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Old 10-25-2012, 06:48 PM
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James I (VI of Scotland) (1566-1625) & Anne of Denmark (1574-1619)

I noticed there wasn't a thread on James I. I've always been curious about James. I mean, his mother was held captive in England, people said she had killed his father, perhaps that his father wasn't Lord Darnley, but his mother's Italian musician. It must have been pretty difficult for him growing up with all that. Did he blame his mother or hate her? Did he ever think of talking to her, or want to free her? Did he ever wonder that maybe his father was the Italian? What about his marriage to Anne of Denmark? I've read that he was probably homosexual, but then, it's claimed that so many kings and princes were. If anyone knows any good books on him, I'd appreciate it if they let me know.
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Old 10-25-2012, 07:25 PM
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Ah, yes. The king who stood by and watched the queen of the realm he would inherit imprison and behead his mother, her cousin. The most brutal of times in English history. Interestingly, a vast majority of the christian world, both protestant and others. use a bible revised by this king. He then buried them side by side. The irony.
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Old 10-25-2012, 08:43 PM
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We must remember that he never really knew his mother as she was gone while he was still a baby and he was raised by people who weren't her supporters anyway.

It is very possible that he had no real feelings for her at all given the way he was raised.

Just a side note - it is Elizabeth I and Mary I who are buried side by side while Mary, Queen of Scots is about 30 feet away.
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Old 10-25-2012, 11:49 PM
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Although Mary Queen of Scots was Catholic, her son James I/VI was raised by ardent Protestant "divines", and given a Biblical education such as might be received today in "fundamentalist" Christian organizations. When he came to the throne, he was surrounded by both Catholic and Protestant forces. The Protestants were officially in charge, at that moment in time, but there were Catholic sympathizers, and also Catholics in the north of England and in Scotland who "got away with" being Catholic. The common people were cracked down on if they did not adhere to Protestantism, and as we all know, it was a time when MANY people lost their lives on both sides.
King James, a Bible scholar in his own right, appointed a large committee of "divines" to translate the Bible from its original languages of antiquity, and so many voices and opinions went in to writing it, including that of James himself. It became a Bible which bridged the warring factions of Catholicism and Protestantism.
James himself wanted to do this, to unite the warring sides.

James is widely thought to have had the hereditary illness Porphyria. 50% of children born to a person with porphyria (on average) will inherit. If both parents have the gene, 75% inherit, on average. The tendency today to avoid marriages to close cousins has probably contributed to a lowering of the incidence of this ailment in the royal families. On the other hand, some of the royals may have it and know how to cope with it--by diet, avoidance of environmental triggers and those medicines which trigger it. Much is known about the biochemistry of porphyria today which James did not have access to, as far as we know. But he seems to have lived a relatively healthy life, for those days, so perhaps he did have access to medical wisdom. He probably inherited this tendency from both the Stuarts and the Tudors, and the Tudors may have acquired it from France.
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Old 10-26-2012, 03:07 AM
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Mariel, surely you know this article already but maybe others are interested, too?

Porphyria in the royal houses of Stuart, Hanover, and Prussia. A follow-up study of George 3d's illness.
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Old 10-26-2012, 10:01 AM
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True, he never really did know his mother, so it's logical that perhaps he didn't have feelings for her at alll. Though I've always wondered if he ever thought of her. He didn't know her, but she was alive. If he felt curious, I suppose he could have found a way to talk to her. Perhaps it's possible that it was almost as if she didn't really exist for him. That's a very ugly, though. The people raising him telling him horrible things about his mother. She was his mother, after all. That some people didn't like her and thought her an adulteress and murderess, they could at least not have said such things to him, especially when he was a child.

I've read on that poryphira might have affected many royals. Although I've never come across anything saying James might have had it. Thanks for the article. It looks pretty interesting.
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Old 10-26-2012, 12:29 PM
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Thank you so much, Kataryn, for the article by MacAlpine. I had not read it but only other studies based in part on it. The chart of descent is very interesting. The only question I'd have with it is this: later commentators believe Queen Victoria and some of her children (notably Vicky and Vicky's Feodora) had porphyria. Sometimes porphyria occurs in a less extreme manner than accounted for by MacAlpine's research, but this subject is too long to discuss here. Porphyria of the type affecting the Hanovers is always "dominant" genetically. It is not "recessive", but as MacAlpine states it can occur in a latent state and be passed on. It is latent if it is never "triggered". Several of the royals described here by MacAlpine were "triggered" by exercise in the hot summer sun, and there are many other "triggers" which could be avoided by a person who had access to family history and medical records--most prominently the medicines.
What comes across most poignantly here is that all of the royals described by McAlpine were misunderstood because of the fluctuating nature of the illness; they could be strong and vigorous at one moment and collapsed and weak at the next, without explanation, and so they were said to by hysterical or hypochondriacal. Not an easy thing to live with, emotionally.

Persian, I agree that Prince James was ill-treated by those who mis-characterized his mother. These people, both James and his mother, were used as political pawns, not as feeling human beings.
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Old 12-08-2012, 03:21 PM
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In terms of constitutional history not much is to be said for our Stuart dynasty, come from Scotland in 1603 and, if we discount Mary and Anne, the hapless daughters of James II, gone into oblivion in 1688 (though its wretched tail wagged feebly for a full century until the death of Bonnie Prince Charlie, soak and lecher, in 1788, another century later). Consider James I, son of Mary, Queen of Scots, and Henry, Lord Darnley, for whose murder she was almost certainly responsible, much given to sloppy, fond relationships with ambitious and beautiful young men. Consider Charles I, inclined towards Catholicism and so devout a believer in the Divine Right of Kings that Parliamentarians beheaded him. Consider Charles II, exquisite philanderer, and James II, blindly fervent Catholic, and consider his son, the Old Pretender, banished to Urbino by the Pope, there to indulge so much in “clecking” (Old Scots for random sexual conjugation) that an independent Scotland might well look for the descendant of a Stuart bastard in Urbino to set upon its Stone of Scone. It is no wonder that we got rid of them, preferring Protestant German bores with almost no claim to our ancient throne.
The Lost Prince: The Life and Death of Henry Stuart, National Portrait Gallery, WC2 - review - Visual Arts - Arts - London Evening Standard
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Old 12-08-2012, 04:48 PM
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I always thought Charles I was a staunch Protestant. I know he married a Catholic princess, but wasn't he very much devoted to the Church of England?
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Old 12-08-2012, 05:04 PM
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I have not noticed, in reading history, that Protestant monarchs are less sexually promiscuous than Catholic ones (overall). We all have heard of the strong family loyalty of George III, but his sons were not like him in regard to family duty. in the 19th century, starting with the revolting Edward VII, we get some more kings who were promiscuous, including George V, who may have stopped his sex orgies after he married May, but certainly was so promiscuous before that that it was a public scandal. All Protestants.
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Old 12-09-2012, 01:48 AM
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I always thought Charles I was a staunch Protestant. I know he married a Catholic princess, but wasn't he very much devoted to the Church of England?
Charles I remained an Anglican for his entire life. Nevertheless, he strongly sympathised with Arminianism (nothing to do with Armenia or Armenians) and wanted reforms within the Church of England. To puritans, his attempts to move the Anglican Church away from Calvinism,were highly suspicious and were regarded as attempts to re-introduce Catholicism within the Church of England.

Charles I was probably a reasonably devoted follower of the Church of England but he was nowhere as zealous or fanatical as the puritans. His marriage to a Catholic Princess and failures in wars against the Catholics were all used as arguments of his pro-Catholic sympathies by his enemies - without a shred of proof.
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Old 12-09-2012, 09:41 PM
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Didn't his mother, Anne, convert to Catholicism? I don't know if that bothered him or James.
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Old 12-09-2012, 10:26 PM
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Originally Posted by Mariel View Post
I have not noticed, in reading history, that Protestant monarchs are less sexually promiscuous than Catholic ones (overall). We all have heard of the strong family loyalty of George III, but his sons were not like him in regard to family duty. in the 19th century, starting with the revolting Edward VII, we get some more kings who were promiscuous, including George V, who may have stopped his sex orgies after he married May, but certainly was so promiscuous before that that it was a public scandal. All Protestants.
Do tell. I have never heard of GV leading a particularly decadent lifestyle. In fact I always thought he rebelled against his more liberal father by being something of a prig but then I never thought of EVII being especially revolting either, so perhaps that is just a difference in how we view sex.
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Old 12-10-2012, 01:56 AM
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No, NGalitzine, I am not as prudish as you may think. I based my comments on articles linked to TRF about the sexual promiscuity of both Edward VII and George V. Edward is quoted as saying that his wife was his brood mare, and he continued to have sexual affairs all of his life. George was shown to have reformed his habits when he married, but his sexual habits before marriage involved regular and prolonged visits to a house of prostitution. It seems that the male royals of that era were allowed to have as much sex as they wanted as long as they tried to keep it quiet, but it was NOT kept quiet because it was flagrant. That is what I read anyway. With pictures of the brothel which George V visited. All of these articles may be bunk and made up like the gossip stories of today, for all I know.
We are surely aware of the nastiness of the press today.
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Old 12-10-2012, 02:26 AM
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Didn't his mother, Anne, convert to Catholicism? I don't know if that bothered him or James.
Anne of Denmark never officially converted to Catholicism.
Her religious sympathies were a constant source of headache for the King, his ministers, as well as Catholics and Protestants alike.

Anne herself denied being a Catholic or having pro-Catholic sympathies. When Queen Elizabeth (of England) learnt of the possibility of Anne's conversion, she sent her letters advising not to listen to papists and report the names of those who tried to convert her. Anne responded that no named need to be mentioned because "any such efforts had failed".

As an evidence of her pro-Catholic sympathies, it is often pointed out Anne abstained from Anglican Communion during her coronation, but that might have simply been a sign of the reformed-church distrust of the Eucharist. She did keep Henrietta Gordon, Marchioness of Hurtly (wife of George Gordon, Marquess of Hurtly - an exiled Catholic) as her close confidant though, despite the Ministers’ displeasure.

According to some sources, Some time after 1600, but well before March 1603, Queen Anne was received into the Catholic Church in a secret chamber in the royal palace". At the same time, contemporary Catholic foreign ambassadors (who should have been more than happy should anything of the nature occurred) were certain Anne was anything but a Catholic. The Venetian envoy Nicolo Molin wrote in 1606 that Anne “is a Lutheran” and is “beyond their reach”.

Even the Pope was unsure of Anne's actual religion. He once said: "Not considering the inconstancy of that Queen and the many changes she had made in religious matters and that even if it might be true that she might be a Catholic, one should not take on oneself any judgement."

The Archbishop of Canterbury reported that she had died rejecting Catholic notions, although John Leeds Barroll noted that "we are all familiar with the modern press release".


Whatever the truth, Anne was extremely discreet about her religious sympathies and never made any attempts to influence the King in matters of Church.
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Old 09-07-2013, 03:47 PM
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I have some difficulty believing James felt nothing for his mother because he last saw her when he was a baby and he was raised by people who didn't like her. A similar thing happened to Elizabeth I but she still had warm feelings for her mother though she hardly expressed them. Even today there are children who lost a parent young yet still love them even if it is in a unique way.
If James perhaps did not have warm feelings for Mary it might have been because he believed she killed his father.
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Old 09-07-2013, 06:06 PM
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It depends on how a person is raised - if someone involved in raising the child speaks positively about the deceased parent to the young child they will develop some feelings for that person but if no one does that then the child simply won't have any ideas on which to fasten their ideas. For James of course he did know a lot about his mother as she was alive for 20 or so years of his life, although a prisoner who had deserted him as a baby - for whatever reason that would be a difficult reason for a child to overcome.
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Old 09-07-2013, 06:09 PM
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Interesting thought, XeniaCasaraghi, that James may have been cool to his mother because he "believed she killed his father." From what I read (true or not) James was raised primarily by Protestant clergymen in Scotland, and was given the type of Bible education we would now associate with fundamentalist Christians. This Protestant clergymen probably influenced him against his mother, in my view, but I'm guessing. It is impossible to imagine how warped a boy could become because of having a mother imprisoned far from him, and never seeing her, and being told she was suspected of treason and of murder. I do not see how James managed to be normal at all. That he was a normal as he was is credit to his strength.
James contributed personally to the translation of his Bible, among the many others who did so, having had a rigorous education in the Bible, which no doubt included reading it in its original languages personally. This was the goal of Protestant education at that time, to be able to read the Bible in its original languages, and this was one of the main goals of our famous universities in America, such as Harvard and Yale, which were founded as training schools for clergymen, who needed to know these languages well, and much else, such as hermeneutics, eschatology, etc. I believe King James may have retained his sanity because of faith, seeing what a desperate childhood he had. But there may have been some loving figures in his life that I have not heard of.
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Old 09-13-2013, 02:42 PM
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I have some difficulty believing James felt nothing for his mother because he last saw her when he was a baby and he was raised by people who didn't like her. A similar thing happened to Elizabeth I but she still had warm feelings for her mother though she hardly expressed them. Even today there are children who lost a parent young yet still love them even if it is in a unique way.
If James perhaps did not have warm feelings for Mary it might have been because he believed she killed his father.
I'd forgotten about Elizabeth. She really did have warm feelings for her mother, and she really must have heard very terrible things about her during her life. After all, Anne was executed for treason and adultery, and there were people who questioned that Elizabeth was Henry's daughter. I always wondered if Elizabeth ever questioned her mother's actions. Just about all books I've read about her say that she had very warm feelings towards her mother.
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Old 11-17-2013, 10:21 AM
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James had no memories of his parents because his father died when he was a baby and because he was separated from his mother soon afterwards. He believed that his mother, Mary Queen of Scots, was responsible for his father’s murder and was raised to hate and fear her. He was aware that if she escaped, she would fight him for the Scottish throne. He was also aware that if she became Queen of England, she could make war on him and take the Scottish throne back. For these reasons, he was not precisely the most loving son in the history of the world.

At the time that Elizabeth I was holding his mother captive, James knew that Elizabeth could name his cousin Arbella Stuart as her heir. Many in England would have preferred Arbella to James because she’d been born and raised in England. James desperately wanted to please Elizabeth and become King of England because he thought he’d be safe there (most of his predecessors on the Scottish throne died violent deaths) and because he was poor and thought Elizabeth had buckets of money. He had no idea she was flat broke until after her death, when he discovered that all Elizabeth had left him was a mountain of unpaid bills that left the Stuarts financially dependent on Parliament and ultimately led to the English Civil War and, in time, to the Glorious Revolution.


James’s tongue was too big for his mouth, so he had to lap at his drinks like a dog (and lap he certainly did, because he was a roaring alcoholic, as was his wife Anne). His legs were thin and spindly, which gave him an odd walk and encouraged the rumor that he’d been fathered by his mother’s secretary, David Rizzio, who’d also had mobility problems. James also had red/auburn hair and fair delicate skin that easily became sunburned, so he wore a hat whenever he went outside, as well as long sleeves, gloves, etc. On the rare occasions when sunlight did hit his skin, he blistered pretty quick. That’s not porphyria, that’s part of the fun of being a very fair-skinned redhead.


The claim that the Stuarts had porphyria is nonsense. There was a history of kidney disease in the House of Stuart which caused James to suffer from kidney stones and produce bloody urine. After he died, his autopsy showed that one of his kidneys was nonfunctional (a congenital birth defect) and that his other kidney had stones in it. More than a few of his descendants suffered from kidney problems too, including, but not limited to, Karl-Ludwig, Elector Palatine; Rupert, Maurice, Edward, and Gustavus Adolphus of the Rhine; Electress Sophia of Hanover (mother of King George I and ancestor of King George III); Raugrave Karl-Ludwig; Raugravine Amalie; Frederick William I of Prussia and his wife/first cousin Sophia Dorothea of Hanover; and Frederick the Great. What seems to have alleviated the kidney problems of James’s descendants to some degree was a change in fashion: once water became cleaner and thus safer to drink, James’s descendants stopped drinking beer and wine all day and drank some water now and then, which helped their kidneys a lot.


There was a long history of depression/psychosomatic illnesses in the Houses of Tudor and Stuart. Mary Queen of Scots (and her cousins Mary I and Elizabeth I and Lady Jane Grey) suffered from depression and psychosomatic illnesses. Depression and psychosomatic illnesses (particularly tummy aches) plagued James’s descendants until one of his grandchildren was advised that the key to combating her problems was outdoor exercise and a lot of it. In the twinkle of an eye, that grandchild started exercising outdoors and felt better for it. She shared the news of her exciting miracle cure with her siblings and cousins, who began exercising outdoors too. They learned to love being outside and to love the sun, probably because they weren’t fair-skinned redheads like James I and VI, and their outdoor exercise cure worked well for them.
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