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Mary was King James II's elder daughter by his first wife, Anne Hyde, daughter of Sir Edward Hyde, who was created Earl of Clarendon in 1661. After her mother died in 1671, Mary was brought up at Richmond Palace and educated in the Protestant faith by Henry Compton, Bishop of London, George Morley, Bishop of Winchester, and Edward Lake, Archdeacon of Exeter.
In 1677 Mary was married to her cousin William, Prince of Orange (1650-1702), and went to live in Holland. Her father succeeded to the thrones of England and Scotland in 1685. At this stage, Mary was the heir apparent. However, the queen, Mary of Modena, gave birth to a male heir in 1688.
Dissatisfaction with James's rule had already led to overtures being made to William of Orange by a number of Protestant nobles. William set sail for England and landed at Torbay on 5 November 1688. James fled to France on 23 December, and in January Parliament formally offered the throne to William and Mary. They were crowned as joint monarchs on 11 April 1689 and from then on Mary lived principally at Hampton Court and Kensington Palace.
Mary reigned jointly with her husband, but governed as a regent at various times during the 1690s while William was abroad. Mary was a popular queen, and was greatly mourned on her death from smallpox in 1694. William was succeeded as monarch in 1702 by Mary's sister Anne.