This is one feisty lady with a streak of stubbornness, determination, unswerving loyalty to theCatholic religion and undying love and faithfulness to her husband Charles I of England.
Henrietta Maria was born 400 years ago today. Her illustrious ancestry makes it that she was the daughter of the Great Bourbon King, Henri IV and Marie De Medici- no ordinary- quiet- lifestyle personalities either…
Born the youngest child in her family, she barely knew her father the Great King; he was assassinated before she even turned one. Henrietta Maria would grow up to be a very charming bright-eyed princess with a case of strong personality to spice things up.
She met Charles I after he had declined to marry the Infanta of Spain. Although he immediately took a liking to her, it took a while for the two to become compatible- to say the least. Henrietta was quite argumentative and could not do without her grand entourage that she hauled over from France to be by her side. To make matters more difficult for the King of England, his pretty Queen was a Catholic with a zest for conversion as her ultimate goal.
Their life together decidedly got better when the Duke of Buckingham, Charles greatest friend and confidant, died; leaving the King to rely and confide solely in his wife. She had finally earned her right as confidante and closest ally to the King. The King also managed to convince her that ridding herself from her French staff and followers would be beneficial to get their marriage back on the right track. When all that was cleared up, things finally settled and from that point on the two were inseparable in both love and royal business.
The marriage produced six children. The firstborn, Charles II was different from the rest. Henrietta considered him to be very ugly, too tall, but irresistibly charming with the distinguishing advantage of being born with a grand and definite kingly allure. Her last child would be her favourite; Henrietta –Anne, or Minette, as she was often called (read about her here).
Henrietta Maria dedicated much of her time helping the King with his business, and of course, a lot of the country’s turmoil had to do with Royalty and religion. The Puritans, whom Henrietta Maria hated because of their rigidity, fervor, and ugly ‘roundheads’ as she called them, had much to do with the doomed fate of the English King.
No sooner were they separated due to the aggressive and fast-paced circumstances, Charles was imprisoned and then soon after beheaded. By that time Henrietta had already fled, as agreed by both to be the best solution. She was in France when she heard about the tragedy. This was a devastating blow she would never get over from.
During her time in France, Henrietta managed to care for her baby, Minette while she raised money to help re-install the monarchy through Charles II, her son. All the while, being a fervent believer and promoter of the Catholic faith, Henrietta also founded a convent, where she later lived.
Henrietta Maria of France, Queen Consort of England, Scotland and Ireland was mother to two kings: Charles II and James II. She was also grandmother to Mary II, William III and Anne of Great Britain.
I just finished reading a Jean Plaidy book on her: Myself My Enemy, which was fabulous to say the least. If you wish, you can read my review here.
Interesting Tid-Bits: I was so interested to learn that the state of Maryland was named after her by her husband. Also named after her is Cape Henrietta Maria in Northern Ontario, where James Bay and Hudson Bay meet.
Another, but very tainting and not so pleasant fact: there was a slave ship carrying slaves to the US that sank in the Key West named after her as well.
Sources: British Civil Wars, Britannica,