Mary I to Henrietta Maria of England

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Mary I
(Reigned 1553-58)

Daughter of Henry VIII and the Spaniard, Catherine of Aragon. A fervent Catholic, suffering deeply in youth as her mother's daughter, she succeeded her brother determined to restore England to Rome. With this object she married Philip of Spain, appointed Cardinal Pole to Canterbury and adopted the policy of persecution that has covered her name with odium. Dignified, fond of splendour, loving music, charitable and by nature humane; ill-health and bigotry combined to sour her. Devoting herself to a task beyond her powers, she lived and died a frustrated and unhappy woman.

(Reigned 1558-1603)

Elizabeth was the daughter of Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn. Her long reign saw the flowering of the English Renaissance, the beginning of imperial expansion and the rise of England to the position of a first class power. A consummate statesman, she embodied the spirit of command and possessed in the highest degree the gift of compromise; though more Protestant then Catholic, she probably had no real convictions beyond that of the greatness of England and her own majesty. She was subtle, unscrupulous, parsimonious and supremely successful, and inspired an almost mystic devotion among her servants and subjects.

James I
(Reigned as James VI in Scotland from 1567; in England 1603-25)

The son of Mary, Queen of Scots, and Lord Danley, James was a man of deep, if narrow, learning. Pious and tolerant, he was yet an unsuccessful ruler; his desire for peace and religious freedom was remote from the mood of Europe and helped to make him very unpopular at home. His attempted alliance with Spain, England's traditional enemy, angered the people and Parliament was alienated by his delegation of authority to irresponsible favourites, especially to the magnificent and hated Duke of Buckingham. James married Anne of Denmark.

Charles I
(Reigned 1625-49)

Charles was the son of James I and Anne of Denmark. It is not always remembered that he was the most enlightened patron of the Arts that has occupied the English throne, and one of the foremost connoisseurs in Europe. Inheriting a belief in the divinity of Kingship, he tried to carry out theories of government unacceptable in that age. His father's weaknesses, his unshakeable beliefs and the angry temper of Parliament led to Civil War, to his final defeat, to revolution and to the execution which shocked the civilized world and which more than anything in his life has made his name endure.

Henrietta Maria

The daughter of Henri IV of France, Henrietta Maria was married in 1625 to Charles I. The first years were unhappy, but after the death of Buckingham in 1628 the difficulties were removed, and they remained devoted till the death of Charles. For several years she played no part in politics, but with the approach of civil war she began a series of intrigues for foreign intervention which, though inspired by loyalty to her husband, helped to ruin him. In 1644 she left England and with Charles' death her political activities ceased. After years of poverty and suffering she returned to London at the Restoration.

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