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.