The Stuart Dynasty; A Family History

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A family history of the Royal House of Stuart. The Stuart dynasty family history.Mary Stuart, James Stuart, Charles Stuart, Kings and Queens of Scotland and England.

The Royal House of Stuart ruled England, Ireland and Scotland by way of 7 monarchs for 111 years, from 1603 until 1714.

During the years between 1649 until 1660 there was an 11 year gap during which the monarchy had been overthrown and leadership was by a de facto council of state.

It was during the Stuart Dynasty that the Jacobean (1603 - 1714) and Caroline (1625 - 1642) eras existed.

Upon the death of the last tudor  monarch Queen Elisabeth I, in 1603, who died without issue ( no heirs ) the monarchy was taken over by James VI of Scotland.

He was the son of Mary Queen of Scots and Henry Stuart, Lord Darnley.

Mary Queen of Scots had been first cousin to Elisabeth I, and in the eyes of some, particularly England's Catholics, was considered the legitimate monarch of England.

She had been compelled to abdicate in favour of her only son James, when he was just 13 months old, in 1567. 

It was Mary Queen of Scots who changed the spelling of the family name from it's original Scottish spelling of Stewart to the French Stuart.



At the age of 37, James VI of Scotland became James I of England, and was warmly welcomed and received by both the government and the people of England.

James was married to Queen Anne of Denmark, daughter of King Fredrick II of Denmark and Norway and Sophie of Mecklenburg - Gustrow.

They were married by proxy when Anne was just 14 years old, in August 1589, and formally at the Bishop's Palace, Oslo, in Novermber of the same year.

It has been said that James preffered the company of men, both socially and sexually, but this has been rebuffed, particularly as he fathered 12 children by his queen consort.

Their marriage, although amiable, did not last the test of time.and although they never divorced, they both went on to lead seperate lives.

James had The Queen's House, at greenwich Park, built for Anne in 1614, which is where she spent the remainder of her life until her death in 1619.

Anne was a patron of the arts, and the house today houses the world's largest collection of martime art.

Of Anne's 12 pregnancies, 2 were stillborn, 3 miscarried and of the seven births that went into infancy, only 3 lived into adulthood.

                                                                                      Their children were;

                                                                 Henry, Prince of Wales - 19/1594 - 6/11/1612.

                                                                 Elisabeth Stuart. - 19/8/1596 - 13/11/1612.

                                                                 Margaret Stuart. - 24/12/1598 - 0/3/1600.

                                                                 Charles Stuart. - 19/11/1600. - 30/1/1649.

                                                                 Robert Stuart. - 18/1/1602. - 27/5/1602.

                                                                 Mary Stuart. - 8/4/1605. - 16/12/1607.

                                                                Sophia Stuart. - June 1607, died within hours.

Their eldest son, Henry Prince of Wales, lived until his 18th year, when it is said he died from typhoid.

Their eldest daughter, Elisabeth was named after the Queen of England.

Part of the gunpowder plot of 1605 was to kidnap the then 9 year old Princess Elisabeth of Scotland, and put her on the throne of England.

On Valentine's Day 1613, Elisabeth married Fredrick V Elector of Palantine, in Germany.

Although their union was an arranged affair in order that King James could curry favour with other Protestant European royalty, it would seem that their marriage was indeed a love match, which was by all accounts a loving and romantic union.

Elisabeth was crowned Queen Consort of Bohemia and Palantine Elect on the 7th of November 1619.

The royal couple had 13 children, 10 of which grew into adulthood, and it is from their 12th child, Princess Sophia of Hanover, that the present British Royal family hail, by way of House of Hanover decendent, King George I.

Their children were;

Fredrick Henry - 1614 - 1629. Accidental death by drowning.

Charles Louie. - 1617 - 1680.

Elisabeth. - 1618 - 1680.

Rupert. - 1619 - 1682.

Maurice. - 1620 - 1652.

Louise Marie. - 1622 - 1709.

Ludwig. - 1624 - 1624. Died aged four months.

Edward. - 1625 - 1663.

Henrietta Maria. - 1626 - 1651.

Johann Phillip. - 1627 - 1650.

Charlotte. - 1628 - 1631.

Sophia. - 1630 - 1714.

Gustav Adolphus. - 1632 - 1641.

Of these ten children Princess Sophia was to become the most important in terms of royal lineage.

She married Ernest Augustus, Elector of Hanover in 1658, making her Electress Princess Sophia of Hanover.

They had many children, of which seven lived into adulthood.

In 1701 Princess Sophia was made heiress presumptive to the throne of England by way of the Act of Settlement, after the death of Prince William  of Norway.

She was chosen as the future Queen of England because she was a direct decendent of the Stuart, British royal family and a Protestant.

In being chosen as heiress presumptive, this would deny the rightful Stuart heir to the throne, who was infact a Catholic.

Sophia died in 1714, 46 years before the British throne became vacant.

Therefore the crown was given to her first born son, George, who became King George I of England and predecessor of the present British Royal Family. 



King James and Queen Anne's fourth child and second son was Charles Stuart, who on the death of his father in 1625 became Charles I of England, Ireland and Scotland.

His 24 year reign saw conflict with the government and civil unrest which culminated in the overthrow of the government and subsequent civil war.

King Charles was executed in front of the Banqueting Hall in Whitehall London on the 30th of January 1649.

During the reign of his son, Charles II, he was venerated as a saint of the Anglican Church, where he is now known as Saint Charles Stuart, King Charles the Martyr.

He was canonised in 1660 and his feast day is the date of his death the 30th of January.

Power was given to Oliver Cromwell, Lord Protector of England, which led to 11 years of Puritan rule in England.

Charles I of England, Ireland and Scotland was a handsome and charming man who had many lovers before his eventual marriage.One of these unions produced a daughter, Joanna Brydges in 1619, who was both recognised and subsequently cared for by the then Prince. Joanna was brought up in secrecy in Wales, and later went on to marry well and live in Ireland.

Charles eventually married in 1625.

His marriage was to Henrietta Maria, daughter of King Henri IV of France and Marie de Medici a union so frowned upon, that it needed a special dispensation from the Pope, as Henrietta was a Catholic and Charles a protestant, and never before had a Protestant Prince and a Catholic Princess married.

There was of course very good reason for this, as it was done in order to forge an alliance between England and France which in turn would work against the might of the Spanish.

They married on 11th of May 1625 at Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris.

They had eight children, of which four grew in to adulthood, two of which went on to become monarchs of England.

                                                                                     Their children were;

                                                            Charles James, Prince of Wales. - 13/3/1629 Stillborn.

                                                                          Charles. - 29/5/1630 - 6/2/1685.

                                                                          Mary. - 4/11/1631 - 24/12/1660.

                                                                         James. - 14/10/1633 - 16/9/1701.

                                                                         Elisabeth. - 29/12/1635 - 8/9/1650

                                                                         Anne. - 17/3/1637 - 8/12/1640.

                                                                         Henry. - 8/7/1640 - 18/9/1660.

                                                                         Henrietta. - 18/9/1644 - 30/6/1670. 



After Charles I's execution on the 30th of January 1649, his second born son Charles came to the throne.

He married Catherine Braganza, a Portugese Catholic, by proxy on the 23rd of April 1662 in Lisbon.

Catherine was born on 25th of November 1638 the daughter of King John IV of Portugal and Luisa of Medina - Sidonia.

Catherine suffered many miscarriages during her marriage to Charles, resulting in the couple having no legitimate heirs, although Charles had fathered 7 sons and a daughter illegitimately.

Although their marriage was childless, Charles never once considered divorce, even though he had been strongly advised to do so by his governmental advisors, owing to Catherine's Catholocism.

Catherine is best known for bringing the art of tea drinking and the use of dining forks to the shores of Britain.

Catherine died in Portugal at the age of 64 on New Years Eve 1705, seven years after the death of her husband on the 6th of February 1688. 



As Charles II died without legitimate issue, the throne was handed to his younger brother, James.

James, Duke of York, became King James II and was the last Catholic monarch of the British Isles, after having secretly converted to Catholocism in 1669.

He married twice, first to Anne Hyde, daughter of Edward Hyde and Frances Aylesbury of Windsor, whom he married in a secret ceremony in the Netherlands in 1659.

Anne was a commoner, who was the lady in waitng to James's younger sister Anne.

It was whilst she held this position that James seduced her and made her pregnant.

Anne was a rather large lady and not considered very pretty, leaving James not at all happy to have to marry her, but was forced to do so by his elder brother Charles, who apparantly thought that family life and marriage to the strong willed Anne, would curb his rakish ways.

Unfortunately their baby was stillborn, as were another 5 babies of the royal couple.

However, Anne did manage to produce two live births, both of them female, and both of them future queens of England.

                                                                                         They were;

                                                                        Mary. - 30/4/1662 - 28/12/1694.

                                                                       Anne. - 6/2/1665. - 1/8/1714.

It was after the birth of an eighth child, a girl that only lived for a few days, on the 9th of February 1671, that Anne became critically unwell.

It was thought that she was in the early stages of breast cancer and the effort of pregnancy and childbirth had severly exacerbated her condition.

Anne died on the 10th of April 1671 at the age of 33.

She was buried in Westminster Abbey.

Anne was the last commoner to marry an heir presumptive or heir apparant to the throne, until Lady Diana Spencer married Charles, Prince of Wales in 1981.

James' second wife was Italian beauty Mary of Modena, born in October 1658, daughter of Alfonso IV, first duke of Modena and Laura Martinozzi.

Just like Anne before her, Mary too suffered many miscarriages before finally producing two live births.

                                                                                         They were;

                                                James Francis Edward Stuart, Prince of Wales. 10/6/1688. - 1/1/1766.

                                                Louisa Maria Theresa Stuart. 28/6/1692. - 18/4/1712.

It was during his marriage to Mary that James became King James VII of Scotland and James II of England and Ireland, on the 6th of February 1685, after the death of his elder brother Charles.

James reigned for only 3 years before fleeing the country and therefore abdicating, during the Glorious Revolution of 1688.

After James, no other British monarch has affirmed their belief in the Catholic faith.

James and his family lived outside Paris in France, where James died just 3 years later from a stroke, on the 16th of September 1701.

following his death, The Act of Settlement was introduced by parliament, which prohibited Catholics from inheriting the British throne.

The young Princess Louisa Maria Theresa died at the age of only 20 on the 18th of April 1712, as well as an infant Princess, the couples only surviving child.

This sent Mary into a decline that saw her fall into religious mania and succumb to many physical ailments.

Mary died, apparantly also of breast cancer, on the 7th of May 1718. 



After James' abdication, the British Parliament called upon his nephew and son in law, William of Orange and his wife Mary Stuart to take the English throne.

Their union now saw two Protestant monarchs on the throne of England.

King William III and Queen Mary II of England, Ireland and Scotland were the only monarchs in British history to have joint sovereignty and equal power.

William was the son of the Dutch Prince William II and Mary ( also a Stuart ) the Princess Royal.

He was born in The Hague on the 14th of November 1650, and through his mother Mary Stuart, was cousin to his wife, also called Mary Stuart.

They were married on the 4th of November 1677 in London.

Mary became pregnant soon after her marriage, but miscarried, and it was said that she never again conceived.

There are several reasons as to why Mary did not become pregnant again, the most popular held belief being that her husband was homosexual, and after openly taking several male lovers, never again slept with Mary.

Mary died of smallpox in 1694, leaving William to reign alone until his death from pneumonia in March 1702.

As they both died without issue, the British crown was handed over to Mary's younger sister Anne Stuart. 



Anne was married to Prince George of Denmark, the son of Fredrick III of Denmark and Sophie Amalie of Brunswick - Luneburg.

Anne and George were married on the 28th of July 1683 in London, nine years before Anne became Queen regnant.

Apparantly their marriage was a successful union despite the fact that they suffered much heartache owing to the fact that from between the years of 1684 and 1700, Anne had 18 pregnancies that resulted in 4 miscarriages 8 stillbirths, 6 live births, of which 5 only lived to their second year and one son, Prince William, Duke of Gloucester and Prince of Norway, born on the 24th of June 1689,who throughout his life was a sickly child, and eventually died at the age of only 11 on the 29th of July 1700, apparantly from smallpox.

All Anne's children that lived were given the titles Prince / Princess of Norway or Denmark

They were married for 25 years until the death of Prince George on the 28th of October 1708, at the age of 55.

Anne took the Prince's death very badly and mourned his loss right up until her own death 6 years later.

When Anne took the crown in 1702 she became Queen of England and Scotland as well as Sovereign of Ireland and France.

On May the 1st 1707, Anne signed the The Act of Union, a treaty that united the two kingdoms of Scotland and England.

From that day the two countries were known as Great Britain, making Anne officially the last Queen of Scotland and the last Queen of England.

When Anne died on 1st of August 1714 at the age of 49, apparantly from erysipelas ( a severe streptococcus infection ) she also became the last monarch of the House of Stuart, ending 111 years of the Stuart Dynasty of Scotland, Ireland, England and Great Britain.

Anne was succeeded by her second cousin, King George I, the first British monarch of the Royal House of Hanover.

FOR ALL OTHER BRITISH MONARCHY TIMELINES, VISIT timelines-of-the-british-monarchy-1066-2010

                                                      James I. -                                   1603 - 1625.

                                                      Charles I. -                                 1625 - 1649.

                                                      de facto council of state          1649 - 1660.

                                                      Charles II. -                                1660. - 1685.

                                                      James II. -                                  1685. - 1689.

                                                      William and Mary. -                  1689. - 1702.

                                                      Anne. -                                      1702 - 1707. 

                                                      Anne Queen of Great Britain 1707 - 1714. 




                                                                                   OTHER ARTICLES IN THIS SERIES;  









                                                                                        © D.B.Bellamy. June 2010.

                                                                         All images courtesy of wikimedia commons.





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