The Cottage Orné Quilt

The Cottage Orné Quilt
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Sunday, 1 July 2012

Elizabeth Stuart known as The Winter Queen

In honour of the Jubilee, BBC Woman's Hour has been doing a series on Queens of England, but this time they diverted slightly to include Princess Elizabeth, the daughter of James I.

Woman's Hour made the point that as the eldest child, if the proposed new law on Royal inheritance is passed allowing daughters equal status with sons, she would have inheritated the throne and British history would have been very different.  No Civil War, no beheading of Charles I and all the changes thereafter!

She was by all accounts considered beautiful, but this lovely portrait by Marcus Gheeraerts is intriguing because it depicts her in Elizabethan rather than Stuart costume.

This is a portrait of her mother Anne of Denmark by the same artist -

Apparently James I wanted to perpetuate the iconic status of his predessor Elizabeth I, so he insisted that his wife be painted wearing dresses in the same style as Elizabeth and it rather looks that his daughter had to too!

Here's an earlier portrait - again very Elizabethan!

and a  later one in widow's weeds but very much Stuart fashion -

Well what happened to Princess Elizabeth?

When she was 17 she was married to the then Elector of the Palatinate in Germany. It was a genuine love match apparently and they had 13 children.  Her husband was offered the throne of Bohemia which he accepted and they went to live in Prague.  It didn't work out and they only spend the winter there - hence the "Winter Queen" tag.  They couldn't return home to Germany so were exiled to The Hague.  After her husband died and her brother Charles II became King, she returned to London for a visit where she died aged  65 and was buried with her parents in Westminster Abbey.

Though she didn't inherit the throne in her own right, when the other Stuart monarchs had no legitimate heirs, it was her grandson, the German, Elector of Hanover who became King George I.   A result for her I think!

There's a house related postscipt!  She had a loyal and rich admirer, William, first Earl of Craven, who when she returned here from Holland, knowing her love of hunting and her "longing to live in quiet" decided to build her a hunting lodge in the latest Dutch style.

Ashdown House

 It is now known as "England's most romantic house" and is in the care of the National Trust.  Follow the link here.

Sadly this story doesn't have a happy ending as Elizabeth died before seeing the house.

I'm sure there's a film script here somewhere, but perhaps change the ending?


Content in a Cottage said...

Thank you for this wonderful post. I hope BBC America will eventually bring us Woman's Hour. I would like that very much. The portraits are wonderful and Ashdown House is spectacular. I'm ready to pack my bags and visit!

regan said...

This story was so interesting! And the paintings are wonderful to see. Thanks for posting it!

Devon said...

how interesting,,and the portraits and the house are beautiful..thanks for sharing.

Shirley said...

Enjoyed the history lesson Mary. It must have taken an eternity to get them dressed of a morning.