Page 5 - History 2020
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the prospect of a Catholic dynasty, seven leading English aristocrats, all Protestants,

            secretly invited James’ daughter Mary to become Queen. She was married to the
            Dutch Prince William of Orange, and William was invited to cross to England with a
            fleet. King James II, despairing at his family’s desertion, fled. Mary duly became
            Queen, but, contrary to all precedent, her Dutch husband William of Orange was
            named as King. This 1688 created, uniquely, co-rulers: Queen Mary II and King
            William III.

            What was the significance of 1688?

            On one level 1688 was not even a change of dynasty, more a swapping of Stuart
            monarchs, the daughter substituted for the father. Further, the 1688 Revolution,
                                                                                               th
            driven by religion rather than politics, seems to look backwards to the 17  century
            rather than forwards to the modern age. It seemed to have little to do with the king
            versus parliament question. It was presented as the quiet removal of monarch and
            his replacement by someone more acceptable, secretly engineered by a few
            grandees, and not really changing anything very much; not much of a revolution at

            all, more a “very British coup”.

            There is some truth in this; but as closer examination reveals it is nowhere near the
            whole truth. The official version of the 1688 Revolution, in typical British fashion,
            glosses over a number of questions, some of them awkward ones:

               1.  Whose idea was it?
               2.  Did it have popular support?

               3.  Was it a bloodless revolution?
               4.  Did James II jump or was he pushed?
               5.  Did it make parliament supreme over the monarchy?
               6.  Did people warm to William and Mary?
               7.  What were its consequences, short and long term?


            Here are some suggested answers:

                   1.  Whose idea was it?
            Not parliament. Seven aristocratic grandees* took the initiative and issued a secret
            invitation to Mary and William. However William had previously put out feelers and
            indicated that he would be favourable. As ruler of the Netherlands he was engaged in
            a life or death struggle with French King Louis XIV, the most ambitious and feared
            monarch in Europe. Getting the military and economic resources of Britain behind
            him would be a huge boost to his war effort. His wife Mary approved; she had been

            brought up a Protestant and disapproved of her father’s conversion to Catholicism.
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