Frances Harris

in The General in Winter

Published in print July 2017 | ISBN: 9780198802440
Published online June 2017 | e-ISBN: 9780191840746 | DOI:

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  • Early Modern History (1500 to 1700)
  • Social and Cultural History


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The first chapter traces the friendship of Godolphin and Marlborough from their early years at the Restoration court, through the Exclusion crisis until the Revolution of 1688. Both marry for love at a time when many men with no inherited fortune regard wives and families as encumbrances they cannot afford, but Margaret Godolphin dies early in childbirth. They share a diplomatic mission to William of Orange in 1678, and afterwards their friendship enables them to work in different ways towards his intervention to defeat the Catholicizing policies of James II, so that England can participate in a European alliance against the expansionism of Louis XIV. When James flees to France in 1688 both Churchill and Godolphin accept William and Mary as de facto monarchs, though their strongest loyalties are to Mary’s sister Anne, with whom Sarah Churchill has become a favourite.

Keywords: John Churchill; Sarah Churchill; Sidney Godolphin; Margaret Godolphin; Restoration court; marriage; Exclusion crisis; William of Orange; Revolution of 1688; Princess Anne (Queen Anne)

Chapter.  23561 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Early Modern History (1500 to 1700) ; Social and Cultural History

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