Anne, queen of Great Britain and Ireland, the last member of the house of Stuart who sat upon the English throne, born at Twickenham, near London, Feb. 6, 1664, died Aug. 1, 1714. She was the second daughter of James II., then duke of York, by his first marriage with Anne Hyde, daughter of the illustrious Clarendon. Though both her parents became attached to the Roman Catholic church, she was educated in the principles of the church of England, and in 1683 was married to Prince George, brother of Christian V., king of Denmark. It was for some time a matter of doubt and deep anxiety what part she would take in the contest which distracted England between James II. and the party of the prince of Orange; but the influence of the vehement duchess of Marlborough, for whom Anne had a romantic fondness, at length made her decide the question against the promptings of filial affection. She renounced the purpose of accompanying her father in his exile, adhered to the dominant party, and by the act of settlement the British crown was guaranteed to her and her children in default of issue to William and Mary. She lived in retirement till the death of William, and the friendship between her and the king and queen was only formal.
Of the 17 children whom she bore to her husband, only one survived infancy, the duke of Gloucester, who died in 1700, at the age of 11. On the death of William in 1702, Mary having previously died without heirs, Anne ascended the throne. Though feeble in character, she pursued the plans of her predecessor against the ambition of Louis XIV., and on the day of her coronation the triple alliance was renewed between England, Holland, and the German empire, against France. This was shortly after the opening of the war of the Spanish succession, in which Prince Eugene and Marlborough, by the victories of Oudenarde, Ramillies, and Blenheim, drove the French troops from the Danube across the Rhine. In the battle of Malplaquet, the son of James II., the chevalier St. George, charged at the head of the French cavalry the army of his sister Anne, commanded by Marlborough. The most important conquest made by England in this war was the fortress of Gibraltar. The great political event of the reign of Anne was the union of England and Scotland, completed May 1, 1707. In 1710 the popularity of Marlborough, who had been for eight years the idol of the queen, the parliament, and the people, began to wane, and his duchess lost the queen's confidence.
The tories, who now had in their ranks the ablest statesmen and the most effective writers, increased in power, and the whigs completed their own ruin by the prosecution of Dr. Sacheverell for preaching in favor of the divine right of kings. In the new election the tories were successful, a new ministry was formed, in which Harley, afterward earl of Oxford, and Lord Bolingbroke were the chiefs, and a new favorite, Mrs. Ma-sham, the daughter of a London merchant, reigned at court. It was determined to conclude peace, and the fruits of the war, not less than the allies of England, were neglected in the treaty of Utrecht, signed April 11, 1713. The new leaders were not harmonious, and though the crown had been settled, in the event of Anne's death without children, upon the princess Sophia of Hanover, the granddaughter of James L, yet the court and courtiers were occupied with intrigues to give the succession to the son of James II., James, the chevalier St. George. The queen, wearied with the wrangling and cabals of her ministers, suddenly died; and her death, at a moment when the plans of Bolingbroke were immature, was perhaps the means of securing peacefully to England the Protestant succession. Anne was deficient in mental vigor, but amiable.
Though she was obliged twice to set a price upon the head of her brother, she seems to have cherished for him a strong affection. Her reign, distinguished by successful wars, has also been called the Augustan period of English literature. The writings of Addison, Pope, Steele, Swift, and Defoe adorned the age, and periodical sheets and newspapers, such as the successive numbers of the "Spectator," then first came into fashion.