The Glorious Revolution

“And whereas it hath been found by experience that it is inconsistent with the safety and welfare of this Protestant kingdom to be governed by a popish prince…” ~ Such had been the terrible wrangles between Protestants and Catholics in British history that this “experience” eventually resulted in the Declaration of Rights of 1689 banning Catholics from ever ruling again. This was one result of the Glorious Revolution of 1688-89, which saw a Catholic king removed and Parliamentary sovereignty established.

The ‘glorious’ revolution involved no battles. Indeed, seven noblemen invited the new joint monarchs in. They were the Dutchman William III of Orange (1650-1702), nephew of the deposed Catholic James II & VII (1633-1701), and William’s wife Mary II (1662-94), who happened to beJames’s eldest daughter. Much to her father’s anger, the couple accepted and sailed over to their new home, unopposed. James fled to France and his son-in-law became William I.

They willingly agreed to the Declaration which eliminated the possibility of any return of tyrannical rule by monarchy. Parliament now had the power of law-making, the raising of fair taxes, free elections and freedom of speech, and sadistic punishment of offenders was banned. It was the first step to our present constitutional monarchy.

(Image of William & Mary figurines in the V&A: Thomas Quine at / CC BY 2.0)


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