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Portraits of Francis Bacon's Mother


Eric Roberts

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Painted around the time that Francis Bacon was conceived.

image.jpeg.2adbe44fd2d4e52f07d771a39cb6f742.jpeg

English School, Elizabeth I of England (1533–1603). Oil on panel, 17 ¾ x 13 ½ in. (45.2 x 34.4 cm). The Weiss Gallery © 2017 London Art Week

Provenance: Acquired in London in the 1960s by Mary Hill Bishop (d. 1991), Chelsea Park Gardens; and by descent to Mary Kennard Perry (d. 2003), USA; and by descent to Private collection, Germany, until 2017.

Note: ‘Are you travelling to the temple of Eliza?' ‘Even to her temple are my feeble limbs travelling. Some call her Pandora: some Gloriana: some Cynthia: some Belphoebe: some Astraea: all by several names to express several loves: Yet all those names make but one celestial body, as all those loves meet to create but one soul.' Thomas Dekker, Old Fortunatus (1599) Roy Strong quotes this pean to Queen Elizabeth in Dekker's court play of 1599, as a perfect summary of the Elizabethan ‘cult' – the image she had carefully crafted and perpetuated through her reign. However, this rare early portrait of Elizabeth is notable for its life-like depiction of the queen early on in her reign – indeed before the construction of the Elizabethan iconography we associate with the Queen today. In other words, that associated with the ‘Rainbow' and ‘Armada' portraits in which Elizabeth was presented as a remote goddess and perfected emblem of her own self-fashioning; images where she perfectly embodied Statehood, Empire, and a God-given right to rule. The unknown artist who painted our more life-like representation makes use of the ‘Hampden' portrait face-pattern. The Hampden portrait was an important full-length panel of the queen, made in the early 1560s. It was one of the first official court images of the young monarch from which a number of subsequent portraits including the present work were modelled. Infra-red examination of our version reveals careful under-drawing to define the contours of the face. Conservator Rosie Gleave of the Courtauld Institute of Art, has noted that our portrait is very likely cut down from a larger composition: ‘Physical evidence, including the presence of large dowels at the side of the painting… and later, roughly beveled edges, strongly suggests that the panel was once a larger image. It may have been a ¾ or full-length portrait, in line with other version based on the Hampden portrait.' The Hampden portrait is thought to have been painted when Elizabeth was forced to address the issue of her marriage during the succession crisis of 1562/63. It is the only known image of the ‘Virgin Queen' that alludes to the possibility of her becoming a wife and a mother: the background to the right of the portrait presents a portal into a brilliantly painted array of foliage, fruit and flowers, alluding to the queen's potential fertility. She also holds a carnation in her right hand, traditionally a flower used in marriage portraits, while a rose is pinned to her chest. The rose was both the Queen's flower, and an allusion to the Tudor dynasty, but also an allusion to Venus, goddess of love, and on the other hand, to Christ. Christ's bride, perhaps, for she never would marry another. The ‘Hampden' full-length was in an inventory of the Lumley collection in 1590, noted as by ‘the famous painter Steven'. That painter was long presumed to be Steven van der Meulen, an Anglo-Flemish artist active in England from around 1560. However, recent discovery of that artist's will, written on 5 October 1563, dramatically reduced his potential oeuvre, bringing into question his authorship of the portrait of Elizabeth. It was suggested that ‘the famous painter Steven' may well have been the Anglo-Flemish artist, Steven van Herwijck (c. 1530 – c. 1565), who was briefly active in England from 1562 – 1563; however, this hypothesis has been dismissed by scholars in the field. Stylistically, we can however assume that the artist of the Hampden portrait, and its associated versions, was very likely Anglo-Flemish. Surprisingly, Elizabeth never appointed an official court painter, and she appears to have sat for only a handful of artists. Roy Strong pin-points only five specific artists that may have painted her through her reign – Levina Teerlinc in 1551, Nicholas Hilliard around 1572, Federico Zuccaro in 1575, and Unknown French Master in 1581 and Cornelius Ketel. The majority of her portraits were executed by anonymous artists working from court sanctioned prototypes, and of course there were many unauthorized images. In 1563, just over five years into Elizabeth's reign, and presumably after the present portrait type had been disseminated, Sir William Cecil drafted a proclamation designed to control the production of the monarch's image, forbidding further portraits of Elizabeth being made until an appropriate model (in the form of a face pattern) could be provided to artists to copy from. After this, ‘hir Majestie will be content that all other painters, or engravers…shall and maye at ther pleasures follow the sayd patron or first portraictur'. Later in her reign, in 1596, the queen's Privy Council ordered public officers to assist in destroying ‘unseemly' portraits – offering a further insight into a rather despotic and perhaps even vain desire to control her iconography.

http://www.alaintruong.com/archives/2017/07/03/35443121.html

Here is a link to the most comprehensive collection of portraits of Elizabeth I that I know of:

https://www.luminarium.org/renlit/elizface.htm

 

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Great Research Eric! Fantastic painting, never seen this one before and brilliant to see such an early representation of the Great One's Mother.  Likewise the Luminarium link is amazing - quite a few on here we've never seen - very rare and in private collections. Thank You!

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21 hours ago, Eric Roberts said:

Painted around the time that Francis Bacon was conceived.

image.jpeg.2adbe44fd2d4e52f07d771a39cb6f742.jpeg

English School, Elizabeth I of England (1533–1603). Oil on panel, 17 ¾ x 13 ½ in. (45.2 x 34.4 cm). The Weiss Gallery © 2017 London Art Week

Provenance: Acquired in London in the 1960s by Mary Hill Bishop (d. 1991), Chelsea Park Gardens; and by descent to Mary Kennard Perry (d. 2003), USA; and by descent to Private collection, Germany, until 2017.

Note: ‘Are you travelling to the temple of Eliza?' ‘Even to her temple are my feeble limbs travelling. Some call her Pandora: some Gloriana: some Cynthia: some Belphoebe: some Astraea: all by several names to express several loves: Yet all those names make but one celestial body, as all those loves meet to create but one soul.' Thomas Dekker, Old Fortunatus (1599) Roy Strong quotes this pean to Queen Elizabeth in Dekker's court play of 1599, as a perfect summary of the Elizabethan ‘cult' – the image she had carefully crafted and perpetuated through her reign. However, this rare early portrait of Elizabeth is notable for its life-like depiction of the queen early on in her reign – indeed before the construction of the Elizabethan iconography we associate with the Queen today. In other words, that associated with the ‘Rainbow' and ‘Armada' portraits in which Elizabeth was presented as a remote goddess and perfected emblem of her own self-fashioning; images where she perfectly embodied Statehood, Empire, and a God-given right to rule. The unknown artist who painted our more life-like representation makes use of the ‘Hampden' portrait face-pattern. The Hampden portrait was an important full-length panel of the queen, made in the early 1560s. It was one of the first official court images of the young monarch from which a number of subsequent portraits including the present work were modelled. Infra-red examination of our version reveals careful under-drawing to define the contours of the face. Conservator Rosie Gleave of the Courtauld Institute of Art, has noted that our portrait is very likely cut down from a larger composition: ‘Physical evidence, including the presence of large dowels at the side of the painting… and later, roughly beveled edges, strongly suggests that the panel was once a larger image. It may have been a ¾ or full-length portrait, in line with other version based on the Hampden portrait.' The Hampden portrait is thought to have been painted when Elizabeth was forced to address the issue of her marriage during the succession crisis of 1562/63. It is the only known image of the ‘Virgin Queen' that alludes to the possibility of her becoming a wife and a mother: the background to the right of the portrait presents a portal into a brilliantly painted array of foliage, fruit and flowers, alluding to the queen's potential fertility. She also holds a carnation in her right hand, traditionally a flower used in marriage portraits, while a rose is pinned to her chest. The rose was both the Queen's flower, and an allusion to the Tudor dynasty, but also an allusion to Venus, goddess of love, and on the other hand, to Christ. Christ's bride, perhaps, for she never would marry another. The ‘Hampden' full-length was in an inventory of the Lumley collection in 1590, noted as by ‘the famous painter Steven'. That painter was long presumed to be Steven van der Meulen, an Anglo-Flemish artist active in England from around 1560. However, recent discovery of that artist's will, written on 5 October 1563, dramatically reduced his potential oeuvre, bringing into question his authorship of the portrait of Elizabeth. It was suggested that ‘the famous painter Steven' may well have been the Anglo-Flemish artist, Steven van Herwijck (c. 1530 – c. 1565), who was briefly active in England from 1562 – 1563; however, this hypothesis has been dismissed by scholars in the field. Stylistically, we can however assume that the artist of the Hampden portrait, and its associated versions, was very likely Anglo-Flemish. Surprisingly, Elizabeth never appointed an official court painter, and she appears to have sat for only a handful of artists. Roy Strong pin-points only five specific artists that may have painted her through her reign – Levina Teerlinc in 1551, Nicholas Hilliard around 1572, Federico Zuccaro in 1575, and Unknown French Master in 1581 and Cornelius Ketel. The majority of her portraits were executed by anonymous artists working from court sanctioned prototypes, and of course there were many unauthorized images. In 1563, just over five years into Elizabeth's reign, and presumably after the present portrait type had been disseminated, Sir William Cecil drafted a proclamation designed to control the production of the monarch's image, forbidding further portraits of Elizabeth being made until an appropriate model (in the form of a face pattern) could be provided to artists to copy from. After this, ‘hir Majestie will be content that all other painters, or engravers…shall and maye at ther pleasures follow the sayd patron or first portraictur'. Later in her reign, in 1596, the queen's Privy Council ordered public officers to assist in destroying ‘unseemly' portraits – offering a further insight into a rather despotic and perhaps even vain desire to control her iconography.

http://www.alaintruong.com/archives/2017/07/03/35443121.html

Here is a link to the most comprehensive collection of portraits of Elizabeth I that I know of:

https://www.luminarium.org/renlit/elizface.htm

 

More extraordinary portraits of Elizabeth I can be seen here: http://loveisspeed.blogspot.com/2012/07/queen-elizabeth-i.html

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Brilliant resource again Eric - the detail and symbolism in the clothes is stunning. Came across this fascinating short video on the Westminster Abbey site about 'The Essex Ring' - very interesting!  https://www.westminster-abbey.org/teaching-resources/the-so-called-essex-ring

 

 

 

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3 hours ago, A Phoenix said:

Brilliant resource again Eric - the detail and symbolism in the clothes is stunning. Came across this fascinating short video on the Westminster Abbey site about 'The Essex Ring' - very interesting!  https://www.westminster-abbey.org/teaching-resources/the-so-called-essex-ring

 

 

 

Hi A. Phoenix

Wow! What a find. I had no idea that the ring still existed - if it is the actual ring that Elizabeth gave to her son, Essex, which seems quite likely. Unfortunately the commentary is brief and over-simplified. There must be more information about it which I'll try to seek out. Thank you so much for this fascinating and important insight. 

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4 hours ago, A Phoenix said:

Brilliant resource again Eric - the detail and symbolism in the clothes is stunning. Came across this fascinating short video on the Westminster Abbey site about 'The Essex Ring' - very interesting!  https://www.westminster-abbey.org/teaching-resources/the-so-called-essex-ring

OMG! Who were or was the "enemy hands" that ended up with the ring??

WOW! What a B'Hive thrill at the end of a day!!

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T A A A A A A A A A A A T
157     www.Light-of-Truth.com     287
<-- 1 8 8 1 1
O 1 1 8 8 1 -->

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8 hours ago, Light-of-Truth said:

OMG! Who were or was the "enemy hands" that ended up with the ring??

WOW! What a B'Hive thrill at the end of a day!!

Shame on the archivists at Westminster Abbey for not giving the full story of the Essex Ring. A. Phoenix will correct me, but I believe the story goes that the ring was mistakenly given to the Countess of Nottingham, Catherine Howard https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Catherine_Howard,_Countess_of_Nottingham.

Such was the fame of the ring that when it was auctioned in 1911 an Australian regional newspaper reported the sale with an explanation of its huge historical importance:

The Essex Ring Auction 1911.pdf

Edited by Eric Roberts
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Great find Eric!

The Essex Ring from:

https://www.academia.edu/48910078/Francis_Bacon_and_his_earliest_Shakespeare_play_Hamlet_A_Tudor_Family_Tragedy

pp.26-28

Years earlier it is said that Queen Elizabeth had given Essex a ring which if he ever forfeited her favour, if he sent it back to her, its return would ensure his pardon and forgiveness. His royal brother Francis knew that Essex had only to return the ring and all would be forgiven. He may also have been informed that Essex had sent it. But the queen never received the ring. Elizabeth was incredulous that Essex even at his lowest point and with his life in imminent danger did not possess the humility to send the ring it to her. It reinforced her deeply held fears that her concealed son would forever remain unruly and dangerous and she finally signed his death warrant. In those last days while fearing for his life in the Beauchamp Tower (part of the Tower of London) where he was imprisoned before his execution in the face of imminent death Robert Tudor carved into the stone wall his true name over the door way which can still be seen to this present day ‘ROBART TIDIR’, an old way of spelling ROBERT TUDOR, conveying his status as a concealed royal prince of England.

Locked in the Tower and condemned to death Essex had given the ring to a boy with instructions to pass it to Lady Scrope a Gentlewoman of the Privy Chamber to give to Elizabeth. Instead the page boy mistakenly gave the ring to her sister Katherine, the Countess of Nottingham, wife of Charles Howard, first Earl of Nottingham, Essex’s sworn enemy. A relative of Queen Elizabeth and Gentlewoman of the Privy Chamber the Countess of Nottingham had been a close friend of Elizabeth’s for more than fifty years. She was privy to the significance of the ring and her husband fearing reprisals from Essex if he lived implored her to keep it for their own protection and survival. Thus while Essex lay in the Tower facing death agonisingly waiting for a reprieve from his mother Queen Elizabeth and she too waited night after night, sleepless and weeping, desperate for her son Essex to send the ring that would save his life, it never came and he was executed. Following his death what life Elizabeth had left slowly began to drain out of her and with it her mind began to deteriorate plaguing her to the end of her days.

 Perhaps resulting from the guilt of her actions not long after Essex’s execution the health of the Countess of Nottingham’s also began to deteriorate and steadily decline. As she lay dying on her deathbed she received a visit from Queen Elizabeth to whom she confessed that she wilfully withheld the ring. Immediately overcome by a violent passion Elizabeth grabbed the dying woman and in an inconsolable rage spat out a torrent of unrepeatable expletives ending with the exclamation “God may forgive you, Madam, but I never can!”. With the words of Queen Elizabeth still ringing in her ears Lady Nottingham soon after died at Arundel House on 24 February 1603, a death which precipitated Elizabeth’s final decline. 

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8 hours ago, Light-of-Truth said:

Mommy!!

image.png.6c36176606f72f4ad7449fee76039179.png

Princess Elizabeth c.1546-7 aged 13-14 years old, around the time she was seduced by Thomas Seymour and possibly conceived a child by him.

https://www.rmg.co.uk/stories/topics/young-elizabeth-seymour-scandal

https://www.historyextra.com/period/tudor/did-thomas-seymour-sexually-abuse-the-teenage-princess-elizabeth/

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THE SECRET CHILD OF PRINCESS ELIZABETH AND THOMAS SEYMOUR.

 

The circumstances surrounding the scandal of Thomas Seymour and Princess Elizabeth as subsequently recounted by conventional historians and numerous biographers was invariably conveyed to posterity through the concealing prism of euphemisms and hints with no serious intention of ever wanting to get to the heart and truth of the matter. They were naturally content to only fleetingly touch upon the scandalous subject of a possible sexual relationship between the fourteen year old princess and Thomas Seymour, a man at the time married to her stepmother and old enough to be her father regarding a secret established sexual relationship widely rumoured to have produced a child. There were however two other sources which carry the subject of sexual intimacy and rumoured pregnancy further, both going as far as to affirm not only was Elizabeth pregnant but a child was secretly stillborn. The first of them is found in a manuscript life or memoir of Elizabeth’s contemporary Jane Dormer, afterwards Duchess of Feria (1538-1612).

Born second daughter of Sir William Dormer and his first wife Mary, eldest daughter of Sir William Sidney following the death of her mother in 1542 Jane was placed under the care of her grandmother Jane, Lady Dormer with whom she remained until she was taken into the household of Princess Mary. In her younger years Jane was the frequent companion of the young Prince Edward whose tutor and her grandfather Sir William Sidney encouraged her to read, dance and sing with his royal pupil.1 From the time she was admitted to the household of Princess Mary the two of them formed a strong bond and a lifelong friendship. Living with Mary in whose intimate trust she was taken, Jane Dormer was privy to the fact that following the death of Henry VIII Seymour had sought to marry Elizabeth and the two of them closely followed the unfolding scandal at the Parr-Seymour household. Naturally Princess Mary had a personal and political interest in any intended royal match with her sister Elizabeth. As the next in line to the throne Mary reacted with great alarm at Seymour’s intention to overthrow the government of his brother the Lord Protector, which if it succeeded, may very well have prevented her own succession. Aside from what was being done in public, Mary through official and diplomatic back channels was certainly the recipient of news and information of what was taking place in private between her sister Elizabeth and Seymour. Perhaps if anyone outside of the Parr-Seymour household would have known if Princess Elizabeth was pregnant and had secretly given birth to a child her sister Mary would have, information she would likely share with her trusted lady-in-waiting Jane Dormer. It is certainly the case, talk of Princess Elizabeth’s pregnancy and subsequent birth of a child was current in the household of Mary, and afterwards the household of Jane Dormer, then and many years thereafter.

In 1603 Jane Dormer, then Duchess of Feria, took into her household a Henry Clifford who she soon took into her confidence. Under her direction Clifford wrote a memoir of his mistress one which remains the principal authority for the known facts of her life. The surviving manuscript, as we have it, was written in 1643 however it was evidently prepared and drawn up at a much earlier date.2 For two hundred and fifty years this manuscript preserved in the possession of the Dormer family at Grove Park remained hidden from view before it was first published in 1887 under the editorship of the Rev. Joseph Stevenson, S. J., entitled The Life of Jane Dormer, Duchess of Feria. In this Life of the duchess a statement is found that the Princess Elizabeth gave birth to Seymour’s child that did not survive childbirth, and was subsequently hurriedly disposed of: 

A great lady, who knew her [Elizabeth] very well, being a girl of twelve or thirteen, told me that she was proud and disdainful, and related to me some particulars of her scornful behaviour, which much blemished the handsomeness and beauty of her person. In King Edward’s time what passed between the Lord Admiral, Sir Thomas Seymour, and her Doctor Latimer preached in a sermon, and was a chief cause that the Parliament condemned the Admiral. There was a bruit of a child born and miserably destroyed, but could not be discovered whose it was; only the report of the midwife, who was brought from her house blindfold thither, and so returned, saw nothing in the house while she was there, but candle light; only she said, it was the child of a very fair young lady. There was a muttering of the Admiral and this lady, who was then between fifteen and sixteen years of age. If it were so, it was the judgment of God upon the Admiral; and upon her…The reason why I write this is to answer the voice of my countrymen in so strangely exalting the Lady Elizabeth, and so basely depressing Queen Mary.3

The statement Elizabeth gave birth to Seymour’s child is also apparently hidden in a cipher introduced by Francis Bacon in the Shakespeare plays and inserted in several of his acknowledged works and his various masks. This hidden communication in the arcane form of a word cipher was discovered by Dr Orville Owen and published in Sir Francis Bacon’s Cipher Story in 1894. According to these revelations brought forth by Owen, in a fit of anger and rage Queen Elizabeth blurted out to the fifteen year old Francis Bacon the true nature of his own concealed birth. Dismayed and distressed and still in a state of confusion Francis immediately confronted Lady Bacon telling her what the queen had screamed out and tearfully demanded she tell him whether it was true or not. Since Queen Elizabeth had breached the secret pact between them never to reveal the nature of his true birth Lady Bacon now freed from the constraint of secrecy in the course of explaining the true nature of his origins proceeded to relate the events of Elizabeth’s passionate love affair with the Lord Admiral which involved, she said, “the secret of a very terrible crime, which, led on by the great but licentious Se[y]mour, she committed when a girl.”4 Lady Bacon, then Anne Cooke, maid-in-waiting to Princess Elizabeth told Francis how she tried to prevent these encounters but when she hinted as much to the princess how unseemly it was for the lascivious and adulterous Seymour to “ascend nightly to her chamber” the princess “did strike me” scolding her “will you then, wench, lesson me? Knowest y-not his looks are my soul’s food? He is full of virtue, bounty, worth and beseeming qualities, and I would be his wife; but alas! alas! he is the husband of my stepmother.”5 In the several weeks that followed the pregnant princess confessed her condition to Anne and begged for her assistance for it “is a secret” that “must be locked within the teeth and lips. I fear death, for my conceptious womb will soon give birth to a little child. It almost turns my dangerous nature wild when I dwell upon my fear, for the law of England doth work summary vengeance on the joint partakers of this youthful offence, to have my wrist and shanks fettered and carried headlong to the magistrate a prisoner, to have sentence of death passed.”6 Her trusted maid-in-waiting Anne was reluctantly being drawn into a dangerous conspiracy but she assured the princess that she would keep the matter secret and help conceal her pregnancy.

In the winter of 1548-9 according to the word cipher the court resided at Windsor Castle and Anne on advising her mistress to feign sickness and stay in bed in order to conceal her condition applied paints to whiten her face and advised her mistress to deny access to her person. On a cold winter night the princess gave birth to a child and in the absence of a doctor with no experience Anne was forced to perform the part of a midwife and on delivery was unable to help the child to breath who with “fury sprung selfborn, and yet unborn” the “sweet soul in speechless death lie’st in bed as in a grave” lamenting “I was not skill’d enough to play the nurse” to “aid the poor child” who “passed in silence to the fountain of final causes, namely God.”7 The overwhelming urgency and stress of the situation took on a different dimension. She was now faced with the compelling necessity to conceal the body of the “young girl” and with no option for a decent burial or any time to dig a grave, in fear of being discovered by royal attendants Anne was despatched into the cold night to bury the stillborn child wherever she could. Wrapping the “poor cold dead baby” up in her arms she silently crept through the castle and into the garden beyond which lay the vineyard until she finally reached a fish pond covered in thick ice. In a panic she scrambled over the ice to the centre and with some sort of stick or knife to make an opening for the child to sink into. In the process the ice gave way plunging her into the darkness of the freezing cold water terrified and gasping for breath she struggled to the surface but the ice once again broke beneath her. Numbed and enfeebled by the cold with her will to live fading her feet found the bottom and she managed to push up and breathlessly drag herself out of what she feared was to be a watery grave. With no other option available in a terrible state and predicament she plunged the body of the infant into the pool and returned back as speedily as she was able to the apartment of the princess herself still in a terrible state of fear and confusion, who welcomed her return with sobs of joy and enormous relief.    

Frantically hugging Anne in her arms she asked “Where did you conceal the body-in the earth I hope?” To which she replied “In the water, your highness.” Without any weight attached to corpse came the response. Yes your highness Anne replied. “O God” the princess exclaimed “Others will know my shame”. The weeping princess convinced the body would be chanced upon screamed “Stupid, away in haste and put in the earth.” In despair Anne returned to the pool hoping to recover the tiny corpse but nothing could be found and in vain she returned to the princess to tell her she was unable to find the body. The princess wept bitterly “O woe! O fortunes spight! King Edward will hear I am a common stale.”8 Comforting her mistress Anne removed her bloodstained garments and put a warm shirt on the princess now drained and exhausted they both fell into a fitful slumber only to be awoken at nine in the morning by King Edward standing at the foot of the bed.

With an austere look in his face, with bracing tone he asked “Mistress, what body did you bear forth from the castle and, ’twixt eleven and twelve last night throw into the spring adjoining?” The question shook her to the core and initially rendered her speechless “But my love for the princess was stronger than my fear of him.” Hesitating, “Since I knew not what he had heard or seen” Anne at first dissembled “Great Sir, said I, begging your pardon, what body talk you of? I know of no such body” The young king wryly replied “Fair lady, have you made a sinner of your memory as to credit your own lie? What is between you two? Give me up the truth.” Still trying to brazen it out Anne bravely told him “As I do live, my honoured lord ’tis true.” With his patience at an end the king put pay to the pretence “Here porter, here I say! Hast thou brought hither the little child?” yes, the porter replied, passing the tiny copse to the king. With anger and repugnance the king cried out “Thou’rt damned as black-nay nothing is so black-thou art more deep damned than Prince Lucifer. There is not so ugly a fiend in hell as thou shall be, if thou hast slain this child.” Anne mortified at even the suggestion of it “Do but hear me, sir” she roundly begins “Let hell want pains enough to torture me if I by act, consent, or sin of thought be guilty of the baby’s death.” He looked at her and said “I do suspect thee very grievously. Methinks the sentence of damnation sounds; but this deadly plot in thee I’ll pardon if thou wilt deliver the unholy man that hath my wanton sister in shameful, cunning lust enchained.” Still, heroically, trying to shield the princess a resurgent Anne raised up her head “My honoured lord, thy sister is so good a lady no tongue could ever pronounce dishonour of her. But my life she never knew harm doing.” The king was having none of it “Fie upon this compelled falsehood” his anger now returning “Thou hast both but one bare hour to live, and then thou must perpetually be damned; and her paramour, he that wooed her without respect or high regard, I will crop his head. He that hath made the court his mart and turned it into a loathly stew, he shall expound his beastly mind in hell.”9 Begging for forgiveness the princess cast herself before him “O spare me! kill me not! Make me not the laughing stock of the kingdom, I that am the daughter of a king and a queen!” Kneel not down before me he commands her “Rise, I’ll pardon thee thy life, but in perpetuity I’ll conceal thee, as best befits thee, in some reclusive and religious life, out of all tongues, eyes and minds; but by the flaming light of that celestial fire which kindleth love, I will advance the partaker of thy hateful, wicked love as high up as a scaffold.” With quite breathtaking audacity she turns to the king and scornfully asks him “With whom am I accused?” Even more astonishingly, faced as she was with the corpse of her stillborn child she now descended into blatant mendacity “If I be condemned upon surmises (all proofs sleeping else), I tell thee it is rigor and not law. This brat is none of mine; it is the issue of some rotten callet.” Incensed and outraged by her sheer bare-faced denials he violently retorted “Look, reprobate!” I “know the name of thy worthless concubine. He hath confessed, and I am resolved to have his head. Look here he comes. He did betray thee to me.” 

Just as the king was thundering up his revulsion from the bottom of his bowels a cowed Seymour crept in before them. With fearful countenance “He sues to Edward to let him breath a private man in foreign land” and prays “my lord be good to me! Your grace is accounted merciful and kind, let me live in Athens.” But the king was adamant “No sir,” he said “I’ll not pardon thee. Consenting too ’t would bark mine honour and leave my trunk naked. The discoverie of the dishonour of my sister and the corrupt man saved would make all men abhor us. Hope thou not. It is impossible.” Contemptuously snarling at the disgraced Seymour “Darest thou not die?” telling him for what it was worth “Thou shall have thy trial” before summarily dismissing him from his presence. And “without farewell or sign of peace, His Highness did depart and leave us to our deep despair.”10

Following his conviction for treason Thomas Seymour was condemned to death and executed on 20 March 1549. Princess Elizabeth went on to become the Virgin Queen ruling England for forty five years in which time she gave birth to two other children known to the world as Francis Bacon and Robert Devereux, second Earl of Essex.

  1. A. V., Jane Dormer, Dictionary of National Biography and M. J. Rodriguez- 

      Salgado, Jane Dormer, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (Oxford: Oxford  

      University Press, 2004-22).

  2. Henry Clifford, The Life of Jane Dormer, Duchess of Feria by Henry Clifford

      Transcribed from the Ancient Manuscript in the possession of the Lord Dormer  

      By The Late Canon. E. E. Estcourt And Edited By The Rev. Joseph Stevenson Of

      The Society of Jesus (London: Burns And Oates Limited, 1887), pp. xiii-xiv

  3. Ibid., pp. 86-87.

  4. Orville W. Owen, Sir Francis Bacon’s Cipher Story (Detroit And New York,  

      1894), I, p. 109.

  5. Ibid., I, p. 109.

  6. Ibid., I, p. 110

  7. Ibid., I, p. 113.

  8. Ibid., I, pp. 116-117.

  9. Ibid., I, pp. 118-121.

10. Ibid., I, pp. 121-124.

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1 hour ago, A Phoenix said:

THE SECRET CHILD OF PRINCESS ELIZABETH AND THOMAS SEYMOUR.

 

The circumstances surrounding the scandal of Thomas Seymour and Princess Elizabeth as subsequently recounted by conventional historians and numerous biographers was invariably conveyed to posterity through the concealing prism of euphemisms and hints with no serious intention of ever wanting to get to the heart and truth of the matter. They were naturally content to only fleetingly touch upon the scandalous subject of a possible sexual relationship between the fourteen year old princess and Thomas Seymour, a man at the time married to her stepmother and old enough to be her father regarding a secret established sexual relationship widely rumoured to have produced a child. There were however two other sources which carry the subject of sexual intimacy and rumoured pregnancy further, both going as far as to affirm not only was Elizabeth pregnant but a child was secretly stillborn or destroyed. The first of them is found in a manuscript life or memoir of Elizabeth’s contemporary Jane Dormer, afterwards Duchess of Feria (1538-1612).

Born second daughter of Sir William Dormer and his first wife Mary, eldest daughter of Sir William Sidney following the death of her mother in 1542 Jane was placed under the care of her grandmother Jane, Lady Dormer with whom she remained until she was taken into the household of Princess Mary. In her younger years Jane was the frequent companion of the young Prince Edward whose tutor and her grandfather Sir William Sidney encouraged her to read, dance and sing with his royal pupil.1 From the time she was admitted to the household of Princess Mary the two of them formed a strong bond and a lifelong friendship. Living with Mary in whose intimate trust she was taken, Jane Dormer was privy to the fact that following the death of Henry VIII Seymour had sought to marry Elizabeth and the two of them closely followed the unfolding scandal at the Parr-Seymour household. Naturally Princess Mary had a personal and political interest in any intended royal match with her sister Elizabeth. As the next in line to the throne Mary reacted with great alarm at Seymour’s intention to overthrow the government of his brother the Lord Protector, which if it succeeded, may very well have prevented her own succession. Aside from what was being done in public, Mary through official and diplomatic back channels was certainly the recipient of news and information of what was taking place in private between her sister Elizabeth and Seymour. Perhaps if anyone outside of the Parr-Seymour household would have known if Princess Elizabeth was pregnant and had secretly given birth to a child her sister Mary would have, information she would likely share with her trusted lady-in-waiting Jane Dormer. It is certainly the case, talk of Princess Elizabeth’s pregnancy and subsequent birth of a child was current in the household of Mary, and afterwards the household of Jane Dormer, then and many years thereafter.

In 1603 Jane Dormer, then Duchess of Feria, took into her household a Henry Clifford who she soon took into her confidence. Under her direction Clifford wrote a memoir of his mistress one which remains the principal authority for the known facts of her life. The surviving manuscript, as we have it, was written in 1643 however it was evidently prepared and drawn up at a much earlier date.2 For two hundred and fifty years this manuscript preserved in the possession of the Dormer family at Grove Park remained hidden from view before it was first published in 1887 under the editorship of the Rev. Joseph Stevenson, S. J., entitled The Life of Jane Dormer, Duchess of Feria. In this Life of the duchess a statement is found that the Princess Elizabeth gave birth to Seymour’s child that did not survive childbirth, and was subsequently destroyed or disposed of: 

A great lady, who knew her [Elizabeth] very well, being a girl of twelve or thirteen, told me that she was proud and disdainful, and related to me some particulars of her scornful behaviour, which much blemished the handsomeness and beauty of her person. In King Edward’s time what passed between the Lord Admiral, Sir Thomas Seymour, and her Doctor Latimer preached in a sermon, and was a chief cause that the Parliament condemned the Admiral. There was a bruit of a child born and miserably destroyed, but could not be discovered whose it was; only the report of the midwife, who was brought from her house blindfold thither, and so returned, saw nothing in the house while she was there, but candle light; only she said, it was the child of a very fair young lady. There was a muttering of the Admiral and this lady, who was then between fifteen and sixteen years of age. If it were so, it was the judgment of God upon the Admiral; and upon her…The reason why I write this is to answer the voice of my countrymen in so strangely exalting the Lady Elizabeth, and so basely depressing Queen Mary.3

The statement Elizabeth gave birth to Seymour’s child is also apparently hidden in a cipher introduced by Francis Bacon in the Shakespeare plays and inserted in several of his acknowledged works and his various masks. This hidden communication in the arcane form of a word cipher was discovered by Dr Orville Owen and published in Sir Francis Bacon’s Cipher Story in 1894. According to these revelations brought forth by Owen, in a fit of anger and rage Queen Elizabeth blurted out to the fifteen year old Francis Bacon the true nature of his own concealed birth. Dismayed and distressed and still in a state of confusion Francis immediately confronted Lady Bacon telling her what the queen had screamed out and tearfully demanded she tell him whether it was true or not. Since Queen Elizabeth had breached the secret pact between them never to reveal the nature of his true birth Lady Bacon now freed from the constraint of secrecy in the course of explaining the true nature of his origins proceeded to relate the events of Elizabeth’s passionate love affair with the Lord Admiral which involved, she said, “the secret of a very terrible crime, which, led on by the great but licentious Se[y]mour, she committed when a girl.”4 Lady Bacon, then Anne Cooke, maid-in-waiting to Princess Elizabeth told Francis how she tried to prevent these encounters but when she hinted as much to the princess how unseemly it was for the lascivious and adulterous Seymour to “ascend nightly to her chamber” the princess “did strike me” scolding her “will you then, wench, lesson me? Knowest y-not his looks are my soul’s food? He is full of virtue, bounty, worth and beseeming qualities, and I would be his wife; but alas! alas! he is the husband of my stepmother.”5 In the several weeks that followed the pregnant princess confessed her condition to Anne and begged for her assistance for it “is a secret” that “must be locked within the teeth and lips. I fear death, for my conceptious womb will soon give birth to a little child. It almost turns my dangerous nature wild when I dwell upon my fear, for the law of England doth work summary vengeance on the joint partakers of this youthful offence, to have my wrist and shanks fettered and carried headlong to the magistrate a prisoner, to have sentence of death passed.”6 Her trusted maid-in-waiting Anne was reluctantly being drawn into a dangerous conspiracy but she assured the princess that she would keep the matter secret and help conceal her pregnancy.

In the winter of 1548-9 according to the word cipher the court resided at Windsor Castle and Anne on advising her mistress to feign sickness and stay in bed in order to conceal her condition applied paints to whiten her face and advised her mistress to deny access to her person. On a cold winter night the princess gave birth to a child and in the absence of a doctor with no experience Anne was forced to perform the part of a midwife and on delivery was unable to help the child to breath who with “fury sprung selfborn, and yet unborn” the “sweet soul in speechless death lie’st in bed as in a grave” lamenting “I was not skill’d enough to play the nurse” to “aid the poor child” who “passed in silence to the fountain of final causes, namely God.”7 The overwhelming urgency and stress of the situation took on a different dimension. She was now faced with the compelling necessity to conceal the body of the “young girl” and with no option for a decent burial or any time to dig a grave, in fear of being discovered by royal attendants Anne was despatched into the cold night to bury the stillborn child wherever she could. Wrapping the “poor cold dead baby” up in her arms she silently crept through the castle and into the garden beyond which lay the vineyard until she finally reached a fish pond covered in thick ice. In a panic she scrambled over the ice to the centre and with some sort of stick or knife to make an opening for the child to sink into. In the process the ice gave way plunging her into the darkness of the freezing cold water terrified and gasping for breath she struggled to the surface but the ice once again broke beneath her. Numbed and enfeebled by the cold with her will to live fading her feet found the bottom and she managed to push up and breathlessly drag herself out of what she feared was to be a watery grave. With no other option available in a terrible state and predicament she plunged the body of the infant into the pool and returned back as speedily as she was able to the apartment of the princess herself still in a terrible state of fear and confusion, who welcomed her return with sobs of joy and enormous relief.    

Frantically hugging Anne in her arms she asked “Where did you conceal the body-in the earth I hope?” To which she replied “In the water, your highness.” Without any weight attached to corpse came the response. Yes your highness Anne replied. “O God” the princess exclaimed “Others will know my shame”. The weeping princess convinced the body would be chanced upon screamed “Stupid, away in haste and put in the earth.” In despair Anne returned to the pool hoping to recover the tiny corpse but nothing could be found and in vain she returned to the princess to tell her she was unable to find the body. The princess wept bitterly “O woe! O fortunes spight! King Edward will hear I am a common stale.”8 Comforting her mistress Anne removed her bloodstained garments and put a warm shirt on the princess now drained and exhausted they both fell into a fitful slumber only to be awoken at nine in the morning by King Edward standing at the foot of the bed.

With an austere look in his face, with bracing tone he asked “Mistress, what body did you bear forth from the castle and, ’twixt eleven and twelve last night throw into the spring adjoining?” The question shook her to the core and initially rendered her speechless “But my love for the princess was stronger than my fear of him.” Hesitating, “Since I knew not what he had heard or seen” Anne at first dissembled “Great Sir, said I, begging your pardon, what body talk you of? I know of no such body” The young king wryly replied “Fair lady, have you made a sinner of your memory as to credit your own lie? What is between you two? Give me up the truth.” Still trying to brazen it out Anne bravely told him “As I do live, my honoured lord ’tis true.” With his patience at an end the king put pay to the pretence “Here porter, here I say! Hast thou brought hither the little child?” yes, the porter replied, passing the tiny copse to the king. With anger and repugnance the king cried out “Thou’rt damned as black-nay nothing is so black-thou art more deep damned than Prince Lucifer. There is not so ugly a fiend in hell as thou shall be, if thou hast slain this child.” Anne mortified at even the suggestion of it “Do but hear me, sir” she roundly begins “Let hell want pains enough to torture me if I by act, consent, or sin of thought be guilty of the baby’s death.” He looked at her and said “I do suspect thee very grievously. Methinks the sentence of damnation sounds; but this deadly plot in thee I’ll pardon if thou wilt deliver the unholy man that hath my wanton sister in shameful, cunning lust enchained.” Still, heroically, trying to shield the princess a resurgent Anne raised up her head “My honoured lord, thy sister is so good a lady no tongue could ever pronounce dishonour of her. But my life she never knew harm doing.” The king was having none of it “Fie upon this compelled falsehood” his anger now returning “Thou hast both but one bare hour to live, and then thou must perpetually be damned; and her paramour, he that wooed her without respect or high regard, I will crop his head. He that hath made the court his mart and turned it into a loathly stew, he shall expound his beastly mind in hell.”9 Begging for forgiveness the princess cast herself before him “O spare me! kill me not! Make me not the laughing stock of the kingdom, I that am the daughter of a king and a queen!” Kneel not down before me he commands her “Rise, I’ll pardon thee thy life, but in perpetuity I’ll conceal thee, as best befits thee, in some reclusive and religious life, out of all tongues, eyes and minds; but by the flaming light of that celestial fire which kindleth love, I will advance the partaker of thy hateful, wicked love as high up as a scaffold.” With quite breathtaking audacity she turns to the king and scornfully asks him “With whom am I accused?” Even more astonishingly, faced as she was with the corpse of her stillborn child she now descended into blatant mendacity “If I be condemned upon surmises (all proofs sleeping else), I tell thee it is rigor and not law. This brat is none of mine; it is the issue of some rotten callet.” Incensed and outraged by her sheer bare-faced denials he violently retorted “Look, reprobate!” I “know the name of thy worthless concubine. He hath confessed, and I am resolved to have his head. Look here he comes. He did betray thee to me.” 

Just as the king was thundering up his revulsion from the bottom of his bowels a cowed Seymour crept in before them. With fearful countenance “He sues to Edward to let him breath a private man in foreign land” and prays “my lord be good to me! Your grace is accounted merciful and kind, let me live in Athens.” But the king was adamant “No sir,” he said “I’ll not pardon thee. Consenting too ’t would bark mine honour and leave my trunk naked. The discoverie of the dishonour of my sister and the corrupt man saved would make all men abhor us. Hope thou not. It is impossible.” Contemptuously snarling at the disgraced Seymour “Darest thou not die?” telling him for what it was worth “Thou shall have thy trial” before summarily dismissing him from his presence. And “without farewell or sign of peace, His Highness did depart and leave us to our deep despair.”10

Following his conviction for treason Thomas Seymour was condemned to death and executed on 20 March 1549. Princess Elizabeth went on to become the Virgin Queen ruling England for forty five years in which time she gave birth to two other children known to the world as Francis Bacon and Robert Devereux, second Earl of Essex.

  1. A. V., Jane Dormer, Dictionary of National Biography and M. J. Rodriguez- 

      Salgado, Jane Dormer, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (Oxford: Oxford  

      University Press, 2004-22).

  2. Henry Clifford, The Life of Jane Dormer, Duchess of Feria by Henry Clifford

      Transcribed from the Ancient Manuscript in the possession of the Lord Dormer  

      By The Late Canon. E. E. Estcourt And Edited By The Rev. Joseph Stevenson Of

      The Society of Jesus (London: Burns And Oates Limited, 1887), pp. xiii-xiv

  3. Ibid., pp. 86-87.

  4. Orville W. Owen, Sir Francis Bacon’s Cipher Story (Detroit And New York,  

      1894), I, p. 109.

  5. Ibid., I, p. 109.

  6. Ibid., I, p. 110

  7. Ibid., I, p. 113.

  8. Ibid., I, pp. 116-117.

  9. Ibid., I, pp. 118-121.

10. Ibid., I, pp. 121-124.

ETS.png

Hi A. Phoenix

My goodness! What a riveting read. Thank you for such a detailed account of the scandal involving young Elizabeth, Seymour and Anne Bacon. I was clueless as to Lady Bacon's role in the drama. Thanks also for drawing our attention to Jane Dormer, clearly a very remarkable and courageous person. A few links about her:

https://artuk.org/discover/artworks/lady-jane-dormer-15381612-duchess-of-feria-77601

https://www.tudorsociety.com/jane-dormer-duchess-of-feria-1538-1612/

https://www.spectator.co.uk/article/friend-of-elizabethan-exiles-the-colourful-life-of-jane-dormer/

 

 

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16 hours ago, A Phoenix said:

THE SECRET CHILD OF PRINCESS ELIZABETH AND THOMAS SEYMOUR.

 

The circumstances surrounding the scandal of Thomas Seymour and Princess Elizabeth as subsequently recounted by conventional historians and numerous biographers was invariably conveyed to posterity through the concealing prism of euphemisms and hints with no serious intention of ever wanting to get to the heart and truth of the matter. They were naturally content to only fleetingly touch upon the scandalous subject of a possible sexual relationship between the fourteen year old princess and Thomas Seymour, a man at the time married to her stepmother and old enough to be her father regarding a secret established sexual relationship widely rumoured to have produced a child. There were however two other sources which carry the subject of sexual intimacy and rumoured pregnancy further, both going as far as to affirm not only was Elizabeth pregnant but a child was secretly stillborn. The first of them is found in a manuscript life or memoir of Elizabeth’s contemporary Jane Dormer, afterwards Duchess of Feria (1538-1612).

Born second daughter of Sir William Dormer and his first wife Mary, eldest daughter of Sir William Sidney following the death of her mother in 1542 Jane was placed under the care of her grandmother Jane, Lady Dormer with whom she remained until she was taken into the household of Princess Mary. In her younger years Jane was the frequent companion of the young Prince Edward whose tutor and her grandfather Sir William Sidney encouraged her to read, dance and sing with his royal pupil.1 From the time she was admitted to the household of Princess Mary the two of them formed a strong bond and a lifelong friendship. Living with Mary in whose intimate trust she was taken, Jane Dormer was privy to the fact that following the death of Henry VIII Seymour had sought to marry Elizabeth and the two of them closely followed the unfolding scandal at the Parr-Seymour household. Naturally Princess Mary had a personal and political interest in any intended royal match with her sister Elizabeth. As the next in line to the throne Mary reacted with great alarm at Seymour’s intention to overthrow the government of his brother the Lord Protector, which if it succeeded, may very well have prevented her own succession. Aside from what was being done in public, Mary through official and diplomatic back channels was certainly the recipient of news and information of what was taking place in private between her sister Elizabeth and Seymour. Perhaps if anyone outside of the Parr-Seymour household would have known if Princess Elizabeth was pregnant and had secretly given birth to a child her sister Mary would have, information she would likely share with her trusted lady-in-waiting Jane Dormer. It is certainly the case, talk of Princess Elizabeth’s pregnancy and subsequent birth of a child was current in the household of Mary, and afterwards the household of Jane Dormer, then and many years thereafter.

In 1603 Jane Dormer, then Duchess of Feria, took into her household a Henry Clifford who she soon took into her confidence. Under her direction Clifford wrote a memoir of his mistress one which remains the principal authority for the known facts of her life. The surviving manuscript, as we have it, was written in 1643 however it was evidently prepared and drawn up at a much earlier date.2 For two hundred and fifty years this manuscript preserved in the possession of the Dormer family at Grove Park remained hidden from view before it was first published in 1887 under the editorship of the Rev. Joseph Stevenson, S. J., entitled The Life of Jane Dormer, Duchess of Feria. In this Life of the duchess a statement is found that the Princess Elizabeth gave birth to Seymour’s child that did not survive childbirth, and was subsequently hurriedly disposed of: 

A great lady, who knew her [Elizabeth] very well, being a girl of twelve or thirteen, told me that she was proud and disdainful, and related to me some particulars of her scornful behaviour, which much blemished the handsomeness and beauty of her person. In King Edward’s time what passed between the Lord Admiral, Sir Thomas Seymour, and her Doctor Latimer preached in a sermon, and was a chief cause that the Parliament condemned the Admiral. There was a bruit of a child born and miserably destroyed, but could not be discovered whose it was; only the report of the midwife, who was brought from her house blindfold thither, and so returned, saw nothing in the house while she was there, but candle light; only she said, it was the child of a very fair young lady. There was a muttering of the Admiral and this lady, who was then between fifteen and sixteen years of age. If it were so, it was the judgment of God upon the Admiral; and upon her…The reason why I write this is to answer the voice of my countrymen in so strangely exalting the Lady Elizabeth, and so basely depressing Queen Mary.3

The statement Elizabeth gave birth to Seymour’s child is also apparently hidden in a cipher introduced by Francis Bacon in the Shakespeare plays and inserted in several of his acknowledged works and his various masks. This hidden communication in the arcane form of a word cipher was discovered by Dr Orville Owen and published in Sir Francis Bacon’s Cipher Story in 1894. According to these revelations brought forth by Owen, in a fit of anger and rage Queen Elizabeth blurted out to the fifteen year old Francis Bacon the true nature of his own concealed birth. Dismayed and distressed and still in a state of confusion Francis immediately confronted Lady Bacon telling her what the queen had screamed out and tearfully demanded she tell him whether it was true or not. Since Queen Elizabeth had breached the secret pact between them never to reveal the nature of his true birth Lady Bacon now freed from the constraint of secrecy in the course of explaining the true nature of his origins proceeded to relate the events of Elizabeth’s passionate love affair with the Lord Admiral which involved, she said, “the secret of a very terrible crime, which, led on by the great but licentious Se[y]mour, she committed when a girl.”4 Lady Bacon, then Anne Cooke, maid-in-waiting to Princess Elizabeth told Francis how she tried to prevent these encounters but when she hinted as much to the princess how unseemly it was for the lascivious and adulterous Seymour to “ascend nightly to her chamber” the princess “did strike me” scolding her “will you then, wench, lesson me? Knowest y-not his looks are my soul’s food? He is full of virtue, bounty, worth and beseeming qualities, and I would be his wife; but alas! alas! he is the husband of my stepmother.”5 In the several weeks that followed the pregnant princess confessed her condition to Anne and begged for her assistance for it “is a secret” that “must be locked within the teeth and lips. I fear death, for my conceptious womb will soon give birth to a little child. It almost turns my dangerous nature wild when I dwell upon my fear, for the law of England doth work summary vengeance on the joint partakers of this youthful offence, to have my wrist and shanks fettered and carried headlong to the magistrate a prisoner, to have sentence of death passed.”6 Her trusted maid-in-waiting Anne was reluctantly being drawn into a dangerous conspiracy but she assured the princess that she would keep the matter secret and help conceal her pregnancy.

In the winter of 1548-9 according to the word cipher the court resided at Windsor Castle and Anne on advising her mistress to feign sickness and stay in bed in order to conceal her condition applied paints to whiten her face and advised her mistress to deny access to her person. On a cold winter night the princess gave birth to a child and in the absence of a doctor with no experience Anne was forced to perform the part of a midwife and on delivery was unable to help the child to breath who with “fury sprung selfborn, and yet unborn” the “sweet soul in speechless death lie’st in bed as in a grave” lamenting “I was not skill’d enough to play the nurse” to “aid the poor child” who “passed in silence to the fountain of final causes, namely God.”7 The overwhelming urgency and stress of the situation took on a different dimension. She was now faced with the compelling necessity to conceal the body of the “young girl” and with no option for a decent burial or any time to dig a grave, in fear of being discovered by royal attendants Anne was despatched into the cold night to bury the stillborn child wherever she could. Wrapping the “poor cold dead baby” up in her arms she silently crept through the castle and into the garden beyond which lay the vineyard until she finally reached a fish pond covered in thick ice. In a panic she scrambled over the ice to the centre and with some sort of stick or knife to make an opening for the child to sink into. In the process the ice gave way plunging her into the darkness of the freezing cold water terrified and gasping for breath she struggled to the surface but the ice once again broke beneath her. Numbed and enfeebled by the cold with her will to live fading her feet found the bottom and she managed to push up and breathlessly drag herself out of what she feared was to be a watery grave. With no other option available in a terrible state and predicament she plunged the body of the infant into the pool and returned back as speedily as she was able to the apartment of the princess herself still in a terrible state of fear and confusion, who welcomed her return with sobs of joy and enormous relief.    

Frantically hugging Anne in her arms she asked “Where did you conceal the body-in the earth I hope?” To which she replied “In the water, your highness.” Without any weight attached to corpse came the response. Yes your highness Anne replied. “O God” the princess exclaimed “Others will know my shame”. The weeping princess convinced the body would be chanced upon screamed “Stupid, away in haste and put in the earth.” In despair Anne returned to the pool hoping to recover the tiny corpse but nothing could be found and in vain she returned to the princess to tell her she was unable to find the body. The princess wept bitterly “O woe! O fortunes spight! King Edward will hear I am a common stale.”8 Comforting her mistress Anne removed her bloodstained garments and put a warm shirt on the princess now drained and exhausted they both fell into a fitful slumber only to be awoken at nine in the morning by King Edward standing at the foot of the bed.

With an austere look in his face, with bracing tone he asked “Mistress, what body did you bear forth from the castle and, ’twixt eleven and twelve last night throw into the spring adjoining?” The question shook her to the core and initially rendered her speechless “But my love for the princess was stronger than my fear of him.” Hesitating, “Since I knew not what he had heard or seen” Anne at first dissembled “Great Sir, said I, begging your pardon, what body talk you of? I know of no such body” The young king wryly replied “Fair lady, have you made a sinner of your memory as to credit your own lie? What is between you two? Give me up the truth.” Still trying to brazen it out Anne bravely told him “As I do live, my honoured lord ’tis true.” With his patience at an end the king put pay to the pretence “Here porter, here I say! Hast thou brought hither the little child?” yes, the porter replied, passing the tiny copse to the king. With anger and repugnance the king cried out “Thou’rt damned as black-nay nothing is so black-thou art more deep damned than Prince Lucifer. There is not so ugly a fiend in hell as thou shall be, if thou hast slain this child.” Anne mortified at even the suggestion of it “Do but hear me, sir” she roundly begins “Let hell want pains enough to torture me if I by act, consent, or sin of thought be guilty of the baby’s death.” He looked at her and said “I do suspect thee very grievously. Methinks the sentence of damnation sounds; but this deadly plot in thee I’ll pardon if thou wilt deliver the unholy man that hath my wanton sister in shameful, cunning lust enchained.” Still, heroically, trying to shield the princess a resurgent Anne raised up her head “My honoured lord, thy sister is so good a lady no tongue could ever pronounce dishonour of her. But my life she never knew harm doing.” The king was having none of it “Fie upon this compelled falsehood” his anger now returning “Thou hast both but one bare hour to live, and then thou must perpetually be damned; and her paramour, he that wooed her without respect or high regard, I will crop his head. He that hath made the court his mart and turned it into a loathly stew, he shall expound his beastly mind in hell.”9 Begging for forgiveness the princess cast herself before him “O spare me! kill me not! Make me not the laughing stock of the kingdom, I that am the daughter of a king and a queen!” Kneel not down before me he commands her “Rise, I’ll pardon thee thy life, but in perpetuity I’ll conceal thee, as best befits thee, in some reclusive and religious life, out of all tongues, eyes and minds; but by the flaming light of that celestial fire which kindleth love, I will advance the partaker of thy hateful, wicked love as high up as a scaffold.” With quite breathtaking audacity she turns to the king and scornfully asks him “With whom am I accused?” Even more astonishingly, faced as she was with the corpse of her stillborn child she now descended into blatant mendacity “If I be condemned upon surmises (all proofs sleeping else), I tell thee it is rigor and not law. This brat is none of mine; it is the issue of some rotten callet.” Incensed and outraged by her sheer bare-faced denials he violently retorted “Look, reprobate!” I “know the name of thy worthless concubine. He hath confessed, and I am resolved to have his head. Look here he comes. He did betray thee to me.” 

Just as the king was thundering up his revulsion from the bottom of his bowels a cowed Seymour crept in before them. With fearful countenance “He sues to Edward to let him breath a private man in foreign land” and prays “my lord be good to me! Your grace is accounted merciful and kind, let me live in Athens.” But the king was adamant “No sir,” he said “I’ll not pardon thee. Consenting too ’t would bark mine honour and leave my trunk naked. The discoverie of the dishonour of my sister and the corrupt man saved would make all men abhor us. Hope thou not. It is impossible.” Contemptuously snarling at the disgraced Seymour “Darest thou not die?” telling him for what it was worth “Thou shall have thy trial” before summarily dismissing him from his presence. And “without farewell or sign of peace, His Highness did depart and leave us to our deep despair.”10

Following his conviction for treason Thomas Seymour was condemned to death and executed on 20 March 1549. Princess Elizabeth went on to become the Virgin Queen ruling England for forty five years in which time she gave birth to two other children known to the world as Francis Bacon and Robert Devereux, second Earl of Essex.

  1. A. V., Jane Dormer, Dictionary of National Biography and M. J. Rodriguez- 

      Salgado, Jane Dormer, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (Oxford: Oxford  

      University Press, 2004-22).

  2. Henry Clifford, The Life of Jane Dormer, Duchess of Feria by Henry Clifford

      Transcribed from the Ancient Manuscript in the possession of the Lord Dormer  

      By The Late Canon. E. E. Estcourt And Edited By The Rev. Joseph Stevenson Of

      The Society of Jesus (London: Burns And Oates Limited, 1887), pp. xiii-xiv

  3. Ibid., pp. 86-87.

  4. Orville W. Owen, Sir Francis Bacon’s Cipher Story (Detroit And New York,  

      1894), I, p. 109.

  5. Ibid., I, p. 109.

  6. Ibid., I, p. 110

  7. Ibid., I, p. 113.

  8. Ibid., I, pp. 116-117.

  9. Ibid., I, pp. 118-121.

10. Ibid., I, pp. 121-124.

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The life of Jane Dormer, Duchess of Feria by Henry Clifford, 1610

https://archive.org/details/lifejanedormerd00stevgoog

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22 hours ago, A Phoenix said:

Great find Eric!

The Essex Ring from:

https://www.academia.edu/48910078/Francis_Bacon_and_his_earliest_Shakespeare_play_Hamlet_A_Tudor_Family_Tragedy

pp.26-28

Years earlier it is said that Queen Elizabeth had given Essex a ring which if he ever forfeited her favour, if he sent it back to her, its return would ensure his pardon and forgiveness. His royal brother Francis knew that Essex had only to return the ring and all would be forgiven. He may also have been informed that Essex had sent it. But the queen never received the ring. Elizabeth was incredulous that Essex even at his lowest point and with his life in imminent danger did not possess the humility to send the ring it to her. It reinforced her deeply held fears that her concealed son would forever remain unruly and dangerous and she finally signed his death warrant. In those last days while fearing for his life in the Beauchamp Tower (part of the Tower of London) where he was imprisoned before his execution in the face of imminent death Robert Tudor carved into the stone wall his true name over the door way which can still be seen to this present day ‘ROBART TIDIR’, an old way of spelling ROBERT TUDOR, conveying his status as a concealed royal prince of England.

Locked in the Tower and condemned to death Essex had given the ring to a boy with instructions to pass it to Lady Scrope a Gentlewoman of the Privy Chamber to give to Elizabeth. Instead the page boy mistakenly gave the ring to her sister Katherine, the Countess of Nottingham, wife of Charles Howard, first Earl of Nottingham, Essex’s sworn enemy. A relative of Queen Elizabeth and Gentlewoman of the Privy Chamber the Countess of Nottingham had been a close friend of Elizabeth’s for more than fifty years. She was privy to the significance of the ring and her husband fearing reprisals from Essex if he lived implored her to keep it for their own protection and survival. Thus while Essex lay in the Tower facing death agonisingly waiting for a reprieve from his mother Queen Elizabeth and she too waited night after night, sleepless and weeping, desperate for her son Essex to send the ring that would save his life, it never came and he was executed. Following his death what life Elizabeth had left slowly began to drain out of her and with it her mind began to deteriorate plaguing her to the end of her days.

 Perhaps resulting from the guilt of her actions not long after Essex’s execution the health of the Countess of Nottingham’s also began to deteriorate and steadily decline. As she lay dying on her deathbed she received a visit from Queen Elizabeth to whom she confessed that she wilfully withheld the ring. Immediately overcome by a violent passion Elizabeth grabbed the dying woman and in an inconsolable rage spat out a torrent of unrepeatable expletives ending with the exclamation “God may forgive you, Madam, but I never can!”. With the words of Queen Elizabeth still ringing in her ears Lady Nottingham soon after died at Arundel House on 24 February 1603, a death which precipitated Elizabeth’s final decline. 

 

Katherine Howard, Countess of Nottingham - this short article mentions the ring that Elizabeth gave to Essex, although the author is sceptical...

http://beingbess.blogspot.com/2012/02/on-this-day-in-elizabethan.html

image.png.af45001f700e9abbe490c097ddc2c74d.png

 

 

Edited by Eric Roberts
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Thanks for this Eric, the clothes and fashions of the time were truly stunning!

The sceptical author of the blog says the following  (below) but whether Katherine Countess of Nottingham was at court leading up to Essex's execution in 1601 is irrelevent because Elizabeth's famous words were allegedly said on a visit to Katherine's deathbed in 1603 and her harrowing confession about withholding the ring almost certainly precipitated Elizabeth's own death.

When Katherine felt the heavy hand of death and her own immortal judgement awaiting her, she told the queen everything. This is where the now famous quote, "May God forgive you; I never can!" supposedly came from, as Queen Elizabeth cried out in sorrow. 

While I think Elizabeth may have said this iconic quote at another time, about something else, it is unlikely that it pertained to Katherine, the Countess of Nottingham. Katherine was not even at court in the days leading up to the Earl of Essex's execution.

 

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5 hours ago, A Phoenix said:

Thanks for this Eric, the clothes and fashions of the time were truly stunning!

The sceptical author of the blog says the following  (below) but whether Katherine Countess of Nottingham was at court leading up to Essex's execution in 1601 is irrelevent because Elizabeth's famous words were allegedly said on a visit to Katherine's deathbed in 1603 and her harrowing confession about withholding the ring almost certainly precipitated Elizabeth's own death.

When Katherine felt the heavy hand of death and her own immortal judgement awaiting her, she told the queen everything. This is where the now famous quote, "May God forgive you; I never can!" supposedly came from, as Queen Elizabeth cried out in sorrow. 

While I think Elizabeth may have said this iconic quote at another time, about something else, it is unlikely that it pertained to Katherine, the Countess of Nottingham. Katherine was not even at court in the days leading up to the Earl of Essex's execution.

 

Perhaps Catherine Howard wasn't well enough serve the Queen at court at the time of Essex's execution. Symptoms of the illness that eventually killed her in 1603, four weeks prior the death of Her Majesty, had already begun to manifest in 1601. 

Edited by Eric Roberts
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5 hours ago, Eric Roberts said:

Perhaps Catherine Howard wasn't well enough serve the Queen at court at the time of Essex's execution. Symptoms of the illness that eventually killed her in 1603, four weeks prior the death of Her Majesty, had already begun to manifest in 1601. 

Arundel House was only a short coach ride from the royal residence of Whitehall, and also in the opposite direction, from the Tower of London where the Earl of Essex was incarcerated.  The palatial home on the Strand of Catherine and Charles Howard was next door to Essex House, separated only by a narrow lane, as the map below shows.

image.gif.9695030a577f2953bc47bb3fa8fa9bb5.gif

image.jpeg.88beea66d3e62b38b9dd1fcf7d052477.jpeg

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arundel_House

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1 hour ago, peethagoras said:

Excellent stash of visual info! Well done.

Anyone noticed her fingers resting on the little book and the blank pages in the big book?

Yes, and notice the bookmark which may be in the middle of the little book.

Somewhere in the B'Hive history Yann describes the middle of the First Folio which the blank book reminds me of. I tried to find his reference but may be in a video or embedded in an image. Is it Hamlet in the middle? I can't remember...

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T A A A A A A A A A A A T
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17 hours ago, Light-of-Truth said:

Yes, and notice the bookmark which may be in the middle of the little book.

Somewhere in the B'Hive history Yann describes the middle of the First Folio which the blank book reminds me of. I tried to find his reference but may be in a video or embedded in an image. Is it Hamlet in the middle? I can't remember...

Here is one place where Yann (Allisnum2er) mentions the "middle" of the First Folio:

/topic/309-sonnet-135-and-line-1881/page/3/#comment-4586

Quote

His motto was Mediocria firma (the middle way is safe).

There are 907 pages in the First Folio.

The middle way corresponds to pages 453 and 454 that are page 99 (WILL TUDOR reverse cipher)

and page 100 ( FRANCIS BACON simple cipher) of "The first part of HENRY VI"

https://internetshakespeare.uvic.ca/Library/facsimile/book/SLNSW_F1/17/index.html%3Fzoom=1275.html

 

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https://folgerpedia.folger.edu/mediawiki/media/images_pedia_folgerpedia_mw/0/01/ECDbD_1603.pdf

From: "The Elizabethan Court Day by Day" by Marion E. Colthorpe

1603 – Death of Queen Elizabeth I

Jan 21, Fri RICHMOND PALACE, Surrey.
George Pollard made ready ‘Richmond House for her Majesty.

Court news.  ‘About the Friday sennight (one week) after Christmas last...the late Queen about two days before sickened of a cold (being ever forewarned by Mr Dr Dee to beware of Whitehall) and... removed to Richmond’.

‘But a little before her going, even the same morning, the Earl of Nottingham, High Admiral of England, (Charles Howard) coming to her partly to speak with her as concerning her removal... they fell into some speech of the Succession, and then she told him that her seat had been ever the throne of kings, and none but her next heir of blood and descent should succeed her; after falling into other matters they left that speech, and she departed to Richmond, where she was well amended of the cold’. [Somers, Tracts, i.246].

Feb 25: Countess of Nottingham died at Arundel House, Strand. She was Katherine (Carey), wife of Charles Howard Earl of Nottingham, the Lord Admiral; she was a cousin of the Queen, a Lady of the Privy Chamber since 1559, and a Lady of the Bedchamber. Burial: Feb 28, St Luke’s Church, Chelsea.

March 3: Court news. Count Beaumont, French Ambassador, to M.de Villeroy:

I asked for audience at the end of February. The Queen ‘begged me to excuse her for a few days whilst she got over her grief for the death of the Countess of Nottingham, the Lord Admiral’s wife, for whom she has shed many tears and shows herself to be extraordinarily affected’.

March 5: ‘The Queen has been unwell for seven or eight days.'

March 9: Court news. Father Rivers to a Venetian, Creleto: ‘About ten days since the Countess of Nottingham died. Her husband, the Admiral, keepeth his chamber mourning in sad earnest. The Queen loved the Countess well, and hath much lamented her death, remaining ever since in a deep melancholy that she must die herself, and complaineth of many infirmities wherewith she seemeth suddenly to be overtaken; as imposthumation in her head, aches in her bones and continual cold in her legs, besides a notable decay of judgement and memory, insomuch as she cannot abide discourses of government and state, but delighteth to hear old Canterbury tales, to which she is very attentive; at other times impatient and testy, so as none of the Council, but Secretary, dare come in her presence’.

‘All are in a dump at court; some fear present danger, others doubt she will not continue past the month of May, but generally all are of opinion that she cannot overpass another winter...The succession is much talked of’...

March 9: Father Rivers to a Venetian, Galfredi:

‘The rumours of Arabella (Arbella Stuart) much afflict the Queen. She has not been well since the Countess of Nottingham’s death, rests ill at night, forbears to use the air in the day, and abstains more than usual from her meat, resisting physic, and suspicious of some about her as ill affected’. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lady_Arbella_Stuart /https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edward_Seymour,_Lord_Beauchamp#Marriage_and_children

March 9: Sir Robert Cecil to George Nicholson, in Scotland:

‘Till within these 10 or 12 days I never beheld other show of sickness in the Queen than merely those things that are proper to age’... ‘Now her Majesty, thanks be to God, is free from any peril, but because all flesh is subject to mortality...I must confess unto you that she hath been so ill disposed these 8 or 9 days as I am fearful lest the continuance of such accidents should bring her Majesty to future weakness, and so to be in danger of that which I hope mine eyes shall never see...She never kept her bed, but was, within these three days, in the garden’.

March 9: Sir Robert Cecil to Sir John Herbert, in Bremen:

‘Her Majesty hath of late for 8 or 9 days been much deprived of sleep’, which ‘decays her appetite somewhat...Other peril I assure you there is not’.

March 10: Venetian Agent’s report:

‘I sought an audience of the Queen in order to conclude the business entrusted to me. Her Majesty caused answer to be made that she desired to discuss pleasant topics only with me, and so, if I were seeking an audience on the subject of my mission, she begged me to wait till the Commissioners appointed by her had reported’...

‘The cause of the delay in the meeting of the Commissioners is the death last week of the Lord High Admiral’s wife. Apart from her husband’s exalted rank, she herself was a lady of high consideration and one of the Queen’s principal Ladies of the Bedchamber. This rank is reckoned so lofty here that they say her funeral is to cost 40,000 crowns. I might also add that the Carnival...has delayed the meeting, only here in court it has not been observed with the usual accompaniment of dances and comedies, for the Queen for many days has never left her chamber. And although they say that the reason for this is the death of the Countess, nevertheless the truer cause is...the business of Lady Arabella’. This ‘has greatly disturbed the Queen, for she has suddenly withdrawn into herself, she who was wont to live so gaily...now she allows grief to overcome her strength’.

March 12, Roger Manners to John Manners, at Haddon, Derbyshire:

‘It has been a troublesome and heavy time here owing to the Queen’s dangerous sickness; but now we rest in better hope, because yesterday she found herself somewhat better’.

March: the Queen’s last illness.

Sir Robert Carey wrote an eye-witness description. Carey (1560-1639), a cousin of the Queen, was the brother of Lord Chamberlain Hunsdon and of Lady Scrope, a Lady of the Bedchamber. He had undertaken embassies to Scotland and knew King James well. He was Warden of the Middle March and came to court from his post on the Scottish Borders ‘to see my friends and renew my acquaintance there’.

When writing in the 1620s Carey specifically stated: ‘This that I heard with my ears, and did see with my eyes, I thought it my duty to set down, and to affirm it for a truth, upon the faith of a Christian, because I know there have been many false lies reported of the end and death of that good lady’.

March 12,Sat: Sir Robert Carey arrived at Richmond.

‘When I came to court I found the Queen ill-disposed, and she kept her inner lodging; yet she, hearing of my arrival, sent for me. I found her in one of her Withdrawing Chambers, sitting low upon her cushions. She called me to her: I kissed her hand, and told her it was my chiefest happiness to see her in safety and in health, which I wished might long continue. She took me by the hand, and wrung it hard, and said “No, Robin, I am not well”, and then discoursed with me of her indisposition, and that her heart had been sad and heavy for ten or twelve days, and in her discourse she fetched not so few as forty or fifty great sighs’.

‘I was grieved at the first to see her in this plight, for in all my lifetime before I never knew her fetch a sigh but when the Queen of Scots was beheaded. Then, upon my knowledge, she shed many tears and sighs, manifesting her innocence, that she never gave consent to the death of that Queen’.

‘I used the best words I could to persuade her from this melancholy humour, but I found by her it was too deep-rooted in her heart, and hardly to be removed. This was upon a Saturday night, and she gave command that the Great Closet [a chapel] should be prepared for her to go to Chapel the next morning. The next day, all things being in a readiness, we long expected her coming. After eleven o’clock one of the Grooms came out and bade make ready for the private Closet, she would not go to the Great. There we stayed long for her coming, but at the last she had cushions laid for her in the Privy Chamber hard by the Closet door, and there she heard service’.

‘From that day forwards she grew worse and worse. She remained upon her cushions four days and nights at the least. All about her could not persuade her either to take any sustenance or go to bed’.

‘I, hearing that neither the physicians nor none about her could persuade her to take any course for her safety, feared her death would soon after ensue... Hereupon I wrote to the King of Scots (knowing him to be the right heir to the Crown of England) and certified him in what state her Majesty was. I desired him not to stir from Edinburgh; if of that sickness she should die, I would be the first man that should bring him news of it’.

‘The Queen grew worse and worse, because she would be so, none about her being able to persuade her to go to bed. My Lord Admiral was sent for (who by reason of my sister’s death, that was his wife, had absented himself some fortnight from court); what by fair means, what by force, he got her to bed. There was no hope of her recovery, because she refused all remedies’.

March 14: Court news. Count Beaumont to King Henri IV:

‘The Queen was given up three days ago...A short time previously she said, “I wish not to live any longer, but desire to die”. Yesterday and the day before she began to rest and found herself better...She takes no medicine whatever, and has only kept her bed two days; before this she would on no account suffer it, for fear (as some suppose) of a prophecy that she should die in her bed. Everyone maintains and agrees that melancholy is the true cause and origin of her illness’.

March 15: Court news. William Camden to Robert Cotton:

‘This...excessive sleepless indisposition of her Majesty is now ceased, which being joined with an inflammation from the breast upward, and her mind altogether averted from physic in this her climacterical year, did more than terrify us all...You may (as we do) put away fear, and thank God for this joyful recovery of her upon whose health and safety we all depend’.

March 17: Court news. Earl of Northumberland to King James:

‘Her Majesty hath been evil now almost one month. In the twelve first days it was kept secret...taking the cause to be the displeasure she took at Arbella, the motions of taking in Tyrone, and the death of her old acquaintance the Lady Nottingham. Those that were nearest her did imagine these to be the reasons. More days told us it was an indisposition of body; sickness was not in any manner discerned, her sleep and stomach only bereft her, so as for a 20 days she slept very little. Since she is grown very weak, yet sometimes gives us comfort of recovery, a few hours after threatens us with despair of her well doing. Physic she will not take any, and the physicians conclude that if this continue she must needs fall into a distemper; not a frenzy but rather into a dullness and a lethargy’.

‘This accident hath made all the whole nation look about them. Men talk freely of your Majesty’s right’... ‘If it...please God to take from us our mistress, you shall have instantly word, and I think news of her departure will be no sooner with your Majesty than word of your being proclaimed amongst us will overtake it’.

March 18: Court news. London, Count Beaumont to King Henri IV:

‘The Queen is already quite exhausted, and sometimes, for two or three hours together, does not speak a word...This morning her musicians have gone to her from here; I believe she means to die as cheerfully as she has lived’.

March 18: Anonymous description, 1603, of the course of the Queen’s sickness:

On Monday February 28th the Queen ‘began to sicken again, and so continued till Monday the 7th of March, at which time notice was given to the Lords of
the Council that she was sick of a cold, and so she continued sick till Tuesday the 15th of March following, after which day she began somewhat to amend, but the 18th of March following being Friday she began to be very ill, whereupon the Lords of the Council were sent for to Richmond’.

William Weston, in a cell in the Tower of London, witnessed that:

‘During those few days in which she lay dying beyond all hope of recovery, a strange silence descended on the whole city, as if it were under indict and divine worship suspended. Not a bell rang out. Not a bugle sounded – though ordinarily they were often heard’. 

March 18: Privy Council ordered ‘the restraint of stage-plays’ in London, Middlesex and Surrey.

Canterbury Chamberlains, 1603: ‘To Thomas Downton, one of the Lord Admiral’s players, for a gift bestowed upon him and his company, because it was thought fit they should not play at all, in regard that our late Queen was then very sick or dead as they supposed’.

March 19: Sir Robert Carey’s messenger left Richmond to take King James news from Carey that the Queen could not live three days ‘and that he stayed only at court to bring to him the first Correspondence of King James, 49].

March 19: Privy Council sent ‘letters to the noblemen that were about the city to come to the court the next day, attended with a small retinue for the avoiding of rumour’. The ports are to be closed.

March 20: ‘Her Majesty’s indisposition still continuing in the same state as hath been of late, betwixt hope and fear’, the Council conferred with the noblemen assembled that day at the court, imparting to them their ‘proceedings ...for the conservation of the State in peace and tranquillity’.

March 20: Roger Wilbraham: After the Queen ‘had languished three weeks, to all seeming rather of torment of mind than pain of body, and refusing all physic, after daily and manifold strong exhortations, both by bishops and the Council, not to be her own ruin: against this day was a summons of all the bishops and nobility near London, where was declared to them that since the first fear by her Majesty’s indisposition, the Lords hath ordered the Navy to be in readiness against foreign attempts, and divers parts of the kingdom had admonition; so had the Sheriffs, Lieutenants and Deputy Lieutenants, Justices of Peace throughout the kingdom; the Lieutenant of the Tower, the Presidents of Provinces and the Deputy of Ireland, the Mayor of London, especially, and other Corporations; and stay made of all shipping; thereby they supposed a good security to the kingdom for time present’.

March 20-autumn: Voyage from Bristol to Virginia. Captain Martin Pring, in The Speedwell, with The Discoverer, left Bristol.

‘They were much crossed by contrary winds upon the coast of England, and the death of that ever most memorable miracle of the world, our most dear sovereign Lady and Queen Elizabeth’. In June they reached Virginia (named by the Virgin Queen).


March 22, Flushing: ‘It was quickly known all over the town, and such a general hanging down of their heads, as that their inward sorrows might easily be discerned’. Two Deputies came from the States ‘to express the grief that they generally conceived for such hard news as was brought them, and with countenances tending to tears bewailed their disaster, and all Europe in general, that be of the Religion, if her Majesty should be taken from them’.

God was ‘so angry with the world as to take away so precious a treasure, and so sure a stay unto Christendom’. Just after the Deputies left news arrived ‘that her Majesty had been somewhat sick, but not any way in danger of death’; in the town was ‘sudden change in their faces for joy’. Browne and some more ‘of the best sort, went and drunk good carouses in Rhenish wine to her Majesty’s health’. Authentic news of her death came on March 29.

March 22: Court news. Beaumont to Villeroy: ‘The Queen is drawing to her end...Yesterday she directed some meditations to be read to her, among others those of Du Plessis’. She has made no will and named no successor’.

Mar 23: Wed sermon, Richmond: Dr Henry Parry. Text: Psalm 116:18.
John Manningham: ‘I was at the court at Richmond to hear Dr Parry one of her Majesty’s Chaplains preach, and to be assured whether the Queen were living or dead. I heard him, and was assured she was then living’.

‘His text was out of the Psalm: “Now will I pay my vows unto the Lord in the midst of the congregation”. It was a very learned, eloquent, religious, and moving sermon; his prayer, both in the beginning and conclusion, was so fervent and effectual for her Majesty that he left few eyes dry’.

Among those present: Archbishop of Canterbury; the Lord Keeper; the Lord Treasurer; Lord Admiral; Earls of Shrewsbury, Worcester, Lords Cobham, Grey.

‘I dined with Dr Parry in the Privy Chamber, and understood by him, the Bishop of Chichester, the Dean of Canterbury, the Dean of Windsor, etc, that her Majesty hath been by fits troubled with melancholy some three or four months, but for this fortnight extreme oppressed with it, insomuch that she refused to eat anything, to receive any physic, or admit any rest in bed, till within these two or three days’.

‘She hath been in a manner speechless for two days, very pensive and silent; since Shrovetide sitting sometimes with her eye fixed upon one object many hours together, yet she always had her perfect senses and memory, and yesterday signified by the lifting up of her hand and eyes to heaven, a sign which

Dr Parry entreated of her, that she believed that faith which she hath caused to be professed, and looked faithfully to be saved by Christ’s merits and mercy only, and no other means’.

‘She took great delight in hearing prayers, would often at the name of Jesus lift up her hands and eyes to heaven. She would not hear the Archbishop speak of hope of her longer life, but when he prayed or spoke of heaven and those joys she would hug his hand, etc. It seems she might have lived if she would have used means; but she would not be persuaded, and princes must not be forced. Her physicians said she had a body of a firm and perfect constitution, likely to have lived many years’.

March 23-24, Wed-Thur: Robert Carey’s account of the Queen’s last hours. ‘On Wednesday morning, the 23rd of March, she grew speechless. That afternoon, by signs, she called for her Council, and by putting her hand to her head when the King of Scots was named to succeed her, they all knew he was the man she desired should reign after her’.

‘About six at night she made signs for the Archbishop and her Chaplains to come to her; at which time I went in with them, and sat upon my knees full of tears to see that heavy sight’.

‘Her Majesty lay upon her back, with one hand in the bed and the other without. The Bishop kneeled down by her, and examined her first of her faith, and she so punctually answered all his several questions, by lifting up her eyes and holding up her hand, as it was a comfort to all the beholders. Then the good man told her plainly, what she was, and what she was to come to; and though she had been long a great Queen here upon earth, yet shortly she was to yield an account of her stewardship to the King of Kings’.

‘After this he began to pray, and all that were by did answer him. After he had continued long in prayer, till the old man’s knees were weary, he blessed her, and meant to rise and leave her. The Queen made a sign with her hand. My sister Scrope, knowing her meaning, told the Bishop the Queen desired he should pray still. He did so for a long half-hour after, and then thought to leave her’.

‘The second time she made sign to have him continue in prayer. He did so for half an hour more, with earnest cries to God for her soul’s health, which he uttered with that fervency of spirit, as the Queen to all our sight much rejoiced thereat, and gave testimony to us all of her Christian and comfortable end’.

‘By this time it grew late, and everyone departed, all but her women that attended her’... ‘I went to my lodging, and left word with one in the Cofferer’s chamber to call me, if that night it was thought she would die’...

‘Between one and two of the clock on Thursday morning, he that I left in the Cofferer’s chamber brought me word the Queen was dead’.

‘I rose and made all the haste to the gate to get in... I entered the gate, and came up to the Cofferer’s chamber, where I found all the ladies weeping bitterly ...Thence to the Privy Chamber, where all the Council was assembled; there I was caught hold of, and assured I should not go for Scotland till their pleasures were further known... From thence they all went to the Secretary’s chamber’.

March 24: Court news. John Manningham noted: ‘This morning...her Majesty departed this life, mildly like a lamb, easily like a ripe apple from the tree ...Dr Parry told me that he was present and sent her prayers before her soul; and I doubt not but she is amongst the royal saints in heaven in eternal joys’.

‘About 10 o’clock the Council and divers noblemen, having been awhile in consultation, proclaimed James the 6, King of Scots, the King of England, France, and Ireland, beginning at Whitehall gates, where Sir Robert Cecil read the Proclamation, which he carried in his hand and after read again in Cheap-side. Many noblemen, Lords spiritual and temporal, knights, 5 trumpets, many Heralds... The Proclamation was heard with great expectation, and silent joy, no great shouting. I think the sorrow for her Majesty’s departure was so deep in many hearts they could not so suddenly show any great joy’.

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For anyone who missed the exhibition in 2020 and hasn't seen this clip, here's a discussion among royal art collection curators about the three extant versions of the Armada Portrait. This was the first time in 400 years that all three pictures had been displayed together. The face of Elizabeth in the Armada Portrait is same image used by Lillian Schwartz and Simon Miles in their analyses of the Droeshout engraving.

 

 

 

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