Henrietta Maria of France

Henrietta Maria of France
Henrietta Maria of France
Henriette Marie by Anthony van Dyck
Queen consort of England, Scotland and Ireland
Tenure 13 June 1625 – 30 January 1649
Spouse Charles I of England and Scotland
Charles II of England and Scotland
Mary, Princess of Orange
James II of England & VII of Scotland
Henry, Duke of Gloucester
Henrietta, Duchess of Orléans
House House of Stuart
House of Bourbon
Father Henry IV of France
Mother Marie de' Medici
Born 25 November 1609(1609-11-25)
Palais du Louvre, Paris, France
Died 10 September 1669(1669-09-10) (aged 59)
Château de Colombes, Colombes, France
Burial 13 September 1669
Royal Basilica of Saint Denis,

Henrietta Maria of France (French: Henriette Marie de France); (25 November[1] 1609 – 10 September 1669) was the Queen consort of England, Scotland and Ireland as the wife of King Charles I. She was mother of two kings, Charles II and James II, and grandmother of two queens and one king, Mary II, William III and Anne of Great Britain, as well as paternal aunt of Louis XIV of France.

Her Catholic religion made her unpopular in England, and also prohibited her from being crowned in an Anglican service; therefore she never had a coronation. She began to immerse herself in national affairs as civil war loomed on the horizon, and was compelled to seek refuge in France in 1644, following the birth of her youngest daughter, Henrietta, during the height of the First English Civil War. The execution of King Charles in 1649 left her impoverished. She settled in Paris, and then returned to England after the Restoration of her eldest son, Charles, to the throne. In 1665, she moved back to Paris, where she died four years later.

The U.S. state of Maryland was named in her honour.



Henrietta Maria as a young princess of France

Henrietta Maria was the youngest daughter of King Henry IV of France (Henry III of Navarre) and his second wife, Marie de' Medici. She was born at the Palais du Louvre on 25 November 1609, but some historians give her a birthdate of 26 November. In England, where the Julian calendar was still in use, her date of birth is often recorded as 16 November. Henrietta Maria was brought up as a Catholic. As daughter of the Bourbon king of France, she was a Fille de France and a member of the House of Bourbon. She was the youngest sister of the future King Louis XIII of France. Her father was assassinated on 14 May 1610, in Paris, before she was a year old; her mother was banished from the royal court in 1617.[citation needed]

After her older sister, Christine Marie, married Victor Amadeus I, Duke of Savoy, in 1619, Henriette took the highly prestigious style of Madame Royale; this was used by the most senior royal princess at the French court. Henrietta was trained, along with her sisters, in riding, dancing and singing, and took part in French court plays.[2] Although tutored in reading and writing, she was not known for her academic skills;[2] the princess was heavily influenced by the Carmelites at French court.[2] By 1622, Henrietta was living in Paris with a household of some 200 staff, and marriage plans were being discussed.[3]

Henrietta Maria as Queen

Henrietta Maria and Charles I of England were married on 13 June 1625, during a brief period in which England's pro-Spanish policy was replaced by a pro-French policy.[4] After an initial difficult period, she and Charles formed an extremely close partnership. Henrietta never fully assimilated herself into English society; she did not speak English before her marriage, and as late as the 1640s had difficulty writing or speaking the language.[5] This, combined with her Catholic beliefs, marked her out as different and potentially dangerous in the religiously intolerant English society of the time, and led to her becoming an unpopular queen with the general public. Henrietta has been criticized as being an "intrinsically apolitical, under-educated and frivolous"[6] figure during the 1630s; others have suggested that she exercised a degree of personal power through a combination of her piety, her femininity, and her sponsorship of the arts.[7]


Henrietta Maria and King Charles I with their two eldest surviving sons, Charles, Prince of Wales, and James, Duke of York, painted by Anthony Van Dyck, 1633. The greyhound symbolises the marital fidelity between Charles and Henrietta.[8]

Henrietta first met her future husband in Paris, in 1623, while he was travelling to Spain with The Duke of Buckingham to discuss a possible marriage with the Infanta Maria Anna of Spain - Charles first saw her at a French court entertainment.[3] Charles's trip to Spain ended badly, however, as King Philip IV of Spain demanded he convert to Catholicism and live in Spain for a year after the wedding to ensure England's compliance with the terms of the treaty. Charles was outraged, and upon returning to England in October, he and Buckingham demanded King James declare war on Spain.[citation needed]

Searching elsewhere for a bride, Charles looked to France instead. The English agent Kensington was sent to Paris in 1624 to examine the potential French match,[3] and the marriage was finally negotiated in Paris by James Hay and Henry Rich.[9] Henrietta was quite young at the time of her marriage, but not unusually so for royal princesses of the period.[2] Views on Henrietta's appearance vary somewhat; her husband's niece, Sophia of Hanover commented shortly afterwards that the "beautiful portraits of Van Dyck had given me such a fine idea of all the ladies of England that I was surprised to see that the queen, who I had seen as so beautiful and lean, was a woman well past her prime. Her arms were long and lean, her shoulders uneven, and some of her teeth were coming out of her mouth like tusks."[10] She did, however, have pretty eyes, nose and a good complexion.[10]

The new Queen brought to England with her a huge quantity of expensive possessions; including diamonds, pearls, rings, diamond buttons, satin and velvet gowns, embroidered cloaks, skirts, velvet chapelles; 10,000 livres worth of plate, chandeliers, pictures, books, vestments and bedroom sets for her, her ladies in waiting, twelve Oratorian priests and her pages.[3]

Henrietta married Charles by proxy on 11 May 1625, shortly after his accession to the throne. They were then married in person at St. Augustine's Church, Canterbury, Kent, on 13 June 1625, but her Catholic religion made it impossible for her to be crowned with her husband in an Anglican service; Henrietta proposed that the French Catholic Bishop of Mendes crown her instead, but this was unacceptable to Charles and the court.[5] Henrietta was allowed to watch Charles being crowned, at a discreet distance.[11] In the end, her failure to be crowned went down badly with the London crowds,[5] whilst England's pro-French policy gave way rapidly to a policy of supporting French Huguenot uprisings, and then a disengagement from European politics and internal problems grew.[12]

Catholicism and the Queen's household

Henrietta Maria, with her court dwarf, Jeffrey Hudson. A monkey is usually symbolic of an advisor to fools, such as court dwarves,[13] but in this case is believed to represent Henrietta's menagerie of pets; the orange tree represents her love of gardens.[14]

Henrietta had strong Catholic beliefs,[15] which would heavily influence her time as queen, and particularly the initial years following her marriage. Charles liked to call Henrietta Maria simply "Maria", with the English people calling her "Queen Mary", alluding to Charles' Catholic grandmother.[16] Henrietta Maria was very open about her Catholic beliefs, to the point of it being "flagrant" and "unapologetic";[16] she obstructed plans to forcibly take into care the eldest sons of all Catholic families with the aim of bringing them up as Protestants, and also facilitated Catholic marriages, committing a criminal offence under English law at the time.[16] In July 1626, Henrietta stopped to pray for Catholics who had died at the Tyburn tree, causing huge controversy[17] - Catholics were still being executed in England during the 1620s, and Henrietta felt passionately about her faith.[18] In due course, Henrietta would unsuccessfully try to convert her Calvinist nephew Prince Rupert during his stay in England.[10]

Henrietta Maria had brought a large and expensive retinue with her from France, all Catholic. Charles blamed the poor start to his marriage on this French entourage.[19] Charles finally had them dismissed from the court on 26 June 1626. Henrietta was greatly upset, and initially some - including the Bishop of Mendes - refused to leave, citing his orders from the French King.[19] In the end, Charles had to deploy armed guards to physically eject them.[19] Despite Charles' orders, however, Henrietta managed to retain seven of her French staff,[20] including her chaplain and confessor, Robert Phillip.

Charles' ejection of the French entourage was also closely linked to getting Henrietta's spending under some sort of control.[3] Henrietta initially spent at an incredible rate, resulting in debts that were still being paid off several years later. Her new first treasurer was Jean Caille; he was succeeded by George Carew and in 1629 Richard Wynn took over.[21] Even after the reform of the Queen's household, spending continued at a high level; despite gifts from the King, Henrietta was having to secretly borrow money in 1627,[22] and the Queen's accounts show a huge number of expensive dresses being bought during the pre-war years.[23]

Over the next few years, the Queen's new household began to form around her. Henry Jermyn became her favourite and vice-chamberlain in 1628. The Countess of Denbigh became the Queen's Head of the Robes and confidante.[24] She acquired several court dwarves, including Jeffrey Hudson[13] and "little Sara".[25] Henrietta established her presence at Somerset House, Greenwich, Oatlands, Nonsuch, Richmond and Holdenby as part of her jointure lands by 1630; added Wimbledon House in 1639,[3] bought for her as a present by Charles.[26] She also acquired a menagerie of dogs, monkeys and caged birds.[14]

Henrietta Maria and Charles

A miniature of Henrietta Maria by John Hoskins.

Henrietta's marriage to Charles did not begin well, and his ejection of her French staff did not improve it. Initially their relationship was frigid and argumentative, and Henrietta Maria took an immediate dislike to The Duke of Buckingham, the King's favourite.[citation needed]

Instead of Charles, one of Henrietta's closest companions in the early days of her marriage was Lucy Hay. Lucy was the wife of James Hay, who like Buckingham had been a favourite of King James and who was now a gentleman of the bedchamber to Charles; James had helped negotiate Charles' marriage to Henrietta. Lucy was a staunch Protestant, a noted beauty and a strong personality. Many contemporaries believed her to be a mistress to Buckingham, rumours which Henrietta would have been aware of, and it has been argued that Lucy was attempting to control the new queen on his behalf.[27] Nonetheless, by the summer of 1628 the two were extremely close friends, with Hay one of the queen's ladies-in-waiting.[27]

In August 1628, however, Buckingham was assassinated, leaving a gap at the royal court. Henrietta's relationship with her husband promptly began to improve and the two forged deep bonds of love and affection,[28] marked by various jokes played by Henrietta on Charles.[29] Henrietta became pregnant for the first time in 1628, but lost her first child shortly after its birth in 1629, following a very difficult labour.[30] In 1630, the future Charles II was born successfully, however, following another complicated childbirth by the noted physician Theodore de Mayerne.[31] By now, Henrietta had effectively taken over Buckingham's role as Charles' closest friend and advisor.[32] Despite the ejection of the French staff in 1626, Charles' court was heavily influenced by French society; French was usually used in preference to English, being considered a more polite language.[5]

Henrietta ultimately split with Lucy Hay in 1634, leading her to focus further on Charles.[33] The reasons are unclear, although the two had had their differences before. Hay was an ardent Protestant, for example, and led a rather more dissolute life than the Queen; Henrietta may also have felt rather overshadowed by the confident and beautiful Hay.[34]

Henrietta Maria and the arts

The Queen's House at Greenwich, completed under Henrietta Maria's sponsorship of Inigo Jones.

Henrietta Maria had a strong interest in the arts, and her patronage of various activities was one the various ways in which she tried to shape court events.[7] Henrietta and Charles were "dedicated and knowledgeable collectors" of paintings.[26] Henrietta was particularly known for her patronage of the Italian painter Orazio Gentileschi, who came to England with Henrietta in 1626 as part of her favourite François de Bassompierre's entourage.[35] Orazio and his daughter Artemisia Gentileschi were responsible for the huge ceiling paintings of the Queen's House at Henrietta's palace in Greenwich.[36] Another of Henrietta's favourite painters was the Italian Guido Reni,[37] whilst she also supported the miniature painters Jean Petitot and Jacques Bourdier.[38]

Henrietta Maria became a key patron in Stuart masques, complementing her husband's strong interest in paintings and the visual arts.[39] She performed in various works herself, including as an Amazon in William Davenant's 1640 "Salmacida Spolia".[7] Henrietta also helped to support the musical works of English composer Nicholas Lanier,[40] and was responsible for Davenant being appointed the Poet Laureat in 1638.[41]

The Queen liked physical sculpture and design too, and retained the designer Inigo Jones as her surveyor of works during the 1630s.[3] Like Charles, Henrietta was enthusiastic about garden design, although not horticulture itself. She employed the French gardener André Mollet to create a baroque garden at Wimbledon House.[42] She patronised the Huguenot sculptor Le Sueur,[38] and she was responsible for the lavish creation of her infamous chapel, that, although plain on the outside, was beautifully crafted inside with gold and silver reliquaries, paintings, statues, a chapel garden and a magnificent altarpiece by Rubens.[43] it also had an unusual monstrance, designed by François Dieussart to exhibit the Holy Sacrament.[43]

Henrietta Maria and the English Civil War

During the 1640s the kingdoms of England, Scotland and Ireland were dominated by a sequence of conflicts termed the English Civil War or the Wars of the Three Kingdoms; within England, the conflict centred on the rival Royalist and Parliamentarian factions. Henrietta Maria, as Charles' queen, was to become heavily involved in this conflict that would result in her husband's death and her exile in France. There have been various schools of thought as to Henrietta's role in the civil war period and the degree of her responsibility for the ultimate Royalist defeat.[44] The traditional perspective on the Queen has suggested that she was a strong-willed woman who dominated her weaker-willed husband for the worst; the historian Wedgwood, for example, highlights Henrietta's steadily increasing ascendency over Charles, observing that "he sought her advice on every subject on every subject, except religion" and indeed complained that he could not make her an official member of his council.[45] Reinterpretation in the 1970s argued that Henrietta's political role was more limited, suggesting that the King took more decisions himself personally.[46] Bone concludes, for example, that despite having a very close personal relationship with Henrietta, Charles rarely listened to her on matters of state politics.[47] A third, more recent model argues that Henrietta did indeed exercise political power and influence during the conflict, less so directly but more as a result of her public actions and deeds, which constrained and influenced the choices available to Charles.[48]

Pre-war years

File:Henrietta Maria23.jpg
Henrietta Maria by Anthony Van Dyck in 1638; by the final pre-war years, the Queen, unpopular in the country at large, was facing increasing personal pressure from the King's enemies.

As the 1630s came to a close, relations between the different factions comprising English society became increasingly tense. Arguments over religion, society, morals and political power were becoming increasingly evident in the final years before war broke out. Henrietta's strong views on religion and her social life at the court meant that by 1642 she had become a "highly unpopular queen who apparently never successfully commanded intense personal respect and loyalty from most of her subjects".[49]

Henrietta remained sympathetic to her fellow Catholics and in 1632 began construction of a new Catholic chapel at Somerset House. The old chapel had been deeply unpopular amongst Protestants, and there had been much talk amongst London apprentices of pulling it down as an anti-Catholic gesture.[43] Although modest externally, Henrietta's chapel was much more elaborate inside and was opened in a particularly grand ceremony in 1636.[43] The result was great alarm amongst many in the Protestant community.[43]

Henrietta's religious activities appear to have focused on bringing a modern, 17th century European form of Catholicism to England.[29] To some extent, it worked, with numerous conversions amongst Henrietta's circle; historian Kevin Sharpe argues that there may have been up to 300,000 Catholics in England by the late 1630s - they were certainly more open in court society.[50] Charles came under increasing criticism for his failure to act to stem the flow of high profile conversions.[51] Henrietta even gave a requiem mass in her private chapel for Father Richard Blount, S.J. upon his death in 1638. Henrietta also continued to act in masque plays throughout the 1630s, which met with criticism from the more Puritan wing of English society.[52] In most of these masques she chose roles designed to advance ecumenism, Catholicism and the cult of Platonic love.[52]

The result was an increasing intolerance of Henrietta in Protestant English society, gradually shifting towards hatred. In 1630, Alexander Leighton, a Scottish doctor, was flogged, branded and mutilated for criticising Henrietta in a pamphlet, before being imprisoned for life.[53] In the late 1630s the lawyer William Prynne, popular in Puritan circles, also had his ears cut off for writing that woman actresses were notorious whores, a clear insult to Henrietta.[54] London society would blame Henrietta for the Irish Rebellion of 1641, believed to be orchestrated by the Jesuits to whom she was linked in the public imagination.[55] Henrietta herself was rarely seen in London, as Charles and she had largely withdrawn from public society during the 1630s, both because of their like for privacy and because of the cost of court pageants.[56]

By 1641, an alliance of Parliamentarians under John Pym had begun to place increasing pressure on King Charles, himself embattled after the failure of several wars. The Parliamentary faction achieved the arrest and subsequent execution of the king's advisers, Archbishop William Laud and Thomas Wentworth, Earl of Strafford. Pym then began to turn his attention to Henrietta as a way of placing further pressure on Charles. The Grand Remonstrance passed by Parliament at the end of 1641, for example, did not mention the Queen by name, but it was clear to all that she was part of the Roman Catholic conspiracy the remonstrance referred to and condemned.[57] Henrietta's confident Henry Jermyn, who had himself converted to Catholicism in the 1630s, was forced to flee to the continent after the Army Plot of 1641.

Henrietta encouraged Charles to take a firm line with Pym and his colleagues. Henrietta was widely believed to have encouraged Charles to arrest his Parliamentary enemies in January 1642, although no hard proof of this exists.[58] The Marquis de La Ferté-Imbault, the French ambassador, was keen to avoid any damage to French prestige by an attack on the Queen, but was equally unimpressed by Charles' record on relations with France.[59] He advised caution and reconciliation with Pym.[59] The arrest was bungled, and Pym and his colleagues escaped Charles' soldiers, possibly as a result of a tip-off from Henrietta's former friend Lucy Hay.[60] With the anti-royalist backlash now in full swing, Henrietta and Charles retreated from Whitehall to Hampton Court.[60] The situation was steadily moving towards open war, and in February Henrietta left for the Hague, both for her own safety and to attempt to defuse public tensions about her status as a Catholic and her closeness to the King.[61]

First English Civil War (1642–6)

Henrietta Maria and Charles before the war, with their son Prince Charles. Henrietta and her husband would spend much of the war apart, corresponding by letter.

In August 1642, when the Civil War finally began, Henrietta was in Europe at the Hague, raising money for the Royalist cause. Henrietta Maria focused on raising money on the security of the royal jewels, and in attempting to persuade the Prince of Orange and the King of Denmark to support Charles' cause.[62] She was not well during this period, suffering from toothache, headaches, a cold and coughs.[63] Henrietta's negotiations were difficult; the larger pieces of jewellery were both too expensive to be sold easily, and politically risky - many buyers were deterred in case a future English Parliament attempted to reclaim them, arguing they had been illegally sold by Henrietta.[64] Henrietta was finally partially successful in her negotiations, particularly for the smaller pieces, but she was portrayed in the English press as selling off the crown jewels to foreigners in order to buy guns for a religious conflict, adding to her unpopularity at home.[61] She urged Charles, then in York, to take firm action and secure the strategic port of Hull at the earliest opportunity,[63] angrily responding to his delays in taking action.[65]

At the beginning of 1643, Henrietta attempted to return to England. The first attempt to cross from the Hague was not an easy one; battered by storms, her ship came close to sinking and was forced to return to port.[66] Henrietta used the delay to convince the Dutch to release a shipload of arms for the King, which had been held at the request of Parliament.[67] Defying her astrologers, who predicted disaster, she set to sea again at the end of February.[67] This second attempt was successful and she evaded the Parliamentarian navy to land at Bridlington in Yorkshire with troops and arms.[66] The pursuing naval vessels then bombarded the town, forcing the royal party to take cover in neighbouring fields; Henrietta returned under fire, however, to recover her pet dog Mitte who had been forgotten by her staff.[68]

Henrietta paused for a period at York, where she was entertained in some style by the Earl of Newcastle.[69] Henrietta took the opportunity to discuss the situation north of the border with Royalist Scots, promoting the plans of Montrose and others for an uprising.[70] She also supported the Earl of Antrim's proposals to settle the rebellion in Ireland and bring forces across the sea to support the King in England.[70] Henrietta continued to vigorously argue for nothing less than a total victory over Charles' enemies, countering proposals for a compromise.[71] She rejected private messages from Pym and Hampden asking her to use her influence over the King to create a peace treaty, and was impeached by Parliament shortly afterwards.[72] Meanwhile, Parliament had voted to destroy her private chapel at Somerset House and arrest the Capuchin friars who maintained it.[73] In March, Henry Marten and John Clotworthy forced their way into the chapel with troops and destroyed the altarpiece by Rubens,[73] smashed many of the statues and made a bonfire of the Queen's religious canvases, books and vestments.[74]

Travelling south in the summer, she met Charles at Kineton, near Edgehill, before travelling on to the royal capital in Oxford.[66] The journey through the contested Midlands was not an easy one, and Prince Rupert was sent to Stratford-upon-Avon to escort her.[75] Despite the difficulties of the journey, Henrietta greatly enjoyed herself, eating in the open air with her soldiers and meeting friends along the way.[76] She arrived in Oxford bringing fresh supplies to great acclaim; poems were written in her honour, and Jermyn, her chamberlain, was given a peerage by the King at her request.[76]

Merton College chapel, which became Henrietta Maria's private chapel whilst she was based in Oxford during the Civil War.[77]

Henrietta Maria spent the autumn and winter of 1643 in Oxford with Charles, where she attempted, as best she could, to maintain the pleasant court life that they had enjoyed before the war.[66] The Queen lived in the Warden's lodgings in Merton College, adorned with the royal furniture which had been brought up from London.[77] The Queen's usual companions were present: Denbigh, Davenant, her dwarves; her rooms were overrun by dogs, including Mitte.[77] The atmosphere in Oxford was a combination of a fortified city and a royal court, and Henrietta was frequently stressed with worry.[78]

By early 1644, however, the military situation was deteriorating. Royalist forces in the north were under stress, and following the Royalist defeat at the battle of Alresford in March, the royal capital at Oxford was less secure.[79] The Queen was pregnant with the future Princess Henrietta and the decision was taken for her to withdraw safely west to Bath.[79] Charles travelled as far as Abingdon with her before returning to Oxford with his sons - it was the last time the two saw each other.[79]

Henrietta Maria eventually continued south-west beyond Bath to Exeter, where she stopped, awaiting her imminent labour. Meanwhile, however, the Parliamentarian generals the Earl of Essex and William Waller had produced a plan to exploit the situation.[80] Waller would pursue and hold down the King and his forces, whilst Essex would strike south to Exeter with the aim of capturing Henrietta Maria and thereby acquiring a valuable bargaining counter over Charles.[80] By June, Essex's forces had reached Exeter. Henrietta Maria had had another difficult childbirth, and the King had to personally appeal to their usual physician, de Mayerne, to risk leaving London to attend to her.[81] The Queen was in considerable pain and distress,[82] but decided that the threat from Essex was too great; leaving baby Henrietta in Exeter because of the risks of the journey,[83] she took to sea from Falmouth in a Dutch vessel for France on 14 July.[84] Despite being fired upon by a Parliamentarian ship, she instructed her captain to sail on, reaching Brest in France and the protection of her French family.[85]

By the end of the year, Charles' position was getting weaker and he desperately needed Henrietta to raise additional funds and troops from the continent.[86] The campaigns of 1645 went poorly for the Royalists, however, and the capture, and subsequent publishing, of the correspondence between Henrietta and Charles in 1645 following the Battle of Naseby proved hugely damaging to the royal cause.[87] In two decisive engagements—the Battle of Naseby in June and the Battle of Langport in July—the Parliamentarians effectively destroyed Charles' armies.[88] Finally, in May 1646 Charles sought shelter with a Presbyterian Scottish army at Southwell in Nottinghamshire.[89]

Second and Third English Civil Wars (1648–51)

Henrietta Maria's court in exile was based at St-Germain-en-Laye, shown here c.1660 in an etching by Israel Silvestre.

With the support of the French government, Henrietta settled in Paris, appointing as her chancellor, the eccentric Sir Kenelm Digby, and forming a Royalist court in exile at St-Germain-en-Laye.[90] During 1646 there was talk of Prince Charles joining Henrietta in Paris; Henrietta and the King were keen, but the Prince was initially advised not to go, as it would portray him as a Catholic friend of France.[91] After the continued failure of the Royalist efforts in England, he finally agreed to join his mother in July 1646.[92]

Henrietta was increasingly depressed and anxious in France,[93] from where she attempted to convince Charles to accept a Presbyterian government in England as a means of mobilising Scottish support for the re-invasion of England and the defeat of Parliament. In December 1647, she was horrified when Charles rejected the "Four Bills" offered to him by Parliament as a peace settlement.[94] Charles had secretly signed the "The Engagement" with the Scots, however, promising a Presbyterian government in England with the exception of Charles' own household.[94] The result was the Second Civil War, which despite Henrietta's efforts to send it some limited military aid,[95] ended in 1648 with the defeat of the Scots and Charles' capture by Parliamentary forces.[95]

In France, meanwhile, a "hothouse" atmosphere had developed amongst the royal court in exile at the Château de Saint-Germain-en-Laye.[90] Henrietta had been joined by a wide collection of Royalist exiles, including Henry Wilmot, George Digby, Henry Percy, John Colepeper and Charles Gerard. The Queen's court was beset with factionalism, rivalry and duelling; Henrietta had to prevent Prince Rupert from fighting a duel with Digby, arresting them both, but she was unable to prevent a later duel between Digby and Percy, and between Rupert and Percy shortly after that.[96]

King Charles was executed by Parliament in 1649; his death left Henrietta almost destitute and in shock,[57] a situation not helped by the French civil war of the Fronde, which left Henrietta's nephew King Louis XIV short of money himself. Henrietta also was no longer the Queen but the Queen Mother to the young King Charles II. During the ensuing, and final, Third English Civil War the whole of the Royalist circle now based itself from St-Germain, with the Queen Mother's followers being joined by the old Royalist circle who had been with Charles II at the Hague, including Ormonde and Inchiquin and Clarendon, whom she particularly disliked.[97] Co-location began to bring the factions together, but Henrietta's influence was waning. In 1654, Charles II moved his court on to Cologne, eliminating the remaining influence of the Queen Mother in St-Germain.[98]

Henrietta increasingly focused on her faith and on her children, especially Henriette (whom she called "Minette"), James and Henry.[99] Henrietta attempted to convert both Princes James and Henry to Catholicism,[99] her attempts with Henry angering both Royalists in exile and Charles II. Henriette, however, was brought up a Catholic.[99] Henrietta had founded a convent at Chaillot in 1651, and she lived there for much of the 1650s.[100]

Henrietta Maria under the Restoration

Henrietta Maria painted by Sir Peter Lely after the restoration of her son Charles II to the throne.

Henrietta returned to England following the Restoration in October 1660 along with her daughter Princess Henrietta. Henrietta's return was partially prompted by a liaison between the Earl of Clarendon's daughter Anne and Henrietta's son, the Duke of York - Anne was pregnant, and the Duke had proposed marrying her.[101] Henrietta still disliked Clarendon, and did not want Anne as a daughter-in-law, but Charles II agreed and despite her efforts the wedding went ahead.[102] Henrietta did not return to much public acclaim - Samuel Pepys counted only three small bonfires lit in her honour,[103] and described her a "very little plain old woman, and nothing more in her presence in any respect nor garb than any ordinary woman".[citation needed] She took up residence once more at Somerset House, supported by a generous pension.

In 1661, she returned to France and arranged for her youngest daughter, Henrietta[104] to marry The Duke of Orléans, the only brother of Louis XIV. This significantly helped English relations with the French.[105] The marriage also made Henrietta Maria the maternal great-grandmother of Louis XV of France and ancestor of the present-day Juan Carlos I of Spain, The Duke of Parma and The Grand Duke of Luxembourg.

After her daughter's wedding, Henrietta returned to England in 1662 accompanied by her son Charles II and her nephew Prince Rupert.[106] She had intended to remain in England for the rest of her life, but by 1665 was suffering badly from bronchitis, which she blamed on the damp British weather.[103] Henrietta travelled back to France the same year, taking residence at the Hôtel de la Bazinière, the present Hôtel de Chimay in Paris. In August 1669, she saw the birth of her granddaughter Anne Marie d'Orléans; Anne Marie was the maternal grandmother of Louis XV making Henrietta Maria an ancestor of most of today's royal families. Shortly afterwards, she died at the château de Colombes,[107] near Paris, having taken an excessive quantity of opiates as a painkiller.[103] She was buried in the French royal necropolis at the Basilica of St Denis, with her heart being placed in a silver casket and buried at her convent in Chaillot.[108]


The U.S. state of Maryland was named in her honour by her husband, Charles I. George Calvert, 1st Baron Baltimore submitted a draft charter for the colony with the name left blank, suggesting that Charles bestow a name in his own honour. Charles, having already honored himself and several family members in other colonial names, decided to honour his wife. The specific name given in the charter was "Terra Mariae, anglice, Maryland". The English name was preferred over the Latin due in part to the undesired association of "Mariae" with the Spanish Jesuit Juan de Mariana.[109] Cape Henrietta Maria, at the western meeting of James Bay and Hudson Bay in Northern Ontario, is also named for her. The slave ship Henrietta Marie (which carried slaves to what is now the United States and sank 35 miles off the coast of Key West after selling 190 slaves to Jamaica in 1701) was also named after Henrietta Maria.[citation needed]

Numerous recipes ascribed to Henrietta are reproduced in Kenelm Digby's famous cookbook The Closet of the Eminently Learned Sir Kenelme Digbie Kt. Opened.[110]



Name Birth Death Notes
Charles James, Duke of Cornwall 13 March 1629 13 March 1629 Stillborn
Charles II 29 May 1630 6 February 1685 Married Catherine of Braganza (1638–1705) in 1663. No legitimate issue.
Mary, Princess Royal 4 November 1631 24 December 1660 Married William II, Prince of Orange (1626–1650) in 1641. Had issue.
James II, King of England 14 October 1633 16 September 1701 Married (1) Anne Hyde (1637–1671) in 1659; had issue
(2) Mary of Modena (1658–1718) in 1673; had issue
Elizabeth, Princess of England 29 December 1635 8 September 1650 Died young; no issue. Buried Newport, Isle of Wight
Anne, Princess of England 17 March 1637 8 December 1640 Died young; no issue. Buried Westminster Abbey
Catherine, Princess of England 29 January 1639 29 January 1639 Stillborn; buried Westminster Abbey.
Henry, Duke of Gloucester 8 July 1640 18 September 1660 Died unmarried; no issue. Buried Westminster Abbey
Henrietta, Princess of England 16 June 1644 30 June 1670 Married Philippe I, Duke of Orléans (1640–1701) in 1661; had issue

See also descendants of Henrietta Maria de France, which maps how the Medici became part of the European Royal families, eventually leading to The Duke of Cambridge, second-in-line to the thrones of the United Kingdom et al.

Titles, styles, honours and arms

Coat of Arms of Henrietta Maria of France as Queen consort of England.[111]

Titles and styles


The Royal Coat of Arms of England, Scotland and Ireland impaled with her father's arms as King of France and Navarre. The arms of Henry IV were: "Azure, three fleurs de lys Or (France); impaling Gules, a cross a saltire and an orle of chains linked at the fess point with an amulet Or (Navarre)". For her supporters she used the crowned lion of England on the dexter side, and on the sinister used one of the angels which had for some time accompanied the royal arms of France.[114]


  • Britland, Karen. (2006) Drama at the courts of Queen Henrietta Maria. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  • Bone, Quinton. (1972) Henrietta Maria: Queen of the Cavaliers. Chicago: University of Illinois Press.
  • Fritze, Ronald H. and William B. Robison. (eds) (1996) Historical dictionary of Stuart England, 1603–1689. Westport: Greenwood Press.
  • Griffey, Erin. (2008) "Introduction" in Griffey (ed) 2008.
  • Griffey, Erin. (2008) Henrietta Maria: piety, politics and patronage. Aldershot: Ashgate Publishing.
  • Hibbard, Caroline. (2008) "'By Our Direction and For Our Use:' The Queen's Patronage of Artists and Artisans seen through her Household Accounts." in Griffey (ed) 2008.
  • Kitson, Frank. (1999) Prince Rupert: Admiral and General-at-Sea. London: Constable.
  • Maclagan, Michael Maclagan and Jiří Louda. (1999) Line of Succession: Heraldry of the Royal Families of Europe. London: Little, Brown & Co. ISBN 0-85605-469-1.
  • Purkiss, Diane. (2007) The English Civil War: A People's History. London: Harper.
  • Raatschan, Gudrun. (2008) "Merely Ornamental? Van Dyck's portraits of Henrietta Maria." in Griffey (ed) 2008.
  • Smuts, Malcolm. (2008) "Religion, Politics and Henrietta Maria's Circle, 1625-41" in Griffey (ed) 2008.
  • Spencer, Charles. (2007) Prince Rupert: The Last Cavalier. London: Phoenix. ISBN 978-0-297-84610-9
  • Stewart, George R. (1967) 'Names on the Land: A Historical Account of Place-Naming in the United States, 3rd edition. Houghton Mifflin.
  • Wedgwood, C. V. (1966) The King's Peace: 1637–1641. London: C. Nicholls.
  • Wedgwood, C. V. (1970) The King's War: 1641–1647. London: Fontana.
  • White, Michelle A. (2006) Henrietta Maria and the English Civil Wars. Aldershot: Ashgate Publishing.


  1. ^ Burke's Peerage and Gentry
  2. ^ a b c d Hibbard, p. 116.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g Hibbard, p. 117.
  4. ^ Kiston, p. 21.
  5. ^ a b c d White, p. 21.
  6. ^ Griffey, p. 3.
  7. ^ a b c Griffey, p. 6.
  8. ^ Raatschen, p. 155.
  9. ^ Smuts, p. 15.
  10. ^ a b c Spencer, p. 33.
  11. ^ Britland, p. 37.
  12. ^ Kitson, p. 21.
  13. ^ a b Raatschan, p. 159.
  14. ^ a b Purkiss, p. 56.
  15. ^ Her favourite shrine was the Our Lady of Liesse; Wedgwood 1970, p. 166.
  16. ^ a b c Purkiss, p. 35.
  17. ^ Purkiss, pp. 28–9.
  18. ^ Purkisss, p.29.
  19. ^ a b c White, p. 12.
  20. ^ White, p. 13.
  21. ^ Hibbard, p. 119.
  22. ^ Britland, p. 63.
  23. ^ Hibbard, p. 133.
  24. ^ Hibbard, p. 127.
  25. ^ Hibbard, p. 131.
  26. ^ a b Purkiss, p. 57.
  27. ^ a b Purkiss, p. 63.
  28. ^ Purkiss, p. 16.
  29. ^ a b Purkiss, p. 33.
  30. ^ White, pp. 14–5.
  31. ^ Spencer, p. 31.
  32. ^ Purkiss, p. 64.
  33. ^ Purkiss, p. 66.
  34. ^ Purkiss, pp. 64–5.
  35. ^ Purkiss, pp. 58–9.
  36. ^ Purkiss, p. 59.
  37. ^ Purkiss, p.60.
  38. ^ a b Hibbard, p. 126.
  39. ^ Griffey, p. 2.
  40. ^ Purkiss, p. 62.
  41. ^ White, p. 19.
  42. ^ Purkiss, p. 58.
  43. ^ a b c d e Purkiss, p. 31.
  44. ^ White, p. 1.
  45. ^ Wedgwood, 1966, p. 70.
  46. ^ White, p. 2.
  47. ^ Bone, p. vi.
  48. ^ White, p. 5.
  49. ^ White, p. 20.
  50. ^ Purkiss, p. 34.
  51. ^ White, p. 34.
  52. ^ a b White, p. 28.
  53. ^ White, 26.
  54. ^ Purkiss, p. 9.
  55. ^ Purkiss, p. 113.
  56. ^ White, p. 22.
  57. ^ a b Fritze and Robison, p. 228.
  58. ^ Purkiss, p. 122.
  59. ^ a b Wedgwood 1970, p. 31.
  60. ^ a b Purkiss, p. 126.
  61. ^ a b Purkiss, p. 248.
  62. ^ Wedgwood 1970, pp. 78–9.
  63. ^ a b Wedgwood 1970, p. 79.
  64. ^ White, p. 62.
  65. ^ White, p. 63.
  66. ^ a b c d Purkiss, p. 249.
  67. ^ a b Wedgwood 1970, p.166.
  68. ^ Wedgwood 1970, p. 167; Purkiss, p. 250.
  69. ^ Wedgwood 1970, p.167.
  70. ^ a b Wedgwood 1970, p. 199.
  71. ^ Wedgwood 1970, p. 172.
  72. ^ Wedgwood 1970, pp. 200–1.
  73. ^ a b Purkiss, p. 244.
  74. ^ Purkiss, p. 247
  75. ^ Wedgwood 1970, p. 215.
  76. ^ a b Wedgwood 1970, p. 216.
  77. ^ a b c Purkiss, p. 250.
  78. ^ Purkiss, p. 251.
  79. ^ a b c Wedgwood 1970, p.290.
  80. ^ a b Wedgwood 1970, p. 304.
  81. ^ Wedgwood 1970, p. 306.
  82. ^ Wedgwood 1970, pp. 306–7.
  83. ^ Purkiss, p. 324.
  84. ^ Wedgwood, p.332.
  85. ^ Wedgwood 1970, p. 332; Princess Henrietta and her tutor were captured by Parliamentarian forces when Exeter fell shortly afterwards.
  86. ^ Wedgwood 1970, p.348.
  87. ^ White, p.9.
  88. ^ Wedgwood 1970, p. 428.
  89. ^ Wedgwood 1970, pp. 519–520.
  90. ^ a b Kitson, p. 17.
  91. ^ Purkiss, p. 404.
  92. ^ Purkiss, p. 406.
  93. ^ White, p. 185.
  94. ^ a b White, p.186.
  95. ^ a b White, p. 187.
  96. ^ Kitson, p. 33.
  97. ^ Kitson, p. 109.
  98. ^ Kitson, p. 117.
  99. ^ a b c White, p. 192.
  100. ^ Britland, p. 288.
  101. ^ Kitson, p. 132.
  102. ^ Kitson, pp. 132–3.
  103. ^ a b c White, p. 193.
  104. ^ named after the French Queen Anne of Austria
  105. ^ Kitson, pp. 134–5.
  106. ^ Kitson, p. 138.
  107. ^ The château de Colombes was demolished in 1846; http://www.multicollection.fr/COLOMBES-LA-REINE-HENRIETTE.html (French).
  108. ^ White, p. 194.
  109. ^ Stewart, pp. 42–3.
  110. ^ Purkiss, p. 352.
  111. ^ Maclagan, Michael; Louda, Jiří (1999), Line of Succession: Heraldry of the Royal Families of Europe, London: Little, Brown & Co, p. 27, ISBN 0-85605-469-1 
  112. ^ In France prior c.1630 the style of Royal Highness did not exist as it does today; it was her brother Gaston de France who introduced the style but it did not take precedence till some time after the marriage of Henriette Marie
  113. ^ As it earlier in the article, she gained the title after her sister married; date shown is her sister's wedding date
  114. ^ Pinces, John Harvey; Pinces, Rosemary (1974), The Royal Heraldry of England, Heraldry Today, Slough, Buckinghamshire: Hollen Street Press, pp. 174, ISBN 090045525X 

External links

Media related to Henrietta Maria of France at Wikimedia Commons

Henrietta Maria of France
Born: 25 November 1609 Died: 10 September 1669
British royalty
Preceded by
Anne of Denmark
Queen consort of England,
Scotland and of Ireland

Succeeded by
Catherine of Braganza

See also

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