Mary of Modena

Mary of Modena

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Mary of Modena was Queen consort of England, Scotland and Ireland as the second wife of King James II and VII
James II of England
James II & VII was King of England and King of Ireland as James II and King of Scotland as James VII, from 6 February 1685. He was the last Catholic monarch to reign over the Kingdoms of England, Scotland, and Ireland...

. A devout Catholic, Mary became, in 1673, the second wife of James, Duke of York, who later succeeded his older brother Charles II
Charles II of England
Charles II was monarch of the three kingdoms of England, Scotland, and Ireland.Charles II's father, King Charles I, was executed at Whitehall on 30 January 1649, at the climax of the English Civil War...

 as King James II. Mary was uninterested in politics and devoted to James and her children, two of whom survived to adulthood: the Jacobite
Jacobitism
Jacobitism was the political movement in Britain dedicated to the restoration of the Stuart kings to the thrones of England, Scotland, later the Kingdom of Great Britain, and the Kingdom of Ireland...

 claimant to the English, Scottish and Irish thrones, James Francis Edward Stuart
James Francis Edward Stuart
James Francis Edward, Prince of Wales was the son of the deposed James II of England...

, known as "The Old Pretender", and Princess Louise Mary
Louisa Maria Teresa Stuart
Louisa Maria Teresa Stuart , known to Jacobites as The Princess Royal, was the last child of James II and VII , the deposed king of England, Scotland, and Ireland, and of his queen, Mary of Modena...

.

Born a princess of the Italian Duchy of Modena, Mary is primarily remembered for the controversial birth of James Francis Edward, her only surviving son. The majority of the English public believed he was a changeling
Changeling
A changeling is a creature found in Western European folklore and folk religion. It is typically described as being the offspring of a fairy, troll, elf or other legendary creature that has been secretly left in the place of a human child. Sometimes the term is also used to refer to the child who...

, brought into the birth-chamber in a warming-pan, in order to perpetuate King James II's Catholic dynasty. Although the accusation was entirely false, and the subsequent privy council investigation only reaffirmed this, James Francis Edward's birth was a contributing factor to the Glorious Revolution
Glorious Revolution
The Glorious Revolution, also called the Revolution of 1688, is the overthrow of King James II of England by a union of English Parliamentarians with the Dutch stadtholder William III of Orange-Nassau...

. The revolution deposed James II and replaced him with his daughter from his first marriage Mary
Mary II of England
Mary II was joint Sovereign of England, Scotland, and Ireland with her husband and first cousin, William III and II, from 1689 until her death. William and Mary, both Protestants, became king and queen regnant, respectively, following the Glorious Revolution, which resulted in the deposition of...

 and her husband, William III of Orange
William III of England
William III & II was a sovereign Prince of Orange of the House of Orange-Nassau by birth. From 1672 he governed as Stadtholder William III of Orange over Holland, Zeeland, Utrecht, Guelders, and Overijssel of the Dutch Republic. From 1689 he reigned as William III over England and Ireland...

.

Exiled to France, the "Queen over the water"—as Jacobites
Jacobitism
Jacobitism was the political movement in Britain dedicated to the restoration of the Stuart kings to the thrones of England, Scotland, later the Kingdom of Great Britain, and the Kingdom of Ireland...

 (followers of James II) called Mary—lived with her husband and children in the Château de Saint-Germain-en-Laye
Château de Saint-Germain-en-Laye
The Château de Saint-Germain-en-Laye is a royal palace in the commune of Saint-Germain-en-Laye, in the département of Yvelines, about 19 km west of Paris, France. Today, it houses the Musée d'Archéologie Nationale ....

, provided by Louis XIV of France
Louis XIV of France
Louis XIV , known as Louis the Great or the Sun King , was a Bourbon monarch who ruled as King of France and Navarre. His reign, from 1643 to his death in 1715, began at the age of four and lasted seventy-two years, three months, and eighteen days...

. Mary was popular among Louis XIV's courtiers; however, James was considered a bore. In widowhood, Mary spent much time with the nuns at the Convent of Chaillot, where she and her daughter spent their summers. In 1701, when James II died, James Francis Edward became king in the eyes of Jacobites, as "James III". As he was too young to assume the nominal reins of government, Mary acted as regent until he reached the age of 16. When "James III" was asked to leave France as part of the Treaty of Utrecht
Treaty of Utrecht
The Treaty of Utrecht, which established the Peace of Utrecht, comprises a series of individual peace treaties, rather than a single document, signed by the belligerents in the War of Spanish Succession, in the Dutch city of Utrecht in March and April 1713...

, Mary stayed, despite having no family there, Princess Louise Mary having died of smallpox
Smallpox
Smallpox was an infectious disease unique to humans, caused by either of two virus variants, Variola major and Variola minor. The disease is also known by the Latin names Variola or Variola vera, which is a derivative of the Latin varius, meaning "spotted", or varus, meaning "pimple"...

. Fondly remembered by her French contemporaries, Mary died of breast cancer
Breast cancer
Breast cancer is cancer originating from breast tissue, most commonly from the inner lining of milk ducts or the lobules that supply the ducts with milk. Cancers originating from ducts are known as ductal carcinomas; those originating from lobules are known as lobular carcinomas...

 in 1718.

Early life (1658–1673)



Mary Beatrice d'Este, the elder child of Alfonso IV, Duke of Modena, and his wife, Laura Martinozzi
Laura Martinozzi
Laura Martinozzi was a Duchess consort of Modena. On the death of her husband, she became the regent of the Duchy in the name of her son, Francesco.-Biography:...

, was born on 5 October 1658 NS in Modena
Modena
Modena is a city and comune on the south side of the Po Valley, in the Province of Modena in the Emilia-Romagna region of Italy....

, Duchy of Modena, Italy. Her only sibling, Francesco, succeeded their father as Duke upon his death in 1662, the year Mary turned four. Mary and Francesco's mother Laura was strict with them, and acted as regent of the duchy until her son came of age. Mary's education was excellent; she spoke French and Italian fluently, had a good knowledge of Latin and, later, mastered English.

Mary was described by contemporaries as "tall and admirably shaped", and sought as a bride for James, Duke of York
James II of England
James II & VII was King of England and King of Ireland as James II and King of Scotland as James VII, from 6 February 1685. He was the last Catholic monarch to reign over the Kingdoms of England, Scotland, and Ireland...

, by Lord Peterborough
Henry Mordaunt, 2nd Earl of Peterborough
Henry Mordaunt, 2nd Earl of Peterborough, KG, PC, FRS was an English soldier, peer and courtier.-Early life:Styled Lord Mordaunt from 1628, he was the eldest son of John Mordaunt, 1st Earl of Peterborough...

. Lord Peterborough was groom of the stole
Groom of the Stole
Groom of the Stole in the British Royal Household is a position dating from the Stuart era but which evolved from the earlier Groom of the Stool, an office in existence until the accession of Elizabeth I. The original nomenclature derived from the chair used in the performance of the function...

 to the Duke of York. A widower, James was the younger brother and heir of Charles II of England
Charles II of England
Charles II was monarch of the three kingdoms of England, Scotland, and Ireland.Charles II's father, King Charles I, was executed at Whitehall on 30 January 1649, at the climax of the English Civil War...

. Duchess Laura was not initially forthcoming with a reply to Peterborough's proposal, hoping, according to the French ambassador, for a "grander" match with the eleven-year-old Charles II of Spain
Charles II of Spain
Charles II was the last Habsburg King of Spain and the ruler of large parts of Italy, the Spanish territories in the Southern Low Countries, and Spain's overseas Empire, stretching from the Americas to the Spanish East Indies...

. Whatever the reason for Laura's initial reluctance, she finally accepted the proposal on behalf of Mary, and they were married by proxy
Proxy marriage
A proxy wedding or is a wedding in which the bride or groom is not physically present, usually being represented instead by another person...

 on 30 September 1673 NS.

Modena was within the sphere of influence of Louis XIV of France
Louis XIV of France
Louis XIV , known as Louis the Great or the Sun King , was a Bourbon monarch who ruled as King of France and Navarre. His reign, from 1643 to his death in 1715, began at the age of four and lasted seventy-two years, three months, and eighteen days...

, who endorsed Mary's candidature and greeted Mary warmly in Paris, where she stopped en route to England, giving her a brooch worth £8,000. Her reception in England was much cooler. Parliament, which was entirely composed of Protestants, reacted poorly to the news of a Catholic marriage, fearing it was a "Papist" plot against the country. The English public, who were predominantly Protestant, branded the Duchess of York — as Mary was thereafter known as until her husband's accession — the "Pope's daughter". Parliament threatened to have the marriage annulled, leading Charles to suspend parliament until 7 January 1674 OS, to ensure the marriage would be honoured and safeguarding the reputation of his House of Stuart
House of Stuart
The House of Stuart is a European royal house. Founded by Robert II of Scotland, the Stewarts first became monarchs of the Kingdom of Scotland during the late 14th century, and subsequently held the position of the Kings of Great Britain and Ireland...

.

Household


The Duke of York, an avowed Catholic, was twenty-five years older than his bride, scarred by smallpox
Smallpox
Smallpox was an infectious disease unique to humans, caused by either of two virus variants, Variola major and Variola minor. The disease is also known by the Latin names Variola or Variola vera, which is a derivative of the Latin varius, meaning "spotted", or varus, meaning "pimple"...

 and afflicted with a stutter. He had secretly converted to Catholicism around 1668. Mary first saw her husband on 23 November 1673 OS, on the day of their second marriage ceremony. James was pleased with his bride. Mary, however, at first disliked him, and burst into tears each time she saw him. Nonetheless, she soon warmed to James. From his first marriage to the commoner Anne Hyde
Anne Hyde
Anne Hyde was the first wife of James, Duke of York , and the mother of two monarchs, Mary II of England and Scotland and Anne of Great Britain....

, who had died in 1671, James had two daughters: Lady Mary
Mary II of England
Mary II was joint Sovereign of England, Scotland, and Ireland with her husband and first cousin, William III and II, from 1689 until her death. William and Mary, both Protestants, became king and queen regnant, respectively, following the Glorious Revolution, which resulted in the deposition of...

 and Lady Anne
Anne of Great Britain
Anne ascended the thrones of England, Scotland and Ireland on 8 March 1702. On 1 May 1707, under the Act of Union, two of her realms, England and Scotland, were united as a single sovereign state, the Kingdom of Great Britain.Anne's Catholic father, James II and VII, was deposed during the...

. They were introduced to Mary by James with the words, "I have brought you a new play-fellow". Unlike Lady Mary, Lady Anne disliked her father's new wife. Mary played games with Anne, to win her affection.

The Duchess of York annually received £5,000 spending money and her own household, headed by Carey Fraser, Countess of Peterborough; it was frequented by ladies of her husband's selection: Frances Stewart, Duchess of Richmond—Charles II's discarded mistress—and Anne Scott, 1st Duchess of Buccleuch
Anne Scott, 1st Duchess of Buccleuch
Anne Scott, 1st Duchess of Buccleuch was a wealthy Scottish peeress.Anne was the daughter of Francis Scott, 2nd Earl of Buccleuch. In 1661, she succeeded to her sister's titles of 4th Countess of Buccleuch, 5th Baroness Scott of Buccleuch and 5th Baroness Scott of Whitchester and Eskdaill...

. That the Duchess of York loathed gambling did not stop her ladies compelling her to do so almost every day. They believed that "if she refrained, it might be taken ill". Consequently, Mary incurred minor gambling debts.

The birth of the Duchess of York's first child, Catherine Laura, named after Queen Catherine
Catherine of Braganza
Catherine of Braganza was a Portuguese infanta and queen consort of England, Scotland and Ireland as the wife of King Charles II.She married the king in 1662...

, on 10 January 1675 OS represented the beginning of a string of children that would die in infancy. At this time she was on excellent terms with Lady Mary and she visited her in The Hague
The Hague
The Hague is the capital city of the province of South Holland in the Netherlands. With a population of 500,000 inhabitants , it is the third largest city of the Netherlands, after Amsterdam and Rotterdam...

 after the younger Mary had married William of Orange. She travelled incognito and took Anne with her.

Popish plot and exile



The Duchess of York's Catholic secretary, Edward Colman
Edward Colman
Edward Colman or Coleman was an English Catholic courtier under Charles II of England. He was hanged, drawn and quartered on a treason charge, having been implicated by Titus Oates in his false accusations concerning a Popish Plot...

, was, in 1678, falsely implicated in a fictitious plot against the King by Dr. Titus Oates
Titus Oates
Titus Oates was an English perjurer who fabricated the "Popish Plot", a supposed Catholic conspiracy to kill King Charles II.-Early life:...

. The plot, known as the Popish Plot
Popish Plot
The Popish Plot was a fictitious conspiracy concocted by Titus Oates that gripped England, Wales and Scotland in Anti-Catholic hysteria between 1678 and 1681. Oates alleged that there existed an extensive Catholic conspiracy to assassinate Charles II, accusations that led to the execution of at...

, lead to the Exclusionist movement
Exclusion Bill
The Exclusion Crisis ran from 1678 through 1681 in the reign of Charles II of England. The Exclusion Bill sought to exclude the king's brother and heir presumptive, James, Duke of York, from the thrones of England, Scotland and Ireland because he was Roman Catholic...

, which was headed by Anthony Ashley Cooper, 1st Earl of Shaftesbury
Anthony Ashley Cooper, 1st Earl of Shaftesbury
Anthony Ashley Cooper, 1st Earl of Shaftesbury PC , known as Anthony Ashley Cooper from 1621 to 1631, as Sir Anthony Ashley Cooper, 2nd Baronet from 1631 to 1661, and as The Lord Ashley from 1661 to 1672, was a prominent English politician during the Interregnum and during the reign of King Charles...

. The Exclusionists sought to debar the Catholic Duke of York from the throne. Their reputation in tatters, the Yorks were begrudgingly exiled to Brussels
Brussels
Brussels , officially the Brussels Region or Brussels-Capital Region , is the capital of Belgium and the de facto capital of the European Union...

, a domain of the King of Spain
Charles II of Spain
Charles II was the last Habsburg King of Spain and the ruler of large parts of Italy, the Spanish territories in the Southern Low Countries, and Spain's overseas Empire, stretching from the Americas to the Spanish East Indies...

, ostensibly to visit Lady Mary—since 1677 the wife of Prince William III of Orange
William III of England
William III & II was a sovereign Prince of Orange of the House of Orange-Nassau by birth. From 1672 he governed as Stadtholder William III of Orange over Holland, Zeeland, Utrecht, Guelders, and Overijssel of the Dutch Republic. From 1689 he reigned as William III over England and Ireland...

. Accompanied by her not yet three-year-old daughter Isabella and Lady Anne, the Duchess of York was saddened by James's extra-marital affair with Catherine Sedley
Catherine Sedley
Catherine Sedley, Countess of Dorchester, Countess of Portmore , daughter of Sir Charles Sedley, 5th Baronet, was the mistress of King James VII and II both before and after he came to the thrones. After his accession James yielded to pressure from his confessor Fr...

. Mary's spirits were briefly revived by a visit from her mother, who was living in Rome
Rome
Rome is the capital of Italy and the country's largest and most populated city and comune, with over 2.7 million residents in . The city is located in the central-western portion of the Italian Peninsula, on the Tiber River within the Lazio region of Italy.Rome's history spans two and a half...

.
A report that King Charles was very sick sent the Yorks back to England post-haste. They feared the King's eldest illegitimate son, James Scott, 1st Duke of Monmouth
James Scott, 1st Duke of Monmouth
James Scott, 1st Duke of Monmouth, 1st Duke of Buccleuch, KG, PC , was an English nobleman. Originally called James Crofts or James Fitzroy, he was born in Rotterdam in the Netherlands, the eldest illegitimate son of Charles II and his mistress, Lucy Walter...

, and commander of England's armed forces, might usurp the crown if Charles died in their absence. The matter was compounded by the fact that Monmouth enjoyed the support of the Exclusionists, who held a majority in the House of Commons of England
House of Commons of England
The House of Commons of England was the lower house of the Parliament of England from its development in the 14th century to the union of England and Scotland in 1707, when it was replaced by the House of Commons of Great Britain...

. Charles survived but, feeling the Yorks returned to court too soon, sent James and Mary to Edinburgh
Edinburgh
Edinburgh is the capital city of Scotland, the second largest city in Scotland, and the eighth most populous in the United Kingdom. The City of Edinburgh Council governs one of Scotland's 32 local government council areas. The council area includes urban Edinburgh and a rural area...

, where they stayed on-and-off for the next three years. Lodging in the dilapidated Holyrood Palace
Holyrood Palace
The Palace of Holyroodhouse, commonly referred to as Holyrood Palace, is the official residence of the monarch in Scotland. The palace stands at the bottom of the Royal Mile in Edinburgh, at the opposite end to Edinburgh Castle...

, the Yorks had to make do without Ladies Anne and Isabella, who stayed in London on Charles's orders. The Yorks were recalled to London in February 1680, only to return again to Edinburgh that autumn; this time they went on a more honourable footing: James was created King's Commissioner to Scotland. Separated from Lady Isabella once again, Mary sank into a state of sadness, exacerbated by the passing of the Exclusion bill in the Commons. Lady Isabella, thus far the only one of Mary's children to survive infancy, died in February 1681. Isabella's death plunged Mary into a religious mania, worrying her physician. At the same time as news reached Holyrood of Isabella's death, Mary's mother was falsely accused of offering £10,000 for the murder of the King. The accuser, a pamphleteer, was executed by order of the King.

The Exclusionist reaction that followed the Popish plot had died down by May 1682. Exclusionist-dominated Parliament, suspended since March 1681, never again met in the reign of Charles II. Therefore, the Duke and Duchess of York returned to England, and the Duchess gave birth to Princess Charlotte Mary in August 1682; Charlotte Mary's death three weeks later, according to the French ambassador, robbed James of "hope that any child of his can live"—all James's sons by Anne Hyde, his first wife, died in infancy. James's sadness was dispelled by his revival in popularity following the discovery of a plot to kill the King and him. The objective of the plot, known as the Rye House Plot
Rye House Plot
The Rye House Plot of 1683 was a plan to assassinate King Charles II of England and his brother James, Duke of York. Historians vary in their assessment of the degree to which details of the conspiracy were finalized....

, was to have Monmouth placed on the throne as Lord Protector. The revival was so strong that, in 1684, James was re-admitted to the Privy Council
Privy council
A privy council is a body that advises the head of state of a nation, typically, but not always, in the context of a monarchic government. The word "privy" means "private" or "secret"; thus, a privy council was originally a committee of the monarch's closest advisors to give confidential advice on...

, after an absence of eleven years.

Queen (1685–1689)


Despite all the furore over Exclusionism, James ascended to his brother's thrones easily upon the latter's death, which occurred on 6 February 1685 OS, possibly because the said alternative could provoke another civil war. Mary sincerely mourned Charles, recalling in later life, "He was always kind to me." Mary and James's £119,000 joint coronation ceremony, occurring on 23 April OS, Saint George's day, was meticulously planned. Precedents were sought for Mary because a full-length joint coronation had not occurred since the ceremony performed for Henry VIII of England
Henry VIII of England
Henry VIII was King of England from 21 April 1509 until his death. He was Lord, and later King, of Ireland, as well as continuing the nominal claim by the English monarchs to the Kingdom of France...

 and Catherine of Aragon
Catherine of Aragon
Catherine of Aragon , also known as Katherine or Katharine, was Queen consort of England as the first wife of King Henry VIII of England and Princess of Wales as the wife to Arthur, Prince of Wales...

.

Queen Mary's health had still not recovered after the death of Lady Isabella. So much so, in fact, that the Tuscan envoy reported to Florence
Florence
Florence is the capital city of the Italian region of Tuscany and of the province of Florence. It is the most populous city in Tuscany, with approximately 370,000 inhabitants, expanding to over 1.5 million in the metropolitan area....

 that "general opinion opinion turns [for Mary's successor] in the direction of the Princess
Anna Maria Luisa de' Medici
Anna Maria Luisa de' Medici was the last scion of the House of Medici. A patron of the arts, she bequeathed the Medici's large art collection, including the contents of the Uffizi, Palazzo Pitti and the Medicean villas, which she inherited upon her brother Gian Gastone's death in 1737, and her...

, Your Highness's daughter". France, too, was preparing for the Queen's imminent demise, putting forward as its candidate for James's new wife the Duke of Enghien's daughter. The Queen was then trying to make her brother, the Duke of Modena, marry the former, Anna Maria Luisa de' Medici.

In February 1687, the Queen, at the time irritated by the King's affair with Catherine Sedley, Countess of Dorchester, moved into new apartments in Whitehall
Palace of Whitehall
The Palace of Whitehall was the main residence of the English monarchs in London from 1530 until 1698 when all except Inigo Jones's 1622 Banqueting House was destroyed by fire...

; Whitehall had been home to a Catholic chapel since December 1686. Her apartments were designed by Christopher Wren
Christopher Wren
Sir Christopher Wren FRS is one of the most highly acclaimed English architects in history.He used to be accorded responsibility for rebuilding 51 churches in the City of London after the Great Fire in 1666, including his masterpiece, St. Paul's Cathedral, on Ludgate Hill, completed in 1710...

 at the cost of £13,000. Because the palace's renovation was thus far unfinished, the King received ambassadors in her rooms, much to the Queen's chagrin. Five months later, shortly after the marriage talks with Tuscany collapsed, the Queen's mother, Duchess Laura
Laura Martinozzi
Laura Martinozzi was a Duchess consort of Modena. On the death of her husband, she became the regent of the Duchy in the name of her son, Francesco.-Biography:...

, died. Therefore, the whole English court went into mourning. Duchess Laura left Mary "a considerable sum of cash" and some jewellery. William III of Orange
William III of England
William III & II was a sovereign Prince of Orange of the House of Orange-Nassau by birth. From 1672 he governed as Stadtholder William III of Orange over Holland, Zeeland, Utrecht, Guelders, and Overijssel of the Dutch Republic. From 1689 he reigned as William III over England and Ireland...

, James's son-in-law, sensed popular discontent with James's government; he used the death of Mary's mother as a guise to send his half-uncle, Count Zuylestein
William Nassau de Zuylestein, 1st Earl of Rochford
William Nassau de Zuylestein, 1st Earl of Rochford was a Dutch soldier and diplomat in the service of William III of England...

, to England, ostensibly to condole Queen Mary, but really to spy.
Having visited Bath, in the hope its waters would aid conception, Queen Mary became pregnant in late 1687. When the pregnancy became public knowledge shortly before Christmas, Catholics rejoiced. Protestants, who had tolerated James's Catholic government because he had no Catholic heir, were concerned. The Protestant disillusion came to a head after the child's male sex became known, when many Protestants chose to believe the child was illegitimate. They did this to prevent the perpetuation of James II's Catholic dynasty. Popular opinion alleged that the child, named James Francis Edward
James Francis Edward Stuart
James Francis Edward, Prince of Wales was the son of the deposed James II of England...

, was sneaked into the birth chamber as a substitute to the Queen's real but stillborn child. This rumour was widely accepted as fact by Protestants, despite the fact the birth-chamber was intentionally packed full of 200 witnesses, both Protestant and Catholic. Princess Anne of Denmark
Anne of Great Britain
Anne ascended the thrones of England, Scotland and Ireland on 8 March 1702. On 1 May 1707, under the Act of Union, two of her realms, England and Scotland, were united as a single sovereign state, the Kingdom of Great Britain.Anne's Catholic father, James II and VII, was deposed during the...

answered a memorandum of 18 questions regarding James Francis Edward's birth for her sister, the Princess of Orange
Mary II of England
Mary II was joint Sovereign of England, Scotland, and Ireland with her husband and first cousin, William III and II, from 1689 until her death. William and Mary, both Protestants, became king and queen regnant, respectively, following the Glorious Revolution, which resulted in the deposition of...

. Anne's answers, biased and unreliable, convinced the Princess of Orange that her father had thrust a changeling upon the nation. Count Zuylestein, returning to the Netherlands shortly after the birth, agreed with Anne's findings.

Issued by seven leading Whig nobles, the invitation for William to invade England
Invitation to William
The Invitation to William was a letter sent by seven notable Englishmen, later named the Immortal Seven, to William III, Prince of Orange, received by him on 30 June 1688...

 signalled the beginning of a revolution that culminated in James II's deposition. The invitation assured William that "nineteen parts of twenty of the people throughout the kingdom" wished for an intervention. The revolution, known as the Glorious Revolution
Glorious Revolution
The Glorious Revolution, also called the Revolution of 1688, is the overthrow of King James II of England by a union of English Parliamentarians with the Dutch stadtholder William III of Orange-Nassau...

, deprived James Francis Edward of his right to the English throne, on the grounds he was not the King's real son and, later, because he was a Catholic. England in the hands of William of Orange's 15,000-strong army, James and Mary went into exile in France. There, they stayed at the expense of King Louis XIV
Louis XIV of France
Louis XIV , known as Louis the Great or the Sun King , was a Bourbon monarch who ruled as King of France and Navarre. His reign, from 1643 to his death in 1715, began at the age of four and lasted seventy-two years, three months, and eighteen days...

, who supported the Jacobite
Jacobitism
Jacobitism was the political movement in Britain dedicated to the restoration of the Stuart kings to the thrones of England, Scotland, later the Kingdom of Great Britain, and the Kingdom of Ireland...

 cause.

Reception at Louis XIV's court



As Mary II
Mary II of England
Mary II was joint Sovereign of England, Scotland, and Ireland with her husband and first cousin, William III and II, from 1689 until her death. William and Mary, both Protestants, became king and queen regnant, respectively, following the Glorious Revolution, which resulted in the deposition of...

 and William III & II
William III of England
William III & II was a sovereign Prince of Orange of the House of Orange-Nassau by birth. From 1672 he governed as Stadtholder William III of Orange over Holland, Zeeland, Utrecht, Guelders, and Overijssel of the Dutch Republic. From 1689 he reigned as William III over England and Ireland...

 had ascended the English and Scottish thrones, Mary of Modena ceased to be Queen of England on 11 December 1688 OS and of Scotland on 11 May 1689 OS. This was concurrent with her husband's formal deposition. James II, however, backed by Louis XIV of France, still considered himself king by divine right and maintained it was not within parliament's prerogative to depose a monarch.

Louis XIV gave the exiled King and Queen the use of Château de Saint-Germain-en-Laye
Château de Saint-Germain-en-Laye
The Château de Saint-Germain-en-Laye is a royal palace in the commune of Saint-Germain-en-Laye, in the département of Yvelines, about 19 km west of Paris, France. Today, it houses the Musée d'Archéologie Nationale ....

, where they set up court-in-exile. Mary soon became a popular fixture at Louis XIV's court at Versailles
Versailles
Versailles , a city renowned for its château, the Palace of Versailles, was the de facto capital of the kingdom of France for over a century, from 1682 to 1789. It is now a wealthy suburb of Paris and remains an important administrative and judicial centre...

, where diarist Madame de Sévigné
Marie de Rabutin-Chantal, marquise de Sévigné
Marie de Rabutin-Chantal, marquise de Sévigné was a French aristocrat, remembered for her letter-writing. Most of her letters, celebrated for their wit and vividness, were addressed to her daughter.-Life:...

 acclaimed Mary for her "distinguished bearing and her quick wit". Questions of precedence, however, marred Mary's relations with the Dauphine of France, Maria Anna of Bavaria. Because Mary was accorded the privileges and rank of a queen, Maria Anna was outranked by her. Therefore, Maria Anna refused to see Mary, etiquette being a sensitive issue at Versailles. In spite of this, Louis XIV and his secret wife, Madame de Maintenon, became close friends with Mary. James was excluded from French court life as contemporaries found him boring. Mary gave birth to Princess Louise Mary
Louisa Maria Teresa Stuart
Louisa Maria Teresa Stuart , known to Jacobites as The Princess Royal, was the last child of James II and VII , the deposed king of England, Scotland, and Ireland, and of his queen, Mary of Modena...

 in 1692. She was to be James and Mary's last child.

Initially supported by Irish Catholics in his effort to regain the thrones, James launched an expedition to Ireland in March 1689. He abandoned it upon his defeat at the Battle of the Boyne
Battle of the Boyne
The Battle of the Boyne was fought in 1690 between two rival claimants of the English, Scottish and Irish thronesthe Catholic King James and the Protestant King William across the River Boyne near Drogheda on the east coast of Ireland...

 in 1690. During James's campaign, Mary supported his cause throughout the British Isles: she sent three French supply ships to Bantry Bay
Bantry Bay
Bantry Bay is a bay located in County Cork, southwest Ireland. The bay runs approximately from northeast to southwest into the Atlantic Ocean. It is approximately 3-to-4 km wide at the head and wide at the entrance....

 and £2,000 to Jacobite rebels in Dundee
Dundee
Dundee is the fourth-largest city in Scotland and the 39th most populous settlement in the United Kingdom. It lies within the eastern central Lowlands on the north bank of the Firth of Tay, which feeds into the North Sea...

. She financed those measures by selling her jewellery. Money problems plagued the Stuart court-in-exile, despite a substantiaal pension from Louis XIV of 50,000 livres. Mary tried her best to assist those of her husband's followers living in poverty, and encouraged her children to give part of their pocket money to Jacobite refugees.

Estensi succession


The collapse of James's invasion of Ireland in 1691 upset Mary. Her spirits were lifted by news of Mary's brother the Duke of Modena's marriage. He married Margherita Maria Farnese of Parma
Margherita Maria Farnese
Margherita Maria Farnese was an Italian noblewoman born into the House of Farnese. She was the Duchess of Modena and Reggio by marriage to her first cousin Francesco II d'Este, Duke of Modena...

. When, in 1695, Mary's brother died, the House of Este was left with one progenitor, Cardinal-Duke Rinaldo. Queen Mary, concerned for the dynasty's future, urged the Cardinal-Duke to resign his cardinalate, "for the good of the people and for the perpetuation of the sovereign house of Este". Duke Rinaldo's bride, Princess Charlotte Felicitas of Brunswick-Lüneburg, was, according to Mary, "of an easy disposition best suited to [the Duke]".

A bone of contention, however, arose over the Queen's inheritance and dowry
Dowry
A dowry is the money, goods, or estate that a woman brings forth to the marriage. It contrasts with bride price, which is paid to the bride's parents, and dower, which is property settled on the bride herself by the groom at the time of marriage. The same culture may simultaneously practice both...

. Duke Rinaldo refused to release the former, and left the latter £15,000 in arrears. In 1700, five years later, the Duke finally paid the Queen her dowry; her inheritance, however, remained sequestered, and relations with Modena worsened again when Rinaldo allied himself with Holy Roman Emperor Leopold I
Leopold I, Holy Roman Emperor
| style="float:right;" | Leopold I was a Holy Roman Emperor, King of Hungary and King of Bohemia. A member of the Habsburg family, he was the second son of Emperor Ferdinand III and his first wife, Maria Anna of Spain. His maternal grandparents were Philip III of Spain and Margaret of Austria...

. Leopold was an enemy of Louis XIV, James and Mary's patron.

Regency



In March 1701, James II suffered a stroke
Stroke
A stroke, previously known medically as a cerebrovascular accident , is the rapidly developing loss of brain function due to disturbance in the blood supply to the brain. This can be due to ischemia caused by blockage , or a hemorrhage...

 while hearing mass at the Château de Saint-Germain-en-Laye
Château de Saint-Germain-en-Laye
The Château de Saint-Germain-en-Laye is a royal palace in the commune of Saint-Germain-en-Laye, in the département of Yvelines, about 19 km west of Paris, France. Today, it houses the Musée d'Archéologie Nationale ....

, leaving him partially paralysed. Fagon
Guy-Crescent Fagon
Guy-Crescent Fagon was a physician and botanist. He came from nobility and his great uncle, Guy de La Brosse, had founded the Royal Gardens. Fagon was director of the gardens too. His significance in botany is reflected in the genus Fagonia being named after him. He also acted as the physician of...

, Louis XIV's personal physician, recommend the waters of Bourbon-l'Archambault
Bourbon-l'Archambault
Bourbon-l'Archambault is a spa town and a commune in the Allier department in Auvergne in central France.-Population:-Personalities:In 1681, Louise Marie Anne de Bourbon, Mademoiselle de Tours, the third daughter of Louis XIV and his mistress Françoise-Athénaïs, marquise de Montespan died there at...

, to cure the King's paralysis. The waters, however, had little effect, and James II died of a seizure on 16 September 1701. Louis XIV, in contravention of the Peace of Ryswick, declared James Francis Edward King of England, Ireland and Scotland as James III and VIII. This act irritated King William III and II
William III of England
William III & II was a sovereign Prince of Orange of the House of Orange-Nassau by birth. From 1672 he governed as Stadtholder William III of Orange over Holland, Zeeland, Utrecht, Guelders, and Overijssel of the Dutch Republic. From 1689 he reigned as William III over England and Ireland...

, who had ruled alone since the death of his wife, Mary II
Mary II of England
Mary II was joint Sovereign of England, Scotland, and Ireland with her husband and first cousin, William III and II, from 1689 until her death. William and Mary, both Protestants, became king and queen regnant, respectively, following the Glorious Revolution, which resulted in the deposition of...

. Because James Francis Edward was a minor, Queen Mary acted as nominal regent for her son. Mary presided over his regency council, too, although she was uninterested in politics. Before his death, James II expressed his wish that Mary's regency would last no longer than their son's 18th birthday.

Dressed in mourning for the remainder of her life, Queen Mary's first act as regent was to disseminate a manifesto, outlining James Francis Edward's claims. It was largely ignored in England. In Scotland, however, the confederate Lords sent Lord Belhaven
John Hamilton, 2nd Lord Belhaven and Stenton
John Hamilton, 2nd Lord Belhaven and Stenton was a Scottish politician.He was the eldest son of Robert Hamilton, Lord Presmennan...

 to Saint-Germain, to convince the Queen to surrender to them custody of James Francis Edward and accede to his conversion to Protestantism
Protestantism
Protestantism is one of the three major groupings within Christianity. It is a movement that began in Germany in the early 16th century as a reaction against medieval Roman Catholic doctrines and practices, especially in regards to salvation, justification, and ecclesiology.The doctrines of the...

.

The conversion, said Belhaven, would enable James Francis Edward's accession to the English throne upon William III's death. The Queen-Regent was not swayed by Belhaven's argument, so a compromise was reached: James Francis Edward, if he became King, would limit the number of Roman Catholic priests in England and promise not to tamper with the established Church of England
Church of England
The Church of England is the officially established Christian church in England and the Mother Church of the worldwide Anglican Communion. The church considers itself within the tradition of Western Christianity and dates its formal establishment principally to the mission to England by St...

. In exchange, the confederate Lords would do all in their power to block the passing of the Hanoverian
House of Hanover
The House of Hanover is a deposed German royal dynasty which has ruled the Duchy of Brunswick-Lüneburg , the Kingdom of Hanover, the Kingdom of Great Britain, the Kingdom of Ireland and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland...

 succession in Scottish parliament. When, in March 1702, William III died, Simon Fraser, 11th Lord Lovat
Simon Fraser, 11th Lord Lovat
Simon Fraser, 11th Lord Lovat , was a Scottish Jacobite and Chief of Clan Fraser, who was famous for his violent feuding and his changes of allegiance. In 1715, he had been a supporter of the House of Hanover, but in 1745 he changed sides and supported the Stuart claim on the crown of Scotland...

, declared for James Francis Edward at Inverness
Inverness
Inverness is a city in the Scottish Highlands. It is the administrative centre for the Highland council area, and is regarded as the capital of the Highlands of Scotland...

. Soon after, Lovat travelled to the court-in-exile at Saint-Germain, and begged the Queen-Regent to allow her son to come to Scotland. Lovat intended to raise an army of 15,000 soldiers in Scotland, to seize the throne for James Francis Edward. Mary refused to part with James Francis Edward, and the rising failed. Mary's regency ceased with her son's reaching of the age of 16.

Having wished to become a nun in her youth, Queen Mary sought refuge from the stresses of exile at the Convent of the Visitations, Chaillot, near Paris, where she befriended Louis XIV's penitent mistress, Louise de La Vallière
Louise de La Vallière
Louise de La Vallière was a mistress of Louis XIV of France from 1661 to 1667. She later became the Duchess of La Vallière and Duchess of Vaujours in her own right...

. There, Mary stayed with her daughter for long periods almost every summer. It was here, too, in 1711, that Queen Mary found out that, as part of the embryonic Treaty of Utrecht
Treaty of Utrecht
The Treaty of Utrecht, which established the Peace of Utrecht, comprises a series of individual peace treaties, rather than a single document, signed by the belligerents in the War of Spanish Succession, in the Dutch city of Utrecht in March and April 1713...

, James Francis Edward was to lose Louis XIV's explicit recognition and be forced to leave France. The next year, when James Francis Edward was expelled and Louise Mary died of smallpox
Smallpox
Smallpox was an infectious disease unique to humans, caused by either of two virus variants, Variola major and Variola minor. The disease is also known by the Latin names Variola or Variola vera, which is a derivative of the Latin varius, meaning "spotted", or varus, meaning "pimple"...

, Mary was very upset; according to Mary's close friend Madame de Maintenon, Mary was "a model of desolation". Deprived of the company of her family, Queen Mary lived out the rest of her days at Chaillot and Saint-Germain in virtual poverty, unable to travel by her own means because all her horses had died and she could not afford to replace them.

Following her death from cancer
Cancer
Cancer , known medically as a malignant neoplasm, is a large group of different diseases, all involving unregulated cell growth. In cancer, cells divide and grow uncontrollably, forming malignant tumors, and invade nearby parts of the body. The cancer may also spread to more distant parts of the...

 on 7 May 1718, Mary was remembered fondly by her French contemporaries, three of whom, Elizabeth Charlotte of the Palatinate
Elizabeth Charlotte of the Palatinate
Elizabeth Charlotte, Princess Palatine was a German princess and the wife of Philippe I, Duke of Orléans, younger brother of Louis XIV of France. Her vast correspondence provides a detailed account of the personalities and activities at the court of her brother-in-law, Louis XIV...

, the Duke of Saint-Simon
Louis de Rouvroy, duc de Saint-Simon
Louis de Rouvroy commonly known as Saint-Simon was a French soldier, diplomatist and writer of memoirs, was born in Paris...

 and the Marquis of Dangeau
Philippe de Dangeau
Philippe de Courcillon, Marquis de Dangeau was a French officer and author.Born in Dangeau, he is most remembered for keeping a diary from 1684 till the year of his death...

, deemed her a "saint". Mary's remains were interred in Chaillot among the nuns she had befriended.

Ancestry





External links


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