Stuart Queens

Queens Consort and Ruling Queens

Mary II of Great Britain
Mary II of Great Britain. National Galleries of Scotland / Hulton Fine Art Collection / Getty Images

With the accession of James VI of Scotland to the British throne as James I of England, Scotland and England’s monarchies were united in the same person.  Under Queen Anne, in 1707, England and Scotland merged into one union. 

Anne of Denmark

Anne of Denmark
Anne of Denmark. Print Collector / Hulton Archive / Getty Images

Dates: December 12, 1574 – March 2, 1619
Titles: Queen consort of Scots August 20, 1589 – March 2, 1619
Queen consort of England and Ireland March 24, 1603 – March 2, 1619
Mother:  Sophie of Mecklenburg-Güstrow
Father:  Frederick II of Denmark
Queen consort to:  James I and VI, son of Mary, Queen of Scots
Married: by proxy August 20, 1589; formally in Oslo November 23, 1589
Coronation:  as Queen consort of Scots: May 17, 1590: hers was the first Protestant coronation in Scotland; as Queen consort of England and Ireland July 25, 1603
Children: Henry Frederick; Elizabeth (Queen of Bohemia, known as the “Winter Queen,” and grandmother of King George I); Margaret (died in childhood); Charles I of England; Robert (died in infancy); Mary (died in childhood); Sophia (died in infancy); also had at least three miscarriages

Rumors that James preferred the company of men to women, and the long delay before her first pregnancy, worried the court. Anne fought James over the Scottish tradition of placing the heir in the company of a Scottish lord, rather than being raised near his mother. She finally refused to join James in England, when he became king after Queen Elizabeth’s death, unless she had custody of the prince. Other marital conflicts were over her attendants.

At a time when plays featured male actors in all roles, Anne sponsored plays at the royal court with female performers, even performing herself.

Henrietta Maria of France

From a portrait of Henrietta Maria by Anthony Van Dyk
From a portrait of Henrietta Maria by Anthony Van Dyk. Buyenlarge / Getty Images

Dates: November 25, 1609 – September 10, 1668
Titles: Queen consort of England, Scotland and Ireland June 13, 1625 – January 30, 1649
Mother:  Marie de’ Medici
Father:  Henry IV of France
Queen consort to:  Charles I of England and Scotland
Married:  by proxy May 11, 1625; in person June 13, 1625 in Kent
Coronation:  never crowned, as she remained a Catholic and could not be crowned in an Anglican ceremony; she was permitted to watch her husband’s coronation at a distance
Children:  Charles James (stillborn); Charles II; Mary, Princess Royal (married William II, Prince of Orange); James II; Elizabeth (died at age 14); Anne (died young); Catherine (stillborn); Henry (died at 20, unmarried, no children); Henrietta.

Henrietta Maria remained staunchly Catholic. She was often called Queen Mary, after her husband’s Catholic grandmother, Mary, Queen of Scots.  The American province of Maryland (which became the state of Maryland) was named for her. She did not become pregnant for almost 3 years after her marriage. When Civil War began, Henrietta attempted to raise funds and arms for the royalist cause in Europe. She stayed with her husband in England until his armies were destroyed, then she took refuge in Paris, where her nephew, Louis XIV, was king; her son, Charles, soon joined her. After her husband’s 1649 execution, she was in poverty, until the Restoration in 1660, when she returned to England, living there for the rest of her life except for a brief trip to Paris to arrange her daughter’s marriage to the Duke of Orleans, brother of Louis XIV. 

Catherine of Braganza

Catherine of Braganza
Catherine of Braganza. Fine Art Images / Heritage Images / Getty Images

Dates: November 25, 1638 – December 31, 1705
Titles: Queen consort of England, Scotland and Ireland, April 23, 1662 – February 6, 1685
Mother:  Luisa of Guzman
Father:  John IV of Portugal, who overturned the Hapsburg rulers in 1640
Queen consort to:  Charles II of England
Married:  May 21, 1662: two ceremonies, a secret Catholic one, followed by an Anglican public ceremony
Coronation: because she was a Roman Catholic, she could not be crowned
Children:  three miscarriages, no live births

She brought a very large promised dowry, not all of which was paid.  Her Roman Catholic commitments led to suspicions of plots, including an accusation in 1678 of high treason.  Though her marriage was not a close one, and her husband had many mistresses, her husband protected her from punishment.  Her husband, who had children by mistresses, refused to divorce Catherine and replace her with a Protestant wife.  After Charles died, she remained in England during the reigns of James II and William III and Mary II, returning to Portugal in 1699 as a tutor to Prince John (later John V), whose mother had died.

She is credited with popularizing tea drinking in Britain.

It is possible that Queens County, New York, was named for her, as Kings County, Brooklyn, New York, was named for her husband, and Richmond County, Staten Island, New York, for one of his illegitimate sons.

Mary of Modena

Mary of Modena, from a portrait about 1680
Mary of Modena, from a portrait about 1680. Museum of London/Heritage Images/Getty Images

Dates: October 5, 1658 – May 7, 1718
Also known as: Maria Beatrice d'Este
Titles: Queen consort of England, Scotland and Ireland (February 6, 1685 – December 11, 1688)
Mother:  Laura Martinozzi
Father:  Alfonso IV, Duke of Modena (died 1662)
Queen consort to:  James II and VII
Married:  by proxy September 30, 1673, in person November 23, 1673
Coronation:  April 23, 1685
Children:  Catherine Laura (died in childhood); Isabel (died in childhood); Charles (died in infancy); Elizabeth (died in infancy); Charlotte Maria (died in infancy); James Francis Edward, later James III and VIII (Jacobite), rumored to be a changeling, Louisa (died at 19)

Mary of Modena married the much-older widower, James II, when he was the Duke of York and presumed heir of his brother. He had two daughters, Mary and Anne, by his first wife, Anne Hyde, a commoner.  Her first children died early, several of convulsions; James’ sons by his first wife had all died young; it was thus rumored when her son, James, was born, that he was a changeling, someone else’s child substituted for her own though there is no evidence of that – in fact, the birth chamber had 200 witnesses, just to avoid misrepresentations of any live birth.

James had become a Roman Catholic, and with a Catholic wife, his reign was quite unpopular.  After the birth of this Catholic heir, and questions raised including by Princess Anne, in 1688, James was deposed in the “Glorious Revolution” and the eldest daughter of his first marriage, Mary, and her husband, Prince of Orange, replaced him as Queen Mary II and William III. She raised her son, James, to serve as king; after his father died, Louis XIV declared the young James to be King of England, Ireland and Scotland.  Though her son was eventually asked to leave France, so that the king could make peace with the British monarchs, Mary remained there until her death.

Mary II

Queen Mary II of England
Queen Mary II of England. Heritage Images / Hulton Archive / Getty Images

Dates: April 30, 1662 – December 28, 1694
Titles: Queen of England, Scotland and Ireland
Mother:  Anne Hyde
Father:  James II
Consort, co-ruler:  William III (ruled 1698 – 1702)
Married:  November 4, 1677, in St. James’ Palace
Coronation:  April 11, 1689
Children:  several miscarriages

Mary and her husband, first cousins and Protestants, replaced her father as co-monarchs.  William ruled until his death in 1702.


Queen Anne
Queen Anne. Print Collector / Hulton Archive / Getty Images

Dates: February 6, 1665 – August 1, 1714
Titles: Queen of England, Scotland and Ireland 1702 – 1707; Queen of Great Britain and Ireland 1707 - 1714
Mother:  Anne Hyde
Father:  James II
Consort: Prince George of Denmark, brother of Christian V of Denmark
Married:  July 28, 1683, at the Chapel Royal
Coronation:  April 23, 1702
Children: out of 17 pregnancies, the only child to survive infancy was Prince William (1689 – 1700)

Anne, another daughter of Anne Hyde and James II, succeeded William in 1702. She ruled as Queen of England, Scotland and Ireland until 1707, when England and Scotland were united into Great Britain. She ruled as Queen of Great Britain and Ireland until 1714.  She was pregnant 17 or 18 times, but only one survived infancy and he predeceased his mother, and thus Anne was the last monarch of the House of Stuart..

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Lewis, Jone Johnson. "Stuart Queens." ThoughtCo, Aug. 27, 2020, Lewis, Jone Johnson. (2020, August 27). Stuart Queens. Retrieved from Lewis, Jone Johnson. "Stuart Queens." ThoughtCo. (accessed January 28, 2021).