Queen Anne

Anne (6 February 1665 – 1 August 1714), became Queen of England and Scotland on 8 March 1702. On 1 May 1707, when England and Scotland combined into a single Kingdom, Anne became the first Sovereign of Great Britain. She continued to reign until her death. Anne was the last British monarch of the House of Stuart; she was succeeded by a distant cousin, George I, of the House of Hanover.

Anne's life was marked by many crises relating to succession to the Crown. Her Roman Catholic father, James II, had been forcefully deposed in 1687; her sister and brother-in-law then became King and Queen as Mary II and William III. The failure of Anne and of her sister to produce a child who could survive into adulthood precipitated a succession crisis, for, in the absence of a Protestant heir, the Roman Catholic James II could attempt to return to the Throne. It was for this reason that the Parliament of England passed legislation allowing the Crown to pass to the House of Guelph. When the Scottish Parliament refused to accept the choice of the English Parliament, various coercive tactics (such as crippling the Scottish economy by restricting trade) were used to ensure that Scotland would co-operate. The Act of Union 1707 (which united England and Scotland into Great Britain) was a product of subsequent negotiations.

Anne's reign was marked by the development of the two-party system. Anne personally preferred the Tory Party, but endured the Whigs. Her closest friend, and perhaps her most influential advisor, was Sarah Churchill, Duchess of Marlborough. The Duchess of Marlborough's husband was John Churchill, 1st Duke of Marlborough, who led the English armies in the War of the Spanish Succession.

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