William III and Mary II are the only joint reigning sovereigns in English history. Brought to power as a result of the revolution of 1688-9 which deposed Mary's father, the Catholic James II, their reign was a crucial period during which new restrictions on royal power helped to lay the foundations of modern constitutional British monarchy. This is the first full biography of them both for thirty years.
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While William reigned during the decade in which Parliament came into its own, ironically he succeeded in being his own prime minister, admittedly long before the age when such a post was officially recognized, as well as his own secretary of state for foreign affairs. Industrious, wise and courageous, he was much more capable than his predecessors, was by far the most able monarch of the house of Stuart, and was considerably underestimated as a sovereign. The achievements of his self-effacing yet intelligent and cultured Queen should likewise be duly recognized, and all credit accorded her for the influence she brought to bear on his character and the way in which he discharged his duties as King of England.