Tuesday, 23 June 2009

The Lost Children of Charles I


Princess Elizabeth's Tomb Sculpted by Carlo Marochetti

Born in 1635, Princess Elizabeth was called "Temperance" due to her kind nature. When she was seven, her father, Charles I marched into the House of Commons with troops to demand the arrest of five MPs. London was soon in open revolt and the royal family forced to flee for their safety.

The King and two elder sons, Charles and James, established a new royalist government at Oxford, but the Commons refused permision for Elizabeth and two-year-old Henry, Duke of Gloucester to join their parents, keeping them virtual prisoners at St. James's Palace. Their mother and baby sister, Henriette Anne, born in 1644, eventually fled to the continent, but Elizabeth never saw her mother again.

A sickly child, Elizabeth broke her leg in 1643 and was moved to Chelsea with her brother and tutored by the female scholar Bathsua Makin. At eight, she could read and write Hebrew, Greek, Latin, Italian and French and the scriptures in their original tongues.

When Elizabeth was ten, her hostess the Countess of Dorset died and she and Henry were placed in the care of the Duke of Newcastle in a house on the Thames. James, Duke of York was allowed to visit, but Elizabeth was concerned about him being around the king's enemies for any length of time and provided the clothes, and perhaps the plan for his successful escape to the continent.

In 1647, Elizabeth and Henry were living at the country home of the Countess of Leicester. The French ambassador described her as a "budding young beauty" characterised by grace, dignity, sensibility and intelligence. Unlike her father she could judge characters and understand different points of view. But she was powerless, distraught and saddened as the tragedy of the English revolution unfolded. As parliamentary prejudice hardened, the Countess of Leicester was ordered to treat her royal charges without special privileges.

In January 1649, when Charles was tried, found guilty of treason and condemned to death, Elizabeth wrote a long letter to Parliament requesting permission to join her sister, Princess Mary in Holland. This request was refused until after the execution had taken place.

On the day after Elizabeth's 13th birthday, King Charles was allowed one last meeting with Elizabeth and Henry. The prematurely aged king told her not to grieve as he would die a martyr and he gave her a Bible, which she kept close at hand for the rest of her short life.

The royal children were stripped of their titles and no one was allowed to kiss their hands or treat them as royal. Prince Henry, Duke of Gloucester was now merely “Mr Harry”. Parliament continued to treat then with consideration, but the myth that they planned to marry Elizabeth to a commoner and apprentice Henry to a trade is royalist propaganda.

In July 1650, the ruling Council of State decided to move Elizabeth and Henry to their father's former prison, Carisbrooke Castle. Elizabeth complained that her health was not equal to moving, but it went ahead anyway; taken there by the king's former servant Anthony Mildmay, described as, "at heart a knave".

Elizabeth had always suffered ill health, possibly including rickets. On the Monday after her arrival she caught a chill, that developed into a fever which turned into headaches and fitting. On the morning of Sunday the 11th September 1650, Elizabeth was found dead, her head resting on the open Bible that had been her father's parting gift. Ironically three days later, unaware of the tragedy, the Council of State decided on her release so that she could join her elder sister Mary in the Netherlands. (Henry was released to Mary in early 1653).

Elizabeth's coffin was laid in a vault under the floor of St Thomas Church in Newport, Isle of Wight, with a stone marked "E.S." for Elizabeth Stuart as her only memorial. She was fourteen years old.

In the 1850s Victoria and Albert, whose holiday home, Osborne House is on the Isle of Wight, hired Carlo Marochetti, an Italian sculptor to complete a new tomb for Elizabeth in Carrara marble. Completed in 1856, Queen Victoria was so impressed with the result, she hired the same sculptor to carve the mausoleum statue for herself and Albert.

Henry, Duke of Gloucester joined his two brothers in exile and in May 1660 returned to England with the new King Charles II. In September, he died of smallpox - aged 20.

Henry Duke of Gloucester 1653 aged 10

13 comments:

Marg said...

Fascinating. Thanks so much for introducing me to a royal I hadn't heard of before!

Alison Stuart said...

Lovely post, Anita. The sad story of these two royal children is often forgotten. I didn't know that her release had been imminent on her death. So sad!

orcalover said...

very interesting. I never knew that part of English history.

Diane said...

Thank you for that historical information. I never knew about the first Charles' children. So tragic she was about to be released.

Victoria Dixon said...

Fascinating post, Anita, but so tragic! I knew nothing of Charles I's other children, only of him and Charles II.

Victoria Dixon

julieconner said...

So sad! It makes you wonder...what if she'd been healthier, stronger? Would we have known about her? Would she have influenced history? Fascinating information, Anita. You gave me another layer to consider with the already written history!

Maryann Miller said...

Interesting post. History is so fascinating and it is always fun to find little-known tidbits like this.

Pat said...

I'm sorry to say, the picture of the sculpture didn't come through, but how sad a life that child led. Great post.

Anne Whitfield - author said...

Excellent post, Anita.
Such troubling times, but what strength of character from Elizabeth.

Eilidh said...

Excellent work. Food for thought, what if?

Anita Davison said...

By E-Mail from Lisabet Sarai

Fascinating, Anita, and so sad! Thanks for enlightening a historical novice.

Warmly,
Lisabet

teon blakes said...



Teon Blake - Stewart : wow a kind nature just like my gorgeous cousin Ten Stewart - brilliant finding. So much I explore now finally enjoying the land King James Stewart past down to us I celebrate him finally as I find so much likeness in our family of royal bronzes ( of the era When Noble bred native which is highly rear today making us Supreme in every sense )
It's interesting hearing of fellow illegitimate heirs and yet so many fail to mention how many enslaved African royalty/ common natives were also taken into their royal warm beds ; found us irresistible , thrusting & adding to our lineage - Hence the Stewarts / Stuarts etc , were of mixed heritage down the line that extends to mine - Ive always felt powerful and comfortable and adored being a Stewart of colour here in Great Britain; London England ; moreover it was not fashionable to be dark like it is now studio as it sounds ,and therfore depicted lighter . We are decendants of king james Stewart who generously gave us his land , and blood, passion , and I'm a man of colour who just like them would have been left out of history as you are too insecure to see power in different shades ; Belive how quickly some cultures fall in love especially with a culture from Africa to caribean who shaped the empire off some off their backs unlike me , Power beyond measure as my parents were born know England ; We are also developing luxury apartments on six acres next to Rothchilds one acre estate on the platinum coast. Im also an Artist and writer - feel free to visit and to be enlightened of royal power in darker skin. BLACK and white mix through segrating are now bronze not Black- king james saw to that through God ; most high I quote.
The paintings weren't all wrong , you just failed to examine & remember mixed raced babies are very light ; and as it was popular to be fair that is how they look ; like the mixed raced Charlotte ( who they foolishly label black but she is fair with African features making her mixed race whos blood runs through Elizabeth and so fourth and now mixed with our stewart blood have true Noble blood)Yes, Queen charlotte you'll see black features ;
http://www.theguardian.com/world/2009/mar/12/...
If you keep leaving out the bronze pieces of the puzzle you'll never know true his history . But thankfully future films of the Harry potter team love my writing and film concepts where I've featured such truth , that will hopefully draw the attention to the Royals that walk among you illegitimate, or not it makes no difference to God. Blood is blood .

Kindest,
Teon Blake-Stewart

teon blakes said...



Teon Blake - Stewart : wow a kind nature just like my gorgeous cousin Ten Stewart - brilliant finding. So much I explore now finally enjoying the land King James Stewart past down to us I celebrate him finally as I find so much likeness in our family of royal bronzes ( of the era When Noble bred native which is highly rear today making us Supreme in every sense )
It's interesting hearing of fellow illegitimate heirs and yet so many fail to mention how many enslaved African royalty/ common natives were also taken into their royal warm beds ; found us irresistible , thrusting & adding to our lineage - Hence the Stewarts / Stuarts etc , were of mixed heritage down the line that extends to mine - Ive always felt powerful and comfortable and adored being a Stewart of colour here in Great Britain; London England ; moreover it was not fashionable to be dark like it is now studio as it sounds ,and therfore depicted lighter . We are decendants of king james Stewart who generously gave us his land , and blood, passion , and I'm a man of colour who just like them would have been left out of history as you are too insecure to see power in different shades ; Belive how quickly some cultures fall in love especially with a culture from Africa to caribean who shaped the empire off some off their backs unlike me , Power beyond measure as my parents were born know England ; We are also developing luxury apartments on six acres next to Rothchilds one acre estate on the platinum coast. Im also an Artist and writer - feel free to visit and to be enlightened of royal power in darker skin. BLACK and white mix through segrating are now bronze not Black- king james saw to that through God ; most high I quote.
The paintings weren't all wrong , you just failed to examine & remember mixed raced babies are very light ; and as it was popular to be fair that is how they look ; like the mixed raced Charlotte ( who they foolishly label black but she is fair with African features making her mixed race whos blood runs through Elizabeth and so fourth and now mixed with our stewart blood have true Noble blood)Yes, Queen charlotte you'll see black features ;
http://www.theguardian.com/world/2009/mar/12/...
If you keep leaving out the bronze pieces of the puzzle you'll never know true his history . But thankfully future films of the Harry potter team love my writing and film concepts where I've featured such truth , that will hopefully draw the attention to the Royals that walk among you illegitimate, or not it makes no difference to God. Blood is blood .

Kindest,
Teon Blake-Stewart