King of England, Scotland and Ireland, second son of Charles I and Queen Henrietta Maria, born London, England, 1633; died Saint Germain, France, 1701.
When Duke of York, he embraced the Catholic faith sometime before 1672 when he was forced by the test act to resign the office of Lord High Admiral.
His reign beginning in 1685 lasted three years.
Under the guidance of his confessor Father Edward Petre, S.J., he tried to restore the Catholic religion.
He favored Catholics, placing them in high positions, allowing them freedom in the exercise of their religion and forbidding the Anglican clergy to preach against Catholicism.
In 1687 he issued the Declaration of Indulgence by which all laws against all classes of nonconformists were suspended and liberty of conscience inaugurated.
This met with violent opposition from the Protestant clergy, and resulted in an invitation to William of Orange 30 June 1688, to assume the government.
He was the father of the British navy.
New Catholic Dictionary