Women who Ruled: Queen Mary II of England from HistorysWomen.com

Mary II, Queen of England
Wife and Co-Regent of William III
A.D. 1662 – 1694

Mary II was born at St. James Palace, Westminster, on April 30, 1662. She was the daughter of James II by Anne Hyde, his first wife.

She was married at the age of fifteen to William, Prince of Orange, on November 4, 1677. Two weeks after her marriage Mary and William sailed to the Hague and here they lived until February 12, 1689, when accepting a solemn invitation from the states of England she followed her husband to London.

The throne was declared vacant by the flight of James II and William and Mary were crowned as next heirs on April 11, 1689. Though Mary was declared joint possessor of the throne with her husband, yet the administration of the government was left entirely to him. She was not slighted in the least because this arrangement was according to Mary’s own wishes. She is quoted as saying, “There is but one command which I wish him to obey, and that is ‘Husband love your wives’. For myself, I shall follow the injunction, ‘Wives, be obedient to your husbands in all things.'”

She kept the promise voluntarily made, and all her efforts were directed to promote her husband’s happiness, and make him beloved by the English people. He had great confidence in her abilities, and when, during his absence in Ireland and on the continent, she was left the regent of the kingdom. She managed parties at home with much wisdom, and governed with a discretion not inferior to his own.

Queen Mary adhered strongly to the Protestant religion and was fiercely loyal to the Church of England. She evidently considered its preservation a paramount duty, even when opposed to the claims of affectionate submission.

The unfriendly terms on which she lived with her sister, afterward Queen Anne, have often been alluded to as a blemish on Mary’s character. But political jealousies, and the foolish attachment of Anne to overbearing favorites, may sufficiently account for this breach.

Aside from this alienation from her sister, Mary was in truth, an amiable and excellent queen, and by her example made industry and domestic virtue fashionable. She died of smallpox at Kensington in the year 1694.