Hyde, Anne (1638–1671)
Hyde, Anne (1638–1671)
Duchess of York and mother of two English queens, Mary II and Anne. Born on March 12, 1638 (some sources cite 1637), at Cranbourne Lodge in Windsor, Berkshire, England; died on March 31, 1671, at St. James's Palace, London; interred at Westminster Abbey, London; eldest daughter of Sir Edward Hyde (1609–1674), 1st earl of Clarendon, and Frances Aylesbury (1617–1667); married James, duke of York, later James II, king of England (r. 1685–1688), in 1660; children: Charles Stuart (1638–1671); Mary II (1662–1694), queen of England (r. 1689–1694), queen of Scots (r. 1689–1694); James Stuart (1663–1667); Anne (1665–1714), queen of England (r. 1702–1707), queen of Scotland (r. 1702–1707), queen of Britain (r. 1707–1714); Charles (b. 1666, died in infancy); Edgar (b. 1667, died in infancy); Henrietta (1669–1669); Catherine (1671–1671).
Anne Hyde was born on March 12, 1638, at Cranbourne Lodge in Windsor, Berkshire, the eldest daughter of Sir Edward Hyde, later earl of Clarendon, and Frances Aylesbury . Edward Hyde was lord chancellor to King Charles II, who had spent his youth exiled in France. The English Civil War (1642–1649) had wrested the throne from the Stuart family and sent Charles' father, Charles I, to the execution block.
In 1660, Charles II was restored to the English throne. Having already proved his fertility by siring several bastard children, everyone expected that Charles and his queen, Catherine of Braganza , would provide an heir to the throne. Should Charles die without a legitimate heir, the throne would pass to his younger brother James, duke of York. But James scandalized the court in 1660 when he secretly married Anne Hyde, who had been maid of honor to Mary of Orange (1631–1660). Although Sir Edward Hyde had faithfully served Charles II, the Hydes were commoners—not suitable royal marriage partners. Edward was "struck to the heart" and offered to send his daughter to the Tower to be executed, but Charles laughed it off. "She would do her husband good," he said.
In quick succession, the duchess of York produced eight children, but only two survived to adulthood. The world took little notice in the years 1662 and 1665 when Anne Hyde gave birth to baby girls, and the new arrivals were swiftly dispatched to the royal nursery. No one would have guessed that they would one day inherit the English throne, for although the children were undeniably of royal blood, they were far removed from the line of Stuart succession.
In accordance with aristocratic childrearing practices of the day, the ladies Mary and Anne were brought up in a royal nursery where they could be groomed in courtly manners and kept secluded from the adults at court. As a result, their relationship with their parents was formal and constrained. Anne referred to her father as "the Duke," or later "the King," and once admitted that she could not recall from memory how her mother had looked. The girls were brought up Protestant under the watchful eye of Lady Frances Villiers and two Anglican guardians. Therefore, their relationship with their parents became even more distant when Anne Hyde and James converted to Roman Catholicism in 1669.
The ravages of the Civil War had convinced most of the English populace that their monarchs must be members of the Church of England. Since the Test Act (1673) barred non-Anglicans from political and military office, James was dismissed from all government appointments because of his conversion. Political realities dictated that Mary and Anne, against their father's wishes, remain firmly in the hand of their Anglican tutors, where they became fervent defenders of the Protestant faith. After a reasonably happy marriage, Anne Hyde died in 1671, before James had ascended to the throne of England. Many portraits of her were painted by her protegé, Sir Peter Lely.