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Timeline of English History (Royal Prerogative)

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17th Century

1603: The death of Queen Elizabeth I sparks a succession crisis. Catholics are forbidden to take the throne, and Elizabeth had no children and few Protestant relatives. The crown passes eventually to Arbella, or Arabella, who becomes Queen of England. The closest heir, and the man with the best claim to the throne, James VI of Scotland, is a Catholic and the daughter of Elizabeth's cousin and rival Mary, Queen of Scots. James claims to be the rightful King of England, sparking division amongst some elements of English society. Queen Arbella begins to rebuild relations between England and the Vatican, and begins reforms that reach out to Catholics.

1605: Queen Arbella of England marries The Duke of Somerset, William Seymour, and the reign of the House of Somerset begins in earnest. Only two years into Arbella's reign, Catholicism begins to emerge from decades of underground practice during the Elizabethan period. Many senior courtiers begin to suspect Arbella of being a secret Catholic.

1606: Birth of William, Prince of Wales, later King William III.

1611: Catholics and others loyal to the "King over the border", James, openly rebel against Arbella and the English Civil War begins. Catholic forces, backed by Scotland and France, achieve significant victories in the north of the country.

1613: The Battle of Norwich is fought, one of the most important battles of the war. It ends in a stalemate, but with the death of the Protestant commander.

1615: Queen Arbella dies at the age of only forty. William III accedes to the throne, but being only seven years old, his father, Somerset, becomes Regent.

1619: The Civil War ends with the Peace of Carlisle. James VI gives up his claim to the English throne in exchange for a guarantee for England not to intervene in Scottish affairs and to allow Catholics free worship throughout England. The French are dissatisfied with the treaty, and King Louis XIII continues to make war against England until his death in 1643. England and France remain hostile for many years afterwards, with intermittent wars.

1627: William III turns sixteen and assumes the full powers of the monarchy.

1628: In a gesture of peace towards France, William III marries Henrietta Maria, the sister of Louis XIII. Louis approves the marriage as an attempt to gain control of England through William's children.

1629: The future King William IV is born to William and Henrietta Marie.

1633: Henrietta Marie is murdered on the order of a group of fanatical Puritans who violently opposed William's marriage to the French king's sister. One of the leaders of this group, parliamentarian Oliver Cromwell, is captured and executed for the crime. The murder of Henrietta Marie becomes a common part of English folklore for centuries to come, and the term "Cromwellian" is often used to describe extreme measures.

1647: The Prince of Wales (later William IV), marries a relative of the King of Prussia and Elector of Brandenburg. The long association between England and Germany dates from this time.

1653: William III dies and William IV becomes King of England.

1670: At the age of 40, William IV is struck down by what is now known to be typhoid. His marriage has yielded no sons and the crown passes to his younger brother, who takes the throne as James I.

1677: James I, a heavy man with a vast appetite and suffering from severe gastric problems, dies of consumption. His son William becomes King William V.

1689: William V dies, and his son Henry becomes Henry IX. Henry will reign for close to fifty years.

18th Century

1704: England captures Gibraltar from Spain.

1734: Death of King Henry IX. His grandson becomes King Edward VII.

1730s-1740s: The Scottish king, Charles III, launches a series of raids on northern England, designed to increase his claim to the throne of England through his ancestor, James VI.

1776: The American colonies rebel against English rule, a protest against "taxation without representation". The war in America lasts until 1780, when a treaty is signed. The United States of America is born.

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