Queen Anne with her son, William, Duke of Gloucester
Anne (6 February 1665 – 1 August 1714) became Queen of England, Scotland and Ireland on 8 March 1702, succeeding her brother-in-law, William III of England and II of Scotland. Her Catholic father, James II and VII, was deemed by the English Parliament to have abdicated when he was forced to retreat to France during the Glorious Revolution of 1688/9; her brother-in-law and her sister then became joint monarchs as William III & II and Mary II, the only such case in British history. After Mary's death in 1694, William continued as sole monarch until his own death in 1702.
On 1 May 1707, under the Acts of Union 1707, England and Scotland were united as a single sovereign state, the Kingdom of Great Britain. Anne became its first sovereign, while continuing to hold the separate crown of Queen of Ireland and the title of Queen of France. Anne reigned for twelve years until her death in August 1714. Anne was therefore the last Queen of England and the last Queen of Scots.
Anne's life was marked by many crises, both personally and relating to succession of the Crown and religious polarisation. Because she died without surviving issue, Anne was the last monarch of the House of Stuart. She was succeeded by her second cousin, George I, of the House of Hanover, who was a descendant of the Stuarts through his maternal grandmother, Elizabeth, daughter of James VI & I.
Prince William of Denmark and Norway, Duke of Gloucester (24 July 1689 – 29 July 1700) was the only child of Prince George and Princess Anne of Denmark and Norway to survive infancy. His mother Anne became Queen of England, Scotland, and Ireland after his death.
As second in line to the English and Scottish thrones, after his mother, William was expected to succeed at some point in the future. On his birth, his uncle by marriage (but still a blood relative) King William III of England gave him the style Duke of Gloucester (but did not actually create him a duke) and in July 1696, on his seventh birthday, awarded him the Order of the Garter at Windsor. At the age of nine, his own household was formed.
William's health was poor throughout his life. He suffered convulsions soon after he was born, and his parents feared he would die. He recovered, and Anne moved him to Campden House near Kensington, where the air was believed to be better. By the time he turned three years old, he still neither spoke nor walked, and even as he grew older, he could not climb stairs without assistance. In spite of his physical weakness, his mind was said to be sharp, and William was reputed to be quite precocious. William took ill on the day after his eleventh birthday party. Physicians suspected smallpox, and performed the usual ineffective (and even dangerous) treatments of the day. He died a few days later. After his death, the Duke's autopsy revealed that he had suffered from hydrocephalus, which accounts for his poor balance. He was buried in Westminster Abbey.
The Duke's death prompted the Act of Settlement 1701, which was designed to ensure the Protestant succession, and thus led indirectly to the transfer of the British and Irish thrones to the House of Hanover in 1714.