The Correspondence of Mary II Stuart, Queen of England, Scotland, and Ireland

Primary Contributors:

Ineke Huysman, Huygens ING

Mary II Stuart, attributed to Willem Wissing, after 1685 (Koninklijke Verzamelingen, Den Haag, SC/0043)

Mary II (1662–1694)

Mary was a daughter of the Stuart king James II of England, Scotland, and Ireland, and his first wife Anne Hyde. As a result of her marriage in 1677 to her cousin, Stadtholder Willem III of Oranje-Nassau, Mary became Princess of Orange [Oranje] in 1677 and Queen of England, Scotland, and Ireland in 1689. Through her support of Willem III’s intervention in English politics and her role in England following the Glorious Revolution of 1688, Mary helped to shape the history of both the Dutch Republic and England: the revolution in England proved to be sustainable and the alliance of the Dutch Republic with England was to forge an important buffer against the French.

The combination of an unsettled childhood, an early marriage to an all-too-infrequently accessible husband that propelled her into an unfamiliar environment, several miscarriages which resulted in childlessness, and conflicts with her Catholic father made her private life particularly stressful. During politically turbulent times, however, Mary transformed from a mentally fragile young woman into a strong and forceful personality. She found both protection and guidance within the Protestant faith, and diverted herself with creative pastimes such as architecture and garden design.

While the metadata of much of her correspondence remains to be collected, the majority of the letters at present in this catalogue were received by Mary during the period between 1677 and 1689 when she lived in the Dutch Republic.

Partners and Additional Contributors

The metadata for this catalogue in EMLO was provided by the Huygens ING with assistance of Lennart Visser under the direction of researcher Dr Ineke Huysman. Huygens ING has digitized the documents in cooperation with the Royal Collections The Netherlands in The Hague, where most of the original letters are conserved (Archief Maria Stuart, A16a).

This calendar has been prepared for publication as a part of a collaboration with EMLO and the associated Women’s Early Modern Letters Online [WEMLO] resource. Thanks are due to Professor James Daybell and Dr Kim McLean-Fiander, and to Dr Nadine Akkerman. Cultures of Knowledge would like to thank EMLO Digital Fellows Charlotte Marique and Callum Seddon for their help to prepare the metadata for upload.


Currently the catalogue contains metadata of 119 letters conserved at the Royal Collections in The Hague. The letters were written in German, French, and Dutch, and they date between 1677 and 1693. Each letter record in this EMLO catalogue contains a link (labelled ‘manuscript image’) to a digitized copy of the scanned manuscript. In addition, links to the digitized editions of Archives ou correspondance inédite de la maison d’Orange-Nassau (ed. G. Groen van Prinsterer), Correspondentie van Willem III en van Hans Willem Bentinck (ed. N. Japikse), and Lettres et Mémoires de Marie Reine d’Angleterre, Épouse de Guillaume III (ed. M. Bentinck) have been provided. Additional letters both to and from Mary will be added to the catalogue in the near future.

Detail of a letter from Mary Stuart to Johan Maurits von Nassau Siegen, 7 March 1678. (Royal Collections, Archief Johan Maurits A4 1477; reproduced with kind permission from the Royal Collections The Netherlands)

Further resources

Selected Bibliography

M. Bentink, ed., Lettres et Mémoires de Marie Reine d’Angleterre, Épouse de Guillaume III (The Hague, 1880).

M. Bowen, The third Mary Stuart. Mary of York, Orange & England (London, 1929).

T. Claydon, William III and the Godly Revolution (Cambridge, 1996).

R. Fruin, ‘Maria de gemalin van Prins Willem III’, Verspreide geschriften, 5 (The Hague, 1902).

E. Gregg, Queen Anne (London, 1980).

E. Hamilton, William’s Mary. A biography of Mary II (London, 1972).

N. Japikse, Prins Willem III. De stadhouder-koning, 2 vols (Amsterdam, 1930–3).

F. J. L. Krämer, Maria II Stuart. Gemalin van Willem den Derden (Utrecht, 1890).

J. W. A. Naber, ‘Maria van Engeland 1662–1694’, in De vorstinnen van het Huis van Oranje-Nassau (Haarlem, 1898).

R. P. Maccubbin and M. Hamilton-Phillips, eds, The Age of William III and Mary II: Power, Politics and Patronage (Williamsburg, 1989).

L. Schwoerer, ed., The Revolution of 1688–1689: Changing Perspectives (Cambridge, 1992).

W. Troost, William III the Stadholder-king: A Political Biography (Farnham, 2005).

M. Waller, Ungrateful Daughters: the Stuart Princesses Who Stole Their Father’s Crown (London, 2002).

H. and B. van der Zee, William and Mary (London, 1973).


For additional biographical information, see the page at the Huygens ING, and the entries in Wikipedia and the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography.


Additional resources

Women’s Early Modern Letters Online [WEMLO] project page

WEMLO network and resources hub

The Wives of the Stadtholders: an exhibition (September 2016).


Launch Catalogue

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