Mary II. & Wiliam III. of Oranien


Mary, named after her Aunt, Princess Mary of Oranien and her Great-Great-Grandmother Queen Mary Stuart of Scotland, was with her Sister Anne one of two Children reaching Adulthood. She spent part of her Childhood in Twickenham, where her Parents were given a home by Edward Hyde, Earl of Clarendon. At the time of the Plague (1665-67) she lived in York. Since her Father tried a good Relationship to the french King Louis XIV., Mary was promised a Marriage with his heir to the Throne.



The only Son of William II. of Oraanien -William II. died eight Days after the Birth of his Son- and Mary Henrietta Stuart, William III. belonged to the most important Aristocratic Family of the dutch Royal Family. In 1670/71 he traveled to England to tout to the Daughter Mary of James` VII / II. what he refused. After the fall of the reigning Johan de Witts in 1672 Wilhem was appointed Governor, Captain General and Admiral. In the subsequent french-dutch War, he won several Victories over the Troops of Louis XIV., but also Defeats.


Father: James VII/II.
Mother: Anne Hayde

William III. of Oranien

3 Stillbirths

04/1689 in Westminster Abbey with William III.

02/1689 to 1694


Father: William II. of Oranien
Mother: Mary Henrietta Stuart, Daughter of Charles I.

Mary II., Daughter James` VII

3 Stillbirths

04/1689 in Westminster Abbey with Mary II.

02/1689 to 1702

Marriage of Mary and William

Under pressure of King Charles II. the Wedding Plans with William III. of Oranien was resumed in 1674 and James agreed a Marriage in October 1677. When Mary learnd about it, she is said to have cried for two days. The wedding finally took place in November at St. James Palace. As was customary at the time, the newlyweds were accompanied to bed by the king and a delegation.
The following day, Mary received the later-arrived jewels as a dowry, and Mary’s sustenance was discussed.

Common Life in the Netherlands

Mary wanted to wait for the recovery of her smallpox-diseased Sister Anne and left England with William a few days after a Ball to Catherine von Braganza’s birthday. A stormy voyage over Sea later, she and her Entourage reached the Dutch Coast. But since the Rivers were frozen, they could not drive to Rotterdam but had to avoid to a Village located west of The Hague. After a frosty march, they were picked up by Carriages and made an celebrated Entry into The Hague. In the following years Mary led a lonely and withdrawn Life, while William fulfilled his duties as a Governor and Admiral.

Over time, Mary became increasingly pious and advanced her Education, so that Chaplain George Hooper, who served for 18 months from 1680 onwards, attested to her life and morally impeccable behavior. Although Mary slowly developed devotion to William, the first few years of Marriage were rather unfortunate. William showed little affection for Mary, quickly laid down Elizabeth Villiers as a lover -Mary’s successor to Hooper’s Thomas Ken criticized him for it- and was often on campaign.
In October 1678 Mary received a Visit from her Stepmother and her Sister -in February 1679, followed by her Father James- in which Catherine get shivering by the climate and continued to travel to Aachen. In October 1679, another Visit followed, which was the last meeting with her Father. In 1686, the scottish Theologian and Historian Gilbert Burnet became the Consultant Marys and Williams. According to his own account, he reminded Mary that in the event of her enthronement in England, William would have no power and proposed, presumably on behalf of Williams, the surrender of Government power to her Husband. Mary is said to have William promised to do everything possible to make him King.

On the Way to the Throne

When Mary learned about the Events in England -James VII / II. began to strengthen the Rights of Catholics- she was worried.
In a Letter she asked her Father to intervene against Louis XIV., who persecuted the Huguenots (french Protestants) who fled to Oranien, and was angered by his ignoring. The further action of her Father and the Birth of his Son (see James VII.), the Situation in England came to a head.
Although Mary and William congratulated on the child’s birth, she soon began to believe the rumor that Mary had pushed the Child over to James. In June 1688, William was finally asked in a Letter to intervene in Britain, whereupon he recruited Troops during the Summer. With a heavy heart, Mary decided to help her Husband, convinced that she should be rounded up by the supposedly deferred Son.

William announced his Intervention in September 1688, but cleverly did not attack the King, but propagated himself as a Defender of english Protestantism, which only wants to achieve the Establishment of a freely elected Parliament.
In November, William landed -the first attempt failed due to Storm with large losses- with 15,000 Men in the south of England, was able to gain the upper hand despite an initial critical Situation, defeat his Opponents and capture James. He took over the Government and drafted Elections for a new Parliament, which would cope with the political crisis and decide on the succession to the Throne. During this time, Mary, who had remained in the Netherlands, was greatly worried about her Husband. In December, when she heard of her Father’s escape, she received a Request to prepare for the trip to England. In January 1689, Mary was picked up by Admiral Arthur Herbert from her heart-ridden Netherlands and reached London in February. Although she was happy to see her Husband and Sister again, she worried about her Father and was therefore asked by William to show as happy as possible. According to probably exaggerated contemporary reports, she followed this advice too much, so she looked in the Palace in all the Rooms and under all the blankets, which was otherwise made only in Inn`s.
In the same Month, Mary and William were offered the english Crown by the Parliament and presented with a Decleration of Rights, which strengthened the Rights of the Parliament and curtailed the sovereignty of the Monarch. She agreed to both motions, and thus took England’s Path to a constitutional Monarchy. In a double coronation rare in Europe, they were crowned King and Queen at Westminster Abbey in April 1689, though they were not very pleased with the pompous Ceremony, which was narrated as follows:

In the morning, they had traveled from their Whitehall Palace to the Houses of Parliament in Westminster, and from there, accompanied by the Nobility and high Clergy, they moved on to Westminster Abbey.
The now promoted to Bishop of Salisbury Gilbert Burnet gave a Sermon. During the following Coronation Act members of the Lower House for the first time in english History took a significant Place in the Coronation Church. The royal Couple swore a new Oath Formula, which they committed to observance of the laws passed by Parliament, showing its strengthened role. After that, it sat on two Chairs, was given the royal Insignia and was crowned by the Bishop of London, Henry Compton, as the actual competent Archbishop of Canterbury, William Sancroft, did not recognize William as a legitimate Monarch and therefore did not perform this act.
In the evening a Banquet finally took place.

The scottish Parliament also recognized Mary and William as sovereign, who in turn formally accepted the scottish Crown in May in the presence of high-ranking Officials.

At the beginning of her Reign, Mary did not take much part in the political Affairs of her own accord, as she was no longer familiar with the Ceremonies and Etiquette of her long stay in the Netherlands.
That changed when the Parliament passed the Regency Act and Mary must govern alone in the absence of William. Ireland was not yet in the hands of the Royal Couple, as James tried from there to win back the Kingdom. William joined a force in June 1690 to face James in person, and Mary, though not trained for such tasks, was the sole person in charge of the Government.
Affairs that had no urgency forwarded them to William to Ireland. For the rest, William had given her a nine-member Council on the side, which, however, was often divided on the basis of different party affiliation. While Mary did not esteem her adviser, they thought they could enforce their own interests because of their inexperience, and underestimated the Queen.

Also during William’s stay in the Netherlands in 1691, Mary was able to assert herself as Head of the Government.

The Siblings split up

During the year 1691, tensions between Mary and her Sister Anne continued to increase.
It all began when Anne negotiated a financial Income with Parliament without the knowledge of her Sister. In addition, after the Irish Campaign, the Performance of Anne’s Husband, Prince George of Denmark, unappreciated and denied him Service in the Navy.

The situation was aggravated when in January 1692, William suspected Annes favorite, the Earl of Marlborough, to be in conspiratorial contact with the dethroned James, relieved him of his office and expelled him with his wife of the royal Court.
When Anne and his Wife arrived at Court a few weeks later, Mary demanded their release from Anne’s service. Even with a Visit to the ill Mary in April/May, Anne continued to refuse to dismiss Sarah Churchill. As a result, the break was final and there were no more contacts.

Last years together

While Mary alone reigned supreme in 1692, a fraudster named Robert Young alleged that a Plot was underway to restore James to the Throne. He further stated that the Earl of Marlborough was involved, so that in May and June he spent several weeks in the Tower of London until the fraud finally blew up. Many Officers feared this arrest, there could be a purge wave and were rumored to side with James. The Queen then wrote a Letter to Admiral Edward Russell stressing her Confidence in the compulsory military service of the Naval Forces. This resulted in a Statement of loyalty from 64 naval Officers and it could be achieved in the Battle of La Hogue a Victory of the anglo-dutch Fleet on the french Squadron, after which France ceased its invasion plans.
While William took care of the Laws and Orders that led to the ‘Glencoe Massacre’, Mary worried about the morale of her compatriots, otherwise she feared that the Nation would bring down the Wrath of God. It ordered the Magistrates to enforce Laws against vicious and immoral behavior. When Mary returned to governing in 1693, the political situation became difficult for her. The Privy Council was divided, the Parliament left little to say and William had no praise for them on his return as they turned to different Parties.

In 1694, she exercised her Reign for the last time, feeling increasingly tired and suffering from old Age despite her relatively young age. From December onwards, more serious Symptoms of illness appeared, from which she recovered. She wrote her Husband a Letter in which she accused him of his unfaithfulness, but which was to be presented only after her Death.
After another Episode of Illness, a Doctor first diagnosed the Measles, but on Christmas Day they discovered a smallpox infection and Mary received the news of her imminent Death two days later. William was very upset and spent the night on an emergency bed in Mary’s room. Her Sister Anne wanted to see her again, but was rejected by the King, because of the risk of infection.

Mary died at one o’clock in the evening at the end of December.

Only then did William relinquish his long-standing Relationship with his lover, Elisabeth Villiers, handing over Mary’s Jewels to her Sister Anne and no longer accepting a new Marriage.
While the Jacobites saw Mary’s Death in slurs as a divine punishment for her behavior toward her Father, her followers claimed her Death was the result of the sinful lives of the English. Mary was embalmed, laid to rest for two weeks, and buried in the Chapel of Henry VII. at Westminster Abbey. Unusually, both Houses of Parliament were present, as they would otherwise be dissolved after the Death of the Monarch. Even in the Netherlands, funerals were held, while James forbade in his Exile, to hold devotions for his Daughter.

Wilhelm died in March 1702 as a Result of a Riding Accident and was buried at the side of Mary.
Since her Marriage remained childless, he used by willament Johann Wilhelm Friso as a universal heritage.

Charles II.  | James VII.  | Mary II. & William III. | Anne 

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