James II (Dictionary of World Biography: The 17th and 18th Centuries)
Article abstract: Although he was not a successful king, James II was a distinguished soldier and sailor and an efficient, industrious naval administrator.
The future James II was born on October 4, 1633, in St. James’s Palace in London. He was the second surviving son of King Charles I and Queen Henrietta Maria. Three and a half years younger than his elder brother, the future Charles II, James was created Duke of York when he was only three months old.
James lived his childhood and youth in the midst of dramatic and shattering events. Charles’s autocratic rule steadily antagonized Parliament, and civil war broke out in 1642. When James was only eight years old, he found himself a witness to the first battle of the war, at Edgehill. After the battle, James was sent to Oxford, where he remained until the end of the first phase of the war. Because of the disruption the war caused, James received an inadequate and incomplete education, and he received little direct attention from his parents.
When the parliamentary forces triumphed, James was confined to St. James’s Palace in London. In 1648, however, Royalists planned his escape: Disguised in girl’s clothing, he slipped out of the country and gained sanctuary in Holland. The following year, having traveled to Saint-Germain, near Paris, to be with his mother, he heard the news that his father had been tried and executed. It needs...
(The entire section is 1988 words.)
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