Mary II


Mary II
1662-94, queen of England 1689-94: joint ruler with her husband William III (daughter of James II).

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born April 30, 1662, London, Eng.
died Dec. 28, 1694, London

Queen of England (1689–94).

The daughter of King James II, a Catholic convert, she was reared as a Protestant and in 1677 married to her cousin, William of Orange. They lived in Holland until English nobles opposed to James's pro-Catholic policies invited William and Mary to assume the English throne. After William landed with a Dutch force (1688), James fled, and Mary and William (as King William III) became corulers of England (1689). Mary enjoyed great popularity, and her Dutch tastes had an influence on English pottery, landscape gardening, and interior design. She died of smallpox at age 32.

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▪ queen of England
born April 30, 1662, London
died Dec. 28, 1694, London
 queen of England, Scotland, and Ireland (1689–94) and wife of King William III. As the daughter of King James II, she made it possible for her Dutch husband to become co-ruler of England after he had overthrown James's government.

      Although her father and mother were converts to Roman Catholicism, Mary was brought up a Protestant. In November 1677 she was married to her cousin William of Orange, stadholder of Holland and champion of Protestantism in Europe. She then settled in Holland. Her inability to bear children and William's infidelity made the early years of her marriage unhappy, but eventually they became a devoted couple.

 During the quarrel (1687–88) between James II and William over James's pro-Catholic policies, Mary felt it her religious duty to side with her husband. Hence, she agreed to support William's invasion of England in November 1688. James fled the country in December, and two months later Mary arrived in London. At once Mary rejected proposals, advanced particularly by the earl of Danby, that she become sole ruler to the exclusion of her husband, and on April 11, 1689, she and William were crowned joint sovereigns of England, Scotland, and Ireland. While her husband was directing military campaigns in Ireland and on the Continent, Mary administered the government in her own name, but she relied entirely on his advice. In the periods when William was in England she willingly retired from politics. She was, however, actively concerned with ecclesiastical appointments.

      Mary enjoyed great popularity, and her Dutch tastes had a marked influence on English pottery, landscape gardening, and interior decoration. She never settled down happily to life in England, however, and continued to be deeply troubled by her estrangement from her deposed father. Mary died of smallpox at the age of 32.

Additional Reading
Biographies of Mary include Hester W. Chapman, Mary II, Queen of England (1953, reprinted 1976); and Henri van der Zee and Barbara van der Zee, William and Mary (1973).

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Universalium. 2010.

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