Saturday, 24 April 2021

A Monarch A Month - James II

Hi all!

Goodness me, these months seem to roll around so quickly and I can't believe it's way past time for another monarch! This is number 28, James II. I'm think he's supposed to be walking away from his crown carrying his Great Seal Of The Realm:

James II from Kings and Queens by Bothy Threads
Started - 6th April 2021
Finished - 8th April 2021
Total stitching time - 5 hours 25 minutes

For the next three monarchs religion plays a key role. It was not a bloody time, as seen during the reigns of Henry VIII and Mary I, but did shape the succession of the monarchy.

Preceded by Charles II (brother)
Succeeded by William III and Mary II (son-in-law and daughter)
Lived - 1633-1701
Reigned - 1685-1688
Married - (1) Anne Hyde 1660-1671 (died) and (2) Mary of Modena 1673
Children - 25 over 32 years!
                 8 with Anne (only 2 girls survived infancy)
                 10 with Mary (only the last two survived infancy)
                 7 illegitimate (five survived infancy)

James II became King following the death of his brother.

Despite being Catholic, James was initially a popular monarch, working hard and tolerating religious differences, but that popularity soon waned as he increasingly favoured Catholics over Protestants, giving them important positions in the army and  his ministry.

In late 1685 James dissolved Parliament after it raised concerns about the influence of Catholics, meaning he was now an autocratic Catholic monarch.

England held out hope his heir, his Protestant daughter Mary, would soon succeed him (note 1).

However, in 1688 James fathered a son (not covered by note 1) thus securing a Catholic heir (note 2).

Now fearing a Catholic succession, Mary's Protestant and popular husband, William Of Orange, was invited to invade England and claim the throne.

During this 1688 'Glorious Revolution' James was captured but, to prevent him becoming a Catholic martyr, was allowed to flee to France with his wife and baby son.

A reconvened Parliament in 1689 agreed that James, having deliberately discarded his Great Seal, had forfeited his crown. They therefore proclaimed William and Mary King and Queen.

But James still had support in Catholic France and Ireland and in 1690 attempted to reclaim his crown. He was defeated by William at the Battle Of The Boyne and returned to France.

James remained in exile until his death in 1701. He was laid to rest in The Church Of The English Benedictines in Paris.

So next month, the only joint reign in England's history of the monarchy, William and Mary.

Note 1 - with the exception of Mary I's short reign, England had been Protestant since Henry VIII had denounced Catholicism in favour of Protestantism. When Charles II failed to produce any legitimate heirs, and it became clear his Catholic brother, James, would be his successor, Charles decreed that, in order to ensure the continuation of Protestants on the throne, James' children would be raised as Protestants.

Note 2 - the birth of a Catholic heir meant James' family, and the Stuart dynasty, was now divided by religion. The Protestant side, through James' daughters Mary and Anne, inherited the crown, but the Catholic side remained strong contenders in the form of James' son, James (The Old Pretender) and, later, his own son Charles (The Young Pretender, or Bonnie Prince Charlie). These, and their followers, known as Jacobites, will pop up during the reigns of the next few monarchs.

Who said families weren't complicated?!

Take care,
Rachel x


Linda said...

He looks great Rachel. Another interesting story.


Jo who can't think of a clever nickname said...

That was interesting and informative too.
It's very interesting, if you look at the British History section in bookshops, the Tudors have several shelves as does the Victorian era. But those centuries inbetween have far fewer books. It's like we don't really care what happened after Henry and Elizabeth!

Tiffstitch said...

Oh my goodness, that is complicated! I don't think I'm that familiar with his reign at all, but maybe there hasn't been a movie? ;)

Faith... said...

25!! How did he ever have time to rule a country? That is a shame that he had to live in exile, does that mean that his wife and their children had to live in exile too? William of Orange became his SIL? That must have been awkward when he asked for Mary's hand in marriage.

Mary - Lecoeurceltique said...

Another succinct history lesson. I so enjoy these potted biographies that you give Rachel.

Leonore Winterer said...

"was invited to invade England" sounds so wrong hahaha. And 25 children, wow! Those were some different numbers than we see today.

Katie said...

Another great lesson.