Queen Anne: The Politics of Passion
As the last Stuart monarch of England of Scotland, Queen Anne reigned during a dramatic time at home and in continental European history. Although she had a reserved personality, the Queen left her own mark on British history. In a new biography, Queen Anne: The Politics of Passion by Lady Anne Somerset, Anne’s life and the world she lived is told. Originally published in the UK, the book was released here in the US in the fall.
I knew a little bit about Anne from reading Jean Plaidy’s reissued novels about the Stuarts a few years earlier. When I saw this book, I was curious to read more about her. The biography is well-written and detailed. The author drew on unpublished sources as part of her research. I was impressed there was more to Anne then what is usually described about her. For example, she could make decisions at crucial times. Anne’s inspiration was Queen Elizabeth I, and she liked to emulate the Tudor Queen.
As Queen, Anne attended council meetings regularly. She was able to work well with Parliament which hadn’t been easy for her Stuart predecessors. The Whigs and Tories were active during Anne’s reign, beginning the two party system. In 1707, Scotland and England became fully united under one crown.
On the European continent, the Queen was involved in the War of Spanish Succession. During this time period, John Churchill, Duke of Marlborough, became famous for his military achievements. Some early American colonial history is mentioned as well.
For many years, Anne was close friends with John’s wife Sarah, Duchess of Marlborough who held important posts in the Queen’s household. Their relationship deteriorated because of political differences and petty arguments. Of interest to longtime “Masterpiece Theater” viewers, the Churchills were the subject of the historical drama “The First Churchills” in the 1971-72 inaugural season on PBS.
Anne’s husband was Prince George of Denmark (1653-1708) with whom she had a loving marriage. He had a nominal role during her reign. Unfortunately none of their children survived to adulthood. When the Prince died, she mourned him deeply.
There is more to Anne’s story so I’ll leave it to readers to find out!
Of interest to those live or work in Maryland, Anne and George have places named in their honor.
Queen Anne was awarded the 2013 Elizabeth Longford Prize for Historical Biography in the UK.
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