Christmas in Exile

Better exiled than beheaded, I guess. On December 23, 1688, James II of England finally got the hint that he was no longer welcome and fled to Paris.

James, a Catholic, was never a particularly popular king, but the people were prepared to tolerate him so long as his Protestant daughters remained his sole heirs. When his wife, Mary of Modena, unexpectedly gave birth to a son in 1687, the country collectively yelled: “Hell, no!” and invited James’s son-in-law, William of Orange (husband of his daughter, Mary) to become king instead. William was quite open to the idea of invading England and becoming its king, and he arrived on November 5. James, the son of Charles I, wasn’t about to let his head end up in a basket, and he attempted to escape on December 11. The escape attempt failed, but William kindly looked the other way when James tried again later that same month. William and Mary were declared king and queen on February 13, 1689.

James and his wife and son were housed by King Louis XIV at the royal chateau of Saint-Germain-en-Laye. He attempted to mount at least one rebellion (which failed) before dying in exile in 1701.

One thought on “Christmas in Exile

  1. It always rather amazed me that James was unseated by his daughter and his son-in-law. I understand that the English people had no definite loyalty to James, but one wonders if Mary was conflicted in the least in overthrowing her own father. Apparently, not too much.

    As always, a very interesting post.

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