Anne, Queen of England
, was the second daughter of King James II
and came to the throne
after the death of her brother-in-law
William III, who had ruled jointly with Anne's sister Mary II until her death and then alone afterwards. William and Mary
had no children, so Anne was the heir (Parliament
having passed the Act of Settlement to keep Anne's Catholic
half-siblings off the throne). Anne had not gotten along terribly well with her sister and brother-in-law since their accession to the throne, feeling that she was not treated as well as her rank merited, nor was her husband (and that William, who was third in line to the throne of England even before his marriage to his first cousin Mary, had rather jumped his place in line in getting to rule before Anne).
Anne married Prince George of Denmark in 1685, and the two lived in England as a very happy couple despite Anne's 18 pregnancies producing only 5 living children, none of whom survived past the age of 11. Anne's health was never that good, particularly after a pregnancy a year for nearly two decades, and at her coronation she was having an attack of gout so bad that she could not stand at all during the ceremony. Her emotional health was probably not all that great either, given that she had lost her mother at a young age, her many dead children, her disagreements with her sister, and her guilt over being a part of the Glorious Revolution against her father because of his Catholic religion.
Anne had not received much of an education and did not have cultured tastes; she preferred gambling and hunting to art and literature, but this actually helped make her more popular with the English people. She was a deeply religious Anglican and paid for the building of several London churches and a fund to increase the salaries of poor clergy. Nonetheless, she had nothing against Catholics as individuals. She once wrote her father a secret letter suggesting that she would try to get her half-brother James named as her heir (once it became clear she would not have any more children) despite the country's opposition. (This was likely an attempt to stop any conspiracies to overthrow her and put him on the throne, because Anne was too devoted to her own church and too aware of English public opinion to even try to get a Catholic named heir to the throne.) Anne officially agreed that her Protestant cousins in Hanover, would be her heirs, but refused to have any of them come to live in England while she was alive.
As queen, Anne tried to steer a middle way between the relatively new political parties, the Whigs and the Tories, but this was often very difficult. England's participation in the War of the Spanish Succession was controversial, even when the Duke of Marlborough was winning battles for their side. (And personal turmoil came to Anne over politcal and personal disagreements with her close friend Sarah, Duchess of Marlborough and wife of the war hero.) During Anne's reign the Act of Union was passed, putting England and Scotland officially under the same government (though they'd been ruled by the same monarch since Anne's great-grandfather James I).
Anne's husband Prince George died in 1708, leaving her without her greatest personal support. Anne fell even more ill during the last years of her life, not helped by the amount she drank (some nicknamed her "Brandy Nan"). During her last years government officials found it difficult to get responses from her on matters of state. She died after two strokes a few days apart, on 1 August 1714. (People joked that she had gained so much weight that her coffin was almost square.) Jacobites, supporters of her half-brother James, put about the rumor that she had made a deathbed reference to James and how he should be her heir, but this is not true; she was barely able to say "yes" and "no" and did not even manage to sign her will. Anne's second cousin George I, great-grandson of James I, succeeded her.
Van der Zee, Henri and Barbara, 1688: Revolution in the Family, London: Viking, 1988.
Waller, Maureen. Ungrateful Daughters: The Stuart Princesses Who Stole Their Father's Crown, New York: St. Martin's Press, 2002.
Williamson, David. National Portrait Gallery History of the Kings & Queens of England, New York: Konecky & Konecky, 1998.