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The Danish Queen

The Danish Queen

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The Danish Queen

évaluations:
3/5 (2 évaluations)
Longueur:
184 pages
3 heures
Sortie:
May 22, 2017
ISBN:
9781911591368
Format:
Livre

Description

How did a Danish princess become the so-called first queen of Great Britain?

Anne of Holstein is perhaps the least-known Queen Consort in Britain’s history. But her marriage to James I saw her become key to the legacy of the Stuarts.

From her homeland of Denmark, Anne travelled to Scotland – a place she had heard tales about of ruthless and bloodthirsty people – and met her betrothed. A teenage Anne was infatuated with her match. They married and bore children, but as the Princess grew to womanhood in the turbulent court of Scotland, she was subject to the unpredictable behaviour of her husband. When Queen Elizabeth I died, James inherited the crown of England and was the first ruler to call himself ‘King of Great Britain’, and Anne the first queen.

The Danish Queen tells the story of a woman who crossed the sea and found love and power, but was fated to watch the tragic demise of her children, all of whom were to be haunted by the tragic destiny of the Stuarts.

It is a dramatic and enlightening account of the early years and marriage of a queen whose place in history is little known, and is perfect for fans of Anne O’Brien, Elizabeth Chadwick and Alison Weir.

Lynda M. Andrews, who also writes as Lyn Andrews, is the Sunday Times Number One bestselling author of over 34 sagas, and one of the top 100 bestselling authors in the UK. She was born and raised in Liverpool, which serves as the inspiration for many of her novels. She now divides her time between Merseyside and the Isle of Man, where she has lived for several years.

Sortie:
May 22, 2017
ISBN:
9781911591368
Format:
Livre

À propos de l'auteur

Lynda M. Andrews, who also writes as Lyn Andrews, is the Sunday Times Number One bestselling author of over 34 sagas, and one of the top 100 bestselling authors in the UK. She was born and raised in Liverpool, which serves as the inspiration for many of her novels. She now divides her time between Merseyside and the Isle of Man, where she has lived for several years.

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The Danish Queen - Lynda M. Andrews

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The Danish Queen

Lynda M. Andrews

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Prologue

The grey, forbidding citadel of Stirling towered above the small town that clung to the side of the rock while below the waters of the river Forth lay peacefully sparkling in the sunlight. To the casual eye the town of Stirling would have appeared a tranquil, solid, industrious little community going about its daily business, but a closer look would have revealed more than the usual bustle for amongst the plain, sober dress of the townsfolk could be observed the rich, colourful liveries of Scotland’s noble houses and at regular intervals small processions headed by flamboyantly dressed men could be seen making their way through the narrow streets with their crowstepped, gabled houses, and up the hill to the castle.

In the late afternoon such a procession climbed the path that led from the river valley to the town and entered the narrow gateway.

Make way! Make way for the Earl of Lennox! the soldiers cried, roughly shouldering aside the townsfolk who had stopped to stare. The handsome, middle-aged man in the scarlet doublet slashed with gold stared ahead of him, deep in thought. His thoughts were disquieting and preoccupied with the recent assassination of the Regent Moray. To hold the position of supreme power in Scotland was to court death. Woe to the kingdom whose King is a child! was a saying the wisdom of which Scotland had good cause to marvel at. Six minorities had not contributed to Scotland’s peace and the Earl of Lennox, father of the murdered husband of the Queen of Scots, and grandfather of the four-year-old King James VI, was far from optimistic of the outcome of the Parliament that was due to be opened by his grandson the following day.

As the party rode on, climbing slowly towards the granite fortress, Lennox silently cursed the day that Mary Stuart, Queen of Scotland, had cast her beautiful eyes in his son’s direction. He had been aware of the subtle manipulation Elizabeth of England had resorted to in that affair which had ultimately led to Henry’s murder, Mary’s disgrace and the birth of his grandson who had been crowned here at Stirling fourteen months after his birth—the Queen of Scots having been threatened and browbeaten into a submission and abdication. He rode on through the massive gate and into the courtyard, shivering involuntarily as his eyes glanced up at the sheer walls; walls built to keep out all invaders and protect the heir to Scotland’s throne, or was the word he sought ‘imprison’?

High up in a small, circular room in one of the turreted battlements a little boy of four watched the arrival of his grandfather. He was a serious little boy with beautiful, large brown eyes inherited from his mother from whom he had been separated almost since birth. He knelt in the broad, stone window recess solemnly watching the procession as it came to a halt and the Earl dismounted.

I canna see who this one is! he stated in a childish treble.

A dark-haired boy a year older came and looked out of the casement. D’ ye no recognise the badge o’ your ain grandfather, Jamie?

The brown eyes registered interest. Has he come t’ see me, Johnnie?

Johnnie Erskine, son of the Earl of Marr, cast his companion an impatient look. O’ course he has! Hae I no’ told ye that all hae come t’ see ye!

Oh, Aye! The parliament! James answered ruefully.

Ye hae no forgotten your lines again, hae ye?

I canna remember all o’ them! I get in a muddle!

Jamie, ye are the King, ye are no supposed to get in a muddle!

James Stuart sighed. He was not looking forward to the ceremony at all. For days his foster mother, the Countess Annabelle, had instructed him how to behave and his tutors had (with the aid of numerous sharp raps) drummed into his small head the long speech he was to recite—most of which he did not understand.

I wish ye were the King, Johnnie. Ma craig is sore from Master Buchanan’s cane!

Johnnie Marr looked around quickly. Hush, Jamie! Ye maun say sic things! When ye grow up ye shall be vera rich an’ powerful.

Shall I be able to do as I please? Then I shall take yon cane and burn it! James cried rubbing his head ruefully.

Hush, here comes ma lady mother!Johnnie cried as the Countess Annabelle entered.

Annabelle Marr was a handsome woman in her mid forties. A woman with an inborn air of authority but she loved her young charge every bit as much as her own sons. Her chestnut hair was confined beneath a lace-edged cap and over her dress of russet velvet she wore a fine shawl of the Erskine tartan, caught on the shoulder with a jewel of strange design.

Jamie, your grandfather wishes t’ see ye. Straighten your collar and … Och! Look at your britches! He hae been kneeling in yon window again! she scolded, briskly brushing dust from Jamie’s clothes and tweaking his starched lace ruff into place. Johnnie, away wi’ ye! Master Young is calling for ye and he’ll brook no unpunctuality. Away t’ your studies!

The two boys exchanged disgruntled glances for Johnnie disliked his Latin studies and James was not really enthusiastic about being presented to yet another important personage, despite the fact that this one was his grandfather.


Next morning in the great hall of Stirling a lordly procession made its way slowly towards the dais at the far end of the chamber. Upon this dais was the carved and gilded Chair of State over which hung the embroidered canopy emblazoned with the arms of Scotland. The gothic hall—one hundred and twenty feet in length—was packed with the nobility of the land, all eagerly awaiting the appearance of the King.

The procession was headed by Alexander Erskine, Earl of Marr, and the King’s guardian who carried in his arms the four-year-old child who seemed to be partially smothered by his heavy robes. Behind him came the Earl of Lennox followed by the peers of Scotland in their splendid robes.

Having reached the dais the Earl of Marr placed the child upon the throne with grave solemnity and from his vantage point young James surveyed his subjects with a gravity that far outweighed his years. He was hot and uncomfortable in the unaccustomed regalia and was very much afraid lest he forget the words of his speech, but he knew that he must not show his fear for he was the King and all these old and fearsome men had come to pay homage to him.

In a faltering voice he began to recite the words he had been taught and as he gained confidence his young voice gathered a little strength. There was absolute silence in the great chamber as everyone listened to him and as he reached the end of his oration he glanced up momentarily. A shaft of sunlight was filtering through a small hole in the canopy and his attention was caught by the prism for it seemed to dance with all the colours of the rainbow. Suddenly, he realised that all eyes were fixed upon him and that he had abruptly halted. With a rush of words he continued, concluding his painstakingly learned lines with unseemly haste. After he had finished, but before anyone had chance to reply to his speech, he looked again and said loudly,

There is ane hole in this parliament!

He was very surprised at the effect this statement had upon the assembly. Fearful looks were exchanged and quite a few lords looked extremely uncomfortable. He was puzzled for he had only meant to point out to them that there was a hole in the canopy and was at a loss to understand why this fact had caused such a stir. He was not old enough to realise that Scotland at that time was steeped in superstition and that bloody and terrifying deeds (the scourge of Scotland’s history) were everyday occurrences and that the words of his simple statement were construed as a warning that some dire misfortune would fall upon that parliament.

James returned to his studies and games after the ceremony was over and the nobility had departed, but a few weeks later his grandfather (en route to visit him) was attacked not far from Stirling by a Captain Calder and a band of conspirators. The Earl of Marr roused the men of Stirling and went to his aid, but Lennox was mortally wounded and died the following day at Stirling Castle.

The little boy was taken to see his dying grandsire and when he asked why the Earl had been attacked, his guardian had replied sadly,

For thy sake, Jamie! For thy sake!

The little boy was hurt and bewildered but such was the climate of violence and intrigue that James Stuart was to experience for the rest of his life and ever after he walked in fear of the assassin’s sword.


Across the North Sea, in the grounds of the Cronenburg palace in Denmark, two little girls sat amongst the profusion of roses in the formal gardens.

Cronenburg was built on the Isle of Zealand and commanded a fine view of the sound where the tall-masted ships sailed on their journey to the Baltic. Small, wispy white clouds were drifting across the blue sky and the bright sun shone down upon the two children as they sat upon the green turf making patterns from the fallen petals.

The Queen, your mother, would prefer you to spend your time in more serious pursuits! their governess, Margaret Anderstein, reproved them.

Elizabeth, the eldest child, looked up. But we have only just finished lessons! she cried, her hazel eyes filled with disappointment.

Mamma says it is good to take the air, it is so fresh and clean here and she says the sea breezes are beneficial! the Princess Anna stated firmly, raising her small, pointed chin with determination.

I do not disagree with the Queen’s sentiments, my lady, but she would sooner you read a little, or worked upon your samplers than idled your time away with flower petals.

But they are so pretty… so soft, and look… Elizabeth has formed the letters of her name!

I do not consider that to be either a scholastic or an industrious achievement.

The Princess Anna’s brows rushed together in a frown.

Margaret Anderstein was quick to notice the danger sign. Come, we will do a little work upon your samplers. Pass me your work!

Reluctantly the Princess Elizabeth picked up the piece of fine lawn stretched tightly between the two circular wooden rings of the frame and passed it to her governess.

Margaret exclaimed, examining the work closely while shaking her head, It will not do, My Lady. I am afraid it will have to be unpicked.

Elizabeth looked at her sister and bit her lip.

If yours is untidy, then mine will surely have to be done yet again! Anna whispered, looking down with disgust at the lopsided feather stitches on her sampler.

They both sat in silence as Margaret patiently unpicked their work whilst impressing upon them the necessity of becoming an expert and delicate needlewoman. One day you will both marry! Would you have your ladies point to your work and hold it in disfavour? Your mother’s work is most delicate and her tapestry the finest I have ever seen!

Nine-year-old Elizabeth sighed, but seven-year-old Anna was far from disturbed.

Perhaps when I become a Queen it will not be fashionable for ladies to work with their needles! she said hopefully.

Margaret was scandalised. Perhaps it will be fashionable for Royal Ladies to scrub floors and scour pots! she cried scathingly.

Anna was not put out. When I am a Queen I shall wear fine dresses and attend balls every day!

And I shall have lots of children and shall play with them and tend them! Elizabeth cried, catching her sister’s infectious day-dreaming.

My Ladies! Princesses do not tend their own children… nor do they waste their time in idle pursuits! What would your mother say? The exalted position of a Queen is such that she should set an example to her subjects; she should be virtuous and dignified… in fact, you should try to copy your mother for she is renowned for her virtue!

Anna looked resentful. Is it never permitted to enjoy oneself?

Virtue is its own reward, My Lady.

Anna pulled a sour face at which Elizabeth hastily stifled a giggle.

Margaret Anderstein shot her a disapproving glance and passed back the sampler with the instructions to try to make the stitches smaller.

Anna passed over her work, averting her eyes from the horrified expression upon the face of her governess. She picked up a deep red petal and gently rubbed it between her fingers. I think roses are the most beautiful flowers in all the world.

The roses of Cronenburg are famed, Margaret said absently, whilst cutting out the tangled threads of Anna’s handiwork.

Anna reached out to pluck a delicate pink rosebud but drew her hand away sharply with a cry of pain, for a few drops of blood had appeared upon her finger.

Yes, My Lady, roses also have sharp thorns!

Does it hurt, Anna? Elizabeth asked.

Anna shook her head. Only a little. Why do such lovely flowers have such sharp, horrid thorns?

To protect themselves. Many plants have them, Margaret replied.

Then I do not like them!

Many things in this world you will find beautiful to look upon, My Lady Anna, but when you reach out to touch them you will find that they can hurt.

Then I shall not reach out.

It is not always possible to resist the temptation. Life deals us harsh and bitter blows at times, but it is only the Good Lord’s way of testing us.

Sensing that Margaret was about to launch forth upon one of her lectures Elizabeth sought to divert her. What other plants have such thorns?

Their governess thought for a minute and then, prompted by

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