Anne of Denmark

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Anne of Denmark
Anne of Denmark
Anne of Denmark mourning the death of her son Henry in 1612.jpg
Reign 20 August 1589 – 2 March 1619
Coronation 17 May 1590


James VI & I
Titles and styles
HM The Queen
HH The Princess of Orange
HH The Lady Mary
House House of Stuart
House of Oldenburg
Father James II of England
Mother Lady Anne Hyde
Born 12 December 1574
Skanderborg, Denmark
Died 2 March 1619(1619-03-02) (aged 44)
Hampton Court Palace
Burial Westminster Abbey

Anne of Denmark (12 December 1574 – 2 March 1619) was queen consort of Scotland, England, and Ireland. She was the wife of King James VI and I.[1]

Anne, the second daughter of King Frederick II of Denmark, married James in 1589 when she was 14. She gave birth to three children who lived to become adults. One of these children was the future Charles I. She often used Scottish politics when she fought with James about her son, Prince Henry. She also used them in her arguments about his treatment of her friend Beatrix Ruthven. Anne seems to have loved James at first. However, they later became cooler towards one another and lived separately.[2] However, though they both had respect and even some love for one another.[2]

In England, Anne was more interested in art than politics. She built a beautiful and culturally rich court of her own.[3] After 1612, she became ill and later stopped being in the center of court life. She was said to have died a Protestant. However, some proof suggests that she may have been a Catholic at some time in her life.[4]

Historians have often thought of Anne as a queen who was light, selfish, and not very important.[5] Recently, however, many people point out Anne's independence and importance as an encourager of the arts in the Jacobean age.[6]

Early life[change | edit source]

Anne was born on 12 December 1574 at the castle of Skanderborg. Her birth came as a blow to her father, King Frederick II of Denmark, who had been hoping for a son.[7] Anne's mother, Sophie of Mecklenburg-Güstrow, however, was only 17. Three years later she did give birth to a son. He was the future Christian IV of Denmark.[8]

Anne was sent with her older sister Elizabeth to Güstrow, in Germany. She was to be raised there by her grandparents on her mother's side. They were the Duke and Duchess of Mecklenburg. This was because the Danish court was very wild at this time. King Frederick was famous for heavy eating and much drinking. He was also unfaithful to the Queen. Compared to this, in Güstrow, Anne enjoyed a quiet and stable life in her early years.[9] Christian was also sent to be brought up at Güstrow. However, two years later, in 1579, the Rigsraad, or Danish Privy Council, successfully asked him to move to Denmark. Anne and Elizabeth came back with him.[10]

Anne enjoyed a close and happy family education in Denmark. This was mostly because of Queen Sophie. She took care of the children herself when they were ill.[11] A great number of people from all over Europe wanted to marry Anne and her older sister. Among these people were James VI of Scotland. He liked Denmark because he thought of it as a kingdom with good religion and a good trading partner.[12] Scottish ambassadors had at first tried to make him marry the oldest daughter.[13] However, Frederick betrothed Elizabeth to Henry Julius, Duke of Brunswick.[14] He promised the Scots instead that "for the second [daughter] Anna, if the King did like her, he should have her."[14]

Betrothal and proxy marriage[change | edit source]

Sophie's position became harder after Frederick's death in 1588.[15] She had to join in a power struggle with the Rigsraad for control of King Christian. However, she worked harder than Frederick in making people marry. She was able to overcome difficult points about the dowry and the position of Orkney.[16] She sealed the agreement by July 1589.[17] Anne seems to have been very excited about the match.[18] On 28 July 1589, the English spy Thomas Fowler said that Anne was greatly in love with James.[19] He said that "it were death to her to have it broken off".[19] He added that she proved her love in a great number of ways.[19] However, Fowler also suggested that James did not return Anne's love, and he liked men better than women.[20] This would not have been told to the 14-year-old Princess. At this time, she was faithfully embroidering shirts for her fiancé. Meanwhile, 300 tailors worked on making her wedding dress.[21]

Even if these rumors were true, James needed a royal marriage. This was because he needed to keep up the Stuart line.[22] "God is my witness," he explained, "I could have abstained longer than the weal of my country could have permitted, [had not] my long delay bred in the breasts of many a great jealousy of my inability, as if I were a barren stock."[23] On 20 August 1589, Anne and James were married separately, but to one another. This is called a proxy marriage. Their marriage took place in Kronborg Castle. The ceremony ended with James's representative, George Keith, 5th Earl Marischal, sitting next to Anne on the bridal bed.[24]

Notes[change | edit source]

  1. Williams, 1, 201; Willson, 403.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Stewart, 182, 300–301.
  3. Barroll, 15, 35, 109; "Although Anna had considerable personal freedom and her own court, she does not...[go against] her husband in factional politics as she did in Scotland, and her support was not often sought (looked for). Where the Queen's court came into its own was as an artistic salon." Stewart, 183.
  4. The archbishop of Canterbury reported that she had died saying that Catholicism was false. "But, then,” adds historian John Leeds Barroll, “we are all familiar with the modern 'press release'. In Anna's day, too, there was much to be said for...[spreading] an official version of England's queen dying 'respectably'." Barroll, 172; A letter from Anne to Scipione Borghese of 31 July 1601 is "open in its embrace of Catholicism", according to McManus, 93.
  5. Agnes Strickland (1848), 276 Retrieved 10 May 2007; Willson, 95; "Her traditionally flaccid court image..." Barroll, 27; Croft, 55; "Anne had proved to be both dull and indolent (lazy), though showing a certain ... amiability so long as her whims were satisfied. She was interested in little that was more serious than matters of dress." Akrigg, 21.
  6. "She quickly moved vigorously into court politics...she soon became a political presence at the Scottish court." Barroll, 17; "Though she has been accorded insufficient (not enough) attention by historians, James's Queen, Anne of Denmark, was politically astute and active." Sharpe, 244; "This new king's influence on the high culture of the Stuart period, although considerable in certain discrete areas, has been misunderstood in terms of innovations at the court itself...during the first decade of his reign (rule), these innovations were...[mostly] shaped by James’s much neglected queen consort, Anna of Denmark." Barroll, 1–2.
  7. Williams, 1.
  8. Williams, 3.
  9. Williams, 2.
  10. Williams, 5.
  11. Croft, 24; The English agent Daniel Rogers reported to William Cecil that Sophie was "a right virtuous and godly Princess which with motherly care and great wisdom ruleth her children." Williams, 4.
  12. Croft, 24; James's other seriously possible wife was Catherine de Bourbon. She was the sister of the Huguenot King Henry of Navarre (future Henry IV of France), who was liked by Elizabeth I of England. Stewart, 105–6; Williams, 12. However, she was eight years older than he was. Another reason James did not marry her was because Henry needed great military help. Willson, 86.
  13. Williams, 10.
  14. 14.0 14.1 Williams, 10; Willson, 87–8.
  15. The clergyman said at Frederick's funeral that "had the King drunk a little less, he might have lived many a day yet." Williams, 6.
  16. The Orkney Islands had been a part of the dowry of Princess Margaret of Denmark when she married James III of Scotland in 1469. It could be given back to Denmark when the dowry was fully paid. Williams, 10.
  17. The Danes gave up their claim to the Orkneys. James said he would not be a merchant for his bride. He dropped his demand for a great dowry. Williams, 14; Willson, 88.
  18. Williams, 14–15.
  19. 19.0 19.1 19.2 Letter to William Asheby, English ambassador in Denmark. Williams, 15.
  20. "All his life, except perhaps for six short months, King James disliked women, regarding them as inferior (lower) beings. All his interest was centered on the attractions of personable young men." Williams, 14–15.
  21. There were other dresses: five hundred Danish tailors and embroiderers were said to have been at work for three months. Willson, 87; A dress of peach and parrot-coloured damask with skirts lined with pillows round the hips was especially liked. Williams, 14.
  22. Croft, 23–4.
  23. Willson, 85.
  24. Williams, 15; McManus, 61.

References[change | edit source]

  • Akrigg, G.P.V ([1962] 1978 edition). Jacobean Pageant: or the Court of King James I. New York: Athenaeum. ISBN 0689700032.
  • Ackroyd, Peter (2006). Shakespeare: The Biography. London: Vintage. ISBN 074938655X.
  • Barroll, J. Leeds (2001). Anna of Denmark, Queen of England: A Cultural Biography. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania. ISBN 0812235746.
  • Cerasano, Susan, and Marion Wynne-Davies (1996). Renaissance Drama by Women: Texts and Documents. London and New York: Routledge. ISBN 0415098068.
  • Croft, Pauline (2003). King James. Basingstoke and New York: Palgrave Macmillan. ISBN 0333613953.
  • Fraser, Antonia ([1996] 1997 edition). The Gunpowder Plot: Terror and Faith in 1605. London: Mandarin Paperbacks. ISBN 0749323574.
  • Haynes, Alan ([1994] 2005 edition). The Gunpowder Plot. Stroud: Sutton Publishing. ISBN 0750942150.
  • Hogge, Alice (2005). God's Secret Agents: Queen Elizabeth's Forbidden Priests and the Hatching of the Gunpowder Plot. London: Harper Collins. ISBN 0007156375.
  • McCrea, Scott (2005). The Case For Shakespeare: The End of the Authorship Question. Westport, Connecticut: Praeger/Greenwood. ISBN 027598527X.
  • McManus, Clare (2002). Women on the Renaissance Stage: Anna of Denmark and Female Masquing in the Stuart Court (1590–1619). Manchester: Manchester University Press. ISBN 0719060923.
  • Sharpe, Kevin (1996). "Stuart Monarchy and Political Culture," in The Oxford Illustrated History of Tudor & Stuart Britain. Ed. John.S.Morrill. Oxford: Oxford University Press. ISBN 0192893270.
  • Stewart, Alan (2003). The Cradle King: A Life of James VI & 1. London: Chatto and Windus. ISBN 0701169842.
  • Strickland, Agnes (1848). Lives of the Queens of England: From the Norman Conquest. Vol VII. Philadelphia: Lea and Blanchard. Original from Stanford University, digitized 20 April 2006. Full view at Google Books. Retrieved 10 May 2007.
  • Williams, Ethel Carleton (1970). Anne of Denmark. London: Longman. ISBN 0582127831.
  • Willson, David Harris ([1956] 1963 edition). King James VI & 1. London: Jonathan Cape Ltd. ISBN 0224605720.