Thursday, January 8, 2015


Still reading the Queen Anne bio.

One of the major events of her reign was the union of England and Scotland into one kingdom: Great Britain. One monarch ruled both countries starting with James (the 1st of England, the 6th of Scotland), who was already King of Scotland and then inherited the crown of England from Elizabeth I, but each still had their own parliament. Under Anne, the great-granddaughter of James I, the parliaments were merged. They are still united today. Quite recently, Scotland held a vote whether to continue with the union or separate and they voted to stay united. It was touch and go.

Another issue in Anne's reign was the emergence of party politics. The Whigs and the Tories formed parties and competed with one another. Prior to them, of course there were differences of opinion in Parliament, but not political parties as such. During our American Revolution, those who opted for independence were Whiggish, and those who wanted to remain British colonies were Tories.

And a third big item in Anne's reign was the 7-year War of the Spanish Succession. John Churchill was the great British hero of that war, which is why he became the Duke of Marlborough.

And then there was the question of who would become monarch after Anne died. Poor Anne was married to a Danish prince (whom she loved) and experienced I think 16 or 18 pregnancies, but had many miscarriages and several infants who died. She had one son who survived  until he was about 10 or 12 if I remember correctly, but then he died, too. So she had no direct heir. There was a Catholic Stuart in exile in France, Anne's younger 1/2 brother, although she claimed to believe he was not her father's son. But the main reason he was barred from the throne by an act of Parliament was that he was Catholic. Instead the crown was to go to a descendent of a Stuart princess who had married into Germany--George I of England, who also ruled the German province of Hanover. I think the law is still in place in Great Britain that the monarch must be a descendant of that one princess and also may not be or marry a Catholic. There is a British prince today, Prince Michael, a cousin of the current Queen Elizabeth, who gave up his right to inherit the throne (should everyone ahead of him in line die) by marrying a Catholic.

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