Anne, Queen of Great Britain has lately had somewhat of a resurgence in popularity – largely owing to the 2019 film The Favourite. Perhaps the least known of the British reigning Queens, Anne had a tough life. Born to a commoner mother – Anne Hyde – and the unpopular younger brother of King Charles II – the future James II – Anne was destined for a life in marriage.
Yet life would bring Anne a greater prize. Queenship. After her father and half-brother fled from the Glorious Revolution led by Anne’s brother-in-law and cousin who became King William III jointly with Anne’s sister Mary II. But with their lack of children, Anne was now the heiress presumptive to the throne. Anne’s marriage to Prince George of Denmark produced a number of pregnancies but just a single son lived to the age of 11.
Good Queen Anne focusses heavily on the years of Anne’s reign – from the death of her brother-in-law in 1702 until her own death in 1714. Which is not necessarily a bad thing but the years before that are so very interesting as well. Not much is said about the death of her son, which for Anne was perhaps her greatest tragedy and made it necessary to pass the Act of Settlement 1701 to ensure the succession of the Protestant House of Hanover.
All in all, Good Queen Anne is a lovely look at the life of an interesting woman who became Queen against all odds. It is well-written and excellently researched, with plenty of sources.
Good Queen Anne by Judith Lissauer Cromwell is available now in both the UK and the US.
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