James II

James was the brother of Charles but lacked the diplomatic skill and patience of his brother. He openly declared himself a Catholic in a country that had just fought a vicious Civil War that had ended with the beheading of James' father in 1649. He was tolerated as the legitimate monarch as long as he had no heirs to embed the monarchy, but when his wife was declared pregnant alarm bells began ringing for many Protestants in England. James actually tried to promote religious toleration - and for more than just for Catholics. But for the majority of Anglicans and Protestants, his policies were seen as the thin end of the wedge for the return of Catholicism to England. The removal of James' in favour of his Protestant sister and her ultra-protestant husband William of Orange showed that the issues unleashed by the Civil War had not all been put to bed yet. The long reign of James' brother had still not been long enough to change the religious realities of Seventeenth Century England.
James II
Place of Birth
St. James's Palace
Anne Hyde
1701 at Saint-Germain-en-Laye
Acceded to Throne
Further Reading
Revolution: The Great Crisis of the British Monarchy, 1685-1720
By Tim Harris
The Glorious Revolution: 1688 - Britain's Fight for Liberty
By Edward Vallance
The Last Revolution: 1688 and the Creation of the Modern World
By Patrick Dillon
James II: The Triumph and the Tragedy (English Monarchs: Treasures from the National Archives)
By John Callow
James II (Yale English Monarchs Series)
By John Miller
David Starkey's Monarchy


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by Stephen Luscombe