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Anne Hyde
Duchess of York and Albany
Portrait by Lely, c. 1665. "Anne's teasing playing of her hair is deliberately suggestive of a royal consort's prime role—breeding—but also a reminder of her great wit."[1]
Born12 March 1637
Windsor, Berkshire, England
Died31 March 1671(1671-03-31) (aged 34)
St James's Palace, Westminster, Middlesex, England
Burial5 April 1671
James, Duke of York and Albany (later James VII and II)
(m. 1660)​
FatherEdward Hyde, 1st Earl of Clarendon
MotherFrances Aylesbury
ReligionRoman Catholic
prev. Anglican
SignatureAnne Hyde's signature

Anne Hyde (12 March 1637 – 31 March 1671)[2][a] was the first wife of James, Duke of York, who later became King James II and VII.

Anne was the daughter of a member of the English gentry—Edward Hyde (later created Earl of Clarendon)—and met her future husband when they were both living in exile in the Netherlands. She married James in 1660 and two months later gave birth to the couple's first child, who had been conceived out of wedlock. Some observers disapproved of the marriage, but James's brother, King Charles II of England, wanted the marriage to take place. Another cause of disapproval was the public affection James showed toward Anne. They had eight children, of whom six died in early childhood;[3] the two who reached adulthood were future monarchs, Mary II and Anne. James was a known philanderer who kept many mistresses, for which Anne often reproached him, and he fathered many illegitimate children.

Originally an Anglican, Anne converted to Catholicism soon after her marriage to James. She had been exposed to Catholicism during visits to the Netherlands and France and was strongly attracted thereto. Partly due to Anne's influence, James also converted to Catholicism, which ultimately led to the Glorious Revolution. She developed advanced breast cancer and died shortly after giving birth to her eighth child.

Early years (1637–1660)

In 1629, Edward Hyde married his first wife, Anne Ayliffe of Grittenham. Six months into the marriage, Anne caught smallpox, miscarried and died.[4] Three years later, Hyde married Frances Aylesbury. The couple's eldest daughter was born at Cranbourne Lodge in Windsor[5] in 1637. The parents named Anne after Edward Hyde's first wife. Almost nothing is known of her life before 1649, when her family fled to the Netherlands after the execution of the deposed King Charles I.[6]

During the First English Civil War, her father was a leading advisor to Charles I, then went into exile with his son Charles II in 1646. Like many refugees, they settled in Breda, where Mary of Orange offered shelter to many English fugitives.[7] Mary appointed Anne a maid of honour, apparently against the wishes of her mother Henrietta Maria, who loathed Hyde.[8]

Anne became a general favourite with the people she met either at The Hague or at the Princess of Orange's country house at Teylingen. She was attractive and stylish,[9] and she attracted many men. One of the first men to fall in love with Anne was Spencer Compton, a son of the Earl of Northampton.[10] However, Anne quickly fell in love with Henry Jermyn, who returned her feelings. Anne dismissed Jermyn just as quickly when she met James, Duke of York, the son of the deposed king.[11] On 24 November 1659, two[12] or three[13] years after she first met him, James promised he would marry Anne, despite the opposition of many, including her father, who confined her to a room and allegedly urged Charles to execute her.[8] Charles rejected this advice, suggesting Anne's strong character would be a positive influence on his weak-willed brother.[14]

Duchess of York (1660–1671)


A portrait of Anne, James and their two daughters, Lady Mary and Lady Anne (this portrait is based on an earlier portrait of Anne and James.)

After Anne became visibly pregnant in 1660, the couple were obliged to marry.[15] Following the Restoration of the monarchy in May 1660, they held an official but private marriage ceremony in London on 3 September 1660. The wedding took place between 11 at night and 2 in the morning at Worcester House—her father's house in the Strand—and was solemnised by Dr. Joseph Crowther, James's chaplain. The French Ambassador described Anne as having "courage, cleverness, and energy almost worthy of a King's blood".[16]

The couple's first child, Charles, was born in October of that year, but died seven months later. Seven children followed: Mary (1662–1694), James (1663–1667), Anne (1665–1714), Charles (1666–1667), Edgar (1667–1671), Henrietta (1669–1669) and Catherine (1671–1671). All of their sons and two of their daughters died in infancy.[3]

Even well after their marriage, some observers disapproved of the prince's decision, regardless of what he had promised beforehand.[17] Samuel Pepys said of the marriage: "... that the Duke of York's marriage with her hath undone the kingdom, by making the Chancellor so great above reach, who otherwise would have been but an ordinary man, to have been dealt with by other people ..."[18] After Anne's death, the royal court tried to find a new wife for James, but this new wife was not, under any circumstances, to be of humble birth.[19] As good a father as Pepys portrayed James to be, he strangely stated that Anne and James were unaffected by the death of their firstborn son.[20] Pepys also described Anne as "not only the proudest woman in the world, but the most expensefull."[18] Even in the minds of James's nephew (later to become Anne's son-in-law), William III of Orange, and that of her husband's cousin, Sophia of Hanover, the stigma of the Hydes' lowly birth remained.[21]

Domestic life

Anne, painted by Lely about 1670

Anne was not popular at court, although she was well liked by her brother-in-law.[22] Regarded as "the most unguarded ogler of his time", James had a succession of mistresses throughout their marriage.[23] These mistresses included Arabella Churchill, mother of his illegitimate son, the Duke of Berwick. Berwick had a highly successful career in the French army, while James secured a series of positions for Arabella's brother, John Churchill.[24]

Anne was not oblivious to her husband's infidelities, Pepys recording that she was jealous and chided James. Pepys also claimed, however, that the pair were notorious for showing their affections publicly, kissing and leaning on each other. In another entry, Pepys wrote that when James fell in love with Lady Chesterfield, Anne complained to Charles so insistently that Lady Chesterfield had to retreat to the countryside, where she remained until she died.[25] [26]

Historian John Callow claims Anne "made the greatest single impact" in the process that led to James becoming a Catholic.[27] Raised in the Anglican high church tradition which was closely linked to the forms and practices of Catholicism, Anne stopped attending Anglican service in 1669. James converted around the same time, but at Charles' request delayed the announcement of his conversion until 1673.[28] Although he later converted to Catholicism on his deathbed, Charles insisted for political reasons that his brother's children must be raised as Protestants, so both Mary and Anne were members of the Church of England.[29]

Death and legacy

Anne Hyde's coat of arms[30]

Anne was ill for 15 months after the birth of her youngest son, Edgar.[31] She bore Henrietta in 1669 and Catherine in 1671,[32] never recovering from Catherine's birth.[33] Ill with breast cancer,[34] she died on 31 March 1671.[5][b] On her deathbed, her brothers Henry and Laurence tried to bring an Anglican priest to give her communion, but Anne refused[33] and she received viaticum of the Catholic Church.[34] Two days after her death, her embalmed body was interred in the vault of Mary, Queen of Scots, at Westminster Abbey's Henry VII Chapel.[35] In June 1671, Anne's only surviving son Edgar died of natural causes, followed by Catherine in December, leaving Mary and Anne as the Duke of York's heirs.[36]

After Anne Hyde's death, a portrait of her painted by Willem Wissing was commissioned by the future Mary II; this used to hang above the door of the Queen's Drawing Room of the Garden House at Windsor Castle.[37] Two years after the death of his first wife, James married a Catholic princess, Mary of Modena. Mary bore James Francis Edward, James's only son to survive to adulthood. James became king of England, Ireland and Scotland in 1685, but was deposed during the Glorious Revolution of 1688. The throne was then offered by the Parliament of England to Anne's eldest daughter Mary and her husband William III of Orange.[38] After Mary died in 1694 and William in 1702, Anne Hyde's only surviving child Anne became queen of the three kingdoms and, in 1707, the first sovereign of the united Kingdom of Great Britain.[39]


Name Birth Death Notes
Charles, Duke of Cambridge 22 October 1660 5 May 1661 Born two months after his parents' legal marriage, died aged seven months of smallpox[40]
Mary II 30 April 1662 28 December 1694 Married her cousin William III, Prince of Orange, in 1677. She and her husband ascended the throne in 1689 after the deposition of her father. No surviving issue[41]
James, Duke of Cambridge 12 July 1663 20 June 1667 Died of the bubonic plague[42]
Anne, Queen of Great Britain and Ireland 6 February 1665 1 August 1714 Married Prince George of Denmark in 1683. Successor of her brother-in-law and cousin in 1702. First monarch of Great Britain under the Act of Union of 1707. No surviving issue[43]
Charles, Duke of Kendal 4 July 1666 22 May 1667 Died of convulsions[44]
Edgar, Duke of Cambridge 14 September 1667 8 June 1671 Died in childhood[32]
Henrietta 13 January 1669 15 November 1669 Died in infancy[32]
Catherine 9 February 1671 5 December 1671 Died in infancy[32]

Media portrayals


  1. ^ All the dates in this article are Old Style.
  2. ^ England used the Julian calendar (OS) during Anne's lifetime.


  1. ^ Portrait of the Duchess of York Archived 5 September 2015 at the Wayback Machine. Philip Mould Ltd.
  2. ^ Ward, Adolphus William (1891). "Hyde, Anne" . In Lee, Sidney (ed.). Dictionary of National Biography. Vol. 28. London: Smith, Elder & Co.
  3. ^ a b Weir 2008, pp. 259–60.
  4. ^ Lister 1838, p. 9.
  5. ^ a b Weir 2008, p. 259.
  6. ^ Henslowe 1915, p. 18.
  7. ^ Henslowe 1915, p. 19.
  8. ^ a b Miller 2000, p. 44.
  9. ^ Melville 2005, p. 3.
  10. ^ Henslowe 1915, p. 34.
  11. ^ Melville 2005, pp. 3–4.
  12. ^ Melville 2005, p. 4.
  13. ^ Gregg 1984, p. 2.
  14. ^ Softly 1979, p. 91.
  15. ^ Henslowe 1915, pp. 130–1.
  16. ^ Fraser 2002, p. 202.
  17. ^ Miller 2000, pp. 44–45.
  18. ^ a b The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Monday 24 June 1667.
  19. ^ Strickland 1882, pp. 242–3.
  20. ^ The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Monday 6 May 1661.
  21. ^ Gregg 1984, pp. 3–4.
  22. ^ Melville 2005, p. 17,19.
  23. ^ Miller 2000, p. 46.
  24. ^ Holmes 2008, pp. 56–57.
  25. ^ Melville 2005, pp. 21–22.
  26. ^ Melville 2005, pp. 25–27.
  27. ^ Callow 2000, p. 144.
  28. ^ Miller 2000, pp. 58–59.
  29. ^ Van der Kiste 2003, p. 32.
  30. ^ Maclagan & Louda 1999, p. 27.
  31. ^ Henslowe 1915, p. 289.
  32. ^ a b c d Weir 2008, p. 260.
  33. ^ a b Gregg 1984, p. 10.
  34. ^ a b Melville 2005, p. 32.
  35. ^ Henslowe 1915, p. 300.
  36. ^ Waller 2002, pp. 49–50.
  37. ^ Willem Wissing. "James, Duke of Cambridge (1663–7)". Royal Collection Trust. Inventory no. 401234.
  38. ^ Devine 2006, p. 3.
  39. ^ Gregg 1984, p. 240.
  40. ^ Panton 2011, p. 455.
  41. ^ Weir 2008, p. 266.
  42. ^ The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Tuesday 30 April 1667.
  43. ^ Weir 2008, pp. 267–8.
  44. ^ The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Tuesday 14 May 1667.
  45. ^ The Last King: full cast and crew. IMDb.

Works cited

Further reading

External links

1893 text

Anne Hyde, born March 12th, 1637, daughter of Edward, first Earl of Clarendon. She was attached to the court of the Princess of Orange, daughter of Charles I., 1654, and contracted to James, Duke of York, at Breda, November 24th, 1659. The marriage was avowed in London September 3rd, 1660. She joined the Church of Rome in 1669, and died March 31st, 1671.

This text comes from a footnote on a diary entry in the 1893 edition edited by Henry B. Wheatley.

10 Annotations

First Reading

jeannine  •  Link

From Grammont's footnotes
Miss Anne Hyde, eldest daughter of Lord Chancellor Clarendon. King James mentions this marriage in these terms. -- "The king at first refused the Duke of York's marriage with Miss Hyde. Many of the duke's friends and servants opposed it. The king at last consented, and the Duke of York privately married her, and soon after owned the marriage. Her want of birth was made up by endowments; and her carriage afterwards became her acquired dignity." Again. "When his sister, the princess royal, came to Paris to see the queen-mother, the Duke of York fell in love with Mrs. Anne Hyde, one of her maids of honour. Besides her person, she had all the qualities proper to inflame a heart less apt to take fire than his, which she managed so well as to bring his passion to such an height, that, between the time he first saw her and the winter before the king's restoration, he resolved to marry none but her; and promised her to do it: and though, at first, when the duke asked the king his brother for his leave, he refused, and dissuaded him from it, yet at last he opposed it no more, and the duke married her privately, owned it some time after, and was ever after a true friend to the chancellor for several years." -- Macpherson's State Papers, vol. i.… see note 42

Second Reading

Bill  •  Link

The Duchess of York was a very extraordinary woman. She had great knowledge and a lively sense of things. She soon understood what belonged to a Princess; and took state on her rather too much. ... She was bred to great strictness in religion, and practised secret confession. Morley told me, he was her confessor. She began at twelve years old, and continued under his direction, till, upon her father's disgrace, he was put from the Court. She was generous and friendly; but was too severe an enemy.
---History of His Own Time. G. Burnet, 1724

Bill  •  Link

Anne dutchess of York, was the elder of the two daughters of the lord-chancellor Clarendon, She possessed, together with a large portion of her father's understanding, the beauty and accomplishments of her own sex in an extraordinary degree. She had a dignity in her behaviour, which was by some, who regarded her as Anne Hyde, rather than the dutchess of York, mistaken for haughtiness. She sometimes amused herself with writing, and made a considerable progress in the Life of the duke her husband, which she shewed to Dr. Burnet in manuscript; but the work was never finished. Her misconduct before she was dutchess of York was amply atoned for by her conduct afterwards. Ob. 31 March, 1671.
---A Biographical History of England. J. Granger, 1779.

Bill  •  Link

HYDE, ANNE, Duchess of York (1637-1671), eldest daughter of Edward Hyde, afterwards earl of Clarendon; maid of honour to Princess of Orange, 1654, of whom she wrote a 'portrait'; became engaged to James, duke of York, at Breda, 1659; privately married him in London, 1660; of their children only two daughters— Mary (wife of William III) and (Queen) Anne—survived childhood. She was secretly received into the Roman church, 1670; many portraits of her were painted by her protégé, Lely.
---Dictionary of National Biography: Index and Epitome. S. Lee, 1906.

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

A contemporary view of the Court maintained by Anne and James, as Duke and Duchess of York, is given by Cosmo, the future Grand Duke of Turin, who visited London in the Spring of 1669.

I've standardized the spelling of names I know, corrected scanning errors I could figure out, and increased the number of paragraphs. I apologize if my guesses are wrong:

In the establishment of the Duke and Duchess of York, and Edgar, Duke of Cambridge, their eldest surviving son, there are offices equally distinct, and bestowed according to the respective dignity of each, upon suitable persons, who are all paid by the duke out of his ordinary appanage of 80,000 jacobuses, which is augmented in time of war.

In the duke's establishment, my Lord Peterborough, who was sent by the duke to welcome his highness at Blandford, is Head Chamberlain,
Henry Mordaunt, 2nd Earl of Peterborough…

Sir [ALLEN] Apsley, Treasurer of the Household,…

Sir Wick, Superintendent of the Domestic Affairs,

Sir [HENRY JERMYN], Head Master of the Horse,…

Sir [EDWARD] Villiers, Master of the Wardrobe,…

Dr. [HENRY] Killigrew, Almoner, AND CHAPLAIN.…

and the Marquis of Blandford, Captain of the Guard, Private Treasurer.


To each of these posts inferior and subordinate officers are assigned, with stipends proportioned to their services.

In that of the duchess, the ladies of honor are:
the Duchess of Richmond, who is the First Lady in Waiting,
and the Countess of Peterborough;
Penelope O’Brien Mordaunt, Countess of Peterborough…

the maids of honor are
Miss [DOROTHY] Howard,…
Miss [ANNE[ Ogle,…
Miss [ARABELLA] Churchill,…
and Miss [MARGARET] Blagg,…

who are under the superintendance of Miss [LUCY] Wise.…

San Diego Sarah  •  Link


The rest of the offices of these establishments are divided, according to the duties required of them, amongst individuals of noble birth, and those of inferior consideration.



His highness, Cosmo, must be considered only as a traveler. Under his direction, the narrator of the records was Count Lorenzo Magalotti, afterwards Secretary to the Academy del Cimento, and one of the most learned and eminent characters of the court of Ferdinand II.

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

Count Lorenzo Magalotti devotes many pages of Cosmo's travelogue to the subject of religion. He has this to say about the royal family:


There is no doubt that the king externally appears to be a Protestant, observing with the most exact attention the rites of the Anglican Church; but it is also true that, from his method of proceeding, there is reason for thinking that he does not entirely acquiesce in that mode of belief, and that he may, perhaps, in his own mind, cherish other inclinations.

The Duke of York is also, to all appearances, zealous in the practice of the Anglican religion.

The Duchess his wife is deeply imbibed with the dogmas of the religion of the king; and it is frequently her amusement and delight to retire into her private oratory, and hold secret conferences with her spiritual directors, and to occupy herself with reading books that treat of the religion of the state, and its Liturgy.


Prince Robert [RUPERT] adheres to Calvinism it its rigidest and purest form, as it is professed at Heidelberg by the family of the Counts Palatine of the Rhine.


The Count recounts the articles of belief held by Henry VIII, Edward, Mary and Elizabeth, gives details about all the sects he lists (some of which I've never heard of before). I wonder who his sources were? The level of detail is incredible. Were they pulling his leg, or did he confuse recent history with current history?

The citation is as before.

Third Reading

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

The story of James and Anne's marriage:

When Oliver Cromwell declared the Republic in England and King Charles lost his head, Edward Hyde * went into exile with Charles II’s court.

Anne, her mother and siblings went to live in Antwerp and later moved to Breda where Mary, Princess of Orange offered them a home. The Princess made Anne as a maid-of-honor in 1655.

Anne became popular in The Hague and at the princess’ country home at Teylingen. In 1656, the Princess of Orange went to visit her mother, Dowager Queen Henrietta Maria in Paris. It was during this visit that Anne first met James, Duke of York.

In 1659, the Stuart brothers lived in Brussels and made regular visits to Princess Mary of Orange. We don’t know anything about Anne and James' early relationship. James said from the first time he saw her, he resolved to marry her. He later said he fell in love with her due to her witty conversation.

Anne was handsome and voluptuous, witty, clever, intelligent and loved wearing jewels. She had a commanding presence and stately demeanor which attracted admirers. She was friendly, generous and fun. She charmed James until he proposed, but James may not have had entirely honorable intentions.

In either August or November 1659 they exchanged vows before the appropriate witnesses and consummated the marriage, all without Charles II’s permission at Breda.

This was a marriage in the eyes of the church but for royalty to marry a commoner was a great mismatch. If James had waited a few months, he could have married any princess in Europe.

Anne became pregnant, and was left behind in Flanders at the Restoration.

News of the marriage leaked, and the wrath of his mother and sister was unleashed on James for marrying below his rank. James dithered on whether he was married to Anne or not.

Chancellor Hyde ordered his daughter to England and James was forced to confess to his brother. Charles and the Chancellor discussed the matter, who feared people would accuse him of wanting his grandchild to become king.

Chancellor Hyde swore to Charles II he preferred Anne to be James’ whore not his wife, and asked the king to lock Anne up in the Tower, or even have her executed.
He said “that as soon as he came home, he would turn her out of his house as a strumpet to shift for herself, and would never see her again”.

There was no resolution to the matter. Hyde went home and told his wife to keep Anne a prisoner (but James was allowed to visit her at night).

San Diego Sarah  •  Link


Charles II investigated the circumstances of the marriage. Proof of the Breda wedding was obtained. Eventually, Charles relented, and James and Anne had a second official but private midnight wedding ceremony on September 3, 1660 at her father’s home at Worcester House in the Strand. The marriage was made according to the rites of the Church of England.

Charles II made a point of visiting Anne during her confinement, and other courtiers followed his example. [THIS MUST HAVE BEEN WHEN SANDWICH TOLD PEPYS WHAT WAS HAPPENING. - SDS]

On October 22, Anne gave birth to a son. She was interrogated repeatedly during her labor and she was adamant James was the father of her child and that she was married to him. James was wavering again and was nowhere to be found during the delivery.

Queen Mother Henrietta Maria had always hated Edward Hyde and was angry Charles had appointed him lord chancellor and chief minister. She traveled from France to try to stop James’ marriage.
Because James had repudiated the marriage before, he was under pressure from his friends to repudiate the marriage and say it never took place.
But Charles was firm. He decided the marriage was legal. He would not allow the marriage to be annulled by decree as he didn’t want Parliament to interfere with the succession.

Finally the Queen Mother was convinced to accept the situation with grace. In December, James and Anne appeared publicly as husband and wife and on January 1, 1661, Henrietta Maria dined with her extended family and gave everyone her blessing.

Anne now officially took up her duties as Duchess of York.

* Edward Hyde was elevated as the Earl of Clarendon in 1661.

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Chart showing the number of references in each month of the diary’s entries.