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William III
Mary II
The phrase William and Mary usually refers to the joint sovereignty over the Kingdom of England, as well as the Kingdom of Scotland, of King William III and his wife Queen Mary II, a son-in-law and daughter of James II. Their joint reign began in February, 1689, when they were called to the throne by Parliament, replacing James II, who was "deemed to have fled" the country in the Glorious Revolution of 1688. After Mary died in 1694, William of Orange ruled alone until his death in 1702. Their rule was the only period in British history in which "joint sovereigns" with equal powers were allowed to reign; Philip and Mary I were joint sovereigns, but Philip was not equal to Mary. William and Mary were childless and were ultimately succeeded by Mary's younger sister, Anne.

Historic impact

William and Mary came from France when they received an invitation to be monarchs of the country. To end the Glorious Revolution, William and Mary signed the English Bill of Rights, and began a new co-operation between the Parliament and the monarchs, leading to a greater measure of personal liberty and democracy in Britain. This action both signaled the end of several centuries of tension and conflict between crown and parliament, and the end of the idea that England would be restored to Roman Catholicism, King William being a Protestant leader.

The English Bill of Rights also inspired the colonists in the Americas to revolt in Massachusetts, New York, and Maryland.

The College of William & Marymarker in Williamsburg, Virginiamarker, was chartered in 1693, endowed and named in their honor.

See also


  1. Louis Adrian Montrose, The subject of Elizabeth: authority, gender, and representation, University of Chicago Press, 2006
  2. Page 154 of the 'History of the Town of Plymouth', by James Thacher, recounts this revolution in New England. This book can be searched on Google Books

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