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James II of England

James II of England
Issue
NameJames II & VII
King of England, Scotland and Ireland (more...)
Reign6 February 1685 11 December 1688
Coronation23 April 1685
PredecessorCharles II
SuccessorWilliam III & II and Mary II
SpouseAnne Hyde
m. 1660; dec. 1671
Mary of Modena
m. 1673; wid. 1701
Mary II of England and Scotland
Anne of Great Britain
Henrietta FitzJames
James FitzJames, 1st Duke of Berwick
Henry FitzJames
James Francis Edward Stuart
Louisa Maria Teresa Stuart|issue-link=#Issue
HouseHouse of Stuart
FatherCharles I of England
MotherHenrietta Maria of France
Place of burialSaint-Germain-en-Laye
ReligionRoman Catholicism

James II of England

NameKing James II of England
DipstyleHis Majesty
OffstyleYour Majesty
AltstyleSire

James II of England

NameJames VII, King of Scotland
DipstyleHis Grace
OffstyleYour Grace
AltstyleSire

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James II & VII (14 October 1633 16 September 1701) was King of England and King of Ireland as James II and King of Scotland as James VII, from 6 February 1685. He was the last Catholic monarch to reign over the Kingdoms of England, Scotland, and Ireland. Increasingly members of Britain's political and religious elite opposed him as too pro-French, too pro-Catholic, and with designs on being an absolute monarch. When he produced a Catholic heir, the tension exploded and leading nobles called on William III of Orange (his son-in-law and nephew) to land an invasion army from the Netherlands, which he did. James fled England (and thus was held to have abdicated) in the Glorious Revolution of 1688. He was replaced by William of Orange who became king as William III, ruling jointly with his wife (James's daughter) Mary II. Thus William and Mary, both Protestants, became joint rulers in 1689. James made one serious attempt to recover his crowns, when he landed in Ireland in 1689 but, after the defeat of the Jacobite forces by the Williamite forces at the Battle of the Boyne in the summer of 1690, James returned to France. He lived out the rest of his life as a pretender at a court sponsored by his cousin and ally, King Louis XIV.

James is best known for his belief in absolute monarchy and his attempts to create religious liberty for his subjects against the wishes of the English Parliament. Parliament, opposed to the growth of absolutism that was occurring in other European countries, as well as to the loss of legal supremacy for the Church of England, saw their opposition as a way to preserve what they regarded as traditional English liberties. This tension made James's four-year reign a struggle for supremacy between the English Parliament and the Crown, resulting in his deposition, the passage of the English Bill of Rights, and the Hanoverian succession.


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