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James II & VII (14 October 1633 – 16 September 1701) was King of England, Scotland, and Ireland from 6 February 1685. He was the last Catholic monarch to reign over the Kingdoms of England, Scotland, and Ireland. Some of James's subjects were unhappy with James's belief in absolute monarchy and opposed his religious policies, leading a group of them to depose him in the Glorious Revolution. The Parliament of England deemed James to have abdicated on 11 December 1688. The Parliament of Scotland on 11 April 1689 declared him to have forfeited the throne. He was replaced not by his Catholic son, James Francis Edward, but by his Protestant daughter, Mary II, and his son-in-law, William III. William and Mary became joint rulers in 1689. James II made one serious attempt to recover his crowns, when he landed in Ireland in 1689 but, after the defeat of the Jacobite forces by the Williamite forces at the Battle of the Boyne in the summer of 1690, James returned to France. He lived out the rest of his life under the protection of his cousin and ally, King Louis XIV.

James is best known for his belief in absolute monarchy and his attempts to create religious liberty for his subjects. Both of these went against the wishes of the English Parliament and of most of his subjects. Parliament, opposed to the growth of absolutism that was occurring in other European countries, as well as to the loss of legal supremacy for the Church of England, saw their opposition as a way to preserve what they regarded as traditional English liberties. This tension made James's three-year reign a struggle for supremacy between the English Parliament and the Crown, resulting in his deposition, the passage of the English Bill of Rights, and the Hanoverian succession.

James, the second surviving son of Charles I and Henrietta Maria of France, was born at St. James's Palace in London on 14 October 1633. Later that same year, James was baptized by William Laud, the Anglican Archbishop of Canterbury. James was educated by tutors, along with his brother, the future King Charles II, and the two sons of the Duke of Buckingham, George and Francis Villiers. At the age of three, James was appointed Lord High Admiral; the position was initially honorary, but would become a substantive office after the Restoration, when James was an adult.

This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License.
It uses material from the Wikipedia article "James II."
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