Cover image for Ungrateful daughters : the Stuart princesses who stole their father's crown
Ungrateful daughters : the Stuart princesses who stole their father's crown
Waller, Maureen.
Personal Author:
First U.S. edition.
Publication Information:
New York : St. Martin's Press, 2003.
Physical Description:
xxiv, 454 pages : illustrations (chiefly color) ; 25 cm
General Note:
Originally published: London : Hodder & Stoughton, 2002.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
DA462.A3 W27 2003 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

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In 1688, the birth of a Prince of Wales ignited a family quarrel and a revolution. James II's drive towards Catholicism had alienated the nation and his two staunchly Protestant daughters by his first marriage, Mary and Anne. They are the 'ungrateful daughters' who usurped their father's crown and stole their brother's birthright.

Seven prominent men sent an invitation to William of Orange---James's nephew and son-in-law---to intervene in English affairs. But it was the women, Queen Mary Beatrice and her two stepdaughters, Mary and Anne, who played a key role in this drama. Jealous and resentful of her hated stepmother, Anne had written a series of malicious letters to her sister Mary in Holland, implying that the Queen's pregnancy was a hoax, a Catholic plot to deny Mary her rightful inheritance.

Betrayed by those he trusted, distraught at Anne's defection, James fled the kingdom. Even as the crown descended on her head, Mary knew she had incurred a father's curse. The sisters quarreled and were still not speaking to each other when Mary died tragically young. Anne did nothing to deserve her father's forgiveness, declaring her brother an outlaw with a price on his head.

Acclaimed historian Maureen Waller recreated the late Stuart era in a compelling narrative that highlights the influence of three women in one of the most momentous events in English history. Prompted by religious bigotry and the emotion that beset any family relationships, this palace coup changed the face of the monarchy, and signaled the end of a dynasty.

Author Notes

Maureen Waller was educated at University College London, where she studied medieval and modern history. She received a master's degree at Queen Mary College, London, in British and European history 1660-1714. After a brief stint at the National Portrait Gallery, she went on to work as an editor at several prestigious London publishing houses. She currently lives in London with her husband, who is a journalist and author.

Reviews 2

Publisher's Weekly Review

In November 1688, the Protestant Prince William of Orange landed in England with an invading Dutch army. The Catholic King of Britain, James II, prepared to meet William in battle, but the unpopular James soon found himself deserted by his army and navy-and, most surprisingly, by his own daughters. Crestfallen, James fled to France, and William became king. This "Glorious Revolution," London-based historian Waller (1700: Scenes from London Life) tells us, was largely the product of a family feud. James's eldest daughter, Mary, was married to William, who was also James's nephew. James's other daughter, Anne, also defected to William. Why did both daughters betray their father at his hour of greatest need? Waller believes it was partly religion-the fervently Catholic James had failed to convert his Protestant daughters and nation. Moreover, Princess Anne loathed her Catholic stepmother, Queen Mary Beatrice. When the queen became pregnant in late 1687, Anne claimed the pregnancy was a papist hoax. As for Mary, she supported her husband, William, and her Anglican faith. Neither Mary nor Anne had children, and Anne eventually became the last Stuart monarch. Waller, using Stuart family letters and an impressive array of secondary sources, has written a highly readable, thoroughly researched family saga that shows vividly how the personal and the political interacted to produce one of the seminal events in British history. 16 pages of color photos not seen by PW. (Jan.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

Waller (1700: Scenes from London Life) re-creates the political intrigues and machinations of the "duplicitous" daughters of James II, which resulted in the Glorious Revolution and the end of the Stuart dynasty in England. Dominant in the five-page listing of the "cast of characters" in this narrative double biography are Princess Mary of Orange, later Queen Mary II, and Princess Anne of Denmark, later Queen Anne. Neither Mary nor Anne "expressed remorse" for the part they played in the plots "to end their father's Catholic tyranny." Waller concludes that "James's daughters...had a far greater sense of political reality than he did. They had done what they believed was right for their kingdoms and the Protestant religion....They had presided over the painful transition from the turbulence of the seventeeth to the stability of the eighteenth century, heralding a more tolerant society, an age of booming commerce when Great Britain finally took its place as a great power in the world." Waller's fluent narrative is solidly grounded, with an eight-page bibliography (including material from the Royal Library and the Royal Archives at Windsor) and 32 pages of notes. A 16-page photo insert-with reproductions of paintings from the Royal Collection-makes a significant visual contribution. Recommended for academic and all public libraries.-Robert C. Jones, Warrensburg, MO (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Table of Contents

List of Illustrationsp. ix
Acknowledgementsp. xiii
Genealogical Tablep. xiv
Cast of Characters in the Royal Familyp. xvii
Author's Notep. xxiii
Prologuep. 1
Part 1 The Family
1. Queen Mary Beatricep. 11
2. Princess Anne of Denmarkp. 47
3. Princess Mary of Orangep. 83
4. King James IIp. 119
5. Prince William of Orangep. 159
Part 2 The Revolution
6. The Birth of James Francis Edward, Prince of Walesp. 189
7. Betrayalp. 213
8. Flightp. 240
9. The Takeoverp. 260
Part 3 Consequences
10. The Quarrelp. 293
11. An Untimely Deathp. 321
12. The Successionp. 340
13. Broken Promisesp. 368
Notesp. 403
Bibliographyp. 435
Indexp. 443