King James II was the last Catholic monarch of England and Scotland. He ruled for a turbulent few years, during which time he faced two major invasions and numerous rebellions.
James was an unpopular king, and his reign was marked by violence and religious conflict. In this article, we will take a closer look at James’ life and examine some of the key events that took place during his reign.
James was born in Edinburgh on 14th October, 1633. He was the son of King Charles I and Henrietta Maria.
In 1650, James was forced to flee to France after his father was assassinated. James spent the next eleven years in exile, during which time he attended the court of Louis XIV and married Anne Hyde.
In 1660, James was invited to return to England by his brother Charles II, who had recently been restored to the throne. James accepted Charles’ offer and returned to England with his wife and two daughters.
James was initially given a warm welcome by the English people, but his popularity soon began to wane. James was a Catholic, and many of his policies were unpopular with the Protestant majority in England. In addition, James had a reputation for being arrogant and authoritarian. He also tended to favor his own relatives over other members of the royal family.
In 1672, James provoked a major conflict with the Parliament of England by trying to impose Catholic religious reforms. The so-called ‘Popish Plot’ was a false plot allegation made by Titus Oates that James was planning to overthrow Charles II and replace him with his Catholic daughter, Mary.
The allegations were rejected by Parliament, but they still managed to stir up anti-Catholic sentiment among the English people.
In 1685, James II became king of England after Charles II died without a legitimate heir. James was now the ruler of both England and Scotland. He was also the first Catholic monarch to rule England since Mary I had been overthrown in 1553.
James was determined to rule as an absolute monarch, and he quickly began to alienate both the English Parliament and the Scottish Parliament.
In 1688, James faced two major invasions: the first by William of Orange. The two invasions were unsuccessful, but they succeeded in overthrowing James II and replacing him as monarch.
James abdicated on Dec. 11, 1688; he was formally deposed by Parliament in February 1689.
After a struggle between those who wanted to make William and Mary joint sovereigns and those who insisted upon a sole ruler. William and Mary were proclaimed joint sovereigns in February 1689 and went on to be the reigning monarchs of England.
James fled to France, where he spent the rest of his life in exile.
James died on 17th September, 1701.
After his death James’ son, James Francis Edward Stuart, was recognised as the rightful heir to the throne by Louis XIV of France.
Spain and many other countries also did not recognise the claim of William, Mary or Anne to the throne.
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Link will appear as Hanson, Marilee. "King James II" https://englishhistory.net/stuarts/king-james-ii/, January 26, 2022