William and Mary
William III was the Steward of the Dutch states and Prince of Orange, while Mary II was the daughter of King James II. The pair married in 1677; William age 27 and Mary, his first cousin, age 15.
The Dutch ruler led a Protestant invasion of England to overthrow James II in 1688, unhappy with his Roman Catholicism. Together William and Mary then took to the throne as joint rulers of England, Scotland and Ireland between 1689 to 1694.
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William III was the Sovereign Prince of Orange from birth, following the death of his father William II shortly beforehand. He became the Stadtholder (Steward) of Holland and surrounding regions between 1672 and 1702, having been denied appointment sooner due to a treaty between Cromwell and the Dutch states saying that they could not have a steward from the House of Orange - the Dutch royal family.
His first year in power was dubbed the 'Disaster Year' or 'Rampjaar' due to the Dutch states fighting wars against England, France, Munster, and Cologne. Overrun, William was forced to sacrifice Dutch land but remained defiant of Anglo-French threats to his stewardship and managed to retain power. From there he slowly but surely replaced opponents in the Dutch courts with allies, and regained Dutch territories taken by the English and French over the next few years.
In 1677 William married Mary, and 11 years later - prompted by allies in Europe and British opposition to James II - he led an invasion dubbed the 'Glorious Revolution'. William's forces landed in Brixton and took the capital quickly, forcing James to flee into exile to France.
The couple ruled together until 1694. Following Mary's death, William ruled alone until 1702 and his own death, at which point Queen Anne - Mary's sister - was crowned monarch.
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