Lead: Firmly out of royal favor, in the 1670s, English peer the Earl of Shaftesbury turned to politics to try and prevent a Catholic from sitting on the throne.

Intro: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: By the early 1670s, it was becoming clear that King Charles and his Portuguese Queen were going to be childless. This heightened the national concern over the issue of succession. With no royal heir, upon the King’s death, the crown would go to the King’s younger brother, James, Duke of York, a thorough-going Roman Catholic. Ashley, following the nation, opposed this vigorously in and out of Parliament. He supported the Test Act (1673) which required office holders, including the King, to take Anglican Communion. When James refused said communion at Easter 1673 and then married the Italian duchess, Mary of Modena, that same year, anti-Catholic fever began to grip the country. James’ first wife, Anne Hyde, had died in 1671, but their daughters and future Queens, Mary and Anne, had been raised Protestant.