Saturday, October 5, 2013

Mary of Modena, second wife of James II of England was born - 1658

Mary of Modena was born on October 5, 1658 in Modena, Italy. She was the second wife of James II of England. Born a princess of the Italian Duchy of Modena, Mary is primarily remembered for the controversial birth of James Francis Edward, her only surviving son. His birth was a contributing factor to the Glorious Revolution. The revolution deposed James II and replaced him with his daughter from his first marriage Mary and her husband, William of Orange. Exiled to France, Mary was popular among Louis XIV's courtiers; however, James was considered a bore. In widowhood, Mary spent much time with the nuns at the Convent of Chaillot, where she and her daughter spent their summers. In 1701, when James II died, James Francis Edward became king in the eyes of the Jacobites. Being too young to assume the nominal reins of government, Mary acted as regent until he reached the age of 16. When James Francis Edward was asked to leave France as part of the Treaty of Utrecht, Mary stayed, despite having no family there. Mary died from breast cancer on May 7, 1718 in Paris.

Michael Thomas Barry is the author of Great Britain’s Royal Tombs. The book can be purchased from Amazon through the following links:

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