Anne (6 February 1665 – 1 August 1714) became Queen of England, Scotland and Ireland on 8 March 1702. On 1 May 1707, when England and Scotland combined into a single kingdom, Anne became the first sovereign of the Kingdom of Great Britain. She continued to reign until her death. Anne was the last monarch of the House of Stuart; she was succeeded by a second-cousin, George I, of the House of Hanover.
Anne's life was marked by many crises relating to succession to the Crown. Her Roman Catholic father, James VII and II, had been forcibly deposed in 1688; her brother-in-law and her sister then became joint monarchs as William III and Mary II. Anne suffered from Hughes syndrome or 'sticky blood' which resulted in miscarriages. The failure of both Anne and her sister to produce a child who could survive into adulthood precipitated a succession crisis, for, in the absence of a Protestant heir, the Roman Catholic James Francis Edward Stuart (the "Old Pretender"), son of James II, could attempt to claim the throne. It was for this reason that the Parliament of England passed legislation allowing the Crown to pass to the House of Hanover. When the Parliament of Scotland refused to accept the choice of the English Parliament, various coercive tactics (such as crippling the Scottish economy by restricting trade) were used to ensure that Scotland would co-operate. The Act of Union 1707 (which united England and Scotland into Great Britain) was a product of subsequent negotiations.
Anne's reign was marked by the development of the two-party system. Anne personally preferred the Tory Party, but endured the Whigs. Her closest friend, and perhaps her most influential advisor, was Sarah Churchill, Duchess of Marlborough, though there was a falling out later when the Duchess of Marlborough was banned from court during the War of the Spanish Succession. The Duchess of Marlborough's husband was John Churchill, 1st Duke of Marlborough, who led the English - and after the Union British - armies in the War of the Spanish Succession