Six decades of travel with the Timelord
Q Why is Anne often overlooked as a monarch?
A One mundane reason for Anne not being better known is that when students study the Tudors and Stuarts, Anne’s reign comes at the fag-end of the period, and often the time to focus properly on the subject is lacking. Studies of the reign tend to concentrate on the Duke of Marlborough’s [John Churchill’s] victories in the War of the Spanish Succession, for which Anne is given no credit, and that Great Britain effectively first became a major power during her reign is not ascribed to her. She is perhaps best known for her and all other tragic this has aspects history overshadowed of as her a mother, life. She lacked glamour and charisma, presided over a pretty dreary court and was certainly the least colourful Stuart. On the other hand, it is also arguable that she was the most successful member of the dynasty, but spectacular failure would perhaps have made her more memorable.
Q How did the losses of her children affect her reign?
A The fact that many as the Anne would primary had have function failed regarded in what of female royalty – to secure the succession by providing a direct heir – lessened her prestige. After the death of her son in 1700, Anne was so emotionally shattered that she withdrew from the world, but on her accession to the throne “considerations of the public good ... dragged her out of a retired life that suited her so greatly”. But her tragic history inevitably shaped her character, and she made no secret of the sadness that still haunted her. Her relations with her Hanoverian heirs presumptive were complicated by her sense of personal loss. For the first few years of her reign, Anne still clung to the hope that she would produce a child of her own, and the insensitive demands of Sophia of Hanover to be given official recognition as Anne’s successor infuriated the Queen – implying that it was out of the question that she would have another baby. survived, imagined If Anne’s no that son one Anne William would hankered had have to reinstate her half-brother James in the succession, and the Whigs would have been unable to create the impression – prevalent by the end of her reign – that the Protestant settlement was in danger.
Q Was she an effective ruler?
A The assumption that Anne was a weak and ineffective ruler is without foundation. She did not suffer from a belief that because she was a woman she was automatically unfitted to wield power, and was not prepared to allow her male ministers to impose their will on her on that account. Despite her lack of training, she adapted to the demands of sovereignty remarkably well. Her great aim was to prevent any one political party from becoming dominant, at the expense of the monarch’s power, and on the whole, she achieved this. She held out against the Whigs taking permanent control of government, but when she dismissed her Whig ministers, she also resisted allowing the Tories to monopolise power. At her death, monarchical power was handed largely intact to her successor. Q What was her lasting legacy? A It is sometimes alleged the interests that Anne of damaged her country by bringing the War of the Spanish Succession to a premature close, meaning that France remained more powerful – and more of a threat to Britain – than would have been the case if Marlborough had been permitted to inflict a resounding defeat on the enemy. But, conversely, if the war had continued for longer, Britain might have been bankrupted by the struggle, and revolution and social unrest could have ensued. depicted who throne Although longed to as her Anne a to half-brother secret bequeath is often Jacobite, her James, She should this be is grossly credited unfair. with the fact that at her death, the crown went not to a Catholic Stuart with absolutist tendencies, but to the Protestant Hanoverians who, for all their flaws, had to work with Parliament. Anne has some claim to be regarded as Britain’s first constitutional monarch, and deserves recognition for her role in ensuring that Britain remains a constitutional monarchy to this day. The fact that Anne did not confer the title of King on her husband changed for ever the position of Queens Regnant, ensuring that their power to rule in their own right was formally established.
The 1704 Battle of Malaga was the largest naval battle of the War of the Spanish Succession