Catherine of Braganza

Catherine of Braganza

Catherine of Braganza

Catherine of Braganza was born on the 25th November 1638, at the Ducal Palace of Vila Vicosa in Alentego, Portugal to parents John, Duke of Braganza and Luisa de Guzman.

In 1640, her father John, the Duke of Braganza accepted the crown of Portugal, and became King John IV of Portugal.

On the 23rd June 1661, a contract of marriage was signed, and Catherine of Braganza and Charles II were married by proxy, on the 23rd April 1662 in Lisbon.

The terms of the contract, meant England obtained Tangiers, the Seven islands of Bombay, trading privileges in Brazil and East Indies, plus two million Portuguese crowns.  In return Portugal obtained military and naval support against Spain.

On the 21st May 1662, Catherine of Braganza married King Charles Ii, in two ceremonies; one a private Catholic service, the other a public Anglican service.

It wasn’t long before Catherine realised Charles had a number of mistresses, and marriage or no marriage they were here to stay.

One Barbara Palmer, mistress to King Charles II was appointed “Lady of the Bedchamber” to Queen Catherine.  Inspite of her objections, Charles had no intentions of changing his mind, and Catherine had to agree with the wishes of her husband and king.

The King’s advisors had put forward, he should seek divorce, for after twelve years of marriage, his Queen had not bore him a son and heir, he rejected the suggestion.

In 1675, English Catholics were ordered out of England, and Catherine a Catholic had no priest to confide in.

Francisco de Mello, became her Lord Chamberlain, but in 1676 was sent packing, for the printing of a catholic Book.  Catherine was isolated from her Catholic faith.

Charles passed away on the 6th February 1685, and Catherine expressed great grief at his death.  She remained in England, residing at Somerset House, being godmother to James Francis Edward, son of James II.

During the reign of William III and Mary II Parliament introduced a bill, which limited the number of Catholic servants she could employ.

In March of 1699, Catherine returned to her homeland of Portugal, becoming tutor to Prince John, son of the recently deceased Maria Sofia of Neuburg.

In 1703, she was one of the supporters in the “Treaty of Methuen” between Portugal and England.

In 1701 and 1704-05, she acted as Regent for Peter III, her brother.

On the 31st December 1705, Catherine of Braganza died at Bemposta Palace in Lisbon, and was buried at the Monastery of Sao Vicente de Fora, Lisbon, the Royal Pantheon of the Braganza Dynasty.

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Anne Hyde

Anne Hyde

Anne Hyde

Anne Hyde was born on the 12th March 1637, at Cranbourne Lodge, to parents Edward Hyde, the Earl of Clarendon and Frances Aylesbury.

In 1649, the family fled England, after the execution of King Charles I, and settled in the Netherlands.

Anne, became lady-in-waiting to Mary Stuart, Princess of Orange, and attracted the attention of James, the Duke of York.  She fell head over heels in love with James, got pregnant, and James felt it was his duty to marry her, much to the annoyance of his mother; Henrietta Maria.  For she considered her new daughter-in-law, a commoner, and not of Royal blood.

James, the Duke of York and Anne Hyde were married on the 3rd September 1600, in a private ceremony held at Worcester House in London.

Anne bore James two children, who survived infancy: Mary and Anne, who would take their place in later years as; Queen Mary II and Queen Anne.

The marriage would prove, not to be a happy one, for Anne had to share her affections for James, with his many mistresses.

Anne, an Anglican at the time of her marriage, was drawn to Catholicism, as James had, during their time abroad.  So it was not surprising, they eventually converted.

Anne Hyde died on the 31st March 1671, following fifteen months of illness, and died from suspected breast cancer.  She was buried in the vault, of Mary, Queen of Scots, in Henry VII’s Chapel at Westminster Abbey.

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Mary of Modena

Mary of Modena

Mary of Modena

Mary Beatrice d’Este was born on the 5th October 1658 at the Ducal Palace of Modena in Italy, to parents Alfonso IV, Duke of Modena and Laura Martinozzi.  Mary Beatrice; a descendant of the Bourbon royal family of France and the Medici family of Italy.

In 1669, James (James II), Duke of York, a Roman Catholic and younger brother to King Charles II and heir to the English throne, proposed marriage.

On the 30th September 1673 Mary Beatrice and James, Duke of York, were married by proxy in Modena, and married in person on the 23rd November 1673, and had two children who survived infancy; James and Louise Maria.

In 1688, the Popish Plot, headed by Anthony Ashley Cooper, was aimed at excluding the Catholic, Duke of York, his rightful successor to the English throne.

James and Mary Beatrice were forced into exile in Brussels.  Returning when Charles II was taken ill, fearing James Scott, Duke of Monmouth, illegitimate son of Charles II, would seize the throne… fortunately Charles recovered.

James and Mary, were sent to Edinburgh by Charles, and resided at Holyrood House.

In 1683, the Rye House Plot, was aimed at the assassination of King Charles II and his brother James, and Monmouth would become Lord Protector of England.

In 1684, James was re-admitted to the Privy Council.

King Charles II died on the 6th February 1685, and Charles and Mary were crowned on the 23rd April.

On the 19th July 1687, Mary’s mother, Laura the Duchess of Modena died.

Catherine Sedley, one time mistress of James II, and mother to two of his illegitimate children, had an affair tolerated by Mary.  However, James went one step too far, making her the Countess of Dorchester.

Mary threatened to renounce her throne, and go into a convent, unless he rid himself of her.  Mary won, Catherine Sedley was banished to Ireland, for the duration of her life, with a comfortable pension.

William of Orange, supported by Protestants in England, landed at Torbay in Devon on the 5th November 1688.  Plymouth fell to William, and many switched allegiance from James to William.

With his Queen in France, James chose to leave his throne, he had abdicated, reaching France on Christmas Day 1688.

William and Mary accepted the English throne in 1689.

James II, sought to recover the English throne, but after being defeated at the “Battle of the Boyne,” in Ireland in 1690, accepted the inevitable.

On the 6th September 1701, James, the former King James II of England died, and was buried at St.Germaine.

Mary received a request from Scotland, to surrender the custody of her son; James Francis Edward over to them, and agree to his conversion to Protestantism.  The first step in him succeeding to the English throne on William III’s death.

William III died in March 1702, and Lord Lovat begged Mary to release her son, and come to Scotland.  A rising had been planned of 15,000 soldiers, seizing the throne for James Francis Edward.  Mary refused… the uprising never got started.

Mary entered the Convent of the Visitations, Chaillot, on the outskirts of Paris, where she would live out the rest of her days, in near poverty.

On the 7th May 1718, she passed away, and was buried at Chaillot.  Her tomb was destroyed, during the French Revolution.

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Matilda of Flanders

Matilda of Flanders

Matilda of Flanders

Matilda of Flanders, was born in 1031 to parents Baldwin V the Count of Flanders and Adele of France, daughter of Robert II of France and Constance of Arles.  Matilda’s mother Adele was a religious woman, later known as “Adele the Holy,”  who oversaw her  daughter’s education.

Matilda’s early years were spent in Lille, Northern France.  She fell in love with Brihtric an English Ambassador to Flanders, but he rebuffed her advances.  Some years later she acted as Regent for William I of England.  She confiscated Brihtric’s lands, and had him thrown in prison, where he died.  (A scorned woman got her revenge).

Duke William of Normandy sent his representatives to the Court of the Count of Flanders, asking for the hand of Matilda in marriage.  His request was denied by Matilda, she would not marry the illegitimate son of “Robert the Devil.”

A furious William, rode to Bruges, pulled her from her horse as she was on her way to church and threw her to the ground.  Another account states he entered her room at her father’s court, threw her to the floor and hit her.  Where after Matilda is reported as saying: “No other man will marry me, but William.”

In 1049 Pope Leo IX condemned their proposed marriage as incestuous and the couple were excommunicated.  Duke William of Normandy and Matilda of Flanders were married at Notre Dame in 1051/52.  In 1059 William was reconciled with the papacy, and so it was William and Matilda founded two churches as penance for defiance of a papal ban.

The union of marriage between William and Matilda was successful, for they had ten children: Robert – Richard – Cecilia    Adeliza – William II – Matilda – Constance – Adela – Adele and   Henry I.

Of those who survived into adulthood:

Adele would become the mother of King Stephen of England, who reigned from 1135-1154.

Constance would marry Alan IV the Duke of Brittany.

William II would become King William II of England and reigned from 1087-1100.

Henry I would become King of England and reigned from 1100-1135.

Richard died in a hunting accident in the New Forest, where he was gored to death by a stag.

Agatha married Alfonso VI, King of Galicia – y – Leon, Spain.

Cecilia entered the church, and became Abbess of Holy Trinity.

In 1066, William launched an invasion on England, and Matilda commissioned “The Mora” a flagship for her husband’s crossing of the English Channel.  Matilda remained in Normandy as Regent and William presented her with crown jewels upon his return.  On the 11th May, Matilda was crowned Queen of England in 1068 at Westminster Abbey.

When illness struck down his beloved wife; Matilda, William rushed to Normandy to be at her side.  In November 1083, Matilda died at Caen, and William her husband heard her final confession.  She was buried in the Choir of the Holy Trinity “I’Abbaye aux Dames” in Caen, Normandy.

Her final bequests: She left money to the poor, and her royal Sceptre and Crown to Holy Trinity Abbey.

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Plantagenet’s Land Seizure

Isabella of Gloucester

Isabella of Gloucester

Isabella, the Countess of Gloucester was born in 1173, to parents, William Fitz Robert, the 2nd Earl of Gloucester and his wife Hawise de Beaumont.  Hawise was the daughter of the Earl of Leicester, which made Isabella, the niece of the Earl of Leicester.

King Henry II sought the wealth of the Earl of Gloucester.  In 1176, an agreement was forged between the Earl and King, whereby John would inherit Gloucester’s wealth in return for marrying Isabella, making her a future Queen.  Isabella would be the sole heir of the Gloucester estate.

The Earl of Gloucester died in 1183, and John became heir in waiting to the Gloucester estate.  In 1189 King Henry II died, and Prince Richard (Richard the Lionheart) was crowned King of England.

On the 29th August 1189, Prince John married Isabella of Gloucester at Marlborough Castle.

Isabella and John’s grandfather was King Henry I, and as such a dispensation was required from the Vatican.  Pope Clement III granted a dispensation to marry, but sexual relations were forbidden.

In 1199 King Richard died and Prince John became King John of England.  It didn’t take him long, to divorce Isabella on the grounds it was an illegal marriage.

Isabella was divorced from John, but not free of him, for he wanted to keep control over her.  He made her his ward, thus maintaining total control of her property.

King John humiliated Isabella, making her chaperone to his new Queen.  In a final act of humiliation he sold her like a common slave for 20,000 marks to the Earl of Essex, and they were married on the 20th January 1214.

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Mary Queen of Scots

NPG 1766,Mary, Queen of Scots,by Unknown artist

Mary Queen of Scots

Mary, Queen of Scots was born at Linlithgow Palace on the 8th December 1542, to parents King James V and Marie de Guise.

James V had been defeated at the “Battle of Solway Moss” by English forces commanded by Oliver Sinclair.  James chose to retire to his hunting lodge at Falkland Palace in Fife out of disgrace, and on the 14th December he died.

Henry VIII, called off the war against Scotland, and sought to negotiate a marriage between Mary and Prince Edward VI heir apparent to the English throne, then aged five.

The Regent of Scotland, The Earl of Arran was in favour of the marriage, and so the Treaty of Greenwich was entered into, thus Mary and Edward were betrothed to each other.  However, opposing factions saw it as a threat to Scottish nationality and their Catholic religion.  Pressure was brought to bear on the Earl of Arran, to withdraw from the treaty, and seek an alliance with France.

On the 9th December 1543, Mary was crowned Mary, Queen of Scots at Stirling castle.

In 1558, Mary married Francis the dauphin of France at Notre Dame in Paris, and on the 10th July 1559, Mary ascends to Queen Consort of France, when her husband becomes King Francis II of France.

Many in England feared this marriage could have long term consequences.  For Mary was now queen Consort of France, Queen of Scotland, and declared herself as the true Queen of England, whilst her husband became King Consort of Scotland and King of France, this royal alliance had united French and Scottish crowns.

On the 5th December 1560, Mary’s husband King Francis II of France died.

In 1560, Mass performed in Latin became illegal, according to the law laid down by the Scottish Parliament, as the Protestant faith, spread across much of Scotland.

Mary, Queen of Scots found herself a widow at eighteen, and returned to her homeland of Scotland in 1561, to take up her position as Queen of Scotland.  She a Catholic, in a predominately Protestant country, forced into accepting her Scotland was now led by a Protestant Government.

In 1565, Mary marries Henry Stuart, Lord Darnley, her cousin, believing upon the death of Elizabeth I; with him on her side, any claim to the English throne would be increased.  They married at Mary’s private chapel in Holyrood House on the 29th July.  The marriage was a failure, for Darnley wanted to be joint ruler with Mary.

Mary appointed one David Riccio an Italian as her personal secretary, and on the 9th March 1566, Darnley burst into her chambers at Holyrood House with fellow conspirators in a jealous rage, and murdered Riccio.

On the 19th June 1566, Mary gave birth to a son; James at Edinburgh Castle, who would grow up to become King James VI of Scotland, and baptised on the 12th December at Stirling Castle.

Early in 1567, Darnley was known to be plotting against Mary’s life.  Then on the 9th February Stuart Darnley, the King of Scotland was strangled to death in the grounds of Kirk O’Fields, following an explosion.  Then in the May, the Earl of Bothwell believed to be behind the murder marries Mary, Queen of Scots.

On the 15th June 1567, Protestant Lords confronted Mary at Carberry Hill, near Edinburgh, where she surrendered and was imprisoned at Lochleven Castle.  Pressure was brought to bear, forcing her to abdicate in favour of her infant son; James.

Mary escaped in 1568, defeated in the “Battle of Langside” on the 13th May, and fled south, crossing the border into England, expecting Elizabeth to support her … how wrong she was.

Mary found herself a prisoner, first at Carlisle Castle, then Bolton Castle.

In October of 1586, Mary found herself on trial for treason against the life of Elizabeth, through correspondence with Anthony Babington.  On the 25th October she was found guilty of the charges and sentenced to death.

Mary Queen of Scots Execution

Execution of Mary Queen of Scots by Dutch Artist

On the 8th February 1587, Mary Queen of Scots, she who sought help from Elizabeth and England, a conspirator against the life of Elizabeth, lost her own life to the executioner… at Fotheringhay Castle, and was buried first at Peterborough Cathedral, then in 1612 moved to Westminster Abbey.

Images:
Mary Queen of Scots: Wikipedia
Execution of Mary Queen of Scots: National Portrait Gallery

Mary of Guise

Mary of Guise

Mary of Guise ( Queen Regent of Scotland)

Mary of Lorraine, better known as Mary of Guise, Queen to James V, and regent of Scotland was born at Bar on the 22nd November 1515, to parents Claude of Guise and Antoinette of Bourbon.

Mary of Guise married Louis II of Orleans, Duke of Longueville in 1534, and bore him a son Francis in 1535.  In the June of 1537, her husband, the Duke of Longueville died.

Mary was in her early twenties, and sought in marriage by James V, whose wife had died in the July and Henry VIII after the death of his beloved wife; Jane Seymour.

Mary accepted the offer of marriage from James V.  Mary an adopted daughter of France received papal dispensation for her upcoming marriage.  Her marriage to James V was celebrated first by Proxy in the May of 1538 in Paris, then at St.Andrews upon her arrival in Scotland.

She bore James two sons; James in the May of 1540 and Robert in the April of 1541, both sons died in the April of 1541.  In December of 1542; Mary, Queen of Scots was born and within a week James had died.

Cardinal David Breton, head of the French and Catholic party, and friend and ally to Mary, produced a will of the late king, which stated primacy in regency was assigned to Breton, himself.  John Knox made accusations of unfounded intimacy between Mary and Breton.  A similar report was revived in 1543, by Sir Ralph Sadler, English envoy.

Cardinal David Breton was arrested, and the regency fell to heir presumptive James, Earl of Arran, who hoped to secure the hand of the infant princess for his own son.

Mary of Guise was asked by the English commissioner, Sir Ralph Sadler to push her daughter, to further her contract of marriage with Edward VI.

A marriage treaty was signed on the 1st July at Greenwich, and Mary, Queen of Scots was barely a year old, was betrothed to Edward VI.  The terms stated that Mary would be placed in Henry’s custody when she was ten years old.  The Queen dowager and her daughter were under constant scrutiny at Linlithgow, and on the 23rd July 1543, escaped to the safety of Stirling Castle, aided by Cardinal Breton.

Following the Queen’s coronation in the September, Mary of Guise, played a prominent part in the affairs of the kingdom… Queen Regent of Scotland.

Mary of Guise kept in contact with her French kinsmen, for she sought a French alliance for her daughter.  This meant going out on a limb, against her advisers, who opposed such an idea.

The English invasion of 1547 was to enforce the English marriage, which gave Mary the reason for a French alliance.  In the June of 1548 a French fleet and 5,000 soldiers landed at Leith under the command of Andre de Montalembert, seigneur d’Esse, to booster Scottish forces, laying siege to English held Haddington.

NPG 1766,Mary, Queen of Scots,by Unknown artist

Mary Queen of Scots

The Scottish Parliament approved the marriage of Mary, the young Queen of Scotland with the Dauphin of France.  In the August of 1548, she set sail from Dumbarton to complete her education in the French court.

In the September of 1550, Mary of Guise visited France, seeking assurances from Henry II, over the confirmation of the dukedom and revenues of Chatelherault for the Earl of Arran, inducing him to resign the regency.

On route from France to Scotland, landed at Portsmouth due to heavy storms, and she visited Edward VI.  Arran refused to relinquish regency until the April of 1554, with assurances to his right of succession.

The new Regent faced an empty exchequer and opposition to Mary’s marriage to the dauphin.

The granting of high positions of state to Frenchmen caused outcry, fearing foreign domination.

Hostility from Arran and Archbishop Hamilton, forced her to undertake talks with the Lords of the Congregation, who favoured a protestant party.

Miners arrived from Lorraine, to dig for gold at Crawford Moor, to meet the high expenses of her government.

Mary of Guise appointed William Maitland of Lethington in 1554 as Secretary of State, and made a dangerous enemy of John Knox in the process.

On matters of religion, she tried to hold a balance between Catholic and Protestant factions, by allowing Presbyterian preachers to practice their religion, but no preaching in Edinburgh and Leith.

With the marriage of Francis II and her daughter Mary in 1558, she strengthened her position.  In 1559, she submitted to the religious policy of her relatives; the Guises.

She was forced to take up arms against the Protestants of Perth, who had been incited by John Knox to destroy the Charterhouse, the place where Scottish kings were buried.  The reformers were forced into submission on condition no foreign garrison was positioned in Perth.

Mary broke the agreement, by garrisoning Scottish troops, paid for by the French.

On the 21st October 1559, reformers who had been welcomed into Edinburgh, forcing Mary to flee to Dunbar, called for her to be deposed.

Mary, assisted by French forces, fortified Leith.  She had been betrayed, Chatelherault and his son defected, and William Maitland, her secretary of state, betrayed her plans to the Lords of the Congregation.

In October of 1559, Mary’s forces took on Leith, and attempted to seize an English convoy, was a failure leading to increased difficulties.  Mary entered Edinburgh, and conducted a bloody campaign in Fife.

In January of 1560, William Winter commanded an English fleet, which was sent to force Elbeuf’s French fleet, back to France.  Elbeuf had been commissioned by Francis II and Mary to seize Mary’s regency, on account of her failing health.

An English army led by Lord Grey, crossed the border into Scotland on the 29th March 1560, and granted Mary of Guise, the Regent asylum in Edinburgh Castle.

As Mary lay there, she felt her life slowly draining from her, she knew her end was close at hand.  She sent for the Lords of the Congregation, and pleaded they maintain a French Alliance.

On the 11th June 1560 Mary of Guise, also known as Mary of Lorraine, the mother of Mary, Queen of Scots died.  She was buried in St.Peter’s Church within the nunnery at Reims, France, where her sister was the Abbess.

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