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Wednesday, 10 August 2011

Anne, Queen of Great Britain

Anne was born at 11:39 p.m. on February 6, 1665 at St James's Palace, London, the fourth child and second daughter of James, Duke of York (afterwards James II and VII), and his first wife, Anne Hyde.

As a child, Anne suffered from an eye condition, which manifested as excessive watering known as "defluxion". For medical treatment, she was sent to France, where she lived with her paternal grandmother, Queen Henrietta Maria, at the Ch√Ęteau de Colombes near Paris.

She succeeded William III to become the Queen of England, Scotland and Ireland on March 8, 1702.

Bad health dominated Queen Anne's life; she suffered from gout for many years and she had to be carried to her coronation in 1702.

Anne married Prince George of Denmark (1653–1708) on July 28, 1683 in the Chapel Royal. She bore him 17 children. Probably only six were born alive and only one survived infancy - William, Duke of Gloucester, who died in 1700 of smallpox at the age of 12 . Anne suffered from a condition known as “sticky blood” the cause of her constant miscarriages.

Anne, circa 1684, painted by Willem Wissing and Jan van der Vaardt

Distraught with grief at her constant miscarriages, Anne agreed to the Act of Settlement, which passed the succession from the Stuart to the Hanoveran line.

Queen Anne’s chronic brandy addiction may have contributed to her chronic losses of children in pregnancy.

Queen Anne withheld Royal Assent from the Scottish Militia Bill on March 11, 1708, on the advice of her ministers who feared that the proposed militia created would be disloyal. It was the last time a British monarch has vetoed legislation.

Portrait of Queen Anne in 1702,, from the school of John Closterman

Queen Anne was a horse racing enthusiast. She instituted the first Royal Ascot race meeting on August 7, 1711.

Anne introduced proper methods in the breeding of horses for horse racing. She also originated the first sweepstake in 1714 when she stipulated that the owners of each of the 11 starters put up a fee of 10 guineas, the winner to take all. Conveniently her own horse, Star, won the first cash prize ever awarded in a race.

The Royal carriages depart after The Queen's arrival at the races

Anne was rendered unable to speak by a stroke on July 30, 1714, the anniversary of Gloucester's death. She died at around 7:30 a.m. on August 1, 1714 and was buried beside her husband and children in the Henry VII chapel on the South Aisle of Westminster Abbey on August 24th.

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