The Glorious Revolution
When Charles died in 1685 his brother became king James II. He soon tried to give the Catholic Church of Rome the same digniy as that of the Anglican Church. He also wanted to give Catholics important positions in the army, universities and local government. The Anglicans and Parliament were worried and invited Williams of Orange, who had married the king’s daughter Mary, to come over with an army.
William’s statement that he would help Britain only if he shared the crown with Mary led to the proclamation of William and Mary joint monarchs (1689). This was called the Glorious Revolution because the different factions gave proof of sense and moderation in reaching an agreement. It must be remembered, however, that William crushed James II’s supporters in Scotland, where most Highland clans were loyal to the Stuarts, and in Ireland, where the Catholic royalists besieged the Protestants at Londonderry.
William’s repression culminated with the bloody Battle of the Boyne (1690), whish is still celebrated by Ulster unionists – the “Orangemen”- as symbol of British rule in Ireland.
In 1689 the Bill of Rights clearly defined the relations between monarchy and Parliament by stating that the king ruled not by “Divine right” but by consent of Parliament as representative of the country, thus laying the foundation of the freedom from arbitrary government of which the English are proud.