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Queen Anne of Great Britain (1665-1714)

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Queen Anne and Prince George

Main Events of Queen Anne's Reign

She was the second daughter of King James II and a sister to King William's wife, Mary. Anne became queen when Mary died as she was brought up as a Protestant, as Catholics could not be monarchs in England at this time in history. She was immediately popular with the people.

In 1680 Anne's second cousin George of Hanover (the future King George I who succeeded her) visited London for three months from December 1680, sparking rumours of a potential marriage between them. However, this was not to be as the Hanoverians planned to marry George to his first cousin to unite the Hanoverian inheritance. Anne eventually married the Protestant Prince George of Denmark who was an experienced admiral.

The first ten years of Queen Anne's reign were happy and peaceful times for England but the last few years were troubled times. Many of the great men at court began to argue with each other as they competed for her attention, and Anne's health continued to get worse - she had been plagued by ill-health throughout her life, particularly with painful gout. On the day of her coronation in Westminster Abbey she had to be carried in an open sedan chair.

The French, under their ambitious king, Louis XIV, had now started to attack Protestants and war between England and France was now looking increasingly likely. Queen Anne was fortunate to have many capable generals such as the Duke of Marlborough to command the army, Prince Eugene of Savoy who was Queen Anne's cousin and also many fine ships that could be commanded by her husband. With the English people behind her, England was ready for war.

The fighting soon started and one of the greatest battles was at Blenheim, near the village of Hochstet in Germany. It was here that after standing firm for a while the French started to lose many men, and the soldiers remaining started to run away. In the panic to retreat some of the French were drowned in the River Danube and a great many were taken prisoner including their general Tallard. In all, over twelve thousand French were killed and many more wounded, compared to half as many English, Dutch and Germans. The battle at Blenheim was the battle that saved many European countries from the cruel and harsh French government of Louis XIV.

After Marlborough had won further battles peace was made with France at a place called Utrecht, and Anne died the very next year. Towards the end of her life Queen Anne was unable to walk at times and was rendered unable to speak by a stroke on 30 July 1714. Queen Anne died around 7.30am on 1 August 1714 without any surviving children and was the last monarch of the House of Stuart. Under the terms of the Act of Settlement 1701, she was succeeded by her second cousin George I of the House of Hanover, who was a descendant of the Stuarts through his maternal grandmother, Elizabeth. Anne was buried beside her husband and children in the Henry VII chapel on the South Aisle of Westminster Abbey on 24 August.

After her death, one of her doctors thought her death was a release from a life of ill-health and tragedy, and wrote "I believe sleep was never more welcome to a weary traveller than death was to her.

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