Mary of Modena

Mary of Modena mŏdˈĭnə [key], 1658–1718, queen consort of James II of England; daughter of Alfonso IV, duke of Modena. Her marriage (1673) to James, then duke of York, was brought about through the influence of Louis XIV of France. Mary was a devout Roman Catholic and therefore unpopular in Protestant England. When she bore a son in 1688, it was widely rumored that this Catholic heir to the throne was a changeling, and fear of a Catholic succession precipitated the Glorious Revolution that overthrew James II. Mary fled to France with her son, James Francis Edward Stuart, and worked tirelessly to advance his claims to the English throne (see Jacobites).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2024, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

See more Encyclopedia articles on: British and Irish History: Biographies