1650 (4th November)
King William III was born to William II of Orange posthumously and Princess Mary, daughter of Charles I
at The Hague, Netherlands. His father had died on 27th October of smallpox. William was styled Prince of Orange from birth.
1651 (13th August)
The Supreme court of the Netherlands ruled that William should be the ward of his mother, his paternal grandmother, and Frederick William, Elector of Brandenburg.
The Act of Seclusion barred the house of Orange from holding office in the province of Holland.
William began his education. He was given a Protestant education that included religious instruction as well as traditional subjects.
William was educated at the University of Leiden where he was given a formal education.
1660 (1st May)
Declaration of Breda
This document restored William’s uncle, Charles to the English throne as King Charles II
1660 (23rd December)
William’s mother died of smallpox while on a visit to England to see her brother Charles II. William was placed in the care of his uncle Frederick William, elector of Brandenburg.
The Act of Seclusion that had barred the house of Orange from power in Holland was rescinded. But William was not designated future stadtholder.
William was made a ward of the States General in the Netherlands.
1668 (19th September)
William was created First Noble by the States of Zeeland.
The Dutch province of Holland and four other provinces who were anti the Orange dynasty, abolished the office of stadtholder.
William travelled to England to try to recover the debt owed to the House of Orange by the Stuarts. Unfortunately Charles II was unable to repay the debt.
Charles II of England had made an alliance with Louis XIV of France and they were likely to attack the Netherlands. There were calls for William to be made a Captain.
William was appointed a Captain-General of the Dutch States Army.
Charles and Louis declared war on the Netherlands.
1672 (14th June)
The French army had overran Gelderland and Utrecht forcing William to withdraw to Holland.
1672 (4th July)
William was proclaimed stadholder by the States General.
1672 (7th July)
The Dutch water line was flooded which halted the French advance.
William gained the support of the Holy Roman Emperor Leopold I and Spain.
William and his army recaptured the fortress of Naarden.
1673 (12th November)
The forces of William and Leopold I captured Bonn and forced the French to retreat.
Louis XIV of France and Charles II of England were forced to sue for peace.
In England there was growing concern over the succession since King Charles II had no legitimate children. Heir to the throne was James, who had converted to Catholicism. In a bid to persuade people that the royal family were not Catholic, Charles I insisted that James’s daughter, Mary
, be married to her cousin William of Orange. When Mary heard the news she burst into tears.
1677 (4th November)
William married Mary at St James’s Palace in London.
1677 (late November)
William and Mary set sail for the Netherlands.
1677 (14th December)
William and Mary made formal entry to The Hague and processed through the streets.
William made peace with France but he remained suspicious of Louis XIV.
Mary suffered a miscarriage at Breda, Netherlands.
Mary suffered a second miscarriage at Hanserlaersdyck, Netherlands.
William’s father-in-law, James, was ordered by King Charles II to leave England and go to Brussels. It was felt James was better out of England until the furore regarding the Popish Plot had blown over.
1679 (15th May)
In England, a group of MPs introduced an Exclusion Bill into parliament in a bid to exclude William’s father-in-law, James, from the succession.
The English parliament continued to be divided over the succession of Mary’s father. Those that supported the Exclusion Bill were known as Petitioners (later to become the Whigs) while those that opposed the bill were called Abhorrers (later to become the Tories).
Mary suffered a third miscarriage at The Hague, Netherlands.
1683 (28th July)
James Scott, Duke of Monmouth, illegitimate son of Charles II, spent time in the court of William and Mary in the Netherlands.
1685 (6th February)
King Charles II died and William’s father-in-law became King James II of England, Ireland and Wales and James VII of Scotland. William’s wife, Mary, became heir to the British throne.
The Monmouth Rebellion
James Scott, Duke of Monmouth, illegitimate son of Charles II, who was resident at the court of William and Mary, planned a rebellion against the rule of King James II. When he learned of the plot, William sent a message to his father-in-law warning him of the plot. Monmouth’s Rebellion was put down and he was executed.
Louis XIV renounced the Edict of Nantes making Protestantism illegal in France. Many French Hugenots fled to the Netherlands.
1688 (10th June)
A healthy son, James Francis Edward
, was born to William’s father-in-law King James and Mary of Modena at St James’s Palace, London.
1688 (mid June)
The birth of King James’s son secured the succession but also meant that there was a very strong likelihood that Catholicism would return to Britain.
1688 (30th June)
Seven Protestant nobles, Earl of Shrewsbury, Earl of Devonshire, Earl of Danby, Viscount Lumley, Bishop of London, Edward Russell and Henry Sydney, wrote to William and asked him to join them in making Mary heir to the throne in place of the newborn prince. William was told that if he landed in England with a small army he would find that he had much support.
1688 (5th November)
William landed at Brixham in Devon. After the army and navy defected to him, King James decided not to march to meet him and attempted to leave the country but was captured.
1688 (12th December)
Laurence Hyde, Earl of Rochester, summoned a provisional government.
1688 (23rd December)
William allowed James to escape to France. He went to the court of Louis XIV where he was given a palace and a pension.
1689 (22nd January)
Parliament met to discuss the constitutional situation. Most Tories wanted either James II restored or James’s daughter, William’s wife to be crowned Queen. While most Whigs wanted a limited Protestant monarchy.
William’s wife, Mary, joined him in England.
1689 (13th February)
Parliament agreed that since James had fled abroad he was deemed to have abdicated. Mary and her sister Anne refused to rule over Mary’s husband William so it was agreed that William and Mary should jointly take the throne as King William III and Queen Mary II.
Mary’s father, James, landed in Ireland at the head of a French force determined to regain the crown. The Irish government declared that James remained King. James’s supporters were known as Jacobites
1689 (11th April)
William and Mary were jointly crowned Queen Mary II and King William III at Westminster Abbey.
1689 (12th April)
William and Mary were proclaimed King and Queen of Scotland.
Although Mary and William had been proclaimed Queen and King of Scotland, there were many Scots, especially those in the Highlands, that believed that James was still the rightful King. Viscount Dundee, a Jacobite, raised an army against the new monarchs.
1689 (11th May)
William and Mary took the Scottish coronation oath in London.
1689 (18th May)
In Scotland, Viscount Dundee marched to try to engage King William’s commander, Hugh Mackay. He was unable to provoke a battle and many of his men went home.
1689 (24th May)
This act granted freedom of worship to those Protestants who had split from the Church of England such as Baptists, Congregationalists and English Presbyterians. The act did not extend to Roman Catholics.
1689 (14th June)
Edinburgh Castle surrendered to William’s forces.
Jacobite reinforcements arrived in Scotland. On hearing this Hugh Mackay marched to meet them.
1689 (27th July)
Battle of Killiecrankie
This battle was fought between the Jacobites and the Scottish Government army. Although Dundee was killed and Jacobite losses were large, the Jacobites won the battle. However, those that survived were unable to mount further resistance to the rule of William and Mary.
1689 (21st August)
Battle of Dunkeld
This battle saw the Scottish Government army victorious over the Jacobites in Scotland.
1689 (16th December)
Bill of Rights
The English parliament drew up this bill which stated basic civil rights and settled the succession. It also stated that no Roman Catholic could take the throne nor could an English monarch marry a Roman Catholic. It also confirmed the succession on firstly the surviving monarch, then any children of William and Mary followed by Mary’s sister, Anne and her descendants.
William went to Ireland to put down the Jacobite rebellion there. While he was absent, Mary took over the reins of government.
1690 (24th June)
Mary ordered the arrest of her uncle Henry Hyde for plotting to restore James II to the throne.
1690 (1st July)
Battle of the Boyne
The forces of King William III secured a decisive victory over those of James II. James managed to escape the battlefield and fled to France.
1690 (late July)
William returned to England leaving Godert de Ginkell in charge of suppressing further Jacobite resistance in Ireland.
In Scotland, the chiefs of the Highland clans were ordered to swear an Oath of Allegiance to William and Mary. The deadline for taking the oath was 1st January 1692.
1691 (3rd October)
Treaty of Limerick
This treaty ended Jacobite resistance in Ireland leaving William in control of the country. Jacobite soldiers were given the option of joining William’s army, going to join James in France or going home and living peacefully. The majority, around 14,000 went to France.
1691 (late December)
The chief of the MacDonald clan of Glencoe had put off taking the Oath of Allegiance. He now reluctantly decided to take the Oath and went to Fort William. However, when he arrived he was told that a sheriff needed to be present and that the nearest sheriff was 40 miles away. MacDonald did not reach the sheriff until after the 1st January deadline.
In Edinburgh John Dalrymple, Secretary of Scotland, was unaware that MacDonald had taken the oath and issued instructions to eliminate the Glencoe clan.
1692 (13th February)
After spending a number of days as guests of the Glencoe MacDonalds, Campbell of Glenlyon massacred 40 MacDonald men, women and children.
Mary was taken ill with a fever.
1694 (27th July)
William granted a Royal Charter to the Bank of England as the government bank.
Mary was taken ill with smallpox.
1694 (28th December)
Mary II, died of smallpox. William III succeeded as sole monarch of Britain.
The Scottish government conducted an enquiry into the Massacre of 1692 and decreed that those that died had been murdered. They appealed to William to prosecute those responsible but he took no action.
William survived an assassination attempt by the Jacobites led by John Fenwick.
John Fenwick was found guilty of treason for attempting to assassinate William and was beheaded.
William, Duke of Gloucester, only surviving son of William’s sister-in-law-Anne, died.
1701 (12th June)
Act of Settlement
This act stated that the succession would pass to the heirs of Sophia, Electress of Hanover, Protestant granddaughter of James I if Anne died without an heir.
1702 (21st February)
William fell from his horse after it stumbled on a molehill. He suffered a broken collar bone and his health deteriorated.
1702 (8th March)
King William III died from pneumonia. He was succeeded by his sister-in-law Anne.