English and Scottish monarch, queen consort of James II of England, James VII of Scotland. Daughter of Alfonso d'Este III, Duke of Modena and Laura Martinozzi, she was christened Maria Beatrice Eleanor Anne Margaret Isabella. She married James, Duke of York on November 21, 1673 in Dover, England. James had two daughters by his protestant first wife, Anne Hyde. Mary was a Roman Catholic, as was James. Their first child, born in 1674, was stillborn, and nine more died in infancy or were stillborn. After James acceded to the thrones of England and Scotland in 1685, the question of Mary's ability to produce a living child became more significant, as the child would be Catholic and heir to the throne, something the English did not want. In 1688, Mary finally gave birth to a living son, James. The event caused much speculation and rumour. It was said the child was stillborn, and a changeling was smuggled into the room in a warming pan to cover up the death. This was unlikely. Shortly thereafter, the king was deposed by parliament and the protestant William of Orange, husband of James' daughter Mary, invited to take the throne. The king and queen were forced to flee to France. Mary gave birth to one more child in exile, a daughter Louisa, who lived to the age of 19. Mary died of cancer at the age of 68. The Convent of the Visitation, and Mary's tomb, were destroyed during the French Revolution. Her coffin plate is now in the British Museum.
Bio by: Kristen Conrad