Monarchy During Our Early Years

So, what was going on across the pond while we were starting out as a country? England was in constant turmoil from 1603-1781. There was treachery, back-stabbing, and coercion - and this was all in the family. Oh, that's right - this is the English monarchy we are talking about, isn't it?

Here are just a few facts about the British monarchy who were in power at this time.

James I - 1603-1624 - James I was born in 1566. His mother was Queen Mary of Scots. He didn't really rule England until after Elizabeth died in 1603 when he was 37 years old. In actuality, he is recorded as ruling for over 57 years because he was proclaimed king at the age of 3 but had several regents ruling for him, and then Elizabeth took over.  He married Anne of Denmark in 1589 and they had 3 surviving children.  Jamestown was named after him.
James I

Charles I - 1625-1629 - Charles was born in 1600. He married Henrietta Maria from France which caused quite a stir in England since she was a devote Catholic.  They had 9 children - 4 sons and 5 daughters.  Charles had many showdowns with Parliament, but many of his problems arose from his wife's Catholicism and the friends who were always in court. He was overthrown by Oliver Cromwell, a Roundhead and Puritan. The country suffered a Civil War at this time and the monarchy was tossed from England and lived in exile in France.
Charles I and Henrietta

Charles II - 1660-1685 - He born in 1630. He was 12 when the Civil War occurred and was actually in the Netherlands when he learned of his father's execution. With Scottish support he invaded England but was defeated, but it wasn't until he was invited back to England that he regained control. He believed in religious tolerance.  During his reign, the British captured New York from the Dutch.  He also started the Passage of the Navigation Acts that helped make Britain a sea power.  After all the fuss, he finally converted to Catholicism in 1685 on his deathbed.
Charles II

James II - 1685-1688 - He was a Stuart king who did not last very long in power. He was overthrown by William of Orange in 1688.  James was born in 1633 to Charles I and Henrietta Maria.  During the Civil War, he fled to the continent and returned to England when his brother became King Charles II.  He married Anne Hyde (daughter of his brother's minister).  They had two children - Mary and Anne. He tried to promote Catholicism and even issued the Declaration of Indulgence for religious tolerance.  He had a son, James with his second wife. He fled to the continent when he feared he would be overthrown. He died while in exile in 1701.
James II

Mary II & William III (1689-1702) - Mary was born in 1662.  She was the eldest daughter of James II and his first wife, Anne Hyde. At the age of 12, she was betrothed to William of Orange who was double her age.  William III was born in 1650 and was the son of William, Prince of Orange, and Mary Stuart (the daughter of Charles I).  They were both Charles I's grandchildren which made them first cousins. William longed to decrease Catholicism and spread Protestantism across the continent.  They were named King and Queen (an event that did not usually happen in British history). England loved Mary, but tolerated William. After their rule, Parliament took more control over ruling the country.
William III & Mary II

Anne (1702-1707) who married George (1707-1714) Anne was born in 1665. She was the younger daughter of James II and Anne Hyde.  In 1683, she married Prince George of Denmark. She had one child who survived - William, Duke of Gloucester who died at age 11.  She was very ill due to multiple pregnancies which ended poorly and was in bad health when she ascended to the throne. Because of the Act of Succession in 1701, Protestant succession was guaranteed.  She is credited with creating Great Britain by unifying England and Scotland.
Queen Anne

George I - 1714-1727 - the first of the Hanoverians.  George was born in 1660 and was the eldest son of Ernest and Sophia, the granddaughter of James I.  He married Sophia, Princess of Zelle in 1682.  They had two children - George (who would be George II) and Sophia Dorothea (who married William I, King of Prussia).  For a short period of time, he was both King of England and King of Germany. Realizing the Whigs were the lesser of two evils, he chose his sides carefully. The Jacobites attempted to overthrow him in 1715 but failed when French support disappeared. Peace reigned for many years afterwards.
George I

George II - 1727-1760 - He became king after his father died in 1727. He was the only son of George I and Sophia.  He married Caroline of Anspach in 1705.  They had eight children - 3 boys and 5 girls.  He loved the army, music, and his wife.  He went to battle against the French at the Battle of Dettingen in 1743.  Prime Minister Walpole managed to keep him from continental conflicts by many years, but George did declare war against Spain in 1739. Then, during the War of Austrian Succession, England fought against France for dominance in Europe.  He died of a stroke in 1760.
George II

George III - 1760-1820 - George was born in 1738, the son of Frederick, Prince of Wales and Augusta.  He married Charlotte in 1761.  They had fifteen children - 9 sons and 6 daughters. Unfortunately, he suffered from porphyria - a maddening disease which is passed down through families. It can cause hallucinations, depression, anxiety, and paranoia.  George was often referred to as "Mad King George".  His bouts with madness weakened his support by Parliament.  The Peace of Paris ended the 7 Years War.  George began to tax the colonists to pay for military protection.  Unfortunately his sanity declined and he died deaf, blind, and mad in 1820.  His son George IV had already begun ruling in 1812.

George III

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