Saturday, January 5, 2019
Queen Anne Stuart Part Three The Cinderella Princess by Rosemary Morris
To find out more about Rosemary Morris' books please click the cover above.
Queen Anne Stuart
The Cinderella Princess
Princess Anne’s relationship with Sarah Jennings, the future Duchess of Marlborough would last into her middle age.
Sarah, a year younger than Anne’s fifteen-year-old stepmother, was the daughter of a landed gentleman and the younger sister of Frances Jennings, a maid of honour, appointed to serve Anne’s mother.
At the age of twelve, Sarah, who would play such a crucial role in the Cinderella princess’s life, was appointed as one of her attendants. 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.’
Kneller’s portrait of the teenage Sarah reveals a pretty girl with an oval face, broad forehead, fair hair and confident blue eyes. Yet no portrait could reveal her vivacity and charm.
It is not surprising that the motherless, Cinderella princess living in the shadow of her older, cleverer sister, Mary, and the daughters of her governess, Lady Frances Villiers, became deeply attached to Sarah.
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 not unlikely that the Queen would provide an heir to the throne. In her day few women could read and write – perhaps as few as one in a hundred. 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 the foundation of her belief in the teachings of the Anglican faith.
Anne and Mary lived apart from the court at Whitehall and their indulgent Roman Catholic father and step-father. Expected to be virtuous, the sisters could not have been totally unaware of the licentiousness of their uncle’s court and that both their uncle, the king, and her father had acknowledged illegitimate children. Indeed, their governess, Lady Frances Villiers, wife of Colonel Villiers, the nephew of the ill-fated Duke of Buckingham, a favourite of James I and his son, Charles I, was the daughter of the king’s notorious mistress, Barbara Castlemaine.
Lax though King Charles II’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 and 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 Charles II’s Court.
‘Cinderella’ 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. Sarah declared: I wished myself out of Court as much as I had desired to come into it before I knew what it was.
Despite boredom and whatever storms lay ahead, Anne dearly loved her sister. So much so that when Mary married her Dutch cousin, William of Orange, in 1677 and Anne lay in bed suffering from 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, were delivered to Anne.
While Anne’s tutor fretted in case her fanatical Roman Catholic nurse influenced her when Anne was ill, as soon as she recovered, Anne had to cope with the death of her governess. Fortunately, she still had Sarah’s companionship and enjoyed the vast grounds of Richmond Palace, leased by the king for his nieces. This tranquillity would soon be disturbed by the so called ‘Popish Plot’. And it is not unreasonable to suppose that her mind would be occupied with thoughts of who she would marry.
Extract from Tangled Love
Nine-year-old Richelda Shaw sat on the floor in her nursery. She pulled a quilt over her head to block out the thunder pealing outside the ancient manor house, while an even fiercer storm raged deep within. Eyes closed, she remained as motionless as a marble statue.
Elsie, her mother’s personal maid, removed the quilt from her head. “Stand up child, there’s nothing to be frightened of. Come, your father’s waiting for you.”
Richelda trembled. Until now Father’s short visits from France meant gifts and laughter. This one made Mother cry while servants spoke in hushed tones.
Followed by Elsie, Richelda hurried down the broad oak stairs. For a moment, she paused to admire Lilies of the Valley in a Delft bowl. Only yesterday, she had picked the flowers to welcome Father home, and then arranged them with tender care. Now, the bowl stood on a chest, beneath a pair of crossed broadswords hanging on the wall.
Elsie opened the massive door of the great hall where Father waited at one side of an enormous hearth. Richelda hesitated. Her eyes searched for her mother before she walked across the floor, spread her skirts wide, and knelt before him.
Father placed his right hand on her bent head. “Bless you, daughter; may God keep you safe.”
He smiled. “Stand up, child. Upon my word, sweetheart, your hair reminds me of a golden rose. How glad I am to see roses bloom in these troubled times.”
Richelda stood but dared not speak, for she did not know him well.
Putting an arm round her waist, he drew her to him. “Come, do not be nervous of your father, child. Tell me if you know King James II holds court in France while his daughter, Mary, and William, his son-in-law, rule, after seizing his throne?”
“Yes, Mother told me we are well rid of King James and his Papist wife,” she piped up, proud of her knowledge.
With a sigh, Father lifted her onto his knee. “Richelda, I must follow His Majesty, for I swore an oath of allegiance to him. Tell me, child, while King James lives, how can I with honour swear allegiance to his disloyal daughter and her husband?”
Unable to think of a reply, she lowered her head, breathing in his spicy perfume.
Father held her closer. “Your mother pleads with me to declare myself for William and Mary. She begs me not to return to France, but I am obliged to serve King James. Do you understand?”
As she nodded, her cheek brushed against his velvet coat. “Yes, I understand, my tutor told me why many gentlemen will not serve the new king and queen.”
“If you remain in England, you will be safe. Bellemont is part of your mother’s dowry, so I doubt it will be confiscated.”
If she remained in England! Startled, she stared at him.
Sil’s Five Star Review of Tangled Love
A Superb Page Turner
Rosemary Morris has crafted a superb novel set in the Queen Anne time-period in London. The historical details are accurately researched and artfully presented, making excellent use of vivid sensory details. Further, the characters spring to life, each fully moulded into his or her unique personality.
Bound by a childhood promise made to her father, protagonist Richelda faces tough challenges nearly a decade later. Poor and now orphaned, she dreams of a better future with all the trappings of the good life. But, to keep her promise, she must regain the ancestral home, Field House, which is said to contain hidden treasure. Her vow to her father is sealed by a ruby ring that she wears on a chain around her neck--a constant reminder of her promise.
Dudley, her childhood sweetheart, plus the charismatic Viscount Lord Chesney, her suitor in an arranged marriage by her wealthy aunt, set the stage for Richelda's doubts and uncertainties. Dudley won her heart years earlier, but is he all that he appears to be? Chesney, on the other hand, is the owner of Field House and could offer her the life she dreams about in her ancestral home. Further, Aunt Isobel has promised to make Richelda her heiress on the condition she does indeed marry Lord Chesney. Yet are her push-pull feelings for Chesney strong enough to merit a marriage vow? Throughout the story, Richelda never disappoints. She is spirited, fiercely independent, sweet, and loving--truly a three-dimensional character.
Author Rosemary Morris takes her readers gently by the hand and leads them down a highly entertaining pathway filled with love, intrigue, deceit, and mystery. Highly recommended. A 5 Star winner!
About Rosemary Morris
Writing a novel is a solitary occupation. Every day, I am alone with my desktop working for at least eight hours, When I’m not writing, I read and post e-mails, write blogs, deal with business and study historical non-fiction to research my new romantic historical novel. The protagonists in my tales of times past are not twenty-first characters in costume.
As a historical novelist I don’t think it is possible to portray every minute fact about the past accurately, but I have a responsibility my readers to thoroughly research the eras in which my novels are set. In addition to reading non-fiction and making detailed notes, I visit libraries, museums, stately homes and other places of historical interest.
When my words flow well, I am tempted to work for many hours without a break. That would be detrimental. Writing is mentally and physically tiring, so I have a five-minute break every hour, during which I stretch and exercise my eyes. If the weather permits, I work in my organic garden. I also visit the health suite at the leisure centre to swim and enjoy the jacuzzi, steam room and sauna.
I don’t want to be a writer in a garret but sometimes I wish I lived in an ivory tower with nothing to distract me from my imaginary companions. However, the daily chores, cleaning, washing clothes, shopping etc., keep my feet on the ground, so does time with family and friends.
Novels by Rosemary Morris
Early 18th Century novels: Tangled Love, Far Beyond Rubies, The Captain and The Countess
Regency Novels False Pretences, Sunday’s Child, Monday’s Child, Tuesday’s Child, Wednesday’s Child and Thursday’s Child. Friday’s Child to be published in June 2019
Mediaeval Novel Yvonne Lady of Cassio. The Lovages of Cassio Book One
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