Friday, April 29, 2011

Queen Mary II. The Person, Not the Boat

Well, that day is finally upon us. Yep, Kate and William tied the knot. And to be honest, I really don't care. I mean, I wish them the best of course, but royal weddings bore me.
In fact, I'm only bringing up their wedding because it serves as a nice segue into my blog post topic today. It's about a woman who married a William herself. Let's talk about Queen Mary II. The person, not the cruise liner.

By all accounts, her reign was not laced with as much excitement and scandals as other royals, and to be quite frank, I chose her as a subject for a necklace mainly because I thought that her portrait was the best and she was much prettier than some of her predecessors (Have you seen Queen Mary I, aka "Bloody Mary?" Not a beauty queen, to say the least).
Queen Mary II was born April 30, 1662 (hey, tomorrow is her b-day!) to James, Duke of York, (and then King of England) and Lady Anne Hayes. She was betrothed to her cousin, Dutch ruler,  William III of Orange at the age of 15. When she was told that she was to marry her cousin, she reportedly wept all day. Yeah, I can't say I blame her.
But, the show must go on. So, Mary married William and the two moved to the Netherlands, where the two took up house and pretended to be happy. See, it was apparently known by all that William had a mistress- Elizabeth Villiers, who was Mary's lady-in-waiting. Even Mary knew it. But, she ended up looking the other way on all that and even eventually became a devoted, I mean, wife.
In 1686, some disgruntled Protestant politicians contacted William to see if he was interested in over-throwing King James of know, Mary's dad. He said he was, and William and Mary went off to England to take the thrown. Yeah, that's right- Mary kicked her dad to the curb.
This period would come to be known as the reign of William and Mary. The two were coronated in Westminster Abbey (hey, that's where Kate and William got married today) in 1689. Although, it would appear that Mary was the silent partner in the whole "ruling the country" thing, she did have her moments. William liked to go off and fight military battles a lot, leaving Mary behind in England with a whole damn country to run. It was said that she was a wise, just, and capable ruler.

But, the most interesting fact that I found out about Mary- she was the first to keep a goldfish as a pet.

So, Queen Mary II might not be the most fascinating figure in history, but I think she makes a great necklace:)
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