Anne (England) (1665–1714; Ruled 1702–1714)
ANNE (ENGLAND) (1665–1714; ruled 1702–1714)
ANNE (ENGLAND) (1665–1714; ruled 1702–1714), queen of Great Britain and Ireland. The last Stuart monarch, Anne was the second daughter of James II (ruled 1685–1688) and his first wife, Anne Hyde. Married to the Protestant Prince George (1653–1708) of Denmark in 1683, Anne opposed her by then Catholic father in 1688–1689, when he was overthrown by her brother-inlaw William III (ruled 1689–1702) 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 1689–1694), 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 1558–1603). 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 1643–1715) of France. In 1701–1714 Britain took a leading and successful role in the War of the Spanish Succession with France, and John Churchill (1650–1722) 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 1709–1710 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 (1660–1744), 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 (1661–1724), earl of Oxford, and Henry St. John (1678–1751), 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 1603–1625) 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, 1688–1766), 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 (1701–1714) ; 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.