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Queen Anne

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Empress Matilda | Eleanor of Aquitaine | Marie de Guise | Marie de Medici | Margaret of York | Elizabeth of York | Queen Anne | Victoria's Children and their Marriages | Mary of Teck | Joanna the Maid of Castille.

Anne was the second daughter and fourth child of James II. She was born on 6 February, 16651. Her mother, Anne Hyde, died when she was six. When her father remarried to Mary of Modena, in 1673, the new Queen Consort was introduced to her stepdaughter, whom she was only six years older than, as 'a new playmate'. Both Anne and her elder sister Mary survived infancy and were brought up in the Protestant faith, which was to become an important factor in the shift of power during the Stuart age.

From Princess to Queen

She was the focus of intrigue at a young age, when letters where leaked suggesting that a courtier Lord Mulgrave was trying to seduce the 17-year-old Princess. Although the accusations were probably based on nothing substantial, Mulgrave was exiled from court and a husband was sought for Anne immediately. George Louis of Hanover2 had visited the British court but the two didn't hit it off and George returned to Hanover. However on 28 July, 1683 she did marry Prince George of Denmark. They were happy but the couple had great trauma as they attempted to produce a family.

In 1685, Anne's father ascended the throne, and from being the niece of the King she was now the second daughter. Her sister was in Holland having married Wilhelm, Prince of Orange. From there she questioned Anne extensively when their stepmother gave birth to a son in 1688. However, come the revolution3, baby and mother were exiled to France.

Mary died childless in 1694 and her husband carried on his reign as William III, naming Anne as his heir. However Anne's only surviving child William died in the summer of 1700, thus making the Act of Settlement necessary to continue what was seen as a Protestant revolution.

William's death on 8 March, 1702 led to Anne becoming the fourth4 Queen of England. And her coronation was held on St George's Day, 1702.

The Children of Queen Anne

The exact number of children Queen Anne had is open to some dispute; although 18 is thought to be the correct amount, this figure takes into account all her pregnancies no matter what the outcome.

  1. A daughter was stillborn 12 May, 1684.
  2. Mary born at Whitehall 2 June, 1685 but died at Windsor 8 February, 1687.
  3. Anne Sophia born at Windsor 12 May, 1686 and also died there 2 February, 1687.
  4. A miscarriage in January or February 1687.
  5. A son miscarried on 22 October, 1687.
  6. A miscarriage on 16 April, 1688.
  7. William, Duke of Gloucester, born at Hampton Court 24 July, 1689, died at Windsor 30 July, 1700.
  8. Mary born at St James's 14 October, 1690 but only lived two hours.
  9. George born and died at Syon House on 17 April, 1692.
  10. A daughter miscarried on 23 April, 1693.
  11. A miscarriage 21 January, 1694.
  12. A daughter miscarried on 18 February, 1696; one source names the child Anne.
  13. A miscarriage at seven months 20 September, 1696.
  14. The following day a miscarriage of a two or three month foetus.
  15. A daughter miscarried on 25 March, 1697.
  16. A miscarriage in December 1697.
  17. A son miscarried on 15 September, 1698, called Charles.
  18. A miscarriage recorded as a daughter on 25 January, 1700.

Only five of her pregnancies survived full term and only William survived his first year.

Anne as Queen

The Queen had rarely been in good health. The eighteen pregnancies had taken their toll and at her coronation she was suffering from gout and had to be carried in a chair to carry out the various stations of the ceremony, as she was unable to stand, let alone walk. Nor at any time was her health aided by an addiction to brandy; she was known as 'Brandy Nan'. Her husband George was Duke of Cumberland5 and without further honours became the first consort of a Queen to pay homage to her at her crowning. Anne wasn't that well educated; she had bad eyesight all her life. She was however very superstitious and believed her touch could cure people. She also set up Queen's Anne Bounty to increase the pay made to the poorer Protestant clergy.

All through her reign she tried to overturn the Act of Settlement so her half brother could succeed her, but her parliament never was able to settle itself long enough to get around to that order of business, even the Queen sitting in the House of Lords did not speed up the process. With the Act of Union her title became 'Queen of Great Britain, France and Ireland' now that Scotland and England were one.

In December 1713 she took seriously ill and never really recovered. On 30 July, 1714 she took a stroke; two days later a second stroke caused her death. When the official announcement of her death was made, it had already been circulating for two days that the Queen was dead. She is buried at Westminster Abbey.

Act of Settlement

Signed on the 12 June, 1701 while William III (Orange) was king, this is the law which still governs the succession to the British throne. This law stated that following William's heir, Anne, the crown would pass to the nearest Protestant heir; this was seen as important following the seizing of the crown from the Roman Catholic King James II in 1689. It also excluded any more senior lines of descent from Charles I or James I from taking the throne since they were Roman Catholic.

The Act of Security and the Act of Union

In 1707 Anne was Queen of England and Scotland, but since the accession of James VI of Scotland to the English throne as James I the two Kingdoms although ruled by the same monarch remained separate nations. This was a hard fought right that many Scots had given their lives for. And although a United Kingdom was on the cards from the time James I took the throne of England as well as the throne of Scotland, many didn't want to see it come to pass.

The Scots had a proud and independent history and William Wallace had fought and died for that independence. Scotland did not need English support to survive. It had a long and traditional allegiance with France; far more royal marriages occurred between these two thrones than the southern neighbour could boast. The Act of Succession skipped the heirs to the Scottish throne James VIII was son of the exiled James VII. Of these the Scottish Lords had no problems, they'd remained loyal to James and not William of Orange.

The Scottish Parliament noticed Anne's inability to produce an heir and so in 1702 they pushed for an Act of Security. This would enable them, if Anne died without heir, to select their own successor and return them should they choose to be a separate state. Anne however had been forced onto the Scottish throne by the Act of Settlement as well, and initially refused to sign. The Scots withheld supplies and she eventually gave in and signed.

The English forced the process towards union in 1705 by passing the Alien Act. This meant the Scots had to decide whether they would follow the House of Hanover, the successors to Anne, or be classed as aliens on English soil; this would affect trade, land and wealth held by Scots built up over the previous century of Stuart rule. The Scots decided to renegotiate the union policy. The Scottish Parliament made history on 16 January, 1707 by voting the country it was elected to represent out of existence. Capitulating to the English ultimatum, accepting Anne as their Queen6, taking the money and like Wales four centuries earlier losing its independence to its wealthier and mightier neighbour. The Act was challenged in 1713 but by then the United Kingdom Parliament was dominated by the English and the Scottish cause for Independence has never had a strong enough voice since the Act of Security was overwritten by the Act of Union.

The Scottish National Party is still campaigning for the repeal of the Act of Union. In the 1970s there was a great upturn in the cause of Scottish Independence when the SNP achieved a minor breakthrough in winning seats to the Westminster Parliament. With the establishment of the New Scottish Parliament in 1999 some of the autonomy the Scots lost in 1707 was restored when the Parliament was granted tax raising powers. However a number of Scots still want to see full independence restored and the Act of Union abolished.

The Act ensured the free access of every United Kingdom citizen to all market places7.

Furniture During her Reign

Furniture in the Queen Anne period took a radical shift; it is the start of furniture being about appearance rather then solely about practicality. The term naturally covers anything made between 1702 and 1727, the regal dates for Queen Anne. It was the first great period of furniture as a fashion or status symbol.

Ball and claw feet are typical of the time. And 'Japanning' came into fashion; this gave the furniture a lacquered finish to make it look as if it came from the Orient 8. Veneering is also a very prevalent technique in Queen Anne furniture and was normally done with Walnut.

Basically the shift came about because people had more money to spend and access to more exotic furniture styles and woods. More money meant the ability to afford individual pieces designed for a specific purpose, such as card and gaming tables, tea tables and writing tables. Before this time furniture tended to serve purely practical roles.

1While her Uncle Charles II was on the throne.2Who would become George I.3Which saw Mary come to the throne with her husband William.4Fifth if you count Lady Jane Grey.5An honour bestowed by William and Mary.6Betraying James who should have been VIII.7This part of the Act was highlighted in 1996 when the Islanders on Skye challenged the payment of a toll on the bridge to their Island as being in contravention of the 1707 Act.8Trade routes with China were still open, but Japan was closed off to the West at this point.

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