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Anne - 1702-1714

Key Facts about Anne

Anne was a daughter of James II, yet an ardent Protestant. She carried on the pattern of life and political directions established by William and her sister, Mary. She had not expected to become Queen, but the death of her sister and William propelled her into a position of power and authority which at first she did not relish. Her source of strength and advice in the early years of her reign was Sarah Churchill, wife of John Churchill, the later Duke of Marlborough.

War with France began in 1702 and its political implications in Parliament drew Anne into the political arena. She was a partisan of Churchill's ideas and when he was derided for suggesting that the war should be waged at sea, she felt compelled to support him by making him a Duke. After the victory of Blenheim in 1704, Anne presented him with the Woodstock estate, now named after the battle.

The friendship with Sarah Churchill cooled when Anne began to feel that Sarah's self-interest was the main motive for their friendship, and she finally had the courage to dismiss her. She also broke away from Whig influence and began to take advice from the Tories, who had for some time protested at the cost and extension of the war. This led to a break with the Churchills, first the dismissal of Sarah from her position in court, and then the dismissal of Marlborough.

In 1713 Anne was able to report to Parliament that the war with France, known as the War of the Alliance, was over, and that Britain had gained from the terms of the Treaty of Utrecht, though this was in fact a compromise. At home, Anne was triumphant in having presided over the union of the parliaments of England and Scotland, creating the state of Great Britain.

Though never in good health, Anne presided over a splendid period of English history conscientiously and with good heart. The sad fact that none of the eighteen children she bore her husband, Prince George of Denmark, reached adulthood meant that the direct Stuart line died with her.

Anne will also be remembered for the distinctive taste in decorative arts that came to full flower in her reign. Furniture, in what is known as Queen Anne Style, was well-proportioned with elegant lines. It was usually veneered, notably with walnut, and inlaid rather than decorated with the elaborate wood-carving that was previously popular. New designs were also adopted from overseas: chairs and tables, for example, featured the curved cabriole leg, a design that had been brought into Europe from China.

Key Events during the Reign of Anne

1702 - Anne succeeds her brother-in-law, William III. England declares war on France in the War of the Spanish Succession. The first daily newspaper in London, The Daily Courant, is published.

1704 - English, Bavarian and Austrian troops under Marlborough defeat the French at the Battle of Blenheim and save Austria from invasion.

1706 - Marlborough defeats the French at the Battle of Ramillies and expels the French from the Netherlands.

1707 - The Act of Union unites the kingdoms of England and Scotland.

1708 - Prince George dies at Kensington Palace.

1709 - Marlborough defeats the French at the Battle of Malplaquet.

1710 - The Whig government falls and a Tory ministry is formed.

1711 - Queen Anne establishes horse racing at Ascot.

1714 - The Electress Sophia of Hanover dies, and her son George becomes heir to the throne. Queen Anne dies at Kensington Palace, London, at the age of 49.

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