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Spencer, Robert

Born: 1879 AD
Died: 1931 AD
Nationality: French
Categories: Earl

1641 – Born on September 5th in Paris, France. An English statesman who was one of the most influential advisers during the reigns of Charles II, James II, and William III. His ability to shift allegiances was both the secret of his success and the cause of his unpopularity.

1679 – Spencer was the only son and heir of the 1st Earl of Sunderland, and he became secretary of state.

1681 – In January, he was dismissed from office for voting to exclude Charles II’s Roman Catholic brother James, Duke of York (later King James II), from the succession.

1683 – He was reinstated as secretary of state in January and became the architect of Charles’s pro-French foreign policy. Although he served as chief minister under King James II, Sunderland could maintain his position only by acquiescing to the king’s pro-Catholic policies.

1688 – To win the queen’s support, he converted to Roman Catholicism in June, but in October he was dismissed in a desperate effort by James to regain popular support.

         – When William of Orange (later King William III) seized power in the Revolution, Sunderland fled to the European continent.

1690 – Having renounced Roman Catholicism, he returned to England in May.

1692 – Within two years he had established himself as one of William III’s most valued political counselors and the principal intermediary between the king and Parliament.

1697 – William made him lord chamberlain in April, but parliamentary opposition (led by the Whig Junto) soon drove him out of office (December).

1702 – He died on September 28th in Althorp, Northamptonshire, England.