House of Stuart

The house of Stuart sat on England's throne from 1603 until 1714, with intervals from 1649-1660 and 1694-1702. Although not taking the throne in England until 1603, the Stuarts had been Kings of Scotland since the ascension of Robert II (r. 1371-1390), the son of Marjorie Bruce (c. 1297-1316), daughter of King Robert I (r. 1306-1329). The Stewart succession passed smoothly (though not without issues as a majority of the succeeding monarchs were underage upon ascending the throne and several kings were either murdered or killed in battle) through Robert III (r. 1390-1406); James I (r. 1406-1437); James II (r. 1437-1460); James III (r. 1460-1488); James IV (r. 1488-1513); James V (r. 1513-1542); and, finally, Mary (r. 1542-1567), who was forced to abdicate in favor of her infant son, James VI (r. 1567-1625). Queen Mary actually married her cousin, Henry Stuart, Lord Darnley, to keep the Stuart name on Scotland's throne. After the death of Queen Elizabeth I of England, James VI was able to ascend the English throne as King James I (r. 1603-1625). James I traced his claim through his descent from Margaret (1489-1541), eldest daughter of King Henry VII (r. 1485-1509), who had married James' great-grandfather, James IV. James I's eldest son, Prince Henry, predeceased him so he was therefore succeeded by his younger son as Charles I (r. 1625-1649), who was ultimately defeated in a civil war, deposed and executed, under the authority of Oliver Cromwell (1599-1658). For the next eleven years, England was ruled by a protectorate, led by Cromwell and then his son, Richard (1626-1712). Richard Cromwell, however, would prove to be a weak leader and soon Charles I's son, Charles II (r. 1660-1685), who had been reigning in Scotland since his father's execution, would be restored to his throne. Charles II was succeeded by his brother, James II (r. 1685-1688, d. 1701). James II, a Catholic in a Protestant nation, was ultimately forced to flee and abdicate in favor of his daughter, Mary II (r. 1688-1694) and her husband, William III (r. 1688-1702).

James II lived the rest of his life in exile with his one surviving legitimate son, James (1688-1766), who styled himself James III, or, the Old Pretender. He was "succeeded" as pretender successively by his two sons Charles (1720-1788, styled Charles III or the Young Pretender) and Henry (1725-1807, styled Henry IX). Charles did press his claim to the throne during the reign of King George II, but was unsuccessful and the Stuart name died in the legitimate male line after Henry's death. In England, after death of William III, James II's younger daughter, Anne (r. 1702-1714), succeeded to the throne and would be the last Stuart monarch. Anne had name her second cousin Sophia, a granddaughter of James I through his daughter Elizabeth, as her heir. Sophia, however, would die just months before the queen herself and Anne would therefore be succeeded by her son George of Hanover, who reigned as George I (r. 1714-1727), the first member of the house of Hanover.

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