Author Topic: Why did Charles I marry a French princess?  (Read 9599 times)

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Offline Prince_Lieven

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Why did Charles I marry a French princess?
« on: December 29, 2005, 04:25:28 PM »
This is probably an extremely stupid question but it's been bothering me for a while. In 1625 Britain was undoubtedly Protestant. So why did Charles, the young king, marry a Catholic French princess? Surely a Protestant Dane or German would have been more ideal? I know Charles had considered marrying a Spanish infanta to seal peace with Spain, and that turned out to be a fiasco. But surely Henrietta Maria was an astonishingly bad choice?
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ilyala

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Re: Why did Charles I marry a French princess?
« Reply #1 on: December 29, 2005, 05:24:46 PM »
i think it was buckingham's doing. why and how i don't know exactly. but buckingham was not exactly known to have a very consistent strategy... :-/

Offline Prince_Lieven

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Re: Why did Charles I marry a French princess?
« Reply #2 on: December 29, 2005, 05:25:46 PM »
Certainly a plausible solution ilyala.  ;) Was their a political alliance in the marriage?
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ilyala

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Re: Why did Charles I marry a French princess?
« Reply #3 on: December 29, 2005, 05:31:48 PM »
at some point i believe buckingham and richelieu had made an agreement in which buckingham offered to help richelieu conquer la rochelle... that was very unpopular in england, since la rochelle was (probably, not sure) the last protestant citadel in france. i'm not sure of the timeline, though, whether the marriage was before or after that  :-/

Offline Prince_Lieven

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Re: Why did Charles I marry a French princess?
« Reply #4 on: December 29, 2005, 05:36:27 PM »
Thanks for your help Ilyala. ;)
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ilyala

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Re: Why did Charles I marry a French princess?
« Reply #5 on: December 29, 2005, 05:39:22 PM »
you're welcome, although this is off the top of my head and i am not sure how much of help i was.

what i can tell you is that the marriage took place when charles was under buckingham's influence. that buckingham went from supporting the spanish alliance to a french alliance to trying to create a protestant alliance and that nothing ever made any sense and he failed miserably at even giving the image of some sort of direction. the marriage might have just been a part of this whole labirynth...

Offline Prince_Lieven

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Re: Why did Charles I marry a French princess?
« Reply #6 on: December 29, 2005, 05:42:33 PM »
Thanks.  :) Charles was certainly Buckingham's 'creature' at the time. He and Henrietta Maria didn't really cosy up till Buckingham's assassination in 1628.
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"Men forget, but never forgive; women forgive, but never forget."

ilyala

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Re: Why did Charles I marry a French princess?
« Reply #7 on: December 29, 2005, 05:46:09 PM »
the marriage didn't start off very well. i believe there was an incident regarding henrietta marie's companions who were placing flowers on the graves of the catholic martyrs... upto the point that charles asked for them to be sent back to france... i'm sure henrietta was really pleased about that... ::)

Offline Prince_Lieven

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Re: Why did Charles I marry a French princess?
« Reply #8 on: December 29, 2005, 05:48:01 PM »
Quote
the marriage didn't start off very well. i believe there was an incident regarding henrietta marie's companions who were placing flowers on the graves of the catholic martyrs... upto the point that charles asked for them to be sent back to france... i'm sure henrietta was really pleased about that... ::)


Yep, and the fact that she was still a moody teen didn't help either. MAJOR tantrums I'd say.  ;D ;D
"How often have I said to you that when you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth?"
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ilyala

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Re: Why did Charles I marry a French princess?
« Reply #9 on: December 29, 2005, 05:51:49 PM »
;D

well it ended up to be a really good marriage after all... although i do believe henrietta wore the pants ;)

charles seemed to always need someone to guide him...

Offline Prince_Lieven

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Re: Why did Charles I marry a French princess?
« Reply #10 on: December 29, 2005, 05:54:04 PM »
He was just the dependant type I guess. I think they had quite a romantic relationship though. Like when Charles said to his doctor during the Civil War 'for the love of me, go to my wife'.  ;D I'm probably a sentimentalist but I think that's sweet.
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ilyala

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Re: Why did Charles I marry a French princess?
« Reply #11 on: December 29, 2005, 05:56:35 PM »
 ;D i totally agree with you

had they been a normal couple it would have been quite nice... in a royal couple though, especially when the wife is not very popular... not always good...

Offline Prince_Lieven

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Re: Why did Charles I marry a French princess?
« Reply #12 on: December 29, 2005, 06:00:57 PM »
Yes, though I think Henrietta sincerely thought the advice she was giving Charles was good, even though it was in fact awful.  ;D

BTW, totally irrelevant bit of trivia - Charles and Henrietta weren't closely related at all. They were 3rd cousins once removed, though mutual descent from Francois de Bourbon, Duke of Vendome (Charles probably through his Marie de Guise connection).
"How often have I said to you that when you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth?"
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"Men forget, but never forgive; women forgive, but never forget."

bell_the_cat

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Re: Why did Charles I marry a French princess?
« Reply #13 on: December 30, 2005, 02:50:02 AM »
James had always been keen on the idea of a catholic bride for Charles:

a) Parliament vehemently opposed a catholic marriage, so it was a way of showing who was boss!

b) He could play the role of "Peace maker" in Europe. He would bring Protestants and Catholics together, stop the war and everyone would applaud him. The war was causing problems in England too, as trade with the continent slumped.

Charles' and Buckinghams visit to Spain in 1623 ruined this plan - they were so annoyed that they became determined to make war against Spain. They even sent a fleet to Cadiz to re-singe the King of Spain's beard - it was a failure. This was why Buckingham thought the French marriage was a good idea.

A Protestant marriage would have looked as if Parliament had some say in the matter.

As Ilyala says, Buckingham soon changed his tack and fell out with the French, deciding it would be a good idea to help the French Protestants in La Rochelle (also a failure).
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 06:00:00 PM by bell_the_cat »

Offline Prince_Lieven

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Re: Why did Charles I marry a French princess?
« Reply #14 on: December 30, 2005, 06:45:32 AM »
Thanks Bell, I knew you'd come up with the goods.  :)
"How often have I said to you that when you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth?"
-Sherlock Holmes

"Men forget, but never forgive; women forgive, but never forget."