James II (1633-1701) reigned from 1685 to 1688. He succeeded his brother, Charles II. James, a Roman Catholic, favoured Catholics in his policies and caused outrage as he promoted Catholics to high offices and positions of power. This favouritism angered many English people. When James's wife had a son in June 1688, the prospect of another Catholic ruler united James's opponents. In the Glorious Revolution of 1688, James's Protestant daughter Mary and her husband, William of Orange, ruler of the Netherlands, became joint rulers. James fled to France and spent in exile. He attempted to retrieve his throne, but was defeated at the Battle of the Boyne in Ireland in 1690. James died in France in 1701.
James was a younger son of Charles I. As Duke of York, James served as admiral and head of the English Navy. English forces named New York City after him.