Friday, April 30, 2010

Not an Heir to Spare

From his berth of safety in France, James published diatribes snarling at his ungrateful daughters, Mary in particular, & tried to get peeps to help him get his throne back.  The Frenchies rolled their eyes & were all BTDT deja vu, didn't we just do this for your bro?  Is it our fault you Stuarts can't grip the arms of your thrones & keep sliding off?  Pffft. 

James II

It was cheaper to keep him (he was a son of a Frenchie princess, after all), his wife, the baby in the warming pan, & soon Mary Beatrice produced another child, Louisa Maria Theresa (twas prolly Louise-Marie-Therese in Frenchieland), that also survived the perils of infancy. 

contemporary engraving of the last Stuart prince & princess

James was 54 & would live to be 67, a prodigious age, & in disgruntled exile just like he'd been prior to the Restoration.  Apparently he was too old & stupid to get it.  Paris had been worth a Mass for Henry of Navarre, who cheerfully changed religions to get his crown, but I reckon London wasn't worth treating w/ those renegade Anglicans anymore than it had been worth treating w/ those pocky Roundhead Puritans for his father.  I blame Henry VIII for this mess LOL

William & Mary were crowned at Westminster Abbey in April 1689 whilst James was busy scribbling, with her sister Anne as heir-presumptive.  Anne had been married to Prince George of Denmark, a younger bro of King Christian V, & had been breeding like a rabbit w/ little success. 

George, Prince of Denmark

At the time of the coronation, 23 yo Anne already had 6 pregnancies in as many yrs of marriage, broken down into 2 miscarriages, 2 stillbirths, & 2 daughters, Mary, who died shortly b4 her 2nd BD, & Anne Sophia, who died shortly b4 her 1st BD.  Peeps shrugged & said hey, if Mary Beatrice can pull it off after all this time, mayhap so can Anne & George.  Ya can't say the newly created Duke & Duchess of Cumberland didn't try, as poor Anne endured EIGHTEEN PREGNANCIES OW OW OW in an effort to produce the desired Protestant Stuart heir.

The orphaned 38 yo William had been jerked around during his regency period (as was normal) & if it hadn't been for the interference of Uncle Charles glaring at those greedy Dutch after his sis's demise, he might've still been in leading strings or just as deposed as Uncle James, his FIL (yknow for being against incest so much, the Catholic Church sure permitted lots of it in these royal marriages LOL).  Willie was said to be mighty arrogant & confident he was destined for great things, so natch conducting what would be the last successful invasion of England & claiming its crown was just an average day's work to him.  Mary was said to quietly defer to him in everything & twas Willie who would take on the kingly duties even tho his DW got a number after her name & was not merely a Queen Consort.

Mary II

Mary was not amused by the influence of Sarah Churchill, the Duchess of Marlborough, on her sis Anne.

Sarah Churchill, Duchess of Marlborough

Lots has been speculated about the sex lives of these last 3 Stuart monarchs.  Tho Willie had an official mistress, Elizabeth Villiers, a cuz of Barbara's, he was also whispered about b/c he had some male favs as well & made a cpl Dutch peeps that he hung w/ a lot into English earls.  Mary didn't seem to have any particular favs, but peeps said meh how come she ain't breeding, huh?  Does she dig chicks?  Anne, however, was so close to her lady in waiting Sarah that they called each other "Mrs Freeman" & "Mrs Morley", making peeps raise eyebrows at such nonsense as ya would.  Despite the fact that Anne was perpetually pregnant, twas rumored she preferred to bat for the other team & Sarah was not just her BFF but her GF.

Natch there was the usual rumors about James's peeps plotting (James is Jacob in Latin & hence these peeps were called Jacobites) & Anne was furious when Mary dismissed Sarah's DH from his offices upon suspicion of such.  The 2 sisters had a flaming row & never spoke to each other again.  Mary didn't get to enjoy her queenship long, as she demised of that pesky smallpox thing at Kensington Palace during the Christimas celebrations of 1694.  Anne was all weepy that she never made up her quarrel w/ her big sis.

Kensington Palace

Anne produced an heir at Hampton Court, William, Duke of Gloucester, not long after W & M were coronated.

back end of Hampton Court, remodled by W & M

However, as an infant William suffered from bouts of convulsions & had an unusually lg head.  He didn't speak a word until he was 3 yrs old, which natch had peeps looking at him sideways thinking o good another inbred idiot.  Despite this, little Gloucester was set b4 a passel of tutors anyway & weren't peeps surprised when he suddenly started to catch up.  Anne & Willie glared at each other lots b/c the king wanted complete charge over his heir's household & his mother was all um NO not my poor little delicate lad!  Willie being king natch won HA HA.  The sickly Gloucester was faskinated by military stuff & had peeps recruit lots of other kidlets to create a little troop that he could drill LOL  The poor brat got the sicks on his 11th BD, coming down w/ a sore throat & a fever, & was demised within the wk, to universal Protestant dismay.

William, Duke of Gloucester

Twas obvs neither Anne nor the widowed Willie were going to spawn another heir by this pt & peeps were nervously wringing their hands as James's boy piped up & said I'M NEXT!

James Francis Edward Stuart, aged 14

What to do, what to do?  Parliament hmmm'd & then passed the Act of Settlement.  This settled the succession upon the Winter Queen's youngest & only surviving child, Sophia, Electress of Hanover.  Reckon they were getting used to queens regnant by now LOL

Sophia, Electress of Hanover, circa 1644

Meanwhile, Willie was rejected as king by the Irish Parliament & went over there to settle some Irish hash.  This is why you never ever walk into a bar on St Patrick's Day wearing anything orange.  The Irish have long memories & Willie wasn't particularly nice to them.  Suffice to say the usual wartime atrocities & then some.  James also went to Ireland b/c he could count on their support against the usurping Orangeman & his ungrateful daughters.  The 2 armies clashed at the battle of the Boyne, which was a spectacular victory for Willie & sent James off screaming RUN AWAY!  RUN AWAY!

The Battle of the Boyne

Once the Irish were suitably cowed, the Scots began uprising in favor of James as well.  This is where we get Rob Roy from & this 1st Jacobite uprising led to the infamous Massacre of Glencoe, a big black blot on Willie's escutcheon as he signed off on it (really, they got his sig on the orders).  Clan MacDonald was decimated by this unsportsmanlike sneak attack, made w/ the assistance of Clan Campbell, & the Scots were so unamused that the entire country became a breeding ground for Jacobite support & propaganda for the next 50 yrs or so.  Them Scots can remember almost as good as the Irish.  Methinks the Campbells & MacDonalds are still feuding about it to this day.  If you are ever in Scotland do NOT make jokes about such things.  Same deal at the St Patrick's Day thing w/ the wearing o' the orange.  Sure way to lose some teeth once ya toss liquor into the equation.

There was the usual Jacobite plotting to assassinate Willie & there was a tad of OFF WITH HIS HEAD once twas discovered.  Really, the ratio of smart plotters v. dumb ones is quite lopsided when you consider just how many plots never came to fruition.  Willie must've enjoyed being a warrior king b/c he joined the League of Augsburg & had a nice Frenchie war in addition to the domestic rebellions.  This was called the 9 Yrs' War & ended when whatever Louis it was recognized Willie's kingship & agreed to not supply James w/ any more soldiers & stuff.

This is round the time when that drooling idiot king of Spain was on the throne & the rest of the European peeps were eyeing the kingdom & hmmm'ing about who should get it.  Willie entered into a nice scheme where Spain would be partitioned up & he'd get a chunk of it.  But despite the fact that Charles II wasn't all there, he had a lucid moment & willed his kingdom to his cousin Philip in France.  This is how there got to be Bourbon kings of Spain & the mighty Hapsburg line w/ all its inbreeding mercifully came to an end.  Ya just can't go round marrying your nieces like that!  See what it gets ya?

Willie fell off his horse & broke his collarbone & b4 ya knew it, pneumonia set in & he was a goner, leaving his kingdom to his SIL Anne as agreed.  This is hilarious b/c apparently the horse stepped into a burrow hole & so the Jacobites, who already were doing the sneaky toast to the king across the water, were then toasting "the gentleman in the little black velvet jacket", a reference to the mole what dug the hole ROFL  Since Willie left no heirs, it meant the end of the despised House of Orange in Holland & a nice power-scramble there as well.  Willie was also technically the last king of England b/c....

1 comment:

  1. Well done as usual Scarlet, impatiently awaiting the next installment.