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James, Duke of Monmouth

James Scott, Duke of Monmouth (April 9, 1649- July 15, 1685) recognized by some as James II of England and James VII of Scotland, was born in Amsterdam in the Netherlands, an illegitimate son of Charles II and his mistress, Lucy Walter[?] who had followed him into continental exile after the execution of King Charles I. (However, Lucy had almost as bad a reputation as the prince himself, and it is not at all certain that he was the natural father.) There was talk of their having been secretly married, which would have made James the true and legitimate heir to the throne.

Whatever the truth, Charles recognised James as his son, but did not make him his heir - to have admitted marrying Lucy Walter would have threatened his marriage to the Portuguese princess, Catherine of Braganza. In 1663, shortly after having been brought to England, he was created Duke of Monmouth and married off to the wealthy Anne, Countess of Buccleuch[?]. Although he showed no aptitude for government, James was popular, particularly since he was a Protestant, whereas the official heir to the throne, James, Duke of York, was a Catholic.

Following the discovery of the so-called Rye House Plot[?], Monmouth was obliged to go into exile in the Dutch United Provinces, but returned on his father's death in an attempt to take the throne from his uncle. He declared himself King on June 20, 1685 at Bridgwater. On July 6, 1685 the two armies met at the Battle of Sedgemoor, the last to be fought on English (as opposed to British) soil. Monmouth's makeshift force could not compete with the regular army, and was soundly defeated. Monmouth himself was captured and arrested. Despite begging for mercy, he was executed on July 15, 1685, on Tower Hill[?].

External links

  • List of descendants (http://worldroots.clicktron.com/foundation/britain/jamesscottgen1649.htm)


  • Protestant Duke: Life of the Duke of Monmouth by Violet Wyndham ISBN 0297770993

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