King James II Fact File Biography: Lifespan: 1633 - 1701 *** Full Name: King James II *** Occupation: King of England, Scotland and Wales *** Date of Birth: King James II was born on October 14th 1633 *** Place of Birth: King James II was born in St Jamesís Palace in London, England *** Family background: His father was Charles I and his mother Henrietta Maria of France *** Early life and childhood: By three years of age he was appointed as Lord High Admiral *** Education: King James II was educated with his brother Charles, who would become King Charles II, by tutors together with the Duke of Buckingham's two sons, George and Francis Villiers ***
King James II Fact 1: King James II was born on October 14th 1633 and during the 17th century period in history when Europeans began to colonize the Americaís in earnest, the Ming Dynasty began to collapse, in the Near East, the Persian, Ottoman and Mughal empires were on the rise and many innovations were being made in science, medicine, technology and industry.
King James II Fact 2: In 1642 he would be invested with the Order of the Garter and was created the Duke of York in January 1644.
King James II Fact 3: As his father was in dispute with Parliament James was at Oxford when the English Civil War erupted. Oxford surrendered after the siege in 1646 and James was ordered to be confined in St Jamesí Palace where he would escape and in disguise managed to make it to The Hague.
King James II Fact 4: His father was executed and Jamesí older brother became King Charles II but was unable to secure the crown to the throne of England, he too would eventually flee to France where he stayed in exile.
King James II Fact 5: While in exile in France James fought in the French army however when his brother Charles became allied with Spain, at the time an enemy of France, James was banished from the French army and France in general. This caused a dispute between James and his brother and James would travel to Bruges with their younger brother Henry and ended up fighting against his former comrades during the Battle of the Dunes. Eventually the Spanish and French settled matters and all became peaceful and by the following year Charles had become King in England.
King James II Fact 6: Charles II was restored to the English throne in 1660 and even though James became heir presumptive, with his brother not much older than him, it seemed highly unlikely he would ever be King himself.
King James II Fact 7: Once returned to England James became betrothed and later married Anne Hyde, much against many wishes especially when she was considered merely a commoner. However they married nevertheless and together had a number of children although their first six children all died in infancy, a common occurrence for the time.
King James II Fact 8: They did have two daughters, Mary and Anne whom survived and on whom James dotted unlike many fathers, particularly Royal ones, who paid little if any attention to the progeny.
King James II Fact 9: By the late 1660ís, James, having come into contact with the Catholic faith while in France, he and Anne converted but kept the conversion secret. However when the Test Act of 1673 was put in place requiring civil and military officials to receive the Eucharist under the auspices of the Church of England, James refused and his secret was out.
King James II Fact 10: His first wife died some little time after the birth of their last child and two years later, James married Mary of Modena and Italian Catholic Princess who bore him his only surviving son James Francis Edward Stuart.
King James II Fact 11: After the sudden death of his brother Charles, with no issue, James II became King of England, Scotland and Ireland and was crowned on April 23rd 1685 together with his wife.
King James II Fact 12: Once King he was called upon to deal with simultaneous rebellions, one in Scotland from the Earl of Argyll, Archibald Campbell, the other from the South of England and the Duke of Monmouth, his own nephew. Both rebellions would be put down but King James II became more resolved to be harder on his enemies.
King James II Fact 13: In a bid to keep himself safe, King James II began to increase his army, thus alarming his subjects because during peace time the army usually remained minimal. King James II Fact 18: Instead he tried to make for France but would be captured while in Kent and placed under protective guard of the Dutch. He would however allow James to escape and sought refuge in France being unwilling to make him a martyr.
King James II Fact 14: Even more upsetting was the fact that he did not require his commanders to take the Test Act oath and thus allowed Roman Catholics command of several regiments within his army.
King James II Fact 15: King James II also greeted the first papal nuncio since Mary Iís reign, Ferdinando díAdda travelled from Rome and was received at court. Further and further King James II went in replacing key officials with Catholic favorites and causing considerable alarm amongst his Anglican supporters.
King James II Fact 16: During 1687 he attempted to repeal the Test Act and penal laws and in 1688 re-issued the Declaration of Indulgence.
King James II Fact 17: All during this period James was aware of a potential threat from William, Prince of Orange. Unfortunately, when William landed on English shores many of the Protestant officers defected to Williamís army and although Jamesís numbers were superior he decided against attacking Williamís forces.
King James II Fact 19: A Convention Parliament was convened by William and it was decided that as James had fled the country he had effectively abdicated and his daughter Mary was declared Queen and would rule jointly with William, her husband would become King.
King James II Fact 20: The English Parliament would pass the Bill of Rights denouncing Jamesí powers and charged with abuses to include the suspension of the Test Act amongst others. The Bill also ensured that in the future no Roman Catholic would be permitted to rule on an English throne and neither could any English monarch marry a Roman Catholic.
King James II Fact 21: James II of England died on September 16th 1701 of a brain hemorrhage at Saint-Germain-en-Laye in France aged sixty seven years.
Influence & Legacy: He was far from a popular King but he did attempt to promote civic equality between Protestant dissenters and Roman Catholics.
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