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What is the Battle of the Boyne and when did it take place?
Today, Sunday 12 July, marks the anniversary of the Battle of Boyne – a day which is commemorated with a bank holiday in Northern Ireland.
Because the date falls on a Sunday this year, the holiday will instead be observed tomorrow.
Northern Ireland’s First Minister Arlene Foster has asked people to celebrate the twelfth of July at home this year, telling the Orange Order’s Radio Boyne station the day was not ‘cancelled.’
So, what happened at the Battle of the Boyne, when did it take place and why are its celebrations considered controversial?
The Battle of Boyne was fought in July 1690 between the armies of the deposed Catholic King James II of England, Scotland and Ireland and the Protestant King William III, formerly Prince of Orange in Holland.
The battle took place across the River Boyne near the town of Drogheda in the Republic of Ireland, which was at the time the Kingdom of Ireland.
William’s forces reigned victorious against King James II’s army which was a small military victory but a large symbolic defeat. To this day, James II remains the last Catholic monarch of England.
It was the second time the Dutchman had defeated James after he was originally overthrown in the ‘Glorious Revolution’ of 1688 when he was replaced on the throne by James and his Protestant daughter, Mary.
Although the Battle of the Boyne took place on 1 July, it is commemorated on the 12 – the day when James army was destroyed.
The battle’s annual commemorations by The Orange Order, an international Protestant fraternal order, are a topic of controversy, particularly in Northern Ireland and parts of Scotland where sectarian tensions remain high.
The anniversary of the battle is typically celebrated by Orange Order members by city-wide parades, where they dress in orange, carry banners and play pipes and drums.
The typical attire of Orangemen consists of bowler hats, gloves and orange sashes.
Although marches are often peaceful, many others have been marred with violence, ending in confrontation between Irish nationalists and British unionists.
The conflict is in part stoked by the fact that some marches go through traditionally Catholic and Irish nationalist neighbourhoods.
This year’s parades have been cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic, with people instead urged to celebrate at home.