William III (1650-1702)
Mary II (1662-1694)

Reign: 1689-1702
House: William, House of Orange-Nassau
Mary, House of Stuart

  • Born as the Prince of Orange in Holland, William married his first cousin Mary Stuart – the daughter of James II
  • The Glorious Revolution of 1688, led by William and a Dutch army after an invitation from Parliament, was the last successful invasion of England
  • Their reign was the only time an English king and queen ruled together

George I (1660-1727)
Reign: 1714-1727
House: Hanover

  • Born and raised in Hanover (Germany), he was considered “too German” by many of his British subjects
  • He had his wife Sophia Dorothea imprisoned on charges of adultery and abandonment
  • On the advice of Master of the Mint Sir Isaac Newton, George banned the exchange of gold guineas for more than 21 shillings – contributing to the rise of the gold standard

Anne (1665-1714)
Reign: 1702-1714
House: Stuart

  • When the Acts of Union were adopted in 1707, she became the first monarch of the Kingdom of Great Britain
  • Queen Anne’s War (1702-1713) was the second in a series of French and Indian Wars in North America
  • Her likeness appears on the famous “VIGO” coins of 1702 and 1703; the coins were produced with gold and silver obtained from Spain after the Battle of Vigo Bay

George II (1683-1760)
Reign: 1727-1760
House: Hanover

  • The last monarch born outside Britain, he spent much of his reign abroad and was known as “the king who wasn’t there”
  • George Frideric Handel composed “Zadok The Priest” for his coronation; the piece has been played for every coronation since
  • Britain adopted the Gregorian Calendar in 1752, with 1 January replacing 25 March as New Year’s Day

Did You Know?

The Bank of England was established by an act of Parliament in 1694, and is the model for most of the world’s central banks. Nicknamed “The Old Lady of Threadneedle Street” (the street in London where the bank is located), it was privately owned by stockholders until 1946.

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