William and Mary and Carrots

William III of Orange, who was the grandson of English King Charles I, and his wife Mary, who was the granddaughter of Charles I and daughter of James II, became William III and Mary II of England on 11 April 1689 after a ginormous kerfuffle.


Charles II, who had recently reclaimed the throne after his father was murdered by nefarious Puritan dictator and genocidal numpty Oliver Cromwell, died without a legitimate heir, so his throne went to his younger brother James. Ignoring both reality and recent history, James decided to allow his fellow Catholics and/or Protestant dissenters to have equality and religious freedom in the kingdom. While this is laudable from a human rights perspective, it was a political porcupine; it needed to be handled carefully. James foolishly started a wholesale replacing of Anglican officials with Catholic ones, and tried to bully Parliament. This was political suicide, and the last straw was when his second wife, ardent Catholic Mary of Modena, gave birth to son and heir James Stuart on June 10, 1688. The royal couple were open in their determination to raise the heir as a Catholic, so:

On 30 June 1688, a group of seven Protestant nobles invited the Prince of Orange to come to England with an army … When William arrived on 5 November 1688, many Protestant officers, including Churchill, defected and joined William, as did James’s own daughter, Princess Anne. James lost his nerve and declined to attack the invading army, despite his army’s numerical superiority. On 11 December, James tried to flee to France, allegedly first throwing the Great Seal of the Realm into the River Thames. He was captured in Kent; later, he was released and placed under Dutch protective guard. Having no desire to make James a martyr, the Prince of Orange let him escape on 23 December. James was received by his cousin and ally, Louis XIV, who offered him a palace and a pension.

Battle of the Boyne between James II and William of Orange

William and Mary were the Protestants of the nobilities’ dreams, and their rule was a successful one.


Moreover, the orange variety of Dutch carrots became grown more often as a show of support for William’s reign and religion, and as a result it became the “normal” color for that root vegetable to the point most people don’t know carrots grow in a rainbow of colors.

multicolored carrots

William ruled alone after Mary’s death in 1694, and the childless royals were succeeded by Mary’s sister Anne in 1702.



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