Henrietta Maria, Wife of Charles I by Agnes Strickland


Henrietta Maria was the sixth child and youngest daughter of Henry IV. of France, by his second wife, Marie de Medicis. She was born at the Louvre, November 25, 1609. Great as Henry was, he suffered his mind to be swayed by predictions. He had been told that he should die the day after his queen was crowned. To her great mortification, he would not permit that ceremony to be performed until after the birth of his youngest daughter. The queen prevailed on him to give orders for her coronation at St. Denis, where it took place, when Henriette, who was only five months old, was present, held in her nurse's arms, on one side of her mother's throne, surrounded by her brothers and sisters—a group of very beautiful children—the dauphin, too soon to be Louis XIII., Gaston, Elizabeth, and Christine. The next day Henry IV. was assassinated by Ravillac in the streets of Paris, May 13, 1610.

The royal children were barricaded all that dreary night in the guard-room at the Louvre, next to the chamber where the king's bleeding corpse lay. No one slept in the palace excepting the infant Henriette, whose peaceful slumbers in her nurse's arms were in strange contrast to the grief and terror of all around, for it was believed that an insurrection would follow the regicidal act. Again the infant princess appeared in her nurse's arms, at the funeral of the royal hero of France, and once more, at the coronation of her young brother at Rheims, when she was only ten months old. Her governess was Mademoiselle de Monglat, whom she used to call Mamanga. She received her education from her brother Gaston's school-master, M. de Bevis: she was the constant companion of Duke Gaston, who was only eighteen months older than herself.

Henriette was the darling of her mother, perhaps her spoiled darling, for Maria de Medicis, queen-regent of France, was neither wise nor judicious. When the queen was deprived of the regency and her liberty, Henriette was permitted to share her royal mother's captivity.

When the queen-mother recovered her liberty, the young Henriette, not then fifteen, became the ornament of the court. Anne of Austria, the young queen-consort of Louis XIII., cherished love and friendship for her sister-in-law, of which Henriette found the benefit in her worst fortunes.

When Henriette was only in her fourteenth year, she and her future consort, Charles, Prince of Wales, unknown to each other, met at a ball in the palace of the king her brother, early in February, 1623. The Prince of Wales and his father's favourite minister, George Villiers, Earl of Buckingham, were travelling incognito to Madrid, under the homely names of Tom Smith and Jack Smith. The object of the Prince of Wales was to see the infanta Donna Maria (with whom he was engaged by the king his father in a treaty of marriage), and to make acquaintance with her before they should be irrevocably bound in wedlock. The prince and his companion halted at Paris, and went like others to see the Louvre, and look at the royal family of France on the night of the ball. Struck by their personal appearance, the Duke de Montbazan gave the handsome and distinguished-looking strangers advantageous places in the hall of the Louvre, where Charles saw the beautiful Henriette dance. The circumstance was afterward mentioned to Henriette, who sighed, and said, "Ah! the Prince of Wales needed not have gone so far as Spain to look for a wife." She had not noticed Jack Smith in the gallery of the Louvre, yet she had seen portraits of Charles, who was the most graceful prince in Europe.

The Spanish match was broken off. Donna Maria afterward married the Emperor of Germany. James I. demanded the hand of the beautiful Henriette for his heir.

The English people preferred having a daughter of the Protestant hero, Henry the Great, for their queen, to the grand-daughter of the cruel Philip II. of Spain. Unfortunately, Henriette had been brought up in the most ignorant bigotry by her mother. We have read a letter, very much worn with often unfolding, of advice and instruction from this queen to her daughter, regarding her conduct in England, in which she mentions the belief of the English in the same terms as if they were Jews. Such imputation the creed of the Anglican Church no more deserved than her own. Unfortunately, her young daughter was utterly ignorant of all history but that from prejudiced sources, as she afterward deeply regretted to her friend Madame de Motteville.

The marriage articles were very tedious, and much disputed; a clause was left by the council of James I., giving his son's consort power in the education of her children until their thirteenth year; a clause regretted by Charles, and which his determination to break afterward, occasioned the only real unhappiness in his married life. When all was ready for the betrothal, James I. died, March, 1624-5.

Some anxiety was shown lest the young king, Charles I., should not ratify his father's treaty; but the wooing ambassadors, the Earls of Carlisle and Holland, had described the young princess in such favourable terms that Charles was eager to complete the agreement. In one of Holland's letters to Charles she is thus mentioned: "In truth, she is the sweetest creature in France, and the loveliest thing in nature. I heard her the other day discourse with her mother and her ladies with wondrous discretion. She dances—the which I am witness of—as well as I ever saw. They say she sings most sweetly; I am sure she looks as if she did!" In the course of a few days the Earl of Holland heard this wonderful voice. "I had been told much of it," he wrote; "but I find it true that neither her singing-master, nor any man or woman in Europe, singeth as she doth; her voice is beyond all imagination!" The musical and vocal powers of the queen-mother of France, Marie de Medicis, were likewise of the finest order; and her youngest daughter had inherited from her, gifts lavishly bestowed by nature on the children of Italy.

Pope Urban VIII. was exceedingly adverse to the English marriage: he had been Henrietta's god-father when he was cardinal legate in France. He was unwilling to grant a dispensation for his god-child wedding out of their Church; putting his objection on his duty to guard her happiness, rather than the usual polemic wranglings. No one can deny that his historical acumen was right in what he said—"If the Stuart king relaxed the bloody penal laws against the Roman Catholics, the English would not suffer him to live long. If they were continued, what happiness could the French princess have in her wedlock?" These were the words of wisdom, and ought to have been heeded. But the unwise prejudice against placing a princess on the English throne of lower rank than the royalties of France or Spain, unduly influenced James I., or rather his English council, since he did not act thus in his own case.

Charles I. and Louis XIII. resolved to proceed with the betrothal without Urban's dispensation, which, of course, caused it to be sent very quickly. Henriette and Charles I. were betrothed, May 8, 1625, by proxy. She was dressed in a magnificent robe woven with gold and silver, and flowered with French lilies in gems and diamonds. The marriage took place three days afterward. The palace of the Archbishop of Paris (but lately destroyed) stood just behind Notre Dame; a gallery-bridge connected it with that cathedral, hung with violet satin, figured with gold fleur-de-lis; the marriage procession passed over it from the palace to Notre Dame. The bride was led by her young brother Gaston, and was given away by the king, Louis XIII.

The Duke de Chevreuse, a near kinsman of Charles I., was his proxy; he was attired in black velvet; but over this plain attire wore a scarf flowered with diamond roses; the queen-mother shone like a pillar of precious stones; her long train was borne by two princesses of the blood, Condè and Conti. The marriage took place in the porch of Notre Dame; the English ambassadors, and even the proxy of England, out of respect to the religious feelings of Charles I., withdrew from Notre Dame during the concluding mass.

The Duke of Buckingham, ambassador-extraordinary from England, arrived at the conclusion of the ceremony. He was angry because he was too late—and certainly behaved in a most extraordinary manner while in France. Subsequently, he was on ill terms with the young Queen of England.

The Duke of Buckingham caused many delays by his flighty conduct. At last the cortége of the bride approached Boulogne. Charles I. came to Dover Castle to meet and welcome his queen. Her passage was dangerous. The king had that Sunday retired to Canterbury, thinking the bride could not embark in the storm. However, she landed at Dover, June 23, 1625, at seven in the evening. At ten, next day, the king arrived while she was at breakfast; he wished to wait, for she had been very ill with sea-sickness. Yet the bride rose hastily from table, hasted down a pair of stairs to meet the king, then offered to kneel and kiss his hand; but he wrapped her up in his arms with many kisses. "Sir, I have come to your majesty's country to be commanded by you," were the set words the poor bride had prepared for her first speech to Charles, but her voice failed, and ended with a gush of tears. Charles kindly led her apart, kissed off her tears, and said he should do so while they fell. His tenderness soon soothed the weeping girl, and she entered into familiar discourse with the royal lover. Charles seemed pleased that she was taller than he had heard; and, finding she reached the height of his shoulder, he glanced downward at her feet. Her quickness caught his meaning, and she said to him, in French, "I stand on my own feet; I have no help from art; thus tall am I, neither higher nor lower."

The young queen then presented all her French attendants to Charles, beginning with her cousin, the beautiful Madame de St. George, formerly her governess, now her first lady of the bed-chamber. To her the king very early took an antipathy.

The same eventful day, the bride, the king, and court set out for Canterbury, where the marriage was to be celebrated. On a beautiful extent of greensward, called Barham downs, a banquet was prepared; and in the pavilions the bride-queen was introduced to the ladies of her English household, and the noblemen and gentlemen appointed to her service. That evening, Charles and Henrietta were married in the noble hall of St. Augustine, Canterbury.

Next morning they embarked at Gravesend, the king choosing to enter his capital by the grand highway of the Thames, that he might show his bride the stately shipping of his noble navy, which greeted the royal procession as it passed on its progress up the stream with thundering salutes, while the river was covered with thousands of boats and beautiful barges belonging to the nobility and merchants of London. A violent thunder-shower came on as the procession neared the landing-place at Whitehall; the queen, however, waved her hand repeatedly to the people. She was splendidly dressed; like the king, the colour she wore was green.

Even in the first days of his marriage, Charles I. saw strong reason to lament he had admitted the Roman Catholic colony with his young queen. His position was extremely difficult; he foresaw all its dangers, and came early to the resolution of neutralizing the worst features of the case. The queen was childish in years; her reason totally uncultivated; she was, moreover, alike ignorant of the language and history of the country. Her confessor and her bishop were probably not less bigoted than herself; and the king knew that their celebration of rites, of which they would abate not one jot, was the greatest offence in the eyes of his people. It was his ruin, as the natural good sense of Henrietta afterward acknowledged, in her confessions of passionate penitence to her friend, Madame de Motteville.

Charles I. found great cause to regret the establishment of his queen's Roman Catholic train of priests and attendants, besides other injurious stipulations in the marriage treaty his dying father's council had ratified. The queen was but an unreasoning girl of sixteen, entirely guided by the unusually large train she had about her. She would not learn English, and was encouraged by her French attendants to pay little regard to the customs and prejudices of the nation over which her consort reigned. Thus, she would not be crowned, February 2, 1626, lest she should join in the rites of the Church of England; she was the only Queen of England who ever refused her coronation; this deeply grieved her husband and incensed his people, who never forgave the offence, as she found afterward to her cost.

Charles was crowned solus. Henrietta viewed the coronation procession from the palace gate-way by King Street. Her French officials were accused of capering irreverently during the solemnity—as they were not in the abbey, that was no great crime; yet the next time Charles I. caught them capering he made it an excuse for a general clearance. He thus got rid of six ecclesiastics, many French ladies, especially of Madame St. George, who claimed the privilege of occupying a seat in the royal carriage wherever the king and queen went, to the great annoyance of Charles. Her place, as the queen's first lady, was filled by the Protestant Madame de la Tremouille. Only Pére Gamache and another very quiet humble priest were allowed for the service of his queen's chapel by Charles I. Such innovations enraged the young queen greatly; she threw herself into agonies of rage at the departure of her French attendants; and in her fury contrived to break the windows of the king's closet or private apartment at Whitehall, although he restrained her by keeping the casement shut, and holding both her wrists, because he forbade her to bid them farewell when they embarked at Whitehall stairs. The king did not send them empty away; 22,000l. was distributed among them; nevertheless, the French women of the royal bed-chamber carried off all the queen's clothes, as lawful perquisites, leaving, besides the dress she wore, only an old gown and three chemises—not good for much. The king tenderly soothed his afflicted consort, who seemed to be reconciled; but before the close of the year, 1626, she manifested such temper that Louis XIII. sent his father's old friend, the Duke de Bassompierre, as ambassador-extraordinary, to inquire into his sister's conjugal unhappiness.

Mischief had been made by the king's prime minister, the Duke of Buckingham, as plainly may be seen by the royal letters extant.[1] Since the times of Henry VIII. the boundaries of the royal parks of Whitehall and St. James had been decorated with gallows, and many of them loaded with human heads and quarters. In the first month of Henrietta's arrival in London, it was said that her priests had caused her to make a pilgrimage to the gallows where the last Roman Catholic priests had been put to death for their faith, that she went barefoot, and knelt there praying. Bassompierre, who talked until he lost his voice, and after great exertions, made out this accusation, which the young queen utterly denied. "She never was near the gallows," she said, "never at that time knew where it was, until lately when she was walking with the king in Hyde Park." A fine terminus to the evening walk of a fair young queen under eighteen! Another tale was embodied in council-minutes, "that the queen's priest had made her, for penance, eat off wooden trenchers." When Bassompierre asked her, "How about the wooden platters?" the queen disdained to reply.

[1] These letters of entertaining facts of Bassompierre's doings are to be found in the "Lives of the Queens of England," by Agnes Strickland.

Henrietta could not express herself in English, and Bassompierre, her countryman, who knew not one word of it, certainly argued her defence at a great disadvantage. However, he privately gave Henrietta the good advice to humble her high spirit to her husband, and endeavour to conciliate his friend. The perverse Henrietta then quarrelled with him, defied Buckingham, and behaved worse than ever to Charles. But the brave Frenchman, who had fought through the Huguenot wars by her heroic father's side, and had known her from her babyhood, of course looked upon her as on any other spoiled girl of seventeen. He soon told her his mind, and induced better behaviour. Finally he left the royal pair much better friends than he found them.

War soon after ensued between England and France. King Charles supported the independence of Holland, which Cardinal Richelieu had vainly tried to make him crush. He likewise fitted out a navy, and sent it to the relief of the French Protestants. It was under the command of Buckingham, no seaman, though brave enough. Of course the naval war was unsuccessful. Before another expedition sailed, Buckingham was assassinated at Portsmouth, August, 1628, by Felton the fanatic. And with him ceased all Henrietta's married infelicity.

The Parliament of Charles refused all supplies for the war in behalf of the Protestants, unless he consented to put to a death of torture every Catholic priest exercising the rights of his religion, and gave his veto for confiscating the property of all Roman Catholics in his realm. Charles was more tormented by the Roman Catholics than any man in his dominions, and they would have done all they could against him; yet he was too good in heart and spirit to authorize such wholesale robbery and murder. He thought the penal law already cruel enough, and perhaps he wished them to be put on the same footing as the great Henry, his queen's father, had left the French Protestants.  From this period may be dated the disunion between king and Parliament. He ceased to summon it. If we may believe Sir William Temple, the chief agitators against Charles in the House of Commons were the bribed tools of his avowed enemy, the powerful and unscrupulous French minister, Cardinal Richelieu.

The queen had given birth to her first-born, a prince that died as soon as christened. She next brought into the world, May 29, 1630, another son, a fine babe, having the brown complexion and strong features of the Queen of Navarre, Henrietta's grandmother. The child was named Charles by Dr. Laud, in St. James's Chapel. It is amusing to read the young mother's opinion of the solemn ugliness of her first-born in the following letter, written by her to her dear friend, Madame St. George, then in France, and state governess of Henrietta's niece, Mademoiselle de Montpensier.

"Mamie St. George:—The husband of the nurse of my son going to France about some business, I write you this letter, believing you will be very glad to ask him news of my son, of whom I think you have seen the portrait I sent to the queen, my mother. He is so ugly that I am ashamed of him; but his size and fatness atone for his want of beauty. I wish you could see the gentleman, for he has no ordinary mien. He is so serious that I cannot help deeming him wiser than myself.

"Send me a dozen pair of sweet chamois gloves, also one pair of doe's skin, a game of poule, and the rules of any games now in vogue. I assure you that if I did not write to you often, it is not because I have left off loving you, but because—I must confess it—I am very idle.... Adieu! the man must have the letter."

The queen gave birth to her eldest daughter, November 4, 1631, at St. James's Palace. The babe was baptized Mary by Dr. Laud.

The king could not longer delay his coronation as King of Scotland; as for the queen, she refused investiture with the crown-matrimonial of that realm even more pertinaciously than she had done that of England. Within a few weeks of her consort's return, she presented him with another son, born at St. James's, October 14, 1633, named James, in memory of his grandfather, James I. Charles devoted his second son to the marine service of his country, and caused his education to tend to every thing naval. He became one of the greatest admirals and marine legislators in the world, but one of the most unfortunate of our kings. The birth of the Princess Elizabeth occurred January 28, 1635.

Queen Henrietta was a fond mother, and bestowed all the time she could on her nursery. Occasionally, her divine voice was heard singing to her infant, as she lulled it in her arms, filling the galleries of her palace with its rich cadences. Royal etiquette forbade her gratifying unqualified listeners with its enchanting melody.

At this period of her life Henrietta was heard to declare herself the happiest woman in the world; happy as wife, mother, and queen. Henrietta Maria was not only the queen, but the beauty of the British court; she had about the year 1633 attained the perfection of her charms, in face and figure; she was the theme of every poet, the star of all beholders. The moral life of Charles I., his conjugal attachment to his queen, and the refined tastes of both, gave the court a degree of elegance till then unknown.

In Vandyke's painting of Henrietta she is represented as evidently very young; the features are delicate and pretty, with a pale clear complexion, beautiful dark eyes and chestnut hair. Her form is slight and exquisitely graceful. She is dressed in white satin; the bodice of the dress is nearly high, with a large falling collar trimmed with points. The bodice is made tight to the form, closed in front with bows of cherry ribbon, and is finished from the waist with several large tabs, richly embroidered. The sleeves are very full and descend to the elbows, where they are confined by ruffles. One arm is encircled with a narrow black bracelet, the other with one of costly gems. She wears a string of pear-shaped pearls about her neck; a red ribbon twisted with pearls is placed carelessly in her hair at the back of her head. She stands by a table, and her hand rests on two red roses, which are placed near the crown.

All was peaceful at this juncture; the discontents of the English people while Charles I. governed without a parliament were hushed in grim repose, like the tropical winds before the burst of the typhoon. Prynne, in his abusive libel called Histrio-mastrix, first interrupted this peace. He attacked Henrietta for performing in masques played only in her own family. He was condemned to the pillory by the Star Chamber conclave. Henrietta, to her honour be it recorded, did everything in her power to save him from the infliction of his cruel sentence; but even her intercession was fruitless. Yet Prynne himself said, after the civil wars that ensued, "King Charles when he took my ears should have taken my head."

Henrietta, though a very fond mother, did not indulge her children in any thing which was foolish or improper. The following letter from her to her eldest son Charles, Prince of Wales, written at the request of his governor, the Marquis of Newcastle—who had been unable to induce the young prince to swallow the physic which it was considered necessary for him to take—is still preserved in the British Museum:

The Queen To Her Son Charles, Prince Of Wales.

"Charles:—I am sorry that I must begin my first letter with chiding you, because I hear that you will not take physic. I hope it was only for this day, and that tomorrow you will do it; for if you will not, I must come to you and make you take it; for it is for your health. I have given orders to my Lord of Newcastle to send me word tonight whether you will or not; therefore I hope you will not give me the pains to go. And so I rest your affectionate mother,  Henrietta Marie."

"To my dear son, the prince, 1638."

The young prince, who was then only eight years old, felt the propriety of submitting to the maternal command, and swallowed the dose; but amused himself with writing this sprightly little billet to his governor, dryly stating the reason of his declining the potion:

Charles, Prince Of Wales, To His Governor, Lord Newcastle.

"MY LORD:—I would not have you take too much physic, for it doth always make me worse; and I think it will do the like with you. I ride every day, and am ready to follow any other directions from you. Make haste back to him that loves you.


This letter is written between double-ruled lines in a round text hand.

Some months after this the Princess Anne, the youngest daughter of Charles I. and Queen Henrietta, a sweet, well-trained infant of four years old, was stricken with mortal sickness; and being required to say her prayers, as the hour of death was at hand, said, "she did not think she could repeat her long prayer," meaning the Lord's Prayer, "then; but she would say her short prayer;" and then lisped out, "Lighten mine eyes, O Lord, that I sleep not the sleep of death," and expired with these words on her innocent lips.

It is possible that Charles I. might have contended successfully with the inimical party that was arraying itself against him, if he and his queen had not incurred the enmity of Cardinal Richelieu by granting an asylum in England to the queen-dowager of France, Marie de Medicis, Henrietta's mother, the object of that vindictive ecclesiastic's malice, whom he had exiled from France, and pursued with unappeasable hatred from every place in Europe where she sought shelter in her adversity. Charles not only received her with unbounded courtesy and respect, but travelled to meet the royal fugitive at Harwich, where she landed, and conducted her in state to London. When the royal carriage in which Charles and his guest were seated arrived at the great quadrangle of St. James's Palace, Queen Henrietta, accompanied by her children, Charles, Prince of Wales, the little Duke of York, and the Princesses Mary and Elizabeth, descended the stairs to receive her royal mother. She even attempted to open the carriage door with her own hands; and the moment her mother alighted she sunk on her knees to receive her blessing, and her example was followed by her children, who all knelt round her.

Marie de Medicis was a woman of weak judgment, and proved a troublesome visitor. Charles and Henrietta, whose affairs were in a very difficult position, had great cause to regret her visit, which lasted nearly two years.

The queen-mother, Marie de Medicis, was given forty grand apartments in St. James's Palace. She brought a great number of priests with her, which added to the rage of the people; and the king's affairs went from bad to worse. Charles was compelled to give up his great minister Strafford to the axe, who was condemned by Parliament for having served him too faithfully. Henrietta exerted herself to support him; she often wanted judgment, but her courage never failed.

In the midst of the awful scenes of Strafford's impeachment, trial, and death, the princess-royal was espoused to the young Prince of Orange; he was but eleven, and the bride ten years old. Henrietta made no opposition to this Protestant alliance. She had hoped that the proof of the king's attachment to the Protestants would silence the cries of popery against him; but those cries were got up for party purposes by those intent on plunder, to whom all creeds were indifferent. After her mother had quitted England, and the king had departed, with the attempt to pacify Scotland, the royal family assembled round her were of tender ages. They were soon separated, some of them never to meet again. Charles, Prince of Wales, was eleven years of age, Mary the young bride of Orange, ten, James, Duke of York, seven, Elizabeth six, and Henry, Duke of Gloucester, a babe in arms. When alarms occurred at night, the queen more than once armed her household, and herself headed their patrole about Oatlands Park; thus personally guarding her slumbering little ones.

The king had received such proofs in Scotland of Richelieu's bribery of the five members of Parliament, that he went to arrest Mr. Pym and his colleagues in person. Unfortunately, he had confided to the queen his intent, and told her at such an hour all his regal perplexities would cease. The queen put misplaced confidence in one of her attendants, Lady Carlisle, a spy leagued with the agitators; to this treacherous person she told her royal husband's intentions. Lady Carlisle sent instantly word to the factious members, who escaped. As Whitehall was close to the House of Commons, the affair was easy, the king being delayed awhile by poor persons' petitions on the way. Long after, Henrietta related this event to her biographer with the most passionate penitence. "Not a reproach," she said, "did Charles give me when I threw myself into his arms, and confessed my fault of tattling."

Such was the state of affairs when Henrietta proposed to escort her young daughter, the bride of Orange, to Holland. Her real object was to sell some valuable jewels, and obtain arms for defence there. The king attended his wife and daughter to Dover, where they embarked, February 24, 1642.

As the wind was favourable for coasting, the king rode many miles, following the vessel along the winding of the shores, his tearful eyes gazing after those dear ones he feared he never should behold again. The royal standard was raised at Nottingham, and civil war occurred as soon as the queen departed.

Henrietta met her mother again in Holland, and stayed nearly twelve months, during which time her business was performed with no little skill and sagacity. The Dutch mynheers, grateful both to the King of England, and to the exiled queen-mother of France for their political existence, did not send Henrietta empty away. She embarked for return February 2, 1643, in a fine ship called the Princess Royal; but fierce tempests arose, and the northeast gales, after many days, threw the queen back from whence she came on the wild Scheveling coast. Henrietta bore the terrors of the storm with high courage, replying to her ladies, when they were screaming and lamenting round her, "Queens of England are never drowned."

After a few days' rest and refreshment the undaunted Henrietta again set sail, followed by Admiral Van Tromp's Dutch fleet, which kept out of sight of the English shores, when she and her armed transports arrived in Burlington Bay, Yorkshire. A troop of two hundred cavaliers appeared on the hills, and under that protection the queen's transports safely landed their ammunition and stores.

The sleep of the queen was broken at dawn next day by the parliamentary Admiral Batten bombarding the town of Burlington. The queen had been voted guilty of high treason; so this hero was trying to take her life. She fled as soon as dressed; but directly she was in a place of shelter, remembering that an old dog named Mitte, which had guarded her chamber for years, was left at the mercy of the parliamentary admiral, despite of her attendants, she ran back through Burlington to her sleeping-chamber, caught up Mitte in her arms, and fled back to the dry ditch where she could crouch while the balls flew over her head. Van Tromp came up with the tide to the rescue, but his ships were too big to enter Burlington quay. Nevertheless, he mauled Batten in the rear. Meantime the queen, with Mitte and her ladies, obtained hospitality at Boynton Hall, close by, the seat of Sir William Strickland.

The cavaliers of Yorkshire and Lancashire poured in to swell her forces. Prince Rupert met her at the head of his victorious cavalry; and she was welcomed by her king on his own victorious field of Keinton, near Edgehill.

For a few months the beautiful city of Oxford was the seat of the English court, over which Queen Henrietta presided. Hope existed among the cavaliers that the discontents of the people would be finally silenced by force of arms. The queen afterward reproached herself that she was too much flushed with success to plead with earnestness for the peace which the whole people now desired. Her triumphs had been dearly bought; chronic rheumatic fever had seized on her delicate frame, owing to the hardships of her campaign. The king's fortunes changed; the year 1644 opened disastrously, and the poor queen had to seek a safer shelter than Oxford, as she was near her accouchement. Charles I. escorted his beloved consort to Abingdon; and there, on April 3, 1644, with streaming tears and dark forebodings, this loving pair parted. The queen sought relief from the fever at Bath, but there she could not stay; it was an abode of horror; the dreadful civil war had filled the bright city full of decaying corpses.

Henrietta took shelter in loyal Exeter, and there gave birth to her daughter, afterward Henrietta, Duchess of Orleans. The queen-regent of France, her sister-in-law, generously sent her 50,000 pistoles. Henrietta reserved very little for her own needs, but sent the bulk of the sum to her husband. In less than ten days the Earl of Essex commenced his march, intending to drag the sick queen from her childbed, to be tried before his masters of the Parliament for levying war in England. His approach on this manly errand caused the sick queen to rise and fly, leaving her babe in Exeter, to the care of Lady Morton. The queen went through great dangers by the way,[2] but at last embarked with her faithful ladies (who joined her in various disguises) on board a little bark bound for Dieppe. It was chased and even cannonaded by a parliamentary cruiser. Her ladies sent forth piercing shrieks as a shot struck the vessel. The daughter of Henry the Great compressed her lips, and uttered not a cry. At the moment all seemed lost, a little fleet of Dieppe vessels issued out of the port of loyal Jersey, when the enemy made off. Then a storm sprang up, which drove the queen on the coast of Bretagne, where she landed at Chastel.

[2] See "Lives of the Queens of England."

Great was the love with which Henrietta was received by the queen-regent and her young sons and all the French people. Anne of Austria gave her distressed sister-in-law 12,000 crowns per month, and inducted her into the royal apartments of the Louvre, the young king leading her to them by the hand. All the money Henrietta received she sent to the king her husband, reserving the smallest modicum for her own use. The fever hanging on her in France, in order that she might be near the baths of Bourbon for its cure, the queen-regent lent her the castle and park of Nevers. Her convalescence was stopped by an accident that grieved her. One of her most efficient aids in her misfortunes was her dwarf, Geoffrey Hudson. He had lately saved her life in her desperate retreat from Exeter; and she had found him faithful in all her fortunes, ever since the little man had stepped out of a cold pie to the side of her plate at Nonsuch; he was at that time eighteen years old, and eighteen inches high. He had grown four or five inches since he had been in royal service, and done heroic deeds. During the retirement at Nevers one of the queen's gentlemen of the household tormented and mocked Geoffrey, until the brave little man, who contrived to manage his steed better than many horsemen four feet taller, challenged Croft to fight him in the park at Nevers. The joking cavalier armed himself with a huge squirt, but Geoffrey took a pistol; and, as his hand was as unerring as his heart was bold, his persecutor fell at the first fire. Croft only met with his deserts; yet Queen Henrietta had to write very humbly to the all-powerful prime minister, Mazarine, that "Le Jofroy," as she called the little man, might not be put to death.

Letters perpetually passed between the sick queen and her husband. Love-letters they were, in the truest sense of the term. The heart of Henrietta yearned for the little babe she had left at Exeter. When the king had raised the siege of that city the infant was presented to him, and he caused her to be baptized by the name of her absent mother, Henrietta; but he was compelled to leave her under the care of his loyal lieges in the west. When all was lost on the king's side, Lady Morton escaped with this little one to France, in the disguise of a pedlar-woman, taking the royal infant of two years old on her back, disguised as a beggar-boy. Often the little princess, who did not approve of the change, tried to tell the wayfarers on the Dover road that "she was not Pierre the beggar-child, but the princess." No one understood her babble but her loving guardian, who succeeded in getting her charge safe to Paris and the queen. "Oh, the joy of that moment," wrote Pére Gamache, who saw the meeting between the royal mother and the babe, lost and again found. "How many times we saw her clasp her, kiss her, and then kiss her over again. The queen called her the child of benediction, and charged me to teach her the Roman Catholic faith." And this, of course, was turned against King Charles, then enduring the worst malice of his enemies in England.

The flames of civil war spread from England to France; and Paris was, before the close of 1647, involved in the war of the Fronde. It was occasioned by quarrels concerning taxation. Anne the queen-regent and her children retired to St. Germains; but the extreme love the citizens of Paris bore to Queen Henrietta made her stay at the Louvre, where she could obtain earlier intelligence of King Charles, who after enduring imprisonment in various places, was soon to be put on what his enemies called a trial.

Meantime winter in its most terrific form had set in. Famine reigned, as it usually does in civil war. Queen Henrietta had sent all her money to her distressed husband. Her officers had none to buy food, and had dispersed themselves in Paris to save her the cost of feeding them. Fierce battles were fought hourly in the streets. In the broils Queen Henrietta and her little daughter were forgotten. She was then writing to the French ambassador at London concerning the impending fate of her husband. She felt neither hunger nor the freezing atmosphere in this absorbing occupation. Providence guided M. de Retz, who was all-powerful with the Paris Parliament, to visit the hapless queen. She was sitting by the bed side of her little child. "You find me," said the queen, calmly, "keeping company with my Henrietta. I would not let the poor child rise to-day, for we have no fire." De Retz immediately sent the queen relief from his own resources, which she thankfully accepted, and then exerted his eloquence so successfully in the Parliament, by mentioning the distresses of the daughter of Henry the Great and her child, that a bountiful supply was accorded.

We must leave Henrietta for a while in Paris, to follow her hapless husband to the close of his tragic fate. The king had heard, from time to time, of the preparation of a court to try him. Murder he expected. He was brought prisoner to London, January 15, 1648-9, and taken to St. James's Palace, where, for the first time, he was deprived of royal attendance, and left alone with his faithful Herbert, who fortunately was sufficiently literary to be the historian of his master's progress to his untimely tomb.

Violent expulsions had taken place from the intimidated House of Commons, until only sixty-nine members remained, who thought themselves fitted for the task of king-killing. Yet some found themselves mistaken as to the hardness of their hearts, when they saw their king face to face, and heard him speak.

This small junta met privately in the Painted Chamber, January 20. Cromwell's purple face was seen to turn very pale; he ran to the window, where he saw his captive king advancing between two ranks of soldiers from Cotton House. "Here he is! here he is!" exclaimed he, with great animation; "the hour of the great affair approaches. Decide speedily what answer you will give him, for he will immediately ask by what authority you pretend to judge him." The mere sight of the scanty number of the commons, with the army choking every avenue to Westminster, up to the door of the hall, offered forcible answers to the illegality of this arraignment; but brute force is not obliged to be logical. Bradshawe, a serjeant-at-law of no practice, was the president, wearing a high Puritan hat lined inside with iron. The regicidal junta entered the hall, its great gate was set open, and the populace rushed into all the vacant spaces. While the king was on his way to Westminster Hall, his anxious people crowded as near to his person as possible, crying, "God save your majesty!" The soldiers beat them back with their partisans, and some of the men in Colonel Axtel's regiment raised the cry of "Justice—justice! execution!" But as their commander was bestowing on them vigorous canings, the cry was ambiguous. The king entered, conducted under the guard of Colonel Hacker and thirty-two officers. His eyes were bright and powerful; his features calm and composed, yet bearing the traces of care and sorrow, which had scattered early snows on his hair. He regarded the tribunal with a searching look, never moved his hat, but seated himself with calm majesty.

An argument ensued between the royal prisoner and Bradshawe, on the point of whether the monarchy of England was elective or not; and when the man of law was worsted in the dispute, he hastily adjourned the court. The king was taken from the hall amid the irrepressible cries of "God bless your majesty! God save you from your enemies!" Such was the only part that the people of England took in the trial of Charles the First.

The king's conduct caused perplexing discussions among his destroyers; they sat in council during the intervening day of his trial, devising petty schemes for breaking his moral courage, and impairing that innate majesty which is beyond the power of brute force to depose. Some base spirits among them proposed that his hat should be pulled off, and that two men should hold his head between them; and that he should be dressed up in his robes and crown, meaning to divest him ignominiously of them. As far as mere bodily means went, Charles was utterly helpless, yet the calm power of his demeanour preserved him from the personal obloquy their malice had contrived: they butchered him, but could not succeed in degrading him.

Seven agitated days passed away, during which the king had appeared thrice before his self-constituted judges, when, on the 27th of January, alarmed by the defection of their numbers, the regicides resolved to doom their victim without farther mockery of justice. The king, for the fourth time, was brought before the remnant of the regicidal junta. Bradshawe was robed in red, a circumstance from which the king drew an intimation of the conclusion. When the list of the members was read over, few of them answered: but they proceeded with the miserable remnant. As the clerk pronounced the name of Fairfax, a voice cried out, "Not such a fool as to come here to-day." When the name of Cromwell was called, the voice exclaimed, "Oliver Cromwell is a rogue and a traitor." When Bradshawe mentioned "The Commons of England assembled in Parliament," "It is false," again responded the voice; "not one-half quarter of them." The voice was a female one, and issued from amid some masked ladies. The oaths and execrations of the ruffian commander Axtel were heard above an uproar raised by the populace, commanding his soldiers, "Fire—fire into the box where she sits!" A lady arose and quitted the gallery. She was Lady Fairfax. Her husband was still in power: the ruffian Axtel dared not harm her. This lofty protest against a public falsehood will remain as an instance of moral and personal female courage, till history shall be no more. The earnest letter the queen had written, entreating the Parliament and army to permit her to share her royal husband's prison, may be remembered. It is known that she wrote to Fairfax on the same subject. The conduct of the general's wife was probably the result of Henrietta's tender appeal.

Bradshawe was proceeding to pass sentence on the king, who demanded the whole of the members of the House of Commons, and the lords who were in England, to be assembled to hear it, when one of the regicides, Colonel Downes, rose in tears, exclaiming, "Have we hearts of stone? are we men?"—"You will ruin us, and yourself too," whispered Mr. Cawley, one of the members, pulling him down on one side, while his friend Colonel Walton held him down on the other. "If I die for it," said Colonel Downes, "no matter,"—"Colonel!" exclaimed Cromwell, who sat just beneath him, turning suddenly round, "are you mad? Can't you sit still?"—"No," answered Downes, "I cannot, and will not sit still." Then rising, he declared that his conscience would not permit him to refuse the king's request. "I move that we adjourn to deliberate." Bradshawe complied, probably lest Downes's passionate remorse should become infectious, and the junta retired. Cromwell angrily exclaimed, in reference to Downes, "He wants to save his old master; but make an end of it, and return to your duty." Colonel Harvey supported Downes's endeavours, but all they obtained was one-half hour added to the king's agony. The dark conclave returned amid a tumult of piteous prayers of the people, of "God save the king! God keep you from your enemies!" The sentence was passed in the midst of confusion; the king, who in vain endeavoured to remonstrate, was dragged away by the soldiers who surrounded him. As he was forced down the stairs, the grossest personal insults were offered him. Some of the troopers blew tobacco-smoke in his face; some spat on him; all yelled in his ears "Justice—execution!" The real bitterness of death to a man of Charles the First's exquisite sensitiveness occurred in that transit; the block, the axe, the scaffold, and all their ghastly adjuncts, could be met, and were met, with calmness; the spittings and buffetings of the brutal mob were harder to be borne.

The king recovered his serenity before he arrived at the place where his sedan stood. How could it be otherwise? The voices of his affectionate people, in earnest prayers for his deliverance, rose high. One, and a soldier, close to him, echoed the cry of the people—"God help and save your majesty!" His commander struck him to the earth. "Poor fellow!" said the king; "it is a heavy blow for a small offence." As the royal victim approached his chair, his bearers pulled off their hats, and stood in reverential attitudes to receive him. This unbought homage again roused the wrath of Axtel, who, with blows of his indefatigable cudgel, vainly endeavoured to prevail on the poor men to cover their heads.

He bade Herbert refuse admittance to his friends if they came. The night of his condemnation he was deprived of rest by the knocking of the workmen, who were commencing the scaffold for his execution. In the restless watches of that perturbed night, Charles finished his best devotional verses.

The king was removed from Whitehall, Sunday, January 28, to St. James's Palace, where he heard Bishop Juxon preach in the private chapel. "I wanted to preach to the poor wretch," said the zealous fanatic, Hugh Peters, in great indignation, "but the poor wretch would not hear me." When Bishop Juxon entered the presence of his captive sovereign, he gave way to the most violent burst of sorrow. "Compose yourself, my lord," said the king, "we have no time to waste on grief; let us, rather, think of the great matter. I must prepare to appear before God, to whom, in a few hours, I have to render my account. I hope to meet death with calmness. Do not let us speak of the men in whose hands I have fallen. They thirst for my blood—they shall have it. God's will be done; I give him thanks. I forgive them all sincerely; but let us say no more about them." It was with the greatest difficulty that the two sentinels appointed by the regicidal junta could be kept on the other side of the door while his majesty was engaged in his devotions.

The next day the royal children arrived from Sion House to see their parent for the last time. He had not been indulged with a sight of them since his captivity to the army, and on the morrow he was to die! The Princess Elizabeth burst into a passion of tears at the sight of her father, and her brother, the little Duke of Gloucester, wept as fast for company. The royal father consoled and soothed them, and, when he had solemnly blessed them, drew them to his bosom. The young princess, who was but twelve, has left her reminiscences of this touching interview in manuscript: "He told me that he was glad I was come, for, though he had not time to say much, yet somewhat he wished to say to me which he could not to another, and he feared 'the cruelty' was too great to permit his writing. 'But, sweetheart,' he added, 'thou wilt forget what I tell thee.' Then, shedding abundance of tears," continues the princess, "I told him that I would write down all he said to me. 'He wished me,' he said, 'not to grieve and torment myself for him, for it was a glorious death he should die, it being for the laws and religion of the land.' He told me what books to read against popery. He said 'that he had forgiven all his enemies, and he hoped God would forgive them also; and he commanded us, and all the rest of my brothers and sisters, to forgive them also.' Above all, he bade me tell my mother, 'that his thoughts had never strayed from her, and that his love for her would be the same to the last;' withal he commanded me (and my brother) to love her, and be obedient to her. He desired me 'not to grieve for him, for he should die a martyr, and that he doubted not but God would restore the throne to his son; and that then we should be all happier than we could possibly have been if he had lived.' Then, taking my brother Gloucester on his knee, he said, 'Sweetheart, now will they cut off thy father's head.' Upon which the child looked very steadfastly upon him. 'Heed, my child, what I say: they will cut off my head, and perhaps make thee a king. But mark what I say: you must not be a king as long as your brothers Charles and James live; therefore, I charge you, do not be made a king by them.' At which the child, sighing deeply, replied, 'I will be torn in pieces first.' And these words, coming so unexpectedly from so young a child, rejoiced my father exceedingly. And his majesty spoke to him of the welfare of his soul, and to keep his religion, commanding him to fear God, and he would provide for him. All which the young child earnestly promised." The king fervently kissed and blessed his children, and called to Bishop Juxon to take them away: they sobbed aloud. The king leaned his head against the window, trying to repress his tears, when, catching a view of them as they went through the door, he hastily came from the window, snatched them again to his breast, kissed and blessed them once more; then, tearing himself from their tears and caresses, he fell on his knees, and strove to calm, by prayer, the agony of that parting.

It ought not to be forgotten that the king had previously waited several days before that appointed for his execution, and had had the satisfaction of receiving a letter from his son Charles, by Mr. Seymour, a special messenger, enclosing a carte blanche with his signature, to be filled up at pleasure. In this paper the prince bound himself to any terms, if his royal father's life might be spared. It must have proved a cordial to the king's heart to find, in that dire hour, how far family affection prevailed over ambition. The king carefully burnt the carte blanche, lest an evil use might be made of it, and did not attempt to bargain for his life by means of concession from his heir.

On the night preceding the awful day, Charles I. was blessed with calm and refreshing sleep. He awoke before daybreak, undrew his curtain, and said to Herbert, "I will rise; I have a great work to do this day." Herbert's hands trembled while combing the king's hair. Charles, observing that it was not arranged so well as usual, said, "Nay, though my head be not to stand long on my shoulders, take the same pains with it that you were wont to do. Herbert, this is my second marriage-day; I would be as trim to-day as may be." The cold was intense at that season, and the king desired to have a warm additional shirt. "For," continued he, "the weather is sharp, and probably may make me shake. I would have no imputation of fear, for death is not terrible to me. I bless my God I am prepared. Let the rogues come whenever they please." He observed that he was glad he had slept at St. James's, for the walk through the park would circulate his blood, and counteract the numbness of the cold. Bishop Juxon arrived by the dawn of day. He prayed with the king, and read to him the twenty-seventh chapter of the Gospel of St. Matthew.

At ten o'clock the summons came to conduct the king to Whitehall, and he went down into the park, through which he was to pass. Ten companies of infantry formed a double line on each side of his path. The detachment of halberdiers preceded him, with banners flying and drums beating. On the king's right hand was the bishop; on the left, with head uncovered, walked Colonel Tomlinson. The king walked through the park, as was his wont, at a quick, lively pace. He wondered at the slowness of his guard, and called out pleasantly, "Come, my good fellows, step on apace." One of the officers asked him, "If it was true that he had concurred with the Duke of Buckingham in causing his father's death?" "My friend," replied Charles, with gentle contempt, "if I had no other sin than that, as God knows, I should have little need to beg his forgiveness at this hour." The question has been cited as an instance of premeditated cruelty and audacity on the part of the officer. But this was the falsehood that had injured him most among the common people.

As the king drew near Whitehall Palace, he pointed to a tree in the park, and said to either Juxon or Tomlinson, "That tree was planted by my brother Henry." There was a broad flight of stairs from the park, by which access was gained to the ancient palace of Whitehall. The king entered the palace that way; he ascended the stairs with a light step, passed through the long gallery, and gained his own bedroom, where he was left with Bishop Juxon, who administered the sacrament to him. Nye and Godwin, two Independent ministers, knocked at the door, and tendered their spiritual assistance. "Say to them frankly," said the king, "that they have so often prayed against me, that they shall not pray with me in mine agony. But if they will pray for me now, tell them that I shall be thankful." Dinner had been prepared for the king at Whitehall; he refused to eat. "Sir," said Juxon, "you have fasted long to-day; the weather is so cold, that faintness may occur." "You are right," replied the king. He therefore took a piece of bread and a glass of wine. "Now," said the king, cheerfully, "let the rascals come. I have forgiven them, and am quite ready." But "the rascals" were not ready.

A series of contests had taken place regarding the executioner and the warrant. Moreover, the military commanders, Huncks and Phayer, appointed to superintend the bloody work, resisted alike the scoffings, the jests, and threats of Cromwell, and had their names scratched out of the warrant; as to Huncks, he refused to write or sign the order to the executioner. This dispute occurred just before the execution took place. Huncks was one of the officers who guarded the king on his trial, and had been chosen for that purpose as the most furious of his foes; he had, like Tomlinson, become wholly altered from the result of his personal observations. Colonel Axtel and Colonel Hewson had, the preceding night, convened a meeting of thirty-eight stout sergeants of the army, to whom they proposed, that whosoever among them would aid the hangman in disguise, should have 100l. and rapid promotion in the army. Each one refused, with disgust. Late in the morning of the execution, Colonel Hewson prevailed on a sergeant in his regiment, one Hulet, to undertake the detestable office; and while this business was in progress, Elisha Axtel, brother of the colonel, went by water to Rosemary Lane, beyond the Tower, and dragged from thence the reluctant hangman, Gregory Brandon, who was, by threats and the promise of 30l. in half-crowns, induced to strike the blow. The disguises of the executioners were hideous, and must have been imposed for the purpose of trying the firmness of the royal victim. They were coarse woollen garbs buttoned close to the body, which was the costume of butchers at that era. Hulet added a long grey peruke, and a black mask, with a large grey beard affixed to it. Gregory Brandon wore a black mask, a black peruke, and a large flapped black hat, looped up in front.

It was past one o'clock before the grisly attendants and apparatus of the scaffold were ready. Colonel Hacker led the king through his former banqueting-hall, one of the windows of which had originally been contrived to support stands for public pageantries; it had been taken out, and led to the platform raised in the street. The noble bearing of the king as he stepped on the scaffold, his beaming eyes and high expression, were noticed by all who saw him. He looked on all sides for his people, but dense masses of soldiery only presented themselves far and near. He was out of hearing of any persons but Juxon and Herbert, save those who were interested in his destruction. The soldiers preserved a dead silence; this time they did not insult him. The distant populace wept, and occasionally raised mournful cries in blessings and prayers for him. The king uttered a short speech, to point out that every institute of the original constitution of England had been subverted with the sovereign power. While he was speaking, some one touched the axe, which laid enveloped in black crape on the block. The king turned round hastily, and exclaimed, "Have a care of the axe. If the edge is spoiled, it will be the worse for me." The executioner, Gregory Brandon, drew near, and kneeling before him, entreated his forgiveness. "No!" said the king; "I forgive no subject of mine who comes deliberately to shed my blood." The king spoke as became his duty as chief magistrate and the source of the laws, which were violated in his murder.

The king put up his flowing hair under a cap; then, turning to the executioner, asked, "Is any of my hair in the way?"—"I beg your majesty to push it more under your cap," replied the man, bowing. The bishop assisted his royal master to do so, and observed to him, "There is but one stage more, which, though turbulent and troublesome, is yet a very short one. Consider, it will carry you a great way—even from earth to heaven."—"I go," replied the king, "from a corruptible to an incorruptible crown." He unfastened his cloak, and took off the medallion of the order of the Garter. The latter he gave to Juxon, saying, with emphasis, "Remember!" Beneath the medallion of St. George was a secret spring which removed a plate ornamented with lilies, under which was a beautiful miniature of his Henrietta. The warning word, which has caused many historical surmises, evidently referred to the fact that he only had parted with the portrait of his beloved wife at the last moment of his existence. He then took off his coat, and put on his cloak; and pointing to the block, said to the executioner, "Place it so that it will not shake."—"It is firm, sir," replied the man. "I shall say a short prayer," said the king; "and when I hold out my hand thus, strike." The king stood in profound meditation, said a few words to himself, looked upward on the heavens, then knelt, and laid his head on the block. In about a minute he stretched out his hands, and his head was severed at one blow.

A simultaneous groan of agony arose from the assembled multitude at the moment when the fatal blow fell on the neck of Charles I. It was the protest of an outraged people, suffering, equally with their monarch, under military tyranny, and those who heard that cry remembered it with horror to their deaths. When the king's head fell, Hulet, the gray-beard mask, came forward to earn his bribe and subsequent promotion. He held up the bleeding head, and vociferated, "This is the head of a traitor!" A deep and angry murmur from the people followed the announcement. Two troops of horse, advancing in different directions, dispersed the indignant crowd. Hulet, in his anxiety to gain his stipulated reward, did more than was required, for he dashed down the dissevered head of the king, yet warm with life, and bruised one cheek grievously—an outrage noted with sorrow. The king was buried in St. George's Chapel, Windsor; the burial service was not permitted. The body was, when it was conveyed for interment to Windsor, followed by Bishop Juxon and the six attached gentlemen who had attended on the king in all his wanderings. The king had expressed a wish to be interred by his father in the royal chapel in Westminster Abbey, but Cromwell forbade it, having, from an absurd species of ambition, reserved that place for himself.

The trial, death, and burial of Charles I. had taken place before Queen Henrietta, besieged as Paris was from without, and her place of abode, the Louvre, beset from within, could receive the least intelligence concerning him. Meantime, her second son James, the young Duke of York, who had escaped from the custody of the republican English, was brought to her through the beleaguering lines of Paris. His arrival raised her spirits very high, too soon to be crushed. Whispers of the dire events in England had transpired through her circle at the Louvre; her English household gazed aghast on the unconscious widow, marveling how the tidings were to be told her. Such awe-struck looks caused her inquiries, but the answers she received almost stopped the springs of her life; when at last the queen comprehended her loss with all its frightful facts, she stood motionless as a statue, without words and without tears. "To all we could say our queen was deaf—frozen in her grief," writes Pére Gamache, "at last, awed by her appalling grief, we became silent, with tearful looks bent on her. So passed the time till night-fall. When her aunt, the Duchess de Vendôme, whom she loved much and we had sent to in fear for the queen's life, came, she gently took the hand of the royal widow, kissed it, remained silent, and wept. Then Henrietta felt the relief of tears. She was able to sigh and weep when her little daughter, then four years old, was brought to her; and though she felt it hard to part with her, yet she longed to retire to some quiet place where she might, as she said, 'weep at will.'" The convent of the Carmelites, St. Jacques, was the place to which she retreated, with one or two of her ladies.

The queen-regent of France sent Madame de Motteville to her afflicted sister of England. The sympathy felt for the afflicted daughter of their great Henry, induced the Frondoneers to let this lady pass their lines. "I was," she says, "admitted to her bedside. The queen, Henrietta, gave me her hand while sobs choked her speech. 'I have lost a crown,' she cried, 'but that I have long ceased to regret; it is the husband for whom I grieve; good, just, wise, virtuous as he was, most worthy of my love and that of his subjects; the future time must be for me but one succession of torture.'" Henrietta then sent important messages of advice to her sister-queen on her affairs, implored her to seek and hear the truth before it was too late, which, if her Charles or herself had ever been told, affairs needed not have taken the fatal turn that she should ever mourn. Queen Henrietta then asked that her newly-arrived son, the Duke of York, might be given the same allowance as his brother, now called by all her exiled court Charles II.

Before the violence of grief was abated, it became needful that Queen Henrietta should leave Paris for St. Germains, where the court of France then was. The transit was dangerous, but it is from the superabundant spite of the English republican news-letters the fact is revealed that the young King of England, in his deep mourning for his father, rode by the side of his mother's carriage, guarding her from the infuriated rabble. The queen-regent of France and her sons were waiting at Chatou to comfort them by every kindness after this terrible journey. Henrietta's next trouble was parting from her son Charles II. for his adventurous attempts in Scotland and England. After the failure of the royal cause at the hard-fought battle of Worcester, the young king retired into exile at Cologne. Queen Henrietta had to weep alone over the sad death of her beautiful daughter Elizabeth, who died broken-hearted in her cruel imprisonment, at Carisbrook Castle. The indignation of all Europe obliged the English republicans to send the young Duke of Gloucester to Paris. The last interview of Charles I. with these children had made every feeling heart sympathize with them. It must be owned that the worst action Queen Henrietta ever committed was the persecution she raised against her son Henry, Duke of Gloucester, to make him change his religion. Not out of fanatic bigotry, which though troublesome may possibly be sincere, but from the sordid motive of providing for him as a Roman Catholic ecclesiastic. The boy, at the tender age of eight years, had earnestly promised his sire, as he sat on his knee, never to forsake the faith of the Church of England, or to supersede his elder brothers, and now he kept his word as sturdily as if he had been thirty.[3] Charles II. stopped his mother's tampering with the faith of his younger brother, ordering, as their sovereign, that Gloucester should be sent to his loving sister Mary, Princess of Orange, then at Breda.

[3] For the details of this event, see "Lives of the Queens of England," vol. v.

In another attempt to mend adverse fortune Henrietta was signally disappointed; she tried in vain to induce her rich and beautiful niece, Mademoiselle de Montpensier, the second lady in France, to accept the hand of her eldest son, the expatriated Charles II. To her subsequent regret, the princess scorned the young king for his poverty.

Time and death at last did their work, and the royal family was restored, not by foreign force, but by acclamation. England, having for twenty years experienced anarchy, was glad to welcome her king home again, all people know, with his two brothers York and Gloucester, at Dover, on his birthday, May 29, 1660.

The queen-mother, as Henrietta was now called, did not witness the delirious joy of the Restoration. She was busy with the marriage-treaty of her beautiful darling, the Princess Henrietta, with her youngest nephew, Philippe, Duke d'Orleans, brother of Louis XIV. About five months after she came with the princess to obtain her dowry from the now loving Parliament of England, likewise her own arrears, which had been scornfully refused by the republic, with the remark "that she had not been crowned, therefore they ignored her as queen." Surely she deserved no great pity on that point, considering her perverse conduct to her husband concerning it.

Of her three sons who had returned to England, Henrietta was destined to meet but two. The small-pox, so fatal in that country, deprived her of young Gloucester, whom she had never met since endeavouring to force him into the Roman Catholic faith. The marriage that the Duke of York had avowed with Anne Hyde, Clarendon's daughter, not only enraged but grieved her more than the early death of poor Gloucester. She wrote to her daughter, the Princess of Orange, then visiting Charles II. in England, that she came to break the disgraceful marriage of James; but before Christmas was turned Henrietta had mourned over the death-bed of her beloved eldest daughter, who had been the greatest benefactress to her and her exiled family when in Holland. Moreover Queen Henrietta found that neither her own dower or her young princess's marriage-portion would be very quick in coming to hand, without the assistance of Clarendon; so she did exactly contrary to her avowed intentions, and acknowledged Anne Hyde as her second son's wife, which she certainly was, by every law of God and man. On New Year's Day, 1661, the Duke of York brought his wife in state to Whitehall. As the queen passed to dine in public, the Duchess of York knelt to her; the queen raised her, kissed her, and placed her at table. The Earl of Clarendon and the queen came to an understanding on business that same evening. There was the utmost difficulty regarding the lands she held as queen-dowager; but the parliament gave her 30,000l. compensation and a large annuity. But as the English law did not allow queen-dowagers to be absentees, her establishment was settled at Somerset House, which she altered with great taste. As London was infected with the small-pox, the queen was desirous of withdrawing her lovely Henrietta from its dangers before her beauty was injured.

Charles II. attended his mother to Portsmouth, where she embarked with her young princess, who was seized with eruptive illness next day, supposed to be the small-pox. The captain ran the ship aground; and all had to disembark at Portsmouth, where the princess remained till convalescent. At last they arrived safely at Havre, February 26, 1661, and were escorted in great triumph by the French nobility to Paris, where the marriage of the young princess with Philippe, Duke of Orleans, took place, at the chapel of the Palais Royal. The marriage was not happy; the bridegroom was odd-tempered and totally uneducated.

When Somerset House was repaired and beautified, the queen came to take up her residence in England, where she first was introduced to the bride of Charles II., Catharine of Braganza. And in England she lived three years, her health gradually giving way before the climate—always inimical to her. She saw her second son and his duchess, Anne Hyde, with promising children about them. The Lady Mary, afterward queen-regnant, was born while Henrietta was in England.

Charles II. and his queen accompanied the invalid queen-mother to the Nore, when she returned to France, where she went direct to her favourite château of Colombe, on the river Seine, between Paris and St. Germain-en-Laye. Its park and groups of trees are still visible from the railway. The château was destroyed at the revolution of France. Henrietta lived a sweet, easy life in her pleasant château, troubled only by the fluctuations of the asthmatic cough she had never lost since her Yorkshire campaign. Her charity was very extensive; in England she had distributed from her chapel at Somerset House thousands of pounds among the poor suffering from the plague, in the year 1666.

She paid visits to the baths of Bourbon, for increasing illness, during the three next years. Toward the close of 1669, she had been agitated with impending war between France and England, which she strove to avert. M. Valot, the first physician to Louis XIV., held a consultation at Colombe with her own medical man. The new remedy of opium was then the fashionable medicine. It was vain her own physician declared it was most inimical to Queen Henrietta. M. Valot left the prescription, positively asserting that it would allay her tearing cough. On the evening of August 30, she was better than usual, sat up later, and chatted pleasantly with her ladies. That night she was sleeping sweetly, when the lady in waiting awoke her, to administer the sleeping-draught. Could any thing be more absurd than to wake a patient to administer a sleeping-potion? At dawn, the lady came with another draught, but the first had been fatal; Henrietta was cold and speechless, and never woke again, though she respired for some time. A messenger hurried to St. Germains, and her son-in-law, the Duke of Orleans, came directly; but Henrietta had ceased to breathe, August 31, 1669. Her little grand-daughter, afterward our queen-regnant, Anne, was staying at Colombe for her health at that time.

Queen Henrietta was embalmed, and buried at St. Denis, in the royal vault of the Kings of France, her ancestors. Her daughter, the Duchess of Orleans, was too ill and utterly cast down with grief to follow her mother to the grave; but her niece, Mademoiselle Montpensier, attended as chief mourner. Forty days after, a much grander service was performed to her memory, by the nuns of the Visitation, at Chaillot, whose convent she had founded. There her daughter and her husband, the Duke and Duchess of Orleans, attended, in the deepest grief and mourning; and there Bossuet preached that beautiful biographical oration, which has deservedly taken place among the classics of France. Our limits in this edition will not permit more than one passage, which is illustrative of the true character of the queen, though not of that set forth in general English history. "Batten, the captain who cannonaded her at Burlington, was taken prisoner afterward, and condemned to death, without the queen's knowledge; but, seeing him led to execution past her window, full of horror at his impending fate, the queen cried out she had pardoned him long ago, and insisted on his liberation. Batten was not ungrateful, for he helped in the revolt of part of the English fleet to the young king." Pepys, in his diary, often names him as in favour with the Duke of York, when lord admiral, after the Restoration.

Henrietta Maria had been the mother of four sons and four daughters; she outlived all her children but Charles II., who left no legitimate offspring; James, Duke of York, afterward the unfortunate James II., and Henrietta, Duchess of Orleans, who survived her some months.