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Ungrateful Daughters: The Stuart Princesses Who Stole Their Father's Crown

3.83  ·  Rating Details ·  411 Ratings  ·  36 Reviews
In 1688, the birth of a Prince of Wales ignited a family quarrel-and a revolution. James II's drive towards Catholicism had alienated the nation and his two staunchly Protestant daughters by his first marriage, Mary and Anne, the "ungrateful daughters" who eventually usurped their father's crown and stole their half-brother's birthright.

Seven prominent men sent an invitati
Paperback, 480 pages
Published February 20th 2004 by St. Martin's Griffin (first published 2001)
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The history of the last three Stuarts to rule England: James II, Mary (of William&Mary) and Anne. Quick history run down: Charles I was executed by his people. His eldest son, Charles II, was invited back to rule after living in exile. Charles II died without legitimate issue, so his younger brother James II inherited. Unfortunately, James II had publicly converted to Catholicism during a time that England was so viciously anti-Catholic (just as the Catholic countries were viciously ...more
Keeping track of the House of Stuart is like the children's nursery rhyme ("The toe bone connected to the foot bone, and the foot bone connected to the ankle bone..."), except without all the sense and order of basic anatomy. Going back to Mary, Queen of Scots you then have James VI of Scotland, who helped produce Charles I, who then helped produce James II. From James's loins of a first marriage comes Mary II and her sister Anne, and that is where the trouble begins in Maureen Waller's ...more
Oct 18, 2014 Katherine rated it really liked it
I read this book because I'd had a discussion with my son in which I was musing about who had succeeded Charles II. My son said he thought it was James II, a monarch I hadn't heard of. This book outlines the fall of James and rise of his daughters (and William of Orange). As I was unfamiliar with this period, it was all new to me.

I found the first portion of the book slow going, as the author chose to provide biographies of each of the players in the piece. While it was important to provide this
Jan 23, 2009 Kelly marked it as to-read
Shelves: owned
More insane drama in the British royal family? I'm shocked! Shocked! To find that there is gambling going on in this establishment.
C.S. Burrough
Jul 24, 2014 C.S. Burrough rated it liked it
Recommends it for: History readers
Interesting account of the end of the Stuarts in England. Until the last century there remained vehement opponents of the switch to Hanoverian rule.

James II's daughters, Mary and Anne, were Anne Hyde's daughters. They resented their stepmother, Mary of Modena, and were so bitter at her baby son's arrival (cue pushing towards their throne) that a family row ensued, escalating into a coup against their father aided by public fears and anti-Catholic prejudices.

James II, as Charles II's younger brot
Sep 14, 2016 Caroline rated it it was ok
Shelves: english-history
Rarely can a biographer have had less liking for their subjects. One marvels that Maureen Waller managed to stomach living with the individuals in these pages long enough to research and write this book, they all come across so poorly. The title alone gives away her position on Mary and Anne, but James II and William of Orange don't fare any better. And indeed it's hard to judge whether Mary and Anne genuinely did steal their father's crown (and it was more William than either of them) or ...more
Jan 12, 2013 Louise rated it really liked it
Author Maureen Waller has delivered an overview of the Glorious Revolution. It is not for those who know the story, but good for someone like me, more steeped in Tudor than Stuart history. The genealogy chart is excellent and I referred to it often. There is a table of characters but the one time I consulted it, for Elizabeth Villiers, it was lacking. The color plates were mostly appropriate, especially the portrait of James II side by side with James Francis Edward.

The first section, comprised
Michael K.
Dec 11, 2014 Michael K. rated it really liked it
The Stuarts were more than a series of Scots-English monarchs, they were a contentious family filled with ambitious, egotistical, often ignoble figures who were not above slipping the knife in to advance their own careers. The generational and religious tension chronicled in this well-written true-to-life soap opera began with James II’s move toward the Catholic Church, which alienated both his people and his two staunchly Protestant daughters, Mary and Anne, each of whom reigned after him. ...more
May 20, 2010 Jennifer rated it liked it
I learned a lot about the politics and circumstances surrounding the Glorious Revolution. The book has tons, tons of detail which is why I gave it three stars. The detail was good but made it rather cumbersome to read. The first part of the book was particularly laborious to read. The author goes into almost excrutiating detail to describe the lives and characters of the principal figures (James II, Mary, William, and Anne particularly). While I agree that the information helps to understand why ...more
Oct 14, 2012 Reds_reads rated it really liked it
This book tells the story of Mary and Anne, the 'ungrateful' daughters of James II who rule England after he is deposed. This is a period in history that I was not familiar with, I was embarrassed to realise how little I knew of 'The Glorious Revolution' and of Mary and Anne, so I enjoyed the chance to fill in these gaps provided by this book.

I did take a while to get into the book however, the first few chapters broadly cover the same events, but from different characters perspectives which I d
Christina Baehr
Feb 20, 2015 Christina Baehr rated it liked it
Very well written. Would be of no use, however, as an introduction to the Glorious Revolution and the end of the Stuarts. Waller's choice to structure the book around each individual key player would be confusing to the uninitiated (actually, it was occasionally confusing for me, I confess), though it did hold my interest to follow her unfolding the story in layers. You can probably guess from the title that she looks with rather a jaundiced eye at Mary and Anne's justifications for accepting ...more
Jun 25, 2012 Bev rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A fascinating account of a period I had not previously bothered with much, it being both too late for what I am usually interesting in and too early.
Politically it was full of surprises, I knew the basic premise of course, but the details were amazing. For sheer stupidity combined with blind ruthlessness, the Stuarts took some beating.
From the point of view of the relationship between a father and his daughters it was even more interesting.
For anyone who wants to know more about a turning point
Mar 03, 2009 Kelliec rated it liked it
Clearly the British Monarchs were caught in their moral belief of the laws of Succession, head of church and just how to interpret the Word.

In 1670 I thought I understood that the battle over religion had been long over (since the reign of Elizabeth I).

I'm finding out how wrong I was. I also think that a study of the monarchs between Elizabeth I and Charles I would have been a better choice for me.

All of Europe is raging at the Religious battle of Protestant vs. Catholic in this book.

I skimmed
Aug 20, 2009 Jim rated it it was amazing
Shelves: popular-history
This was a very well-written look at the Glorious Revolution of 1688 that deposed King James II of England, the factors that led to the event, and the roles played by the two future queens, Mary II and Anne, in their father's downfall. Of particular interest to me was the portrayal of Princess/Queen Anne, whom Waller paints as being an exceedingly ordinary woman, but one with a staunchly Anglican Protestant worldview coupled with a streak of ruthless cunning, both of which come to the fore when ...more
Peter Mcconnell
Apr 22, 2013 Peter Mcconnell rated it really liked it
Maureen Waller's narrative of the Stuart sisters is engaging and accessible to a modern audience. Her facts are well documented and infused with just enough imagery and emotional interpretation to create a reasonably accurate and credible picture of specific events in the lives of this fated and absurd family--like the night of James II's escape from London via boat, and the reaction of King William III to his devoted (and badly used) wife Mary's death. Easy to read with a remarkable grasp of ...more
Feb 05, 2012 Amanda rated it it was amazing
Loved, loved, loved this book. Brilliantly written. There aren't that many books about Queens Mary and Anne. Its one of my favourite periods of history. Full of intrigue, from how The Duke of York and his first wife married in secret, to the rumours about the warming pan baby. Its a total page turner, and I LOVED IT. Heartrending in that neither sisters were able to produce a living heir to the throne of England. Even though Queen Anne herself had gone through 17 pregnancies. From political ...more
Fab Librarian
Jan 03, 2013 Fab Librarian rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
One of the challenges of belonging to a Reading Group is that occasionally someone will choose a book that you really don’t want to read. My heart dropped when Ungrateful Daughters was suggested; I’m not really interested in history, don’t read a lot of non-fiction and this looked like a weighty tome. It turned out to be fascinating; a wealth of research turned into an enthralling family saga that really brings the main protagonists to life.
May 01, 2007 chelka rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: readers iffy about nonfiction
Shelves: non-fiction
"Ungrateful Daughters" is the first non-fiction book I enjoyed reading. Really! I used it during research on Queen Anne, and found myself unable to put the book down. Waller does a fantastic job bringing the characters and the landscape to life, making this read more like a novel than nonfiction.
Mar 11, 2014 Cait rated it liked it
I enjoyed this, it was SUPER detailed (like, almost to the point of me getting bored & wanting it to move along).

That being said, this isn't really one of those times where the book added much to the basic story.
Aug 10, 2013 Clarissa rated it liked it
Well, now I know a little bit about how the House of Hanover became kings and queens of England, and what happened after Cromwell stopped being in charge of England. If anyone deserved to lose their crown because of damn fool behavior it was King James.
Interesting look at England's "Glorious Revolution." Author changes her opinion in the very last paragraph of the book though (throughout has seemed to have a very poor opinion of Queens Mary and Anne, and then suddenly decides what they did for the best).
Louise Chambers
This is very well written and organized. The book gave me a good idea of what the family dynamics were while all of these events were progressing. I was engrossed and also learned about the castles, the living arrangements, the "secondary players" and all the rest of the details.
Kit Kincade
It starts off a bit confusingly by focusing chapters on some of the individual players. So there becomes a lot of redundancy as it tackles from person's perspective. Once it starts narrating the events involving everyone, it is a lot easier to follow and to deal with.
Rick Schoen
The author was clearly biased against Mary and Anne. Although they were certainly actively involved in the Revolution, I believe James II was as responsible for his own downfall as were his daughters.
Apr 16, 2010 Ruth rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Excellently-researched and thoroughly absorbing biography of the events leading up to the depose of James II of England. I always wandered what the sisters who seized his crown were like. All I knew about Anne was her tragic childbearing history. This book cleared much of that up. Great book.
May 20, 2013 Kay rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A very interesting and well-constructed book about James II and his 2 daughters by Anne Hyde covering the Glorious Revolution as well as their personal relationships.
Mar 27, 2011 Stephanie rated it it was ok
Shelves: british-history
Infuriatingly biased. Her approach is so clearly subjective that even well-known facts about players and events become suspect.
Feb 06, 2008 Christopher rated it really liked it
Very solid book by an author previously unknown to me. Excellent use of primary source material and insightful commentary makes vivid the tumultuous era of the later Stuarts.
Nov 17, 2010 Nadine rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: british-history
Not too bad, but her bias came straight through pretty early on. i'd rather she present the facts first before judging.
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Maureen Waller was educated at University College London, where she studied medieval and modern history. She received a master's degree at Queen Mary College, London, in British and European history 1660--1714. After a brief stint at the National Portrait Gallery, she went on to work as an editor at several prestigious London publishing houses. Her first book was the highly acclaimed 1700: Scenes ...more
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