Ten facts about Queen Anne you didn’t learn from The Favourite

800px-Queen_Anne_and_William,_Duke_of_Gloucester_by_studio_of_Sir_Godfrey_Kneller
Anne with the only one of her seventeen babies who survived beyond infancy – but died aged eleven

The Favourite is set to pick up some major movie prizes this year. The film depicts Queen Anne – a monarch who ruled Britain at the very start of the 18th century. But does it tell us the full story and who was the real Anne?

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Queen Anne – subject of The Favourite – ten facts:

  1. Anne’s father was James II who had been forced off the throne because he had tried to restore the Roman Catholic faith and rule as a dictatorial autocrat
  2. James was succeeded by William III, Anne’s uncle, who was rumoured in his own lifetime to be gay. Anne even said on one occasion that his heart did not belong to women….a rather big hint!
  3. William’s wife, Queen Mary, was Anne’s sister. William was their first cousin.
  4. Anne became queen on William’s death and made it very clear that even though her father had been a Roman Catholic – she detested them
  5. The British South Sea Company conducted a shameful trade in African slaves with Spanish ruled South America. Anne owned nearly a quarter of the shares in the company
  6. Shortly after her marriage in 1683, Anne began to have one tragic pregnancy after another. As the babies died, she went to a spa town called Tunbridge Wells to recover and hide her grief
  7. Anne had very poor health even before she was queen. Modern commentators have pointed to lupus, diabetes, listeriosis, Hughes syndrome, etc. Her seventeen pregnancies in the same number of years wrecked her body
  8. The falling out with Sarah Churchill portrayed in the movie The Favourite may have been in part caused by Sarah’s insensitive reaction to the death of Anne’s husband, Prince George (he was not a king)
  9. Her statue is still outside St Paul’s Cathedral. During her life, one critic said it was appropriate that she was showing her backside to the church while her eyes gazed longingly at a local wine shop (Anne suffered from gout, a common ailment of those who drank port)
  10. Anne is buried in Westminster Abbey in London

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Her death ended the Stuart dynasty that stretched back over a century to James I, the king who succeeded Queen Elizabeth I – she of the Spanish Armada and quite a few movies.

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