‘Tyred in her banished dress’: Henrietta Maria in exile

Karen Britland
Keele University

Karen Britland. "‘Tyred in her banished dress’: Henrietta Maria in exile". Early Modern Literary Studies Special Issue 15 (September, 2007) 4.1-39<URL: http://purl.oclc.org/emls/si-15/brithenr.htm>.


  1. In Thomas Killigrew’s play, Thomaso, or The Wanderer, three Spaniards discuss the fate of the English exiles in France.[1] ‘They are now remov’d to the Palace Royal’, one notes, ‘where they eat so seldom, and dung so small, you may as soon step in a Custard as a T--- in the Court’ (III. i. Killigrew 343). Focussing on the poverty of the exiles, he observes:
    France has so cut their Combs; the Louvre and the Pale-royal have been sad inchanted Castles to them, they have kept a Lazarello’s Court there; darkness, leanness, and the nest of poverty; but two loaves a day, and without fish, to work the Miracle; yet the Gallery was a Christian Coney-warren fill’d with Cavaliers of all Trades; and unless they fed upon their children, ’tis not visible what they eat. (III. i. Killigrew 343)
    Killigrew’s amusing, scatological, and vaguely condescending depiction of the royalist exile in Paris reveals his awareness of the extent to which the English nation had fallen in the estimation of its foreign neighbours, locating the exile community, not as expatriated gentlefolk, but as sick, degraded, scavenging and poor.

  2. This theatrical evocation of the impoverished state of the exiles is mirrored in the account of a journey undertaken to Paris in 1657-8 by two Dutch brothers who, evidently more sympathetic to the Protectorate than to the defeated royalists, remarked that Palais Royal had been badly damaged by the English queen’s attendants. The exiles, the brothers said, had destroyed the great gallery’s expensive gilding in their greed to have a few coins, and had broken the palace’s windows to take (and presumably sell) the lead (Villers 73, 116).[2] The Dutchmen also tell of stumbling by chance upon the execution of an English nobleman who, with five others claiming to be gentlemen, had been indicted for theft by the French authorities and was summarily put to death (Villers 76).

  3. These two accounts, one dramatic fiction, the other a travel diary, give remarkably similar impressions of the exiles’ situation in Paris in the mid-to-late 1650s. They also raise similar questions, not least about changes in the exile experience through time, and about how individuals were affected by their religious affiliations and proximity to authority and influence. In this article I investigate how the Parisian exile was represented by royalist writers; and I want, specifically, to consider how the activities and self-portrayal of Queen Henrietta Maria intersected with or diverged from these representations.


  4. Killigrew’s play takes place after Henrietta Maria had been asked by the French Queen Anne, widow of the late Louis XIII and regent to Louis XIV, to transfer her lodgings from the Louvre to the Palais Royal. Prior to 1652/3, Anne had preferred to keep her own court at the Palais Royal, a house, formerly known as the Palais Cardinal, built near the Louvre by the late Cardinal Richelieu. However, after the French civil wars of the Fronde (1648-53) which forced the royal family briefly to quit Paris, Anne decided to move from the Palais Royal back to the French monarchs’ traditional residence of the Louvre.[3] The two queens consequently exchanged accommodation and, when she was not at Saint-Germain-en-Laye, outside Paris, or at Chaillot, the convent she founded in 1651, Henrietta Maria established herself at Richelieu’s old home. The term, ‘Louvre faction’, invoked by historians to describe Henrietta Maria’s circle in Paris, becomes, therefore, entirely defunct and anachronistic after the wars of the Fronde.[4]

  5. The period of the Fronde marked a strong downturn in Henrietta Maria’s financial fortunes. On her arrival in France in 1644, she had been granted a pension by Louis XIV of 12,000 écus a month, and she was also entitled to 72,000 livres a year from the entrance fees levied at the gates of villages around Paris, such as Melun and Meaux.[5] Her niece, Mademoiselle de Montpensier noted of her arrival in France that she appeared at first with a queen’s retinue, accompanied by ladies in waiting, carriages and footmen. However, as time passed, her entourage diminished until it ceased to befit her dignity (Montpensier 26). The wars of the Fronde meant that her pension often went unpaid, and, after the death of Charles I in 1649, she was beset by merchants who refused to advance her any more credit (Baillon 253). She was already heavily in debt and still borrowing. In 1648, she was lent money by a certain Jacques Marchain to buy munitions for the Marquess of Ormonde, and she owed 350,000 livres to the French financier, Thomas Cantarini.[6] In February 1650, she pawned a set of Hero and Leander tapestries to Emery Michel, French surintendant des finances, and, in April, wrote playfully to her sister, Christine, Duchess of Savoy, to say that the French queen allowed her 60,000 francs a year, but that this was very little for a ‘demoiselle’ (young lady) like her (Lettres 82).[7] That September, she was apparently unable even to afford to buy her son Charles a new undershirt when he returned, defeated, from the battle of Worcester: he had to borrow one from Henry Jermyn (Retz iii.111-12). Although, in time, she was able to assist some of her faithful adherents, paying £2,000 to William Cavendish in partial return for a loan, the poverty of the exiled English court was acute and exacerbated every day by more exiles arriving from England (Whitaker 101).

  6. Killigrew’s play evokes this sense of over-population when it describes the Palais Royal as a ‘Coney-warren fill’d with Cavaliers of all Trades’. Not only did the palace house Henrietta Maria’s own attendants; it was beset by diverse Englishmen and their families, all exiled to France because of their adherence to the royalist cause and all consequently feeling they were owed support. Geoffrey Smith has investigated the various exiles that fled from England between 1640 and 1659, drawing attention to the different lengths of time people spent abroad; to the servants and families that accompanied them; and to the different social classes of the men and women who sought sanctuary on the continent. His work is responsibly alert to nuances in the exiles’ various experiences and does not need to be reduplicated. Instead, to investigate how this important moment in the English civil conflict structured the way loyal royalists thought about their identities, I want to begin by considering a representation of the exile by an Englishman who never experienced it. On the eve of Charles II’s restoration, Cosmo Manuche, a major of foot in the royalist army, penned a play that he entitled ‘The Banished Shepherdess’. This play invokes the exiles’ impoverished plight, and, in its titular character, constructs a very interesting version of the dispossessed Queen Henrietta Maria.[8]

  7. The first section of this article considers Manuche’s play, investigating its portrayal of the queen and examining the construction of an exiled, royalist identity by a writer who remained at home in England. I then investigate the theatrical and journalistic material directly associated with Henrietta Maria’s court in exile, asking how the output of the queen’s own circle reflected the royalist identities being propounded in the tracts and news books of the 1640s. In sum, I consider how the exiled court and the exile experience were conceived in royalist writing both by those who experienced exile and those who remained behind. The article concludes with a detailed consideration of Henrietta Maria’s personal presentation of her time in France as an exiled queen and queen mother. It investigates the English royal family’s involvement in French court festivals, and illustrates how the queen’s conceptions of her sojourn in France differed markedly from the ways in which she was portrayed in English royalist literature.


  8. Cosmo Manuche’s play exists in two manuscript versions: one in the British Library, dedicated to his patron, James Compton, earl of Northampton; and one in the Huntington Library, dedicated to Henrietta Maria. The dedication in the Huntington copy addresses ‘the Queene Dowager’ and asks her to pardon a ‘poore suffering subiect’ who can offer his children ‘no other Dish for Them to feede on, but his Loyalty Seru’d vp in irons’ (Manuche fol. 1v). Despite the intensely personal nature of the address, there is no evidence that Manuche was known to the English queen, yet he, like many of his compatriots, evidently thought that his loyalty to the royalist cause, which had led him into poverty, deserved some recognition and recompense.[9]

  9. Manuche’s play, then, is interesting for the way it establishes Henrietta Maria as the focus of the royalist exile from the point of view of someone who fought for the royalists, but who was not an exile per se. It is also interesting for the way it recycles moments from the court drama of the 1630s in the new context of the civil wars. Lois Potter has proposed that the genre of pastoral romance, popular among courtiers in the 1630s, became politicised during the civil wars, noting:
    In defending the role of women and of the private life, romance allows the major religious differences between the king and queen, and the hostility between their two countries, to be glossed over by the myth of a love which transcends conflict. Those who attack romance want that conflict to be fought out openly, not transcended (80).
    Manuche’s play invokes the fashion for neo-Platonic love, popularised at court by Henrietta Maria in the 1630s, and specifically recalls moments from at least two plays that were performed at court in that decade.[10] As such, it participates in the phenomenon identified by Potter, politicising pastoral discourse and creating a sense of communal royalist identity based on nostalgia for happier times.

  10. The Banished Shepherdess’ overtly presents Henrietta Maria, ‘tyer’d, in her Banish’d dress’, as Corilliana, a shepherdess exiled to Thessaly because of her Arcadian subjects’ rebellion. Dale Randall has noted of the play that it ‘is both a tribute to endurance in adversity and a fervent expression of royalist hope that a well-remembered near-paradise might soon be regained’, while Nancy Klein Maguire comments that it showed Manuche’s ‘formal recovery of the masque and Fletcherian-Caroline tragicomedy’ (Randall 205; Klein Maguire 46). ‘The Banished Shepherdess’ certainly does strive to present masque-like moments, and in a manner that self-consciously evokes not just Fletcher, but, more specifically, Henry Killigrew’s The Conspiracy, performed before the English king and queen at York House during the 1635 wedding celebrations for the marriage of Mary Villiers and Charles Herbert.

  11. The Conspiracy was re-published in 1653 under the new title of Pallantus and Eudora, having been reworked to make its meanings more obviously political. In the 1653 edition, as in the original play, Cleander, the kingdom’s rightful heir, experienced a prophetic dream, heralded by Morpheus, in which his good angel fetched down a vision of his coronation (Killigrew Conspiracy sig. E1v; Killigrew Pallantus sig. E4v). Manuche’s play engages with this moment as it describes Corilliana and her ladies mutually experiencing a masque-like dream in which Morpheus appears ‘with a Leaden Croune: / On his Head’, before an angel descends from the heavens to crown Charilaus, the shepherdess’s son (23). Just as in Killigrew’s play, the sleepers in ‘The Banished Shepherdess’ awake, thinking they ‘haue beene in paradise’ (25), and the play eventually concludes with the promise that the prophetic coronation will be realised. In other words, Manuche positions his work alongside the dramatic products of the queen’s own circle in a manner that demonstrates how early Caroline drama became a political tool in the construction of an optimistic royalist identity. Furthermore, as I will show, he also uses his play to legitimise song and dance as valuable and efficacious to the royalist exiles.

  12. In ‘The Banished Shepherdess’, Corilliana and her attendants are marked by their constant battle against melancholy. On the first occasion we meet them, Pausanius, Corilliana’s chief male servant, chides Urania, a waiting woman, for giving in to her passions. The language used is decidedly that of neo-Platonic love and it is some time before one realises that the passions in question are not those of love, but of despair. ‘Consider, ffayre one’, Pausanius exhorts,
                  what atention those Godds: gaue
    When you (so Goddess like) diswaded, the matchlesse Corilliana;
    ffrom nourishing the same desease,
    You to, too greedily imbrace. (8)
  13. The vocabulary of divinity used of Urania and Corilliana locates both women as neo-Platonic heroines, while Urania’s ‘distemper’ (8) has every sign of resulting from the kind of erotic melancholy experienced by neo-Platonic lovers who are prevented from acknowledging or acting upon their love.

  14. Lesel Dawson suggested in an earlier volume of this journal that neo-Platonic chastity in plays of the 1630s could be ‘constructed as a spiritual ideal, or conversely, as the cause of sterility and sickness’ (Dawson paragraph 4). In other words, neo-Platonic love is seen either to be spiritually uplifting, or to be emasculating because it prolongs the time of courtship, inverting the traditional gender hierarchies of a ‘husband’s government’ (Dawson paragraph 3). In ‘The Banished Shepherdess’, lovesickness is recast in two ways pertinent to Dawson’s argument. Firstly, the love that Corilliana’s servants have for her infects them all with melancholy because, as Urania asserts, they feel they ‘must share / In Her desease . . . Though, to [their] certaine ruine’ (8). Just as a neo-Platonic lover is dependent on his mistress, so Corilliana’s servants take their emotional lives directly from her: without Corilliana’s beneficent intervention, her contagious melancholy has the ability to undo and ‘ruine’ all her servants. In other words, just as Manuche positions himself as a supplicant to Henrietta Maria’s generosity in his dedicatory address, so the character who is the queen’s double in the play is constrained to act to the benefit of her faithful adherents.

  15. Secondly, Dawson’s prolonged period of neo-Platonic courtship is transformed in ‘The Banished Shepherdess’ into the time of exile in a manner that makes an equation between the emasculatory potential of amorous delay and exile’s effeminising effects. Pausanius, himself reduced to dancing and singing for his queen like one of her ladies in waiting, notes specifically that the ‘stormes / Of fortune’ his mistress has suffered, ‘would haue made Greate Joue: Efeminate’ (18). Meanwhile, Prince Charilaus and his companions cast off ‘droopeing Malincholly. / And all sad thoughts’ by raising virile-sounding healths ‘to our Noble Masters Lady: / Who: will bring forth Boyes’ (33). The disempowerment visited on the royalists by their continental exile is represented in ‘The Banished Shepherdess’ as engendering a melancholy lovesickness for queen and country that will only be cured by Charilaus’s restoration, but which may be countered by moderate indulgence in merry behaviours. Charilaus prudishly condemns ‘imoderate drinking’ only to assert that wine ‘cheare[s] the hearte, / And keepe[s] the sences: wakeing for a gard’ (33), while Pausanius’s dancing and singing are acceptable because they temporarily distract his mistress from her misery. In ‘The Banished Shepherdess’, then, the (now-stereotypical) cavalier traits of whoring and drinking cover up a melancholy nostalgia for England and home, while the endurance of exile is made easier by the performance of appropriate songs.


  16. The association of exile with song does not simply adhere to the cavaliers because of their stereotypical penchant for theatre and mirth; it has a biblical precedent. Psalm 137 (‘By the rivers of Babylon, there we sat down’) seems to stand behind much of the imagery linking singing, melancholy and memory in the exiles’ writing. It is not by chance that Henry Lawes’s Select Psalms of a new Translation, published in 1655, opens with the psalm, the first stanza of which was printed, unusually, on the volume’s title page (1). In Lawes’s case (and again, for example, in Richard Crashaw’s translation of the same verses), Psalm 137 is used to reflect the exiles’ situation as strangers singing of home in a strange land (Crawshaw 27). This relationship is evoked specifically in Edmund Waller’s commendatory verses to William Davenant’s long poem Gondibert, published in 1651, which refigure the psalm as a specific compliment to the royalist poet, noting:
    The drooping Hebrews banish’d Harps unstrung
    At Babylon, upon the Willows hung;
    Yours sounds aloud, and tells us you excell
    No less in Courage, than in Singing well;
    Whilst unconcern’d you let your Countrey know,
    They have impov’rished themselves, not you (Waller, sig E2r).
    Hannibal Hamlin terms this rendition ‘playful’, noting that it contrasts the Israelites’ inability to sing in a foreign country with Davenant’s own ability to ‘sing even in exile’ (248-9).[11] Davenant is portrayed as unfazed by his exiled status: it is England that suffers for his absence, not the other way around. Biblical notions of exile, therefore, help to structure the ways in which the exiles thought about their predicament, at the same time as the use of the psalm lent religious authority and respectability to the royalists’ infamous penchant for drama and mirth. Overall, in these poems, just as in Manuche’s play, forgetting leads to silence, while remembrance is couched communally in terms of song and music. Drama and song become responsible responses to exile, in a manner that counteracts their representation as irreligious blasphemies by the royalist’s puritan opponents.

  17. Corilliana’s chief role in ‘The Banished Shepherdess’ seems to be as a catalyst for musical performance. To demonstrate to her followers that she has cast off melancholy and to persuade them to cast off theirs, she encourages them to sing songs which exhort ‘sorrowes’ to ‘ffly […] hence’ (12) and ‘long deiected speritts’ to be roused (40). In Manuche’s play, the promotion of festivity is not only a political device that helps to constitute a royalist identity, it also builds community, recognises and combats melancholy and facilitates remembrance. Constituting exile as a place in which sickness and alienation reign, ‘The Banished Shepherdess’ proposes ‘mirth’ (39) as a means of recovering ‘light heartes’ (57). It also shows that Corilliana’s continuing concern for her servants, her sons and her rebellious subjects is the means through which such sickness will be cured. She (and, by association, the English queen she represents) is conceived as a kind of lover/mother figure whose beneficent influence gives a group identity to her followers.


  18. Given the state of the royal finances between 1644 and 1660, it is unsurprising to find that extensive, group entertainments were not high on the list of Henrietta Maria’s priorities in France. Indeed, after the execution of Charles I in 1649, they were hardly appropriate.[12] There is only one reference to a royal entertainment at the exiled court in Paris, and it is entirely possible that this was the invention of the parliamentarian news sheet that reported it. On Tuesday 29 January 1647, Mercurius Candidus observed:
    From private intelligence thus; On New-Years day eve last, a conceited Masque (or shew) in this manner. A Banquet prepared.
    Enter 3 grand old Seigniors, Janus and Christmas ushered in by Time. Janus attended by the 4 seasons. Two conceited dances: The first by three, Shuffle, Cut and Trumpe: Shuffle represented in the habit of an old sage Pettifogger, run mad with eating of Alopodridas, and studieng [sic] to invent new arguments for Anarchy and the Philosophers Stone. Cut a factious Lady, and Widdow of an old Souldier of the Queens. Trumpe, a young wag-taile, and Madam Cuts own Chambermaid.
    The other dance was by eight, and alike madly conceited, in which the 4 Aces rob the 4 Knaves. The 4 Knaves expressed in their severall conditions. Spades, the country knave, an Ingrosser, Clubs the Camp-knave a Sutler. Diamonds, the Citie-knave, a Promooter: Hearts, the Court-knave, an Informer.
    4 Conceited dances presented by each knaue. The Spade-knave, Country sports in a Wassaile bowle. The Campe-knave a Matachine or sword dance. The Diamond-knave a Mumming. The Heart-knave a Cornucopia.
    The 4 Aces were Elder Brothers to the 4 Knaves.[13]
  19. The description of this entertainment needs to be treated with caution as there is no evidence, beyond this account, that a performance really took place. However, its imagery and its alleged date make it not altogether impossible that it was an actual production. On a very basic level, it invokes Jonsonian precedents familiar to the royalist court (resonating with Jonson’s Christmas His Masque, and other, comic, Jonsonian texts).[14] It creates a sense of communal identity based on the apparently innocent pastimes of wassailing and mumming, while the card-game motif engages with the royalist imagery of gambling and, potentially, drinking.

  20. The entertainment also seems specifically to link to the pamphlet-propaganda campaigns carried out by both royalists and parliamentarians in the 1640s. Two early newsbooks are particularly pertinent to the subject matter of this entertainment: the parliamentarian publication, The Knave of Clubs, Otherwise Called A Game At Cards; and the royalist tract, The Bloody Game At Cards. As it was played betwixt the King of Hearts And the rest of His State. It is difficult to establish which of these tracts came first, but George Thomason, the London bookseller and collector, obtained the parliamentarian one on 24 January 1642/3, and the royalist one on 10 February 1642/3. This does seem to be the logical order of publication. The parliamentarian pamphlet, which is concerned with monopolies and royalist exploitation, describes the financial ruin and anger that arise from card games (which stand as a metaphor for the civil conflict). The royalist tract compares the Commonwealth to a pack of cards and, privileging the King of Hearts and his loyal heart men, details the rebellion of the other suits (the city clubs, rich diamond men and country spade men).[15]

  21. Henrietta Maria’s putative entertainment is obviously imagined to employ the same kind of characterisation as these pamphlets, and, as such, is placed in dialogue with them. It also plays on the idea of a specific royalist identity distinct from that of the parliamentarians, promoting dancing, wassailing and gaming both in its subject matter and in its own status as a Christmas (rather than a Christ-tide) celebration.

  22. Significantly, in June 1645, the observance of Christmas was abolished by parliament after being denounced as a popish festival by the puritan clergy.[16] By promoting Christmas as a time for communal festivity one year after it had been stopped, the queen’s exiled court sent out very specific message that harked back to a tradition sanctioned by King James in his Book of Sports (1618). Demonstrating the royalists’ disregard of parliamentary authority, it also implicitly promised that if the king was reinstated all such pleasures would again be sanctioned.[17]

  23. This evocation of Christmas by the exiles again participated in the ongoing parliamentarian/royalist pamphlet war. An explicit connection between the queen and the Christmas festival had been made in 1645/6 in a satirical pamphlet entitled The Arraignment, Conviction, and Imprisoning of Christmas, printed in London by ‘Simon Minc’d Pye, for Cissely Plum-porridge’.[18] Although the tract does evince a certain sympathy for the loss of Christmas, it makes no bones about the fact that ‘he crept from under the Romish Chaire, and was placed in the Kalendar only by a popish edict’ (4). In the queen’s chapel, we are told, ‘you might have found him standing against the wall, and the Papists weeping, and beating themselves before him, and kissing his hoary head with superstitious teares, in a theater exceeding all the playes of the red Bull, the Fortune, or the Cockpit’ (3). Idolatry, Catholicism, Christmas and the theatre are all condemned here as corrupting activities sanctioned by the queen.

  24. The portrayal of traditional Christmas customs in the queen’s entertainment, then, might be seen as a deliberate act of resistance against parliament’s ordinances and against its news books. If this was an actual royalist production, its final representation in yet another parliamentarian publication can be seen as part of the ongoing tussle for the control of cultural imagery. What is really fascinating here is how the two sides fought to appropriate the same images, wrestling back and forth over the representation of relatively insignificant things for control of the iconography that would define the conflict itself.


  25. The prime reason I think this royalist entertainment probably was performed is, however, historical. The Christmas season of 1646/7, when the production allegedly took place, was the first Prince Charles spent in France with his mother. He arrived in July 1646 after a contentious wrangle between the queen’s party, who wanted him in Paris, and his advisers (including Edward Hyde, the future earl of Clarendon), who wanted him to remain on English soil, even if that soil was in Jersey. The queen’s party won and it is entirely possible that this entertainment was conceived to promote festivity and community in the suddenly increased Parisian exile community. It might also have been intended to garner support from the exiles’ French hosts by reminding them of the status of their guests.

  26. One of the most marked things about Manuche’s ‘The Banished Shepherdess’ is its depiction of the physical locale of the royalists’ exile. Corilliana’s court exists within a pastoral space where ‘harmeless flockes . . . skipping play, guiltless of feare’ (11), but this is the closest the text comes to depicting the native population of Thessalia (which stands in the play for France). Thessalia’s innocent creatures are juxtaposed against Corilliana’s ‘poore (starueing) flock’, but no Thessalian ever appears in the play which is populated only by Arcadians (the English). This phenomenon is probably explained by Manuche’s ignorance of the French and exile, at the same time as, thematically, it heightens the strong sense of community among his exiled shepherdesses (in notable contrast, Thomas Killigrew’s play bears witness to its author’s familiarity with both France and Spain.) Nevertheless, as is clear from financial records and contemporary observations of Henrietta Maria’s court, the Stuart exiles were deeply reliant on their French hosts. I now want to move on to consider the relationship between the queen and the Bourbon administration, primarily to investigate how she figured her exile herself. In other words, what was the ‘banished dress’ Henrietta Maria personally promoted?


  27. Several commentators, not least Madame de Motteville, a maid of honour to the French Queen Anne and Henrietta Maria’s confidante, note that, during her exile, Henrietta Maria began to term herself a ‘reine malheureuse’ or ‘wretched queen’ (Motteville 285; Revellois i: 65-6; iii: 16; Bossuet 31). This is, without doubt, a religious construction. Time and again, in her letters, Henrietta Maria expressed the belief that her troubles were sent by God to test her faith, while religious commentators on her life professed that her story was divinely intended as an example to other Catholics.[19] The queen also repeatedly asserted, first to her husband, and then to her sister, Christine, that she wished to detach herself from the world and to place herself in a convent.[20] Indeed, before 1651 when she founded her own institution at Chaillot, she often retreated among the Carmelites of the rue Saint Jacques in Paris. Notably, after Charles’ execution, she adopted a quasi-nun-like persona, abandoning personal adornment and affecting a black gown and veil (Baillon 309-10). In contrast to Manuche’s figuration of her as the source of a communal, exiled identity, the image she promoted of herself was, at least in the terms of English Protestantism, hardly communal – or even English – at all. Although, by adopting perpetual mourning, she served as a constant reminder of her martyred husband, her adoption of such dress and behaviour had specifically French Catholic precedents and allied her more with her native country than with England.

  28. Her distant relative, Catherine de Médicis, had worn mourning for her husband, Henri II of France, from his death in 1559 until her own in 1589. Drawing authority from her status as Henri’s grieving widow, she legitimated her claims to the French Regency by promoting herself as a type of Artemisia, the famously faithful wife of Mausolus, King of Caria. Artemisia was renowned both for drinking a solution of her husband’s ashes and for building him a spectacular tomb, and Sheila ffolliott has noted that she proved the perfect prototype for Catherine ‘in that she both dramatically mourned the loss of her husband – the rightful monarch – and stood as an authoritative ruler in his stead’ (230).[21] Fifty-nine tapestries were designed for the Valois queen, but, as ffolliott observes, her financial constraints probably forced her to spend her money elsewhere and there is no firm evidence that the tapestries were ever woven. However, the cartoons made a sufficient impact on Marie de Médicis and Anne of Austria that these two French queens regent had tapestries made, attesting to the success of Artemisia as a prototype (231). Marie de Médicis also made oblique use of the Artemisia trope on her arrival in England in 1638 when, writing of her welcome to London, she noted that ‘those things, which were prepared for my delight [...] made me thinke, that the late King, my lord, appeared yet living in my person’ (7).

  29. In 1643, William Strode, the Orator of the University of Oxford, welcomed Henrietta Maria to the town after her military successes in the north of England with a speech in which he announced that her ‘constant Loyalty to [Her] King and Husband’ and her ‘unwearied Activity in His behalfe’ was ‘able to slacken the memory of Artemisia, Zenobia, and . . . Eleanor’ (Musarum sig. D3v). Intended only as a hyperbolic compliment to the queen, this declaration foreshadowed Henrietta Maria’s construction of her widowhood, which seems, very strongly, to have been underpinned by the Artemisia myth and modelled upon French precedents. For example, around 1650, the bereaved queen undertook a journey to Moulins, north of Lyon, in the Auvergne. There she paid a visit to Marie Felice des Ursins, Duchess of Montmorency, whose husband, a supporter of Henrietta Maria’s brother, Gaston d’Orléans, had been captured and executed by Louis XIII’s forces after the battle of Castlenaudray in 1632. Banished to Moulins after the execution, the duchess had associated herself with a Visitandine convent and, adopting perpetual mourning, dedicated herself to the preservation of her husband’s memory, building him a spectacular tomb in a manner that deliberately invoked the myth of Artemisia (Baillon 269).[22] Indeed, the French Queen Anne, who also visited the convent, reputedly noted of Montmorency that she had drunk the ashes of her husband soaked in the blood of Jesus Christ (Cotolendi 227).[23]

  30. Montmorency’s relationship with Henrietta Maria was an established one: they had maintained a correspondence even before Henrietta Maria’s exile to France and the latter’s mother was Montmorency’s godparent (Motolendi 193). Charles Cotolendi, Montmorency’s seventeenth-century biographer, who seems to have had access to some of her letters, reports that the duchess wrote to console Henrietta Maria after Charles I’s death: the similarity between their situations, Cotolendi observes, made her very aware of the queen’s troubles (225-6).[24] Henrietta Maria, in her turn, seems to have been inspired by Montmorency. She, too, adopted perpetual mourning, and, a year after her visit to Moulins, began to patronise the Visitandine order, becoming the founder of a new congregation at Chaillot outside Paris.[25]

  31. The order of the Visitation was relatively new. Established in Annecy in 1610, its first Parisian house had been founded in 1619 by Jeanne-Françoise Fremyot, Baronne de Chantal, and François de Sales, bishop of Geneva-Annecy. As Barbara Diefendorf has noted, Sales specified that the principle aim of the congregation was:
    that widows, at least in their widow’s garb, might retreat there until, free of impediments, they [could] take the habit and make their vows; and that secular women might have entry in order to practice and deepen their devotion (178).
    Henrietta Maria was deemed particularly suitable to be a patron of the order because of her knowledge of, and veneration for, Sales’s Introduction à la vie dévote (Revellois i: 314). In turn, the order was particularly suited to her because of her widowed state and her desire to lead a devout life while, because of her maternal and political commitments, remaining in the world.

  32. Henrietta Maria’s secular entry into the convent she had founded was a moment of powerful self-construction that redefined the terms of her exile in two ways.[26] Rather than evincing a nostalgic yearning for England, her choice of dress and behaviour showed she would prefer to impose an exile from the world upon herself by taking up the habit of a nun. Concomitantly, this helped to locate the whole of the mortal world as a world of exile, set apart from God and heaven. Indeed, noting that ‘tout passe en ce monde, et n’est que vanité’, soeur Marie-Henriette Revellois, one of the Chaillot foundation’s original nuns, eulogised Henrietta Maria in the memoirs of the convent as an example of constant Catholicism (Revellois i: 65-6; iii: 16). Rather than advocating a royalist identity based upon drinking and gambling, or taking on the role of a beneficent mother-figure as she was exhorted to do by Cosmo Manuche, Henrietta Maria’s self-presentation ostentatiously allied her with her French compatriots and with her natal religion. It usefully drew attention to her piety, and underlined her status as a princess of the French royal blood.

  33. In addition, her strong Catholic stance served to exclude a number of Protestant English refugees from her orbit (thus circumventing the expense of having to support them). In 1651, the year of the foundation of Chaillot, the queen threatened to send away those of her women who would not convert to Catholicism, and she banned the performance of the Anglican service under her roof (Evelyn iii: 44). The only Englishwoman who seems to have accompanied her to Chaillot was Elizabeth Feilding, the Countess of Guildford, niece of the late Duke of Buckingham. All the other women who followed her to this, her most personal sanctuary, were French and members of families who had been in service in her household at least since 1625. Furthermore, the convent drew the charitable attentions of many significant French noblewomen, thus reinforcing Henrietta Maria’s place in French society. For example, the Duchess of Vendôme, wife of Henrietta Maria’s half-brother, confided her charge, Mademoiselle Aumale, the future queen of Portugal, to the convent, while both the Duchess of Nemours and the inveterate intriguer, Madame de Chevreuse, gave gifts to the community (see Revellois i).

  34. This redefinition of the queen’s image along Franco-Catholic lines went along with a turn towards French society and ceremonial. As I have discussed, it was rarely appropriate for Henrietta Maria to sponsor theatrical or musical productions at her court – instead, she preferred to attend royal French festivities. This was a money-saving manoeuvre and also more appropriate to her situation as a widow and a French princess. It demonstrated her importance within France and visibly maintained her status on the domestic and international stage, permitting her to raise money for the royalist war effort as a member of the French royal family, rather than as a disenfranchised foreign queen.

  35. She was also sometimes able to manipulate French court ceremonial to her advantage. For example, during Shrovetide 1647, she lent a number of jewels to Mademoiselle de Montpensier, her niece, and helped her to dress for a prominent ball. When this became general knowledge, it reinforced the rumours that had been circulating all winter about the queen’s matrimonial policy (Montpensier 35). Montpensier was the wealthiest woman in France and Henrietta Maria had designs to marry her to Prince Charles (the future Charles II). Although this plan ultimately went unrealised, it demonstrates how the queen expected to gain advantage from her close relations with the Bourbon court. Furthermore, from 1653, after the conclusion of the wars of the Fronde, her children, Charles, James and Henrietta Anne, danced in French ballets de cour alongside Louis XIV in a way that promoted the English royal family’s visibility and continental connections.

  36. The Ballet Royal de la Nuit, danced in 1653, is popularly seen as the first manifestation of Louis’s famous Sun-King imagery and as demonstrative of his victory over the rebellious Frondeurs.[27] What is less well documented is the role of the English in this entertainment. For example, James, the nineteen-year-old Duke of York, played the part of a bashful lover and was given lines which alluded to his situation. ‘Glory alone is my mistress’ he said, ‘Already my young heart appears proud and terrible in the debris of overturned thrones and lost sceptres’.[28] His three stanzas are powerful and incongruous beside the heavily neo-Platonised laments of the other (French) bashful lovers and constitute a veritable call to arms. ‘I want to strike blows worthy of Glory and myself’, he announced,
    To avenge kings and kingdoms,
    For the reestablishment of a kingdom and a king.
    We must punish this great outrage with strength and courage.[29]
    Although, on the surface, these words resonate strongly with James’s exiled situation, the speech, it must be remembered, takes place in a ballet celebrating a French royal victory: it cannot just be about the English civil wars. Instead, it is also concerned with the rights of kingship and how the young princes of a new generation will fight together for their kingdoms. The vocabulary of vengeance is put in the mouth of Louis’s displaced relation, but it also constitutes a pre-emptive warning to the defeated French rebels. It is the declaration of a new generation of powerful avengers who will support each other to maintain their birthrights – the most optimistic implication being, no doubt, that the French will help the Stuarts regain their lost throne.

  37. This was, of course, a creative fantasy. Although Henrietta Maria had tried to assist Queen Anne during the French troubles, France had little intention of supporting Charles II’s military attempts, and the French state finally signed a peace treaty with Cromwell’s government in 1654. Obviously distressed, and writing to her sister, Christine, that September, Henrietta Maria remarked that nothing had touched her so profoundly since the death of her husband: ‘Il me samble,’ she said, ‘que s’est tuer sa mémoire laquelle n’est sy chère’.[30]

  38. France’s newly formalised relations with the Protectorate also meant that the English princes’ participation in French ceremonies became problematic. Although the Duke of York danced in Louis’s Ballet des Plaisirs in February 1655, his part was small and equivocal. Marie-Claude Canova-Green has astutely noted the important change to the conditional tense that occurs in his speech: ‘If Virtue could, she would give me all that Fortune takes from me’, his verses declared (107).[31] This change expressed the precariousness of James’s situation, taking away his agency and placing him at the mercy of Virtue and Fortune. It was, as Canova-Green comments, indicative of France’s new relationship with England and demonstrated that, although the Stuart princes were permitted, up to a point, to integrate their own concerns into the Bourbon entertainments, they had to consent to an image of themselves that was acceptable to the French (109). Written in the early 1650s, Killigrew’s Thomaso was perceptively accurate when it described France’s relationship with the English exiles as one that humiliatingly cut them down to size.


  39. Allusions to neo-Platonism and to the Caroline court’s love of theatre and dancing were used by royalist men and women to structure their identities during their various continental exiles. In contrast, though, Henrietta Maria’s exile was actually the end of exile. By returning to France, she was, in effect, going home. This set her apart from the English refugees and she exploited this, reclaiming her position within French society as the aunt of the reigning monarch and as the youngest daughter of Henri IV. After Charles I’s execution, she took up, only to refigure, the notion of exile, ostentatiously turning her eyes to heaven and away from the mutable world in a manoeuvre that demonstrated her humility at the same time as it gave her a kind of sanctified authority. Presenting herself as a ‘reine malheureuse’, she became the visual reminder of her martyred husband and a revered example of constant Catholicism. Although she did work unceasingly, first for her husband’s war effort and then to return her eldest son to his throne, the banished dress in which she was clad by the likes of Cosmo Manuche was finally a far cry from the banished dress she envisaged for herself.

[1] Alfred Harbage has suggested, from internal evidence, that this play was completed in 1654 (218-19). However Wertheim suggests that the play might have been begun as early as 1650. It was published in 1663.

[2] Villers writes of the gallery at the Palais Royal: ‘Elle est forte grande et richement lambrisée et dorée, bien que les Anglois y ayent fait un grand desgast, qui ne leur a pas beaucoup profité, car pour avoir cinq sols d’or ils ont gasté des endroicts qu’on ne sçauroit refaire pour quatre pistoles, et plus est leur avarice et leur avidité les a poussés à un tel point que ne se contentants de ce qu’ils enlevoient les dorures relevées en bosse, ils ont cassé les vitres pour avoir le plomb.’

[3] I believe this move took place primarily for symbolic reasons. After the Fronde, the French royal family needed to reassert its authority over Paris and so moved back into the French monarchs’ ancestral home (French kings had resided at the Louvre since the reign of Charles V – 1364-80). Furthermore, many of the Frondeurs’ complaints had been directed towards Cardinal Mazarin, Anne’s chief minister (who was exiled from Paris by the troubles in 1651 and 1652). Anne’s move to the Louvre (and away from the former Palais Cardinal) served, mnemonically at least, to distance her from the powerful cardinals who had been France’s first ministers. In addition, more pragmatically, the Louvre was more easily defensible than the Palais Royal.

[4] See also Smith 26.

[5] Abbé Fr. Duffo notes that the pension was 30,000 livres a month (24). Madame de Motteville records that it was ‘dix ou douze mille écus par mois’ (84). A livre was valued at about one third of an écu so these figures approximate each other. The figures are borne out by the accounts of Sir Richard Foster, Charles II’s treasurer, which contain receipts for the monies: see Archives départementales de Val d’Oise, 68.H.8, troisième liasse, ‘Papiers de Richard Foster, trésorier de la reine d’Angleterre’.

[6] Archives départementales de Val d’Oise, 68.H.8, troisième liasse, ‘Papiers de Richard Foster, trésorier de la reine d’Angleterre’. Cantarini inherited the rights to loans made by the banker Philip Burlamachi after the latter’s death. The memo about the sums owed dates from the late 1640s.

[7] For the tapestry, see Archives départementales de Val d’Oise, 68.H.8, troisième liasse, ‘Papiers de Richard Foster, trésorier de la reine d’Angleterre’.

[8] On the dating of the play, see Williams ‘The Castle Ashby’ 398. Williams notes that paper used in the Castle Ashby manuscript helps to date that copy to 1659-61.

[9] Manuche’s patron, James Compton, spent part of the civil war in Oxford, but again does not seem to have had any particular connection to the queen. Williams notes that, by October 1645, Manuche was ‘serving under the ultimate command of Sir John Berkeley, governor of Exeter’, with whom Henrietta Maria had stayed before her flight to France, but again there is no substantive evidence to indicate that they were acquainted (‘Manuche, Cosmo’).

[10] On the neo-Platonic love fashion see Veevers. I discuss one of the literary borrowings below. Manuche’s play also contains a mock-masque scene involving a disguised court lady who dispenses punishment to some offenders in a manner that resounds strongly with a similar scene in James Shirley’s The Young Admiral, performed at court before the king and queen in November 1633.

[11] For a detailed exposition of both royalist and parliamentarian versions of this psalm, see Hamlin.

[12] Around 1650, Henrietta Maria wrote to her sister Christine, Duchess of Savoy, to ask her to continue to find room for the harpist, Flaille. For the moment, she said, she had to forego music, Lettres 94.

[13] Mercurius Candidus. See also Hotson 22-3.

[14] For example, in its evocation of the ‘eating of Alopodridas’, it recalls similar moments in Neptune’s Triumph and The Staple of News.

[15] For a reading of this tract (which locates the king as ‘the fulcrum of meaning and function’), see de Groot 147-8.

[16] The debate on the observance of holy days was begun by the Westminster Assembly of Divines in the summer of 1643. In 1644, Christmas day went unfeasted because it fell on the last Wednesday of the month which, since 1641, had been nominated a fast day. However, it was not until 1645 that parliament officially abolished the observance of Christmas, Easter and Whitsuntide.

[17] I am grateful to Stacey Jocoy Houck for many of the ideas about Christmas and royalists expressed here. These were outlined in her paper, ‘Drive the cold winter away: Christmas songs as royalist propaganda’, Richard Murphy Colloquium (2003), Oberlin College, Ohio, USA.

[18] The tract is dated 1646, but Thomason indicates he bought it in 1645.

[19] See, for example, her letter to her sister, Christine, Duchess of Savoy, in December 1650 after the death of her son-in-law, the Prince of Orange, Lettres 93-4. See also Bossuet, and Revellois i: 65-6; iii: 15.

[20] See, for example, Henrietta Maria to Charles I, May 1642, Baillon 381-2. See also Lettres 93-4.

[21] Barbara Ravelhofer has pointed out that there were two historical Artemisias. In the Renaissance, though, the identities of these women seem usually to have been conflated (195-6).

[22] On the Duchess of Montmorency see Cotolendi, especially 77ff.

[23] If it were not for a marginal note in the text that identifies this speech as that of Queen Anne, these words would be associated with Henrietta Maria, the subject of the preceding paragraph.

[24] Cotolendi’s preface states that his sources include contemporary letters, some of which he probably obtained from the Visitandine convent at Moulins. A (somewhat disgruntled) letter from the mother superior of Moulins forms part of the front matter to his volume.

[25] Several factors combined to draw Henrietta Maria to the Visitandines, not least that her friend, Madame de Motteville, had a sister who was a member of the order.

[26] The convent’s founder was allowed the privilege of living within the community. Henrietta Maria, at the very least, passed all the major religious festivals at Chaillot.

[27] For versions of this popular idea about the ballet, see Gérard Corbiau’s film, Le roi danse (2000) and Roger Planchon’s Louis, enfant roi (1993).

[28] ‘La gloire seule est ma Maistresse, / Déja mon ieune coeur paroist fier & terrible / Par dessus le débris horrible / Des Throsnes renuersez, & des Sceptres perdus’ Benserade ii: 58.

[29] ‘Ie veux faire des coups dignes d’elle & de moy, / Vanger les Rois, & les Royaumes, / Au restablissement d’un Royaume & d’un Roy. / Il faut punir ce grand outrage / Par la force & par la courage’ Benserade ii: 58-9.

[30] ‘It seems to me that this kills his memory, which is so dear [to me]’ Lettres 111-12.

[31] ‘Si la Vertu pouvoit, elle m’auroit donné / Tout ce que la Fortune m’oste’ Benserade ii: 123.

Works Cited

Responses to this piece intended for the Readers' Forum may be sent to the Editor at M.Steggle@shu.ac.uk.

© 2007-, Matthew Steggle (Editor, EMLS).