Colin Crosby Heritage Tours

Who Are All These Kings?: Mary II

Mary II reigned jointly with her husband William III.

Mary was born in 1662 at St. James`s Palace in London. Her father was James II and her mother Anne Hyde.

She married William of Orange in 1667 at St. James`s Palace, and lived in Holland until 1689.

The Glorious Revolution of 1688 saw James overthrown, and in 1689 William and Mary were crowned as joint sovereigns at Westminster Abbey.

Mary was for the rest of her life content to be in William`s shadow, but her cheerful demeanour was a welcome antidote to his surliness and lack of humour.

Their marriage was a loveless one, and indeed Mary was more fond of ladies, while William was attracted to young men. They tried to do their duty, however, and three stillborn children resulted in their first two years together.

Mary had a major disagreement with her sister Anne over John Churchill, Duke of Marlborough, who was rumoured to be plotting to overthrow William and Mary. Churchill was arrested and imprisoned in 1692, and Mary expected Anne to dismiss her lady of the bedchamber and intimate friend, Churchill`s wife Sarah. She did not do so, and Mary carried her feelings of affront to her deathbed.

Mary contracted smallpox and died at Kensington Palace in 1694, and was buried in Westminster Abbey, after which William reigned alone. Henry Purcell composed the music for Mary`s funeral.

She tried to make magistrates more active in enforcing vice laws, and was one of the prime movers in the formation of the Society for the Promotion of Christian Knowledge. She was also largely responsible for the creation of the Serpentine.

Mary gave birth to a stillborn child in 1678 at Breda, to another in 1678 at Hanserlaersdyck and a third in 1680 at The Hague.