Definition of James
- James II (1633–1701), king of England, Ireland, and Scotland (1685–88). The son of Charles I, he escaped to the Continent in 1648 and returned to England at the Restoration in 1660. He became king on the death of his brother Charles II in 1685, but his conversion to Catholicism made him extremely unpopular. William of Orange and his wife, Mary, James’s daughter, were invited to England by Whig and Tory leaders in 1688, and James was allowed to escape to France.