace would have to be negotiated. Her sense that the war was unpopular and that the vital war goals had already been obtained played a major role in weakening the Whig ministry, which wanted to fight on. Anne had also wearied of her favorite, the increasingly possessive and headstrong Sarah Churchill (16601744), duchess of Marlborough, and turned to a new Tory favorite. Without the support of the crown, the Whigs did badly in the 1710 election. Conversely, Anne supported their Tory successors, Robert Harley (16611724), earl of Oxford, and Henry St. John (16781751), viscount Bolingbroke, in their contentious task of negotiating peace, and was willing to create Tory peers to ensure that the peace preliminaries passed the House of Lords. The Peace of Utrecht of 1713 was seen as a triumph for Britain.

A keen supporter of the Church of England, Anne revived ceremonial and touched for scrofula, the skin complaint known as king's evil, which many believed could be cured by the royal touch. She was personally unhappy in large part because of her failure to have any of her many children live to adulthood. Anne became pregnant eighteen times, but these led to twelve miscarriages, three neonatal deaths, and three children who lived to only seven months, nineteen months, and eleven years respectively. The last, William, duke of Gloucester, died in 1700. As a result, the Act of Settlement of 1701, which had designated the Hanoverian descendants of James I (ruled 16031625) as her successors, came into effect when she died. Her last years were affected by severe ill health caused by dropsy, gout, and rheumatism. Ill health led to her heavy dependence on opium in the form of laudanum. She was also much affected by the death of her asthmatic husband in 1708. She had been close to him, and she was left very lonely. Anne would have been happy to be succeeded by her half brother James Edward (James Francis Edward Stuart, 16881766), James II's son in his second marriage. But she wanted him to accept Protestantism, and he was unwilling to do so.

See also Churchill, John, duke of Marlborough ; James II (England) ; Spanish Succession, War of the (17011714) ; Stuart Dynasty (England and Scotland) ; Utrecht, Peace of (1713) ; William and Mary.


Bucholz, R. O. The Augustan Court: Queen Anne and the Decline of Court Culture. Stanford, 1993.

Gregg, Edward. Queen Anne. 2nd ed. London and New Haven, 2001.

Harris, Frances. A Passion for Government: The Life of Sarah, Duchess of Marlborough. Oxford, 1991.

Jeremy Black

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Anne (queen of England, Scotland, and Ireland)

Anne, 1665–1714, queen of England, Scotland, and Ireland (1702–7), later queen of Great Britain and Ireland (1707–14), daughter of James II and Anne Hyde; successor to William III.

Early Life

Reared as a Protestant and married (1683) to Prince George of Denmark (d. 1708), she was not close to her Catholic father and acquiesced in the Glorious Revolution (1688), which put William III and her sister, Mary II, on the throne. She was soon on bad terms with them, however, partly because they objected to her favorite, Sarah Jennings (later Sarah Churchill, duchess of Marlborough), who was to exercise great influence in Anne's private and public life.

Of Anne's many children the only one to live much beyond infancy—the duke of Gloucester—died at the age of 11 in 1700. Since neither she nor William had surviving children and support for her exiled Catholic half-brother rose and fell in Great Britain (see Stuart, James Francis Edward; Jacobites), the question of succession continued after the Act of Settlement (1701) and after Anne's accession.


The last Stuart ruler, Anne was the first to rule over Great Britain, which was created when the Act of Union joined Scotland to England and Wales in 1707. Her reign, like that of William III, was one of transition to parliamentary government; Anne was, for example, the last English monarch to exercise (1707) the royal veto. Domestic and foreign affairs alike were dominated by the War of the Spanish Succession, known in America as Queen Anne's War (see French and Indian Wars). In the actual fighting on the Continent, Sarah Churchill's husband, the duke of Marlborough, won a series of spectacular victories. At home the costs of the fighting were an issue between the Tories, who were cool to the war, and the Whigs, who favored it.

Party lines were slowly hardening, but party government and ministerial responsibility were not yet established; intrigues and the favor of the queen still made and unmade cabinets, though the influence of public opinion, shaped by an increasingly powerful press and elections, was growing. Thus it was at least partly through the pressure of the Marlboroughs that Anne was induced, despite her Tory sympathies, to oust Tory ministers in favor of Whigs. The Marlboroughs were even able to force the dismissal of Robert Harley in 1708, though the scolding duchess had already lost much of her power to Anne's new favorite, the quiet Abigail Masham, kinswoman and friend of Harley.

When the unpopularity of the war and the furor over the prosecution of Henry Sacheverell showed the power of the Tories (who won the elections of 1710) and made the move feasible, Anne recalled Harley to power, and the Marlboroughs were dismissed. Harley, created earl of Oxford, was political leader until 1714, when he was replaced by his Tory colleague and rival, Viscount Bolingbroke (see St. John, Henry). Soon afterward the queen died, and Jacobite hopes were dashed by the succession of George I of the house of Hanover.

Character and Period

Queen Anne was a dull, stubborn, but conscientious woman, devoted to the Church of England and within it to the High Church party. She supported the act (1711) against "occasional conformity" and the Schism Act (1714), both directed against dissenters and both repealed in 1718. She also created a trust fund, known as Queen Anne's Bounty, for poor clerical benefices. During Anne's reign such thinkers as George Berkeley and Sir Isaac Newton and such scholars and writers as Richard Bentley, Swift, Pope, Addison, Steele, and Defoe were at work, while Sir Christopher Wren and Sir John Vanbrugh were at the same time setting in stone and brick the rich elegance of the period.


See biographies by M. R. Hopkinson (1934), D. Green (1970), E. Gregg (1984), and A. Somerset (2012); G. M. Trevelyan, England under Queen Anne (3 vol., 1930–34); G. N. Clark, The Later Stuarts (2d ed. 1955).

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Anne (1665–1714) Queen of Great Britain and Ireland (1702–14). The second daughter of James II, Anne succeeded William III (of Orange) as the last Stuart sovereign and, after the Act of Union (1707), the first monarch of the United Kingdom of England and Scotland. Brought up a Protestant, she married Prince George of Denmark (1683). Despite 18 pregnancies, no child survived her. The War of the Spanish Succession (1701–14) dominated her reign, and is often called Queen Anne's War. Anne was the last English monarch to exercise the royal veto over legislation (1707), but the rise of parliamentary government was inexorable. The military success of the Duke of Marlborough increased the influence that his wife, Sarah Churchill, had over domestic policy. Tories, sceptical of military involvement, were removed from high office. Tory victory in the elections of 1710 led to the dismissal of the Marlboroughs, and Abigail Masham and Robert Harley emerged as the Queen's new favourites. The Jacobite cause was crushed when Anne was succeeded by George I. The most lasting aspect of her reign was the strength of contemporary arts and culture.

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