Mary of Modena Timeline 1658-1718

Mary of Modena

Born – 5th October 1658
Died – 7th May 1718
Father – Alfonso IV, Duke of Modena (1634 – 1662)
Mother – Laura Martinozzi (1639 – 1687)
Spouse – m. 1673 King James II of England (1633 – 1701)
Children – Catherine (1675), Isabella (1676 – 1681), Charles (1677), Elizabeth (1678), Charlotte (1682), James Stuart (1688 – 1766), Louisa (1692 – 1712)
Queen Consort 1673 – 1688


1658 (5th October)
Mary of Modena was born Mary Beatrice Anna Margherita Isabella d’Este in Modena, Italy. She was the daughter of Alfonso IV, Duke of Modena and Laura Martinozzi.
1660 (6th March)
Mary’s brother Francesco was born to Alfonso IV, Duke of Modena and Laura Martinozzi.
1662 (16th July)
Mary’s father died. Her brother Francesco became the new Duke of Modena and her mother acted as regent.
1663 (around)
Mary began her education. She learnt French, Italian and Latin.
1669 (during)
Mary told her mother that she would like to become a nun.
1672 (during)
Mary was suggested as a suitable bride for James, Duke of York, heir to the British throne.
1673 (20th September)
Mary married James, Duke of York, heir to the English throne, by proxy in a Roman Catholic ceremony.
1673 (October)
Mary began her journey to England. She stopped in Paris where she was welcomed by King Louis XIV.
1673 (21st November)
Mary of Modena arrived in England. An Anglican service was held in Dover to recognise the proxy marriage.
1673 (late November)
Mary was not welcomed by the people or parliament due to her Catholic faith. She was also not happy with her husband who was 25 years older than her and she burst into tears whenever she saw him. She also found it difficult to build a relationship with her two step-daughters, Mary and Anne who were about her age.
1674 (May)
Mary of Modena was delivered of a stillborn child.
1675 (10th January)
A daughter, Catherine Laura was born to Mary of Modena and James at St James’s Palace.
1675 (October)
Mary of Modena was delivered of a stillborn child.
1675 (3rd October)
Mary’s daughter, Catherine, died following a convulsion.
1676 (18th August)
A daughter Isabella, was born to Mary of Modena and James Duke of York, at St James’s Palace
1677 (during)
There was growing concern over the succession since King Charles II had no legitimate children. Mary’s husband James was heir to the throne but he was a Catholic. In a bid to persuade people that the royal family were not Catholic, King Charles II insisted that James’s eldest daughter Mary be married to her cousin William III of Orange.
1677 (7th November)
A son, Charles, was born to Mary of Modena and James Duke of York at St James’s Palace, London.
1677 (12th December)
Mary’s son, Charles, died from smallpox.
1678 (during)
A daughter, Elizabeth, was born to Mary of Modena and James Duke of York. She died the same year.
1678 (during)
Popish Plot
Titus Oates claimed that there was a plot to assassinate Charles and replace him with his brother James who had converted to Catholicism. The rumour sparked a wave of anti-Catholic hysteria and supposed conspirators were executed. Mary’s secretary, Edward Colman, had been falsely implicated in the Plot.
1678 (during)
Test Act
The 1673 Test Act was extended and effectively barred Catholics from being members of either the House of Commons or the House of Lords.
1679 (March)
King Charles II ordered James and Mary to leave England and go to Brussels until the furore regarding the Popish Plot had blown over.
1679 (15th May)
Exclusion Crisis
A group of MPs introduced an Exclusion Bill into parliament in a bid to exclude James from the succession. Some supporters of the bill felt that Charles’s eldest illegitimate son, the Duke of Monmouth, should succeed to the throne. Rather than allowing the bill to pass, Charles II dissolved parliament.
1679 (Summer)
Exclusion Crisis
Parliament, when recalled, continued to be divided over the succession of James. Those that supported the Exclusion Bill were known as Petitioners (later to become the Whigs) while those that opposed the bill were called Abhorrers (later to become the Tories).
1680 (during)
Mary’s husband, James, was appointed Lord High Commissioner of Scotland and he and Mary went to Edinburgh where they lived at the Palace of Holyroodhouse. Mary was saddened by the fact that King Charles ordered that her daughter Isabella remain in London.
1681 (February)
Mary of Modena was delivered of a stillborn child.
1681 (March)
Parliament met at Oxford. Once again the question of succession and the Exclusion Bill was brought up. Charles learned of this and dissolved parliament.
1681 (4th March)
Mary’s daughter Isabella died at St James’s Palace.
1682 (16th August)
A daughter Charlotte Maria was born to Mary of Modena and James Duke of York.
1682 (October)
Mary’s daughter Charlotte Maria died following a convulsion.
1683 (1st April)
Rye House Plot
This was a plot to assassinate King Charles and his brother James while they were at the races at Newmarket. However, a fire in Newmarket led to the cancellation of the races and the plot failed. The uncovering of the plot also led to a wave of sympathy for Charles and James.
1683 (28th July)
Mary’s stepdaughter, Anne, married Prince George of Denmark.
1683 (October)
Mary of Modena was delivered of a stillborn child.
1684 (during)
Mary’s husband James was able to return to England and became a member of the Privy Council.
1684 (May)
Mary of Modena was delivered of a stillborn child.
1685 (2nd February)
Charles II suffered a seizure.
1685 (6th February)
King Charles II died. Mary’s husband, James, succeeded him as King James II of England, Ireland and Wales and James VII of Scotland.
1685 (23rd April)
James and Mary of Modena were crowned King and Queen at Westminster Abbey.
1685 (May)
The Monmouth Rebellion
This rebellion was planned by James Scott, Duke of Monmouth, illegitimate son of Charles II, and linked with Argyll’s Rising led by Archibald Campbell, Earl of Argyll. The two men planned a rebellion against James II and his replacement by Monmouth.
1685 (2nd May)
Argyll’s Rising
The Earl of Argyll sailed from Holland bound for Scotland with a force of 300 men. He intended to incite a rebellion against the rule of James II and have him replaced by Charles II’s illegitimate son, the Duke of Monmouth.
1685 (18th June)
Argyll’s Rising
The Earl of Argyll was captured by forces loyal to the King. He was executed.
1685 (6th July)
The Monmouth Rebellion – Battle of Sedgemoor
The Duke of Monmouth’s forces were defeated by royalist forces led by the Earl of Feversham and John Churchill.
1685 (15th July)
The Monmouth Rebellion
The Duke of Monmouth, illegitimate son of Charles II, was executed for treason.
1685 (late)
James decided to enlarge his standing army to give himself increased protection. He alarmed Parliament by allowing Catholics to command regiments blatantly flouting the Test Act and Parliament protested to the King. In response James prorogued Parliament.
1686 (during)
James appointed Catholics to many of the highest roles in the Scotland and England, a move that upset many of his Anglican supporters.
1686 (March)
James requested that the Scottish council allow toleration for Catholics but not for rebellious Presbyterian Covenanters.
1686 (May)
James sought a legal ruling to legitimise his dispensing with Acts of Parliament.
1687 (February)
Mary was annoyed by her husband’s affair with Catherine Sedley and moved to Whitehall.
1687 (12th February)
Declaration of Indulgence
This allowed religious freedom in Scotland and dispensed with the requirement for oaths as prescribed by the Test Act.
1687 (4th April)
Declaration for Liberty of Conscience
This allowed religious freedom in England and dispensed with the requirement for oaths as prescribed by the Test Act.
1687 (19th July)
Mary’s mother died in Rome.
1687 (Autumn)
Determined to gain a repeal of the Test Act, James decided to place his supporters in positions of power and in parliament. Where those in office opposed him he removed them and appointed favourable replacements.
1688 (April)
James upset and alienated Anglican church leaders after insisting that his Declaration be read out in every church. Those that protested were arrested.
1688 (10th June)
A son, James Francis Edward, was born to Mary of Modena and James at St James’s Palace, London.
1688 (mid June)
The birth of James’s son secured the succession but also meant that there was a very strong likelihood that Catholicism would return to Britain. Additionally there were many claims, from Protestants, that the child was not Mary’s and James’s child but had been substituted for another stillborn child.
1688 (30th June)
Glorious Revolution
Seven Protestant nobles, Earl of Shrewsbury, Earl of Devonshire, Earl of Danby, Viscount Lumley, Bishop of London, Edward Russell and Henry Sydney, wrote to William III, husband of James II’s daughter Mary and asked him to join them in making Mary heir to the throne in place of the newborn prince. William was told that if he landed in England with a small army he would find that he had much support.
1688 (5th November)
Glorious Revolution
William of Orange landed at Brixham in Devon. The army and navy defected to William.
1688 (9th December)
Mary escaped London in disguise with baby James Francis Edward and fled to France.
1688 (11th December)
James threw the Great Seal into the River Thames before making for the coast where he hoped to take a boat to France. He was captured in Kent.
1688 (23rd December)
William of Orange allowed James to escape to France. Mary and James went to the court of Louis XIV where James was given a palace and a pension.
1689 (during)
Mary spent much time at the French court where she became friends with Louis XIV.
1689 (22nd January)
Parliament met to discuss the constitutional situation. Most Tories wanted either James II restored or James’s daughter, William’s wife to be crowned Queen. While most Whigs wanted a limited Protestant monarchy.
1689 (6th February)
Parliament agreed that since James had fled abroad he was deemed to have abdicated. Both of James’s daughters refused to rule over William so it was agreed that William and Mary should jointlhy take the throne as William III and Mary II.
1689 (March)
Mary’s husband, James, landed in Ireland at the head of a French force determined to regain the crown. The Irish government declared that James remained King. James’s supporters were known as Jacobites.
1689 (16th December)
Bill of Rights
The English parliament drew up this bill which stated basic civil rights and settled the succession. It also stated that no Roman Catholic could take the throne nor could an English monarch marry a Roman Catholic.
1690 (1st July)
Battle of the Boyne
The forces of William III secured a decisive victory over thos of James II. James managed to escape the battlefield and fled back to France.
1690 (late Summer)
In France, James took up residence in the chateau of Saint-Germain-en-Laye with his wife and some of his loyal supporters. Despite a pension from Louis XIV money was a problem as there never seemed to be enough.
1692 (28th June)
A daughter Louisa Maria Theresa was born to James and Mary of Modena in France.
1694 (6th September)
Mary’s brother, Francesco, Duke of Modena, died. He was succeeded as Duke by his son, Rinaldo.
1694 (late September)
Mary’s nephew, Rinaldo, Duke of Modena, refused to release the money she had inherited from her father’s estate.
1694 (28th December)
James’s daughter, Mary II, died. Her husband succeeded as sole monarch of Britain.
1696 (February)
Jacobite George Barclay hatched a plot to ambush and assassinate William III. The plot was discovered and a number of Jacobites were arrested.
1696 (Summer)
James rejected an offer by Louis XIV to be made King of Poland because he felt it would diminish his chances of regaining the English throne.
1697 (5th November)
William III agreed a peace with Louis XIV which meant that the French King could no longer offer support to James.
1701 (March)
Mary’s husband, James, suffered a stroke that left him partially paralysed.
1701 (16th September)
Mary’s husband James died of a brain haemorrhage at Saint-Germain-en-Laye. Many people, including Louis XIV, recognised Mary’s son, James as King James III of England and VIII of Scotland.
1701 (October)
Mary acted as regent for her son James and drew up a document listing James’s claims to the throne. She received a reply from Scotland stating that if she sent her son to Scotland and allowed his conversion to Protestantism then he could succeed on the death of William III. Mary refused those terms but offered a condition that James would limit the number of Catholic priests in England and would leave the Church of England as it is.
1702 (8th March)
King William III died. He was succeeded by his sister-in-law Anne.
1702 (Spring)
The Scottish lords called for Mary to send James Francis Edward to Scotland where he could lead a rising and take the throne of Scotland and England. Mary refused to part with her son and so no rising took place.
1702 (Summer)
Mary spent the summer in the Convent of the Visitations near Paris.
1703 (Summer)
Mary withdrew and spent increasing periods of time in the Convent of the Visitations.
1712 (20th April)
Mary’s daughter Louisa Maria Teresa died of smallpox.
1713 (April)
Treaty of Utrecht
This was a series of peace treaties between Britain, France and Spain. One of the terms of the treaty included a requirement that Louis XIV expel James Frances Edward from France.
1718 (7th May)
Mary died from cancer. She was buried in Chaillot.


Published Oct 03, 2018 @ 11:30 am – Updated – [last-modified]

Harvard Reference for this page::

Heather Y Wheeler. (2018). Mary of Modena 1658 – 1718. Last accessed [date]

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