Monday, August 1, 2011

Queen Anne of Great Britain, RIP

Anne Stuart, youngest daughter of James II and Anne, the Duchess of York, died on August 1, 1714. Her death, without an immediate heir, brought the Stuart Dynasty to an end. The succession of George the Elector of Hanover brought a new dynasty to England. Anne's half-brother, James Francis Edward (James III and VIII) attempted to retake the throne for the (Catholic) Stuarts in 1715, of course.

Mark Kishlansky's A Monarchy Transformed, 1603-1714 is the new history of that dynasty published in the Penguin History of Britain series (replacing Maurice Ashley's England in the Seventeenth Century, 1603-1714, #6 in the old Pelican History of England series). He speaks of Anne rather wittily and perhaps cruelly, as having only two pasttimes, gambling and eating, so that she lost pounds at one table and then gained pounds at another.

The official book description:
The seventeenth century, writes Mark Kishlansky, was 'a wheel of transformation in perpetual motion', a period of political and religious upheaval that defined the nation for decades to come and remains critical for understanding the nation today.

Beginning with the accession of James I and concluding with the death of Queen Anne, this compelling account describes the tempestuous events that took place during the Stuart dynasty and provides lively pen portraits of the many fascinating personalities involved. Conspiracies, rebellions and revolutions jostle side by side with court intrigues, political infighting and the rise of parties. In 1603 Britain was an isolated archipelago; by 1714 it had emerged as among the intellectual, commercial and military centres of the world.

At the beginning of each chapter he provides a separate narrative of an important event--for instance, chapter 3 begins with the discovery of Guy Fawkes and the gunpowder of the Gunpowder Plot; chapter 10 begins with the finding of magistrate Sir Edmund Berry Godfrey's body, which gave credence to Titus Oates's story about a vast Catholic/Jesuit plot to assassinate King Charles II; and chapter 13, dedicated to Anne's reign, begins with the furor over the Sacheverell sermon.


List of Maps
1 The Social World
2 The Political World
3 The Scottish Accession, 1603-1618
4 The Duke of Clubs, 1618-1628
5 The Reign of Charles I, 1629-1637
6 Rebellion and Civil War, 1637-1644
7 Civil War and Revolution, 1645-1649
8 Saints and Soldiers, 1649-1658
9 The Restoration Settlements, 1659-1667
10 For Church and King, 1668-1685
11 A Protestant Succession, 1685-1689
12 A European Union, 1689-1702
13 Great Britain, 1702-1714
For Further Reading


  1. I've always thought of her as possibly a nicer person than her sister Mary - but neither one a real prize.

    Poor girl, all those dead babies; did she really think it was divine punishment for breaking the 4th Commandment?

  2. Thanks, tubbs, for the comment. James did call them his "ungrateful daughters". I can imagine that she did begin to wonder!

  3. Wasn't there another successor to Ashley's volume in the Pelican series for a while? JP Kenyon, I thought. I had the series in college, And i think it was Bindhof(f?), Kenyon, Plumb for 15th/16th/17th. In any case, thanks for all your great writing!