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Family fortunesUngrateful Daughters The Stuart Princesses who Stole their Fathers CrownMaureen WallerHodder 20 pp454The English crown was seized in 1688 from the Stuart king James II an act engineered by his conniving daughters Mary and Anne As he was shunted into exile Mary and her Dutch husband also the kings nephew William Prince of Orange made swiftly for the throne Fed by ample amounts of single-minded ambition and intractable religion their action was at once a catastrophic family breach and a startling coup dtatJames II had openly practised as a Catholic and attempted to proselytise in an age when effigies of the Pope containing live cats for sound effects were habitually burnt by a bigoted frightened populace and the Great Fire of London had recently been attributed to the unholy actions of papists the al-Qaeda of their dayOf all people a foreigner was invited to come to restore English liberties and the rule of law - those were of course Protestant liberties Incidentally William might just as well have been called in to overhaul the royal infrastructure - on his arrival courtiers routinely relieved themselves in convenient corners of the kings apartments the Dutch Abortion as his nationalistic sister-in-law Anne unsportingly called him swiftly installed the novelty of cleanliness and hot and cold running waterThe periwigged nobles who metaphorically nailed up the Under New Management sign at the white cliffs of Dover were also heralding a revolution in the constitution No wonder that when some rough seamen intercepted the fleeing King James that December they found a stricken rambling figure grieving not just his own ill-fortune but the sacrilege of all he believed in With William and Mary the monarchy had become elective the principle of divine ordination trampledNot only had the king been ejected by his offspring but this unnatural woman had also snatched her younger brothers right to succession For the dishevelled James surrounded by captors at the Arms of England Inn
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