In 1688, the birth of a Prince of Wales ignited a family quarrel and a revolution. James II's drive towards Catholicism had alienated the nation and his two staunchly Protestant daughters by his first marriage, Mary and Anne. They are the 'ungrateful daughters' who usurped their father's crown and stole their brother's birthright.
Seven prominent men sent an invitation to William of Orange---James' nephew and son-in-law---to intervene in English affairs. But it was the women, Queen Mary Beatrice and her two stepdaughters, Mary and Anne, who played a key role in this drama. Jealous and resentful of her hated stepmother, Anne had written a series of malicious letters to her sister Mary in Holland, implying that the Queen's pregnancy was a hoax, a Catholic plot to deny Mary her rightful inheritance.
Betrayed by those he trusted, distraught at Anne's defection, James fled the kingdom. Even as the crown descended on her head, Mary knew she had incurred a father's curse. The sisters quarreled and were still not speaking to each other when Mary died tragically young. Anne did nothing to deserve her father's forgiveness, declaring her brother an outlaw with a price on his head.
Acclaimed historian Maureen Waller recreated the late Stuart era in a compelling narrative that highlights the influence of three women in one of the most momentous events in English history. Prompted by religious bigotry and the emotion that beset any family relationships, this palace coup changed the face of the monarchy, and signaled the end of a dynasty.
In November 1688, the Protestant Prince William of Orange landed in England with an invading Dutch army. The Catholic King of Britain, James II, prepared to meet William in battle, but the unpopular James soon found himself deserted by his army and navy and, most surprisingly, by his own daughters. Crestfallen, James fled to France, and William became king. This "Glorious Revolution," London-based historian Waller (1700: Scenes from London Life) tells us, was largely the product of a family feud. James's eldest daughter, Mary, was married to William, who was also James's nephew. James's other daughter, Anne, also defected to William. Why did both daughters betray their father at his hour of greatest need? Waller believes it was partly religion the fervently Catholic James had failed to convert his Protestant daughters and nation. Moreover, Princess Anne loathed her Catholic stepmother, Queen Mary Beatrice. When the queen became pregnant in late 1687, Anne claimed the pregnancy was a papist hoax. As for Mary, she supported her husband, William, and her Anglican faith. Neither Mary nor Anne had children, and Anne eventually became the last Stuart monarch. Waller, using Stuart family letters and an impressive array of secondary sources, has written a highly readable, thoroughly researched family saga that shows vividly how the personal and the political interacted to produce one of the seminal events in British history. 16 pages of color photos not seen by PW.