British Monarch. The eldest daughter of King James II and his first wife Anne Hyde, Mary was married to her first cousin, William, Prince of Orange, on November 4, 1677 at the age of 16. The marriage did not begin happily as Mary was homesick while living in Holland. When her Roman Catholic father was sent into exile in 1688, the protestant William agreed, at first reluctantly, to take the throne of Britain. Some sources say Parliament offered the throne to Mary to rule in her own right with William as her prince consort, but she, subservient to her husband, refused to be placed above him. The couple was crowned on April 11, 1689 at Westminster Abbey. Theirs was a joint reign, but Mary did govern alone only when William was not in the country. She did however prove to be competent, strong, and effective. The reign of William and Mary marked the end of royal prerogative, with Parliament taking a prominent role in the governing of the nation and keeping the monarch in check. Serving only five years as queen, Mary died of smallpox at Kensington Palace at the age of 33, leaving William as sole ruler of England. William's close Dutch advisers with their policy of intervention in Europe were resented by the English. He died in 1702. Mary had a miscarriage the year after their marriage; the next year she became seriously ill and never conceived again to provide an heir, hence, the throne passed to Mary's younger sister, Anne.
Bio by: Kristen Conrad