… is from page 316 of Mark Kishlansky’s 1996 volume, A Monarchy Transformed: Britain 1603-1714:
Anne Stuart was only thirty-seven when she ascended to the thrones of England, Scotland and Ireland in 1702, but she was already an old woman, carried to her coronation in a sedan chair. She had been physically depleted by seventeen pregnancies and psychically debilitated by their futility – not a single child had survived.
DBx: A high-born English royal in the early modern era – a woman who was for twelve years Queen of what was by then one of the wealthiest nations on earth – died as a widow in 1714 at the age of 49 without a single surviving child despite giving birth ten times. (Each of her other seven pregnancies ended in a miscarriage.) Anne’s longest-surviving child was Prince William, Duke of Gloucester, who in 1700 died at the age of 11.
Anne’s sad fate was unusually bad even for her era, and especially for her class. Still, she was of a generation a mere 18 or 19 previous to ours. It’s not that long ago when the wealthiest and most powerful and privileged of human beings were at a higher risk than any of us are today to suffer such material privation and emotional agony that we, today, can barely imagine. (By the way, Anne survived the case of smallpox that kept her, in 1677, from attending the wedding of her sister Mary – Mary, of the team of William & Mary, who herself died of smallpox in 1694.)
Who among us middle-class denizens of 2017 would wish to trade places with the likes of Her Majesty, Anne, Queen of Great Britain, France and Ireland, Defender of the Faith, etc., etc.?