The Invitation to William was a letter sent by seven famous Englishmen. They were later named the Immortal Seven. They sent this letter to William III, Prince of Orange, received by him on 30 June 1688 (Julian calendar, 10 July Gregorian calendar). In England a Catholic male heir to the throne, James Francis Edward Stuart, had been born. The letter asked William to force the ruling king, his father-in-law James II of England to make William's Protestant wife Mary, James's oldest daughter, the heir. This might possibly be done by saying that the newborn Prince of Wales was not really James' son.
The letter told William that if he were to land in England with a small army, they would rise up and support him. The Invitation shortly told him about their complaints against King James. They said that the King's son was not really the King's son and that the English people generally believed him to be false. They complained that William had sent a letter to James congratulating him on the birth of his son. It was carried to William in The Hague by Rear Admiral Arthur Herbert (the later Lord Torrington) disguised as a common sailor. It was read by a secret code.
The invitation made William decide to carry out his existing plans to land with a large Dutch army. This ended in the Glorious Revolution. James was allowed to escape and was replaced by William and Mary as joint rulers.
Those who signed the invitation were:
- The Earl of Danby
- The Earl of Shrewsbury
- The Earl of Devonshire
- The Viscount Lumley
- The Bishop of London (Henry Compton)
- Edward Russell
- Henry Sydney (who wrote the Invitation)
- Ashley, Maurice, The Glorious Revolution of 1688, Charles Scribner's Sons, New York 1966. .
- Harris, Tim, Revolution: The Great Crisis of the British Monarchy, 1685–1720, Penguin Books, Ltd., 2006. .
Invitation to William Facts for Kids. Kiddle Encyclopedia.