History Timeline – The Stuarts

1603 James I


James I (James VI of Scotland) came to the English throne because Elizabeth I died without issue and the Tudor like died with her.

James I was the son of Mary Queen of Scots and her second husband Lord Darnley.

He used the title King of Great Britain because he ruled over England, Scotland and Ireland until his death. He is known for continuing Elizabeth’s “Golden Age” of literature and drama, for writing his own works, for surviving the Gunpowder Plot, for the King James Bible and for enjoying the affection of his people.

1625 Charles I


Charles I was the second son of James I and his reign is known for its conflicts:-

  • He believed in the Divine Right of Kings and so people thought he was after absolute power.
  • He married Henrietta of France, a Catholic princess, against the wishes of his people and Parliament.
  • He was close to controversial religious figures.
  • He caused the Bishops’ War in Soctalnd with his ideas for reform.
  • Both the English and Scottish Parliaments rose against him in the English Civil War and he was subsequently executed for treason. The monarchy was then abolished.
1649 The Commonwealth of England or Cromwellian Interregnum When Charles I was executed, a republican government known as the Commonwealth of England, Scotland and Ireland was formed by the Rump Parliament of 19th May 1649.

Between 1653 and 1659 the government was actually known as “The Protectorate” and was “ruled” by Oliver Cromwell and then Richard, his son, in the role of Lord Protector. However, “The Commonwealth of England” actually refers to the period between 1649 and 1660 when England did not have a monarch.

1660 Charles II


Charles II was the son of Charles I. He was declared King of the Scots on 5th February 1649 but was defeated by Oliver Cromwell in 1651 at the Battle of Worcester and fled to Europe in exile.

After Cromwell died in 1658, Charles was invited back to England to restore the English, Scottish and Irish monarchies – The Restoration.

He was known as “The Merrie Monarch” for his hedonist court and the relief he brought from Cromwell’s puritan rule. He is known for his 12 illegitimate children!

1685 James II


Charles II left no legitimate heir to the throne, so his brother James VII of Scotland(second son of Charles I) came to the English throne.

James II is known as the last Catholic monarch to rule the country and is also known for the Glorious Revolution, which deposed him. According to the Parliament of England, he abdicated on 11th December 1688 and according to the Parliament of Scotland he abdicated on 11th April 1689. He was deposed because of his belief in absolute monarchy.

James II was replaced with his Protestant daughter Mary II and her husband William III (William of Orange) who ruled jointly.

1689 William III (William of Orange) and Mary II


Mary II was the protestant daughter of James II who took over the country when her father was deposed. She ruled jointly with William III, her husband and first cousin, who ruled England and Ireland as William III and Scotland as William II. He was William of Orange, a member of the House of Orange-Nassau. Mary tended to rely on William but she was Supreme Governor of the Church of England and was very active in it, much more than her husband who shared that role.

William is remembered for the 1690 Battle of the Boyne in Ireland when he defeated Catholic James II. Thsi is still remembered today by Northern Ireland’s Orange Institution.William’s victory over James II at the Battle of the Boyne in 1690 is commemorated by the Orange Institution in Northern Ireland to this day.

William’s rule is also said to mark the point where the parliament centred rule of the House of Hanover took ove rfrom the personal rule of the House of Stuart.

1702 Anne


Anne was the daughter of Janes II and sister to Mary II and took over the throne on the death of her brother-in-law, William III.
During her reign, England and Scotland were united as one sovereign state, Great Britain, by the 1707 Acts of Union and Anne became its first monarch. She was also Queen of Ireland and Queen of France.Anne was the last monarch of the House of Stuart because she died without issue. Her cousin, George I, whose grandmother Elizabeth was James I’s daughter, took over as King on Anne’s death and started the House of Hanover.