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William III & Mary II: Partners in Revolution (Penguin Monarchs)
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William III and Mary II, England’s only ever ‘joint monarchs’, changed the course of the country’s history, coming to power through a coup, re-establishing parliament on a new footing and initiating a long period of expansion that transformed England into a world power. Jonathan Keates’ account of their dramatic reign makes both monarchs vivid- the shrewd ‘Dutch’ military champion William of Orange, and the vulnerable, shortlived Mary, whose life as a ‘celebrity’ royal and untimely death at thirty-four inspired Purcell to write some of his greatest music. As Keates makes clear, William and Mary’s reign was crucial to the evolution of the modern nation, from the ‘Glorious Revolution’ that began it, to the creation of the Bank of England, the modern British armed forces and, most crucially, a realm in which royal power required popular consent.
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