The “Glorious Revolution” was the peaceful overthrowing of James II as the king of England, Scotland and Ireland before being replaced by Mary II, his daughter and Mary’s husband and nephew, William III.


In 1685, James II became King. James was a Catholic and people feared what would happen if he tried to force his subjects to become Catholics.

Not long after his coronation, there was a rebellion by the Duke of Monmouth. The Duke was the oldest of Charles II’s illegitimate children. However, the rebellion didn’t last long and he and his allies were punished.

For Protestants, they hoped his oldest daughter, Mary, would become Queen. She and her husband, William III of Orange, were Protestants. This became less likely when James’ second wife was pregnant. She eventually gave birth to a son – who was now next in line to the throne. Protestants knew the son would become a Catholic.

Prepare for an attack

William started preparing for an attack by sea. James didn’t believe that his own daughter and son-in-law would attack him. He dismissed the idea and simply thought that William was preparing for a war against Louis XIV, the French king. James was completely unprepared for what happened next.

The “Glorious Revolution”

On the 5th November 1688, William’s fleet of ships arrived at Torbay, Devon. When he heard about this, he panicked. James didn’t send the army because he thought they were unreliable. Many Protestants deserted James and went to join William’s army. Anne, James second daughter, also joined his army. James then started planning to flee. He eventually escaped to France to live with his wife and baby.

William’s army went to London and took over without a single drop of blood – something known as the “Glorious Revolution”.

The coronation of William III and Mary II