10 Reasons why Queen Anne was pretty awesome

Queen Anne Seal

Exactly 300 years ago today, at 7.45am on 1st August 1714, Anne Stuart, Queen of Great Britain, France and Ireland, died. Queen Anne is perhaps the most consistently underrated of all English monarchs, and here are ten reasons why she was pretty awesome:

1. She wasn’t a Hanoverian (she could even speak English)

2. She was James II’s daughter

3. She was the last Stuart monarch to rule Britain

4. She was the last monarch to chair meetings of her own cabinet

5. She was the last monarch to withhold the royal assent to a parliamentary bill (the 1708 Scottish Militia Bill)

6. She hated William of Orange

7. She never endorsed the Hanoverian succession

8. She presided over England’s last true Tory government in 1710-14

9. She set up Queen Anne’s Bounty to support poor clergymen (it still exists)

10. She built churches – lots of them – and presided over the completion of St Paul’s Cathedral in 1710

Yes, I know she also presided over the Act of Union, but she did nothing to prevent her brother James III and VIII from succeeding her (it was his refusal to convert to Protestantism that clinched that). Her reign represented the final Indian summer of Toryism, when many Jacobites were still members of the government and held high office in church and state; and she cherished the Church of England at the last period when genuine holiness and spirituality existed within that church.

1st August 1714 marked the beginning of a dark age of Whiggery, secularisation, foreign rule in England and oppression and genocide in Scotland. The only day that was darker was 30 January 1649.

Redeat!

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4 Comments

Filed under constitutional matters, history, jacobitism, nonjurors

4 responses to “10 Reasons why Queen Anne was pretty awesome

  1. JanetMay

    I think we would find Queen Victoria chaired meetings of her Cabinet nd took it upon herself to know at street level, the people she ruled, but that doesnt take anything away from Queen Anne.

    • Queen Victoria chaired the Privy Council, not the Cabinet

      • Reggie Perrin

        The Queen still does chair the modern Privy Council (although “chair” is a metaphorical term here, as they conventionally meet standing up). I think I’m right in saying that it was on Queen Anne’s watch that the Privy Council was finally eclipsed by the Cabinet. Some parts of the Act of Settlement envisaged that it would resume its previous importance, but they were repealed in short order.

        I must point out that Queen Anne withheld assent from the Scottish Militia Bill on the advice of her ministers. Whether or not such a thing could be done again has often been debated – if you have access to the Law Quarterly Review, Rodney Brazier discussed the question in an article there a couple of years ago. It is well documented that George V considered withholding assent to the Government of Ireland Act 1914, and various pressure groups petitioned our current Queen to withhold assent from the Health and Social Care Act 2012.

        I believe that there have been many example of monarchs after Queen Anne withholding assent from bills passed by the legislatures of colonies and even of dominions. It is not widely known in this country that Royal Assent was delayed or denied in Australia on a series of occasions in the 20th century:

        http://www.aph.gov.au/About_Parliament/House_of_Representatives/Powers_practice_and_procedure/practice/appendix19

        There is something of an ongoing debate in the Channel Islands about when assent could properly be withheld.

        The following article is interesting on this subject generally, and has some references for further reading, including to the Brazier article:

        http://ukconstitutionallaw.org/2013/09/25/nick-barber-can-royal-assent-be-refused-on-the-advice-of-the-prime-minster/

      • Reggie Perrin

        Btw Queen Victoria was also apparently an avid reader of Crockfords when clerical appointments came up.

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