Sunday, February 5, 2017
Queen Anne Stuart by Rosemary Morris
I have written three books set in the reign of Queen Anne Stuart. Each one is firmly set in past times.
Tangled Love set in England in 1706, during Queen Anne Stuart’s reign, is the story of a daughter’s sacred oath to her father, a Jacobite, two great estates, duty, betrayal and passionate love. PG
The inspiration for Tangled Love came when I read non-fiction about the Stuart Kings and Queens.
The Future Queen Anne Stuart
More often than not, when I mention Queen Anne people assume I refer to Anne Boleyn, Henry VIII’s ill-fated queen. In fact, I am referring to Queen Anne Stuart, who reigned from 1702 to 1714. During her reign, the Duke of Marlborough, an ancestor of Winston Churchill, led the country to victory against the French in the war of Spanish succession. During her reign the Act of Union with Scotland, which has repercussions today, was passed
The Cinderella Princess
When the future Queen Anne Stuart was born on the 6th February, 1665, neither her uncle, King Charles II, nor her father, James, Charles’ brother, heir to the throne, imagined she would become the last of the Stuart monarchs. Charles’ seven bastards had proved his virility, so it seemed certain he would have legitimate heirs to the throne, but his queen was barren. However, his brother and sister-in-law, James and Anne, the Duke and Duchess of York, had produced heirs, an older brother and sister for the latest addition to their nursery, Baby Anne.
Princess Anne and her older sister, Princess Mary, grew up in their nursery but their four siblings died. One can imagine the effect of these deaths on a small girl with poor health, whose weak eyes watered constantly.
With the king’s consent, in the hope that her eyesight could be improved, her parents sent the four-year old to her grandmother, widow of the executed first Charles, who now lived in France.
In a portrait of Anne as a small girl her eyes, set in an oval face with a mouth shaped in a perfect cupid’s bow, are wary.
In 1699, Anne’s grandmother died, and the child passed into the care of her father’s sister, Henrietta Maria. In 1670 Anne’s aunt died. Her eyesight only slightly improved, Anne returned to England.
By then her mother was unpopular because she had converted to the Church of Rome. James also converted, but the politics demanded the king’s heirs, Anne and her elder sister, Mary, be raised in the Protestant faith.
The princesses were sent to Richmond-on-Thames, where they benefited from country air. Their indulgent father visited them regularly, showered them with gifts and often stayed for several nights at Richmond Palace. Yet all was not well with the family. In 1673, due to the Test Act, which excluded anyone who did not take communion in the Anglican Church from public office, James was forced to resign as Lord High Admiral and to give up all his other official positions. In that age of fervent religious allegiances, what effect did religious controversy have on Anne, a stubborn child?
At that time, motherless Anne’s history had all the ingredients of a fictional heroine, but what would she make of her life? After all, she belonged to the tragic Stuart family. It is not surprising that the princess living in the shadow of her older, cleverer sister, Mary, became deeply attached to twelve-year old Sarah Jennings, the daughter of a landed gentleman, and future wife of The Duke of Marlborough, with whom her friendship would last into middle age.
Years later Sara wrote: We had used to play together when she was a child and she even then expressed a particular fondness for me. This inclination increased with our years. I was often at Court and the Princess always distinguished me by the pleasure she took to honour me, preferably to others, with her conversation and confidence. In all her parties for amusement, I was sure by her choice to be one.
Anne was pretty with plump features, red-brown hair and her mother’s elegant hands of which she was very proud. However, she was shy, easily ignored and all too aware of her short-comings – her poor education did nothing to boost her confidence. As Sarah said years later: Your Majesty has had the misfortune to be misinformed in general things even from twelve years old.
Undoubtedly, there was no reason to provide Anne and her sister with a better education because it was probable that the Queen would provide an heir to the throne. In Anne’s day few women could read and write – perhaps only one in a hundred were literate. For Anne it is likely that little more than dancing, drawing, French and music were required to prepare her for life at court. Her general education was neglected but not her religious education, which was rigorous and founded her life-long belief in the teachings of the Anglican faith.
Anne and Mary continued to live apart from the court and their indulgent Roman Catholic father and fifteen-year old step-mother, whom James adored and who would bear a son. Expected to be virtuous, the sisters could not have been totally unaware of the licentiousness of the court, and that their uncle, the king, and their father had illegitimate children, whom they had acknowledged
Lax though the second Charles’s morals were, he took some interest in Anne, who would be one of the best guitar players at court. She also had a pleasing voice, so he ordered the actress, Mrs Barry, to give Anne and Mary elocution lessons. These stood Anne in good stead when, as Queen, she addressed Parliament, and no doubt when she and Mary took part in some of the masques and plays popular at Court.
However, Anne and Mary grew up in the company of clerics and women, secluded from Whitehall with little to entertain them. One can imagine the boring conversations, stifling closets (small rooms) and endless card games. Later Sarah wrote: I wished myself out of Court as much as I had desired to come into it before I knew what it was.
In spite of the boredom, and storms that lay ahead, the Anne dearly loved her sister. So much so that when Mary married her Dutch cousin, William of Orange, in 1677 while Anne lay sick of smallpox, her father, who visited her every day, ordered that she should not be told her sister had departed for the Continent. The charade went as far as messages purported to be from Mary asking about her health being delivered to Anne.
As soon as |Anne recovered, she had to cope with separation from her sister. Fortunately, she still had Sarah’s companionship, and enjoyed the vast grounds of Richmond Palace. However, this tranquillity would soon be disturbed by the so called ‘Popish Plot’, in which, according to a criminal called Titus Oates, Catholic families planned to murder Protestants in London, overthrow the government and, amongst other things, kill the king.
After the subsequent hysteria Anne’s father and stepmother were sent to Brussels in March 1679. She visited them in August accompanied by her chaplains. However, she was never allowed to enter any one of the many Roman Catholic Churches. When her father and stepmother went to
Scotland, Anne visited them between July 1681 and May 1682. Never again would she leave England.
An Eligible Princess
The king did not have a legitimate heir, so Anne was third in the line of succession.
Anne’s sister, Mary, her stepmother Mary of Modena and Sarah Churchill married when they were fifteen. It was time to find a bridegroom for Anne. In December, 1680, Anne’s cousin, Prince George of Hanover, the future King George 1, had visited the English court, which was still recovering from the Popish plot. It is possible George came to view Anne but not ‘taking’ to her, he quit the realm without approaching her father or the king for her hand in marriage. Subsequently, perhaps it was the case of a woman spurned for, to the end of her life, Anne disliked George so much that the succession to the throne was endangered.
Even if George unjustly found his cousin unattractive others did not, and a scandal ensued when John, Lord Mulgrave, a womaniser, made what was described as ‘a brisk attempt’ on the Lady Anne. Mulgrave denied it. He claimed he merely ogled her. The king and Anne’s father were alarmed. Mulgrave forfeited his offices at Court before being despatched on a leaky frigate to Tangiers. It seems Anne was not indifferent to Mulgrave. He remained one of her personal favourites. When she succeeded to the throne in 1702, he was appointed Lord Privy Seal and Lord Lieutenant of the North Riding of Yorkshire. In 1703 he was created Duke of Buckingham and Normanby.
Early in May 1683, the king was closeted with the Danish envoy to his court at Whitehall. Not long afterwards, Anne was told she would wed the younger brother of the king of Denmark, thirty-year old Prince George, who would arrive in England to marry her within three months.
Anne’s large, fair-haired husband-to-be had fought by land and sea against the Swedes. The rumour that he had saved his brother’s life in battle made him seem glamorous, and might have intrigued the Lady Anne. When he arrived at court an eye-witness described him as: “a comely person… with few pockmarks on his visage, but of very decent and graceful behaviour.
Ten days after Prince George arrived in England he married the Lady Anne, appropriately on Saint Anne’s day, the 28th July, 1683. Throughout their marriage Anne and George were close to each other, and she loved him very much. Unfortunately, Anne suffered 12 miscarriages and each of her five children died when they were young.
The Queen (in brief)
Anne’s uncle died in 1685, leaving a country torn by religious controversy. The throne passed to Anne’s Catholic father. He became so unpopular that he was forced into exile in 1688, after which Anne’s sister Mary and her husband, William of Orange became the new king and queen of England. Some English Protestants, who had sworn allegiance to Mary and Anne’s father, refused to take a new oath of allegiance to William and Mary, and joined James II in France. When Anne inherited the throne after her father’s death in 1702 many Protestant exiles returned to England. Others declared themselves Jacobites and supporters of James II son, who could not inherit the throne because he was a Roman Catholic.
https;//www.amazon.co.uk/Tangled – Love - ebook/dp/B01LZRP7AE
https;//www.amazon.com/Tangled – Love/ebook/dp/B01LZRP7AE
Published by Books We Love.
Available as e-publications and paperbacks.
Early 18th century novels by Rosemary Morris
Far Beyond Rubies
The Captain and The Countess
Sunday’s Child Heroines born on different days of the week. Book 1.
Monday’s Child Heroines born on different days of the week. Book 2
Tuesday’s Child Heroines born on different days of the week Book 3