xxxxxAnne, the second daughter of King James II and the last sovereign of the Stuart line, became Queen of Great Britain and Ireland in 1702, following the death of William III. Although her father was a Roman Catholic, Anne was brought up in the Protestant faith. Indeed, such was her devotion to the Anglican Church, that she openly supported the Glorious Revolution of 1688, which exiled her father and brought to the throne her Protestant sister Mary and her husband, William of Orange. She married Prince George of Denmark in 1683, and bore him a large number of children. Sadly only one survived infancy - William, Duke of Gloucester - and he died at the age of eleven.

xxxxxHer reign was dominated by the War of the Spanish Succession, in which her outstanding general, John Churchill, won a series of major battles against the French - Blenheim, Ramillies, Oudenaarde and Malplaquet - all in the space of five years. She may well share some of the credit for these victories since, as a close friend of Churchill’s domineering wife, Sarah, she had been instrumental in restoring her husband to favour - disgraced in the previous reign -, appointing him captain-general of the army and making him Duke of Marlborough (illustrated). But this said, Churchill and his wife exerted a great influence over the queen during the early years of her reign. She had known Sarah from childhood and was for long dominated by her forceful personality. It was mainly on account of this friendship that she supported the Whigs, who favoured the war, and excluded the Tories from office.

xxxxxA woman of somewhat limited intelligence, she left the general conduct of the war to her ministers. And it was the Lord Treasurer, the Earl of Godolphin, for example, who successfully negotiated the Act of Union which joined together the kingdoms of England and Scotland. However, despite her love of gossip and amusement, she was not without a mind of her own. She was the last English monarch to preside over cabinet meetings, and the last to veto (refuse to sign) a parliamentary bill. And in choosing to bring about a union with Scotland in 1707, and in favouring the making of peace with France in 1710, she chose the best courses of action. She had, too, a genuine love for her people, and was generally popular.

xxxxxIt was In 1707, convinced that the Whigs were prolonging the war for their own interest, that she fell out with her lifelong confidante Sarah, and turned to the friendship of other women, notably Abigail Masham. As a result, in 1710 she took up the Tory cause and, dismissing the Earl of Godolphin, instituted a Tory government bent on bringing the war to a speedy conclusion. Her change of heart was completed the following year with the dismissal of her one-time hero, the Duke of Marlborough. He was stripped of all his appointments and, being accused of embezzling public funds, was obliged to go into exile, accompanied by his wife. They did not return until after Anne’s death.

xxxxxThe victory of the Tories in 1710 - it should be noted - was due in part to a fanatical English preacher named Henry Sacheverell (c1674-1724). An ardent Tory supporter, in November 1709, in a sermon delivered to the lord mayor and aldermen of London, he launched a blistering attack upon the Whigs’ conduct of the war. Unwisely, Godolphin had him tried for sedition, and this led to rioting in his support by a populace which had grown weary of the European conflict. The Tories made him into a martyr and swept to victory. Sacheverell served his sentence - he was suspended from preaching for three years - and was then given a comfortable living in London by the Queen herself.

xxxxxIn English literature, the reign of Queen Anne is often referred to as the Augustan Age because of its unusual number of talented men-of-letters. These included the essayists, Joseph Addison and Richard Steele, the poets Alexander Pope and John Gay, and the novelists Daniel Defoe and Jonathan Swift. The playwright John Vanbrugh also gained fame as the architect of Blenheim Palace, the nation’s gift to Marlborough.

xxxxxAnne’s last years, in particular, were dogged with ill-health, and she became so fat that a hoist was required, it is said, to lift her into her coach. A number of Tories, led by Viscount Bolingbroke, began to lay plans for the restoration of the Jacobites in the person of James III, son of James II and brother to the Queen, but her sudden death in London in August 1714 put an end to their schemes. The Act of Settlement, passed in 1701 to ensure that the throne would pass to the Protestant house of Hanover should Anne have no children, was swiftly put into effect, and she was succeeded by her cousin George, the elector of Hanover, as King George I of Great Britain and Ireland.

xxxxxIncidentally, over a period of sixteen years, Anne gave birth to no less than seventeen children. Not one survived beyond the age of eleven. A number were still-born and it is now believed that this was because she was suffering from what is commonly called “sticky blood”, a condition which is cured today by simply taking aspirin.

xxxxxThe Earl of Godolphin, a keen gambler, was among the first to improve the quality of English racehorses by importing Barb and Arab sires. His famous stallion, Godolphin Barb, was owned by his son, the second earl of Godolphin. Newmarket was the favourite venue for horseracing at this time (established in 1634 by Charles I), but it was during this reign, in 1711, that Queen Anne opened the course on Ascot Heath, now well known for the Royal Ascot meeting in June and its principal race, the Ascot Gold Cup.

ANNE 1702 - 1714  (AN)  Lived 1665 - 1714


Henry Sacheverell


The War of the Spanish Succession gets under way with a Grand Alliance of European states, formed to oppose the union of the French and Spanish crowns.

In the Great Northern War Charles XII of Sweden, having invaded Poland, sets out to tighten his grip on the country prior to his all-out attack on Peter the Great's Russia.

The Camisards, Protestant rebels in the south of France, begin a general revolt against religious persecution. The uprising is brutally suppressed, but takes four years to crush.


The Methuen Treaty is signed between England and Portugal concerning trade in wine and woollens. In addition Portugal agrees to supply 28,000 troops for the war against France.

A national rising against Habsburg rule breaks out in Hungary, led by Ferenc Rakoczi II. The Austrians keep control but a compromise settlement is reached eight years later.

The Chinese artist Wu Li paints The Old Snow Man on Huang Shan, a traditional work of the Ch’ing Dynasty. He is one of a group of outstanding Chinese artists at this time.

Work begins on the building of St. Petersburg on the River Neva, at the eastern end of the Gulf of Finland. Ten years later Tsar Peter the Great makes this city his capital.



A fleet under the command of Admiral Sir George Rooke seizes Gibraltar from Spain. Its capture, confirmed by treaty in 1713, marks the start of Britain as a Mediterranean power.

In Bavaria, the combined forces of Prince Eugene of Savoy and the Duke of Marlborough defeat a French-Bavarian army at the Battle of Blenheim, beside the River Danube.

The English scientist Isaac Newton publishes his Optics, a pioneer work on the properties of light. In it he defends his corpuscular theory of light, arrived at following a series of practical experiments.

The English astronomer Edmund Halley correctly predicts the return in 1758 of the comet which last appeared in 1682. Not surprisingly, the comet was named in his honour.

The English dramatist and architect John Vanbrugh is commissioned to build Blenheim Palace for the Duke of Marlborough. As a playwright he wrote a number of society plays.

In Tunisia, a Turkish officer named Husayn Ibn Ali virtually throws off Ottoman control. Five years later he founds the Husaynid dynasty, a line of rulers which survives until 1957.  


In the Netherlands the Duke of Marlborough defeats the French at the Battle of Ramillies

whilst in Italy Prince Eugene of Savoy wins a victory over the French at the Battle of Turin.


The Act of Union unites England and Scotland. "Great Britain" has one parliament and the country is administered from London, the joint capital. Many Highland Scots oppose the union, however, and remain Jacobites.

Thexgreat Mughal leader Aurangzeb dies, and his empire - founded in 1526 - begins to fall apart. For the most part it breaks up into a number of petty kingdoms and principalities.

The English nonconformist minister Isaac Watts produces his first collection of hymns. He wrote over 600 hymns, including O God Our Help in Ages Past and Jesus Shall Reign.


At the Battle of Oudenaarde the French are defeated by the Grand Alliance. The Sun King, Louis XIV, sues for peace, but negotiations break down and a settlement is not reached until the Treaty of Utrecht in 1713.

Following the death of the deposed King James II, his son James Edward (the Old Pretender) leads a French invasion force to Scotland, but is driven away without landing.

The eminent Dutch physician Hermann Boerhaave publishes his Medical Principles. A professor at Leiden University, he gains renown for his reintroduction of bedside teaching.


The French are again defeated by the Duke of Marlborough and Eugene of Savoy at the Battle of Malplaquet, the last major battle of the War of the Spanish Succession.

In the Great Northern War, the Swedish army is defeated by the Russians at the Battle of Poltava. This marks the end of Sweden's bid, and the beginning of Russia's bid, to become a major European power.

In England, the ironmaster Abraham Darby produces a coke-fired furnace to smelt iron ore. The success of this method starts to set the wheels of the Industrial Revolution in motion.

The English essayist Richard Steele produces the periodical The Tatler. Two years later, he and his co-writer Joseph Addison, found The Spectator, a highly successful publication.

The Italian Bartolommeo Cristofori makes the first piano. It is based on the harpsichord, but the use of hammers to strike the keys makes it possible to vary the volume of the sound.


In Germany, the Chinese formula for making hard-paste or true porcelain is discovered, and the first European factory for its manufacture is established at Meissen, near Dresden.

The Irish philosopher George Berkeley publishes The Principles of Human Knowledge in which he sets out his version of empiricism. He wrote many works on a variety of subjects.



Charles VI of Austria becomes Holy Roman Emperor. As a result, the Grand Alliance no longer supports his claim to the Spanish throne. Negotiations begin to end the war.

The English engineer Thomas Newcomen builds the first practical steam engine. Made to pump water out of mines, it is used widely throughout the country. This invention opens up the age of steam and modern engineering.

The English poet Alexander Pope gains fame with his mock heroic poem The Rape of the Lock. Among his many satirical works, The Dunciad of 1728 (G2) is one of his best known.


The Treaty of Utrecht ends the War of the Spanish Succession. By it, French power is checked, Spain renounces the French throne, and Britain emerges as a major power.

The Asiento de Negros is signed, a contract which grants Britain the exclusive right to transport 144,000 black slaves to Spain's American colonies over the next 30 years.


Queen Anne, failing in health over a number years, suddenly dies in London. By the terms of the Act of Settlement of 1701, she is succeeded by her Hanovarian cousin, as George I


Queen Anne: by the Swedish portrait painter Michael Dahl (c1659-1743), 1705 – National Portrait Gallery, London. Marlborough: attributed to the Swedish portrait painter Michael Dahl (c1659-1743), c1702 – National Army Museum, Chelsea, London. Sacheverell: by the English painter Thomas Gibson (c1180-1751), 1710. Coat of Arms: licensed under Creative Commons. Author: Sodacan –
































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