Anne of Denmark

For the Danish princess who became Electress of Saxony, see Anne of Denmark, Electress of Saxony.
Anne of Denmark

Portrait attributed to Marcus Gheeraerts the Younger, c. 1612
Queen consort of Scots
Tenure 20 August 1589 – 2 March 1619
Coronation 17 May 1590
Queen consort of England and Ireland
Tenure 24 March 1603 – 2 March 1619
Coronation 25 July 1603
Born 12 December 1574
Skanderborg Castle, Skanderborg, Denmark
Died 2 March 1619(1619-03-02) (aged 44)
Hampton Court Palace
Burial 13 May 1619
Westminster Abbey
Spouse James VI & I
(m. 1589)
among others...
House Oldenburg
Father Frederick II of Denmark
Mother Sophie of Mecklenburg-Güstrow

Anne of Denmark (Danish: Anna; 12 December 1574 – 2 March 1619) was Queen consort of Scotland, England, and Ireland as the wife of King James VI and I.[1]

The second daughter of King Frederick II of Denmark, Anne married James in 1589 at age 15 and bore him three children who survived infancy, including the future Charles I. She demonstrated an independent streak and a willingness to use factional Scottish politics in her conflicts with James over the custody of Prince Henry and his treatment of her friend Beatrix Ruthven. Anne appears to have loved James at first, but the couple gradually drifted and eventually lived apart, though mutual respect and a degree of affection survived.[2]

In England, Anne shifted her energies from factional politics to patronage of the arts and constructed her own magnificent court, hosting one of the richest cultural salons in Europe.[3] After 1612, she suffered sustained bouts of ill health and gradually withdrew from the centre of court life. Though she was reported to have been a Protestant at the time of her death, evidence suggests that she may have converted to Catholicism sometime in her life.[4]

Historians have traditionally dismissed Anne as a lightweight queen, frivolous and self-indulgent.[5] However, recent reappraisals acknowledge Anne's assertive independence and, in particular, her dynamic significance as a patron of the arts during the Jacobean age.[6]

Early life

Anne was born on 12 December 1574 at the castle of Skanderborg on the Jutland Peninsula in the Kingdom of Denmark. Her birth came as a blow to her father, King Frederick II of Denmark, who was desperately hoping for a son.[7] But her mother, Sophie of Mecklenburg-Güstrow, was only 17; three years later she did bear Frederick a son, the future Christian IV of Denmark.[8]

With her older sister, Elizabeth, Anne was sent to be raised at Güstrow in Germany by her maternal grandparents, the Duke and Duchess of Mecklenburg. Compared with the roving Danish court, where King Frederick was notorious for gargantuan meals, heavy drinking and restless behaviour (including marital infidelity), Güstrow provided Anne with a frugal and stable life during her early childhood.[9] Christian was also sent to be brought up at Güstrow but two years later, in 1579, the Rigsraad (Danish Privy Council) successfully requested his removal to Denmark, and Anne and Elizabeth returned with him.[10]

Anne enjoyed a close, happy family upbringing in Denmark, thanks largely to Queen Sophie, who nursed the children through their illnesses herself.[11] Suitors from all over Europe sought the hands of Anne and Elizabeth in marriage, including James VI of Scotland, who favoured Denmark as a kingdom reformed in religion and a profitable trading partner.[12]

James VI of Scotland in 1586, aged twenty, three years before his marriage to Anne

James' other serious possibility, though 8 years his senior, was Catherine, sister of the Huguenot King Henry III of Navarre (future Henry IV of France), who was favoured by Elizabeth I of England.[13] Scottish ambassadors had at first concentrated their suit on the oldest daughter,[14] but Frederick betrothed Elizabeth to Henry Julius, Duke of Brunswick, promising the Scots instead that "for the second [daughter] Anna, if the King did like her, he should have her."[15]

Betrothal and proxy marriage

The constitutional position of Sophie, Anne's mother, became difficult after Frederick's death in 1588,[16] when she found herself in a power struggle with the Rigsraad for control of King Christian. As a matchmaker, however, Sophie proved more diligent than Frederick and, overcoming sticking points on the amount of the dowry and the status of Orkney,[17] she sealed the agreement by July 1589.[18] Anne herself seems to have been thrilled with the match.[19] On 28 July 1589, the English spy Thomas Fowler reported that Anne was "so far in love with the King's Majesty as it were death to her to have it broken off and hath made good proof divers ways of her affection which his Majestie is apt in no way to requite."[20] Fowler's insinuation, that James preferred men to women,[21] would have been hidden from the fourteen-year-old Anne, who devotedly embroidered shirts for her fiancé while three hundred tailors worked on her wedding dress.[22]

Whatever the truth of the rumours, James required a royal match to preserve the Stuart line.[23] "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."[24] On 20 August 1589, Anne was married by proxy to James at Kronborg Castle, the ceremony ending with James' representative, George Keith, 5th Earl Marischal, sitting next to Anne on the bridal bed.[25]


Anne set sail for Scotland within 10 days, but her fleet was beset by a series of misadventures.[26] finally being forced back to the coast of Norway, from where she travelled by land to Oslo for refuge, accompanied by the Earl Marischal and others of the Scottish and Danish embassies.[27]

Anne's Coat of Arms as Queen consort of Scots
Anne of Denmark's Coat of Arms.[28] Depicting the Royal Coat of Arms of England, Scotland and Ireland impaled with her father's arms as King of Denmark. The shield is surmounted by a crown, and supported by a lion and a savage.[29]

On 12 September, Lord Dingwall had landed at Leith, reporting that "he had come in company with the Queen's fleet three hundred miles, and was separated from them by a great storm: it was feared that the Queen was in danger upon the seas."[30] Alarmed, James called for national fasting and public prayers, kept watch on the Firth of Forth for Anne's arrival,[31] wrote several songs, one comparing the situation to the plight of Hero and Leander, and sent a search party out for Anne, carrying a letter he had written to her in French: "Only to one who knows me as well as his own reflection in a glass could I express, my dearest love, the fears which I have experienced because of the contrary winds and violent storms since you embarked ...".[32] Informed in October that the Danes had abandoned the crossing for the winter, and in what Willson calls "the one romantic episode of his life,"[33] James sailed from Leith with a three-hundred-strong retinue to fetch his wife personally, arriving in Oslo on 19 November after travelling by land from Flekkefjord via Tønsberg.[34] According to a Scottish account, he presented himself to Anne, "with boots and all", and, disarming her protests, gave her a kiss in the Scottish fashion.[35]

Anne and James were formally married at the Old Bishop's Palace in Oslo on 23 November 1589, "with all the splendour possible at that time and place."[36] So that both bride and groom could understand, Leith minister David Lindsay conducted the ceremony in French, describing Anne as "a Princess both godly and beautiful ... she giveth great contentment to his Majesty."[37] A month of celebrations followed; and on 22 December, cutting his entourage to fifty, James visited his new relations at Kronborg Castle in Elsinore, where the newlyweds were greeted by Queen Sophie, twelve-year-old King Christian IV, and Christian's four regents.[38] The couple moved on to Copenhagen on 7 March and attended the wedding of Anne's older sister Elizabeth to Henry Julius, Duke of Brunswick, sailing two days later for Scotland in a patched up "Gideon".[39] They arrived in the Water of Leith on 1 May. Five days later, Anne made her state entry into Edinburgh in a solid silver coach brought over from Denmark, James riding alongside on horseback.[40]


Anne of Denmark, circa 1600

Anne was crowned on 17 May 1590 in the Abbey Church at Holyrood, the first Protestant coronation in Scotland.[41] During the seven-hour ceremony, her gown was opened by the Countess of Mar for presiding minister Robert Bruce to pour "a bonny quantity of oil" on "parts of her breast and arm", so anointing her as queen.[42] (Kirk ministers had objected vehemently to this element of the ceremony as a pagan and Jewish ritual, but James insisted that it dated from the Old Testament.)[43] The king handed the crown to Chancellor Maitland, who placed it on Anne's head.[44] She then affirmed an oath to defend the true religion and worship of God and to "withstand and despise all papistical superstitions, and whatsoever ceremonies and rites contrary to the word of God".[45]

Relationship with James

Marcus Gheeraerts the Younger Anne of Denmark

By all accounts, James was at first entranced by his bride, but his infatuation evaporated quickly and the couple often found themselves at loggerheads, though in the early years of their marriage, James seems always to have treated Anne with patience and affection.[46] Between 1593 and 1595, James was romantically linked with Anne Murray, later Lady Glamis, whom he addressed in verse as "my mistress and my love"; and Anne herself was also occasionally the subject of scandalous rumours.[12] In Basilikon Doron, written 1597–1598, James described marriage as "the greatest earthly felicitie or miserie, that can come to a man".[47]

From the first moment of the marriage, Anne was under pressure to provide James and Scotland with an heir,[48] but the passing of 1591 and 1592 with no sign of a pregnancy provoked renewed Presbyterian libels on the theme of James' fondness for male company and whispers against Anne "for that she proves not with child".[49] As a result, there was great public relief when on 19 February 1594 Anne gave birth to her first child, Henry Frederick.[50]

Custody of Prince Henry

Anne soon learned that she would have no say in her son's care. James appointed as head of the nursery his former nurse Helen Little, who installed Henry in James' own oak cradle.[51] Most distressingly for Anne, James insisted on placing Prince Henry in the custody of John Erskine, Earl of Mar at Stirling Castle, in keeping with Scottish royal tradition.[52]

In late 1594, she began a furious campaign for custody of Henry, recruiting a faction of supporters to her cause, including the chancellor, John Maitland of Thirlestane.[53] Nervous of the lengths to which Anne might go, James formally charged Mar in writing never to surrender Henry to anyone except on orders from his own mouth, "because in the surety of my son consists my surety," nor to yield Henry to the Queen even in the event of his own death.[54] Anne demanded the matter be referred to the Council, but James would not hear of it.[55] After public scenes in which James reduced her to rage and tears over the issue,[56] Anne became so bitterly upset that in July 1595 she suffered a miscarriage.[57] Thereafter, she outwardly abandoned her campaign, but it was thought permanent damage had been done to the marriage. In August 1595, John Colville wrote: "There is nothing but lurking hatred disguised with cunning dissimulation betwixt the King and the Queen, each intending by slight to overcome the other."[58]

Anne saw a belated opportunity to gain custody of Henry in 1603 when James left for London with the Earl of Mar to assume the English throne following the death of Elizabeth I.[59] Pregnant at the time, Anne descended on Stirling with a force of "well-supported" nobles, intent on removing the nine-year-old Henry, whom she had hardly seen for five years; but Mar's mother and brother would allow her to bring no more than two attendants with her into the castle.[60] The obduracy of Henry's keepers sent Anne into such a fury that she suffered another miscarriage: according to David Calderwood, she "went to bed in anger and parted with child the tenth of May."[61]

When the Earl of Mar returned with James' instructions that Anne join him in the Kingdom of England, she informed James by letter that she refused to do so unless allowed custody of Henry.[62] This "forceful maternal action," as historian Pauline Croft describes it, obliged James to climb down at last, though he reproved Anne for "froward womanly apprehensions" and described her behaviour in a letter to Mar as "wilfulness."[63] After a brief convalescence from the miscarriage, Anne duly travelled south with Prince Henry,[64] their progress causing a sensation in England. Lady Anne Clifford recorded that she and her mother killed three horses in their haste to see the Queen, and that when James met Anne near Windsor, "there was such an infinite number of lords and ladies and so great a Court as I think I shall never see the like again."[65]

Marital frictions

Anne of Denmark, c. 1605, by John de Critz. "Her features were not regular but her complexion was extremely fair and she had the finest neck that could be seen, which she took care it should be."[66]

Observers regularly noted incidents of marital discord between Anne and James. The so-called Gowrie conspiracy of 1600, in which the young Earl of Gowrie, John Ruthven, and his brother Alexander Ruthven were killed by James' attendants for a supposed assault on the King, triggered the dismissal of their sisters Beatrix and Barbara Ruthven as ladies-in-waiting to Anne, with whom they were "in chiefest credit."[67] The Queen, who was five months pregnant,[68] refused to get out of bed unless they were reinstated and stayed there for two days, also refusing to eat. When James tried to command her, she warned him to take care how he treated her because she was not the Earl of Gowrie.[69] James placated her for the moment by paying a famous acrobat to entertain her,[70] but she never gave up, and her stubborn support for the Ruthvens over the next three years was taken seriously enough by the government to be regarded as a security issue.[71] In 1602, after discovering that Anne had smuggled Beatrix Ruthven into Holyrood, James carried out a cross-examination of the entire household;[72] in 1603, he finally decided to grant Beatrix Ruthven a pension of £200.[73]

A briefer confrontation occurred in 1613 when Anne shot and killed James' favourite dog during a hunting session. After his initial rage, James smoothed things over by giving her a £2,000 diamond in memory of the dog, whose name was Jewel.[74] In 1603, James fought with Anne over the proposed composition of her English household, sending her a message that "his Majesty took her continued perversity very heinously."[75] In turn, Anne took exception to James' drinking: in 1604 she confided to the French envoy that "the King drinks so much, and conducts himself so ill in every respect, that I expect an early and evil result."[76]

Separate life

In London, Anne adopted a cosmopolitan lifestyle, while James preferred to escape the capital, most often at his hunting lodge in Royston.[77] Anne's chaplain, Godfrey Goodman, later summed up the royal relationship: "The King himself was a very chaste man, and there was little in the Queen to make him uxorious; yet they did love as well as man and wife could do, not conversing together."[78] Anne moved into Greenwich Palace and then Somerset House, which she renamed Denmark House. After 1607, she and James rarely lived together,[79] by which time she had borne seven children and suffered at least three miscarriages. After narrowly surviving the birth and death of her last baby, Sophia, in 1607, Anne's decision to have no more children may have widened the gulf between her and James.[80]

The death of Prince Henry in 1612 at the age of eighteen, probably from typhoid, and the departure for Heidelberg of the sixteen-year-old Princess Elizabeth in April 1613, after marrying Elector Frederick V of the Palatine,[81] further weakened the family ties binding Anne and James.[82] Henry's death hit Anne particularly hard; the Venetian ambassador was advised not to offer condolences to her "because she cannot bear to have it mentioned; nor does she ever recall it without abundant tears and sighs".[83] From this time forward, Anne's health deteriorated, and she withdrew from the centre of cultural and political activities, staging her last known masque in 1614 and no longer maintaining a noble court.[84] Her influence over James visibly waned as he became openly dependent on powerful favourites.[82]

Reaction to favourites

Although James had always adopted male favourites among his courtiers, he now encouraged them to play a role in the government. Anne reacted very differently to the two powerful favourites who dominated the second half of her husband's English reign, Robert Carr, Earl of Somerset, and George Villiers, the future Duke of Buckingham. She detested Carr,[82] but she encouraged the rise of Villiers, whom James knighted in her bedchamber;[85] and she developed friendly relations with him, calling him her "dog".[86] Even so, Anne found herself increasingly ignored after Buckingham's rise and became a lonely figure towards the end of her life.[87]


A contemporary portrait of Anne of Denmark

A further source of difference between Anne and James was the issue of religion; for example, she abstained from the Anglican communion at her English coronation.[88] Anne had been brought up a Lutheran, but she may have discreetly converted to Catholicism at some point, a politically embarrassing scenario which alarmed ministers of the Scottish Kirk and caused suspicion in Anglican England.[89]

Queen Elizabeth had certainly been worried about the possibility and sent messages to Anne warning her not to listen to papist counsellors and requesting the names of anyone who had tried to convert her; Anne had replied that there was no need to name names because any such efforts had failed.[90] Anne drew criticism from the Kirk for keeping Henrietta Gordon, wife of the exiled Catholic George Gordon, Marquess of Huntly, as a confidante;[91] after Huntly's return in 1596, the St Andrews minister David Black called Anne an atheist and remarked in a sermon that "the Queen of Scotland was a woman for whom, for fashion's sake, the clergy might pray but from whom no good could be hoped."[92]

When former intelligencer Sir Anthony Standen was discovered bringing Anne a rosary from Pope Clement VIII in 1603, James imprisoned him in the Tower for ten months.[93] Anne protested her annoyance at the gift, but eventually secured Standen's release.[80]

Like James, Anne later supported a Catholic match for both their sons, and her correspondence with the potential bride, the Spanish Infanta, Maria Anna, included a request that two friars be sent to Jerusalem to pray for her and the King.[94] The papacy itself was never quite sure where Anne stood; in 1612, Pope Paul V advised a nuncio: "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."[95]

Court and politics

Anne of Denmark portrayed by Paul van Somer
Anne of Denmark, attributed to Marcus Gheeraerts the Younger.

In Scotland, Anne sometimes exploited court factionalism for her own ends, in particular by supporting the enemies of the Earl of Mar.[96] As a result, James did not trust her with secrets of state. Henry Howard, active in the highly secret diplomacy concerning the English succession, subtly reminded James that though Anne possessed every virtue, Eve was corrupted by the serpent.[97] In practice, Anne was little interested in high politics unless they touched on the fate of her children or friends.[98]

In England, Anne largely turned from political to social and artistic activities.[99] Though she participated fully in the life of James' court and maintained a court of her own, often attracting those not welcomed by James, she rarely took political sides against her husband. Whatever her private difficulties with James, she proved a diplomatic asset to him in England, conducting herself with discretion and graciousness in public. Anne played a crucial role, for example, in conveying to ambassadors and foreign visitors the prestige of the Stuart dynasty and its Danish connections.[100]

The Venetian envoy, Nicolo Molin, wrote this description of Anne in 1606:

She is intelligent and prudent; and knows the disorders of the government, in which she has no part, though many hold that as the King is most devoted to her, she might play as large a role as she wished. But she is young and averse to trouble; she sees that those who govern desire to be left alone, and so she professes indifference. All she ever does is to beg a favour for someone. She is full of kindness for those who support her, but on the other hand she is terrible, proud, unendurable to those she dislikes.[78]


Anne has traditionally been regarded with condescension by historians, who have emphasised her triviality and extravagance.[101] Along with James, she tended to be dismissed by a historical tradition, beginning with the anti-Stuart historians of the mid-17th century, which saw in the self-indulgence and vanity of the Jacobean court the origins of the English civil war. Historian David Harris Willson, in his 1956 biography of James, delivered this damning verdict: "Anne had little influence over her husband. She could not share his intellectual interests, and she confirmed the foolish contempt with which he regarded women. Alas! The king had married a stupid wife."[102] The 19th century biographer Agnes Strickland condemned Anne's actions to regain custody of Prince Henry as irresponsible: "It must lower the character of Anne of Denmark in the eyes of everyone, both as a woman and queen, that she ... preferred to indulge the mere instincts of maternity at the risk of involving her husband, her infant, and their kingdom, in the strife and misery of unnatural warfare."[103]

However, the reassessment of James in the past two decades, as an able ruler who extended royal power in Scotland and preserved his kingdoms from war throughout his reign,[104] has been accompanied by a re-evaluation of Anne as an influential political figure and assertive mother, at least for as long as the royal marriage remained a reality.[105] John Leeds Barroll argues in his cultural biography of Anne that her political interventions in Scotland were more significant, and certainly more troublesome, than previously noticed; and Clare McManus, among other cultural historians, has highlighted Anne's influential role in the Jacobean cultural flowering, not only as a patron of writers and artists but as a performer herself.[106]

Patron of the arts

Anne shared with James the fault of extravagance, though it took her several years to exhaust her considerable dowry.[107] She loved dancing and pageants, activities often frowned upon in Presbyterian Scotland, but for which she found a vibrant outlet in Jacobean London, where she created a "rich and hospitable" cultural climate at the royal court,[108] became an enthusiastic playgoer, and sponsored lavish masques. Sir Walter Cope, asked by Robert Cecil to select a play for the Queen during her brother Ulrik of Holstein's visit, wrote, "Burbage is come and says there is no new play the Queen has not seen but they have revived an old one called Love's Labour's Lost which for wit and mirth he says will please her exceedingly."[109] Anne's masques, scaling unprecedented heights of dramatic staging and spectacle,[110] were avidly attended by foreign ambassadors and dignitaries and functioned as a potent demonstration of the English crown's European significance. Zorzi Giustinian, the Venetian ambassador, wrote of the Christmas 1604 masque that "in everyone's opinion no other Court could have displayed such pomp and riches".[111]

The Queen's House at Greenwich, begun for Anne in 1616

Anne's masques were responsible for almost all the courtly female performance in the first two decades of the seventeenth century and are regarded as crucial to the history of women's performance.[112] Anne sometimes performed with her ladies in the masques herself, occasionally offending members of the audience. In The Vision of the Twelve Goddesses of 1604, she played Pallas Athena, wearing a tunic that some observers regarded as too short; in The Masque of Blackness of 1605, Anne performed while six months pregnant, she and her ladies causing scandal by appearing with their skin painted as "blackamores". Letter writer Dudley Carleton reported that when the Queen afterwards danced with the Spanish ambassador, he kissed her hand "though there was danger it would have left a mark upon his lips".[113] Anne commissioned the leading talents of the day to create these masques, including Ben Jonson and Inigo Jones.[114]

Jones, a gifted architect steeped in the latest European taste, also designed the Queen's House at Greenwich for Anne, one of the first true Palladian buildings in England;[115] and the Dutch inventor Salomon de Caus laid out her gardens at Greenwich and Somerset House. Anne particularly loved music and patronised the lutenist and composer John Dowland,[116] previously employed at her brother's court in Denmark, as well as "more than a good many" French musicians.[117]

Anne also commissioned artists such as Paul van Somer, Isaac Oliver, and Daniel Mytens, who led English taste in visual arts for a generation.[76] Under Anne, the Royal Collection began once more to expand,[118] a policy continued by Anne's son, Charles. Historian Alan Stewart suggests that many of the phenomena now seen as peculiarly Jacobean can be identified more closely with Anne's patronage than with James, who "fell asleep during some of England's most celebrated plays".[119]


A photograph of a white statue of a woman clothed in a long robe looking to the right and placing her left hand on her chest in a white archway in a wall
A statue of Anne of Denmark in the Temple Bar Gate

By late 1617, Anne's bouts of illness had become debilitating; the letter writer John Chamberlain recorded: "The Queen continues still ill disposed and though she would fain lay all her infirmities upon the gout yet most of her physicians fear a further inconvenience of an ill habit or disposition through her whole body." In January 1619, royal physician Sir Theodore de Mayerne instructed Anne to saw wood to improve her blood flow, but the exertion served to make her worse.[120] James visited Anne only three times during her last illness,[121] though Prince Charles often slept in the adjoining bedroom at Hampton Court Palace and was at her bedside during her last hours, when she had lost her sight.[122] With her until the end was her personal maid, Anna Roos, who had arrived with her from Denmark in 1590.[123] Queen Anne died aged 44 on 2 March 1619, of a dangerous form of dropsy.[79]

Despite his neglect of Anne, James was emotionally affected by her death.[124] He did not visit her during her dying days or attend her funeral, being himself sick, the symptoms, according to Sir Theodore de Mayerne, including "fainting, sighing, dread, incredible sadness ...".[125] The inquest discovered Anne to be "much wasted within, specially her liver".[122] After a prolonged delay,[126] she was buried in King Henry's Chapel, Westminster Abbey, on 13 May 1619.[127] The catafalque, designed by Maximilian Colt, placed over her grave was destroyed during the civil war.[128]

As he had done before he ever met her, James turned to verse to pay his respects:[129]

So did my Queen from hence her court remove
And left off earth to be enthroned above.
She's changed, not dead, for sure no good prince dies,
But, as the sun, sets, only for to rise.


A painting of a family tree consisting of fourteen oval portraits arranged in five rows with two in the first and last rows, four in the middle row, and three in the other two rows
A family tree depicting James' ancestors

Anne gave birth to seven children who survived beyond childbirth, four of whom died in infancy or early childhood;[130] she also suffered at least three miscarriages.[80] Her second son succeeded James as King Charles I. Her daughter Elizabeth was the "Winter Queen" of Bohemia and the grandmother of King George I of Great Britain.

  1. Henry Frederick, Prince of Wales (19 February 1594 – 6 November 1612). Died, probably of typhoid fever, aged 18.[131]
  2. miscarriage (July 1595).[132]
  3. Elizabeth (19 August 1596 – 13 February 1662). Married 1613, Frederick V, Elector Palatine. Died aged 65.
  4. Margaret (24 December 1598 Dalkeith Palace – March 1600 Linlithgow Palace). Died aged fifteen months. Buried at Holyrood Abbey.
  5. Charles I of England (19 November 1600 – 30 January 1649). Married 1625, Henrietta Maria. Executed aged 48.
  6. Robert, Duke of Kintyre (18 January 1602 – 27 May 1602). Died aged four months.[133]
  7. miscarriage (10 May 1603).[134]
  8. Mary (8 April 1605 Greenwich Palace – 16 December 1607 Stanwell, Surrey). Died aged two.
  9. Sophia (22 June 1606 – 23 June 1606). Born and died at Greenwich Palace.[135]


Fictional portrayal

Anne was portrayed in Pocahontas II: Journey to a New World. Finola Hughes was the voice actress for her.[136]

See also


  1. Williams, 1, 201; Willson, 403.
  2. Stewart, 182, 300–301.
  3. Barroll, 15, 35, 109; "Although Anna had considerable personal freedom and her own court, she does not appear to have intervened so visibly against her husband in factional politics as she did in Scotland, and her support was not often sought. 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 rejecting Catholic notions. "But, then," cautions 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 promulgating 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, though showing a certain tolerant 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, an aspect of her new life not foregrounded by her few biographers ... she soon became a political presence at the Scottish court." Barroll, 17; "Though she has been accorded insufficient attention by historians, James' 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, these innovations were fundamentally shaped by James' 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. 1 2 Croft, 24
  13. Stewart, 105–6; Williams, 12. One reason James set this option aside was Henry's hard requirement for military assistance. Willson, 86.
  14. Williams, 10.
  15. Williams, 10; Willson, 87–8.
  16. The clergyman observed at Frederick's funeral service that "had the King drunk a little less, he might have lived many a day yet." Williams, 6.
  17. The Orkney Islands had been a provisional part of the dowry of Margaret of Denmark on her marriage to James III of Scotland in 1469, returnable to Denmark upon full payment of the dowry. Williams, 10.
  18. The Danes waived their claim to Orkney, and James, declaring he would not be a merchant for his bride, dropped his demand for an excessive dowry. Williams, 14; Willson, 88.
  19. Williams, 14–15.
  20. Letter to William Asheby, English ambassador in Denmark. Williams, 15.
  21. "All his life, except perhaps for six short months, King James disliked women, regarding them as inferior beings. All his interest was centered on the attractions of personable young men." Williams, 14–15.
  22. 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 fishboned skirts lined with wreaths of pillows round the hips was especially admired. Williams, 14.
  23. Croft, 23–4.
  24. Willson, 85.
  25. Williams, 15; McManus, 61.
  26. At Elsinore a naval gun had backfired, killing two gunners. The next day, a gun fired in tribute to two visiting Scottish noblemen exploded, killing one gunner and injuring 9 of the crew. Storms at sea then put the fleet in severe difficulties (one report had Anne's ship missing for three days). Two of the ships in the flotilla collided, killing two more sailors. Anna's ship, the "Gideon", sprung a dangerous leak and put in to Gammel Sellohe in Norway for repairs, but it leaked again after setting sail once more. The fleet then put in at Flekkerø, by which time it was 1 October and the crews were unwilling to try again so late in the year. Stewart, 109.
  27. Stewart, 109; The King of Denmark ruled both Denmark and Norway at this time. Williams, 207. (See also: Denmark–Norway.)
  28. Maclagan, Michael; Louda, Jiří (1999), Lines of Succession: Heraldry of the Royal Families of Europe, London: Little, Brown & Co, p. 27, ISBN 1-85605-469-1
  29. Pinces, John Harvey; Pinces, Rosemary (1974), The Royal Heraldry of England, Heraldry Today, Slough, Buckinghamshire: Hollen Street Press, p. 170, ISBN 0-900455-25-X
  30. Stewart, 107.
  31. Willson, 88; Williams, 17; He watched from Seton House, the home of his friend Lord Seton, which commanded a view of the firth. Stewart, 108.
  32. Willson, 89; Stewart, 108; Williams, 19.
  33. Willson, 85; Stewart, 109.
  34. In one of the messages James left behind, he said he had decided on this action alone, to demonstrate that he was no "irresolute ass who could do nothing of himself". Willson, 90; Stewart, 112; Williams points out that it was brave of James to cross the North Sea at that time of year in a 130-ton ship. Williams, 18; McManus notes that the gesture "startles commentators accustomed to the image of James as a timorous man." McManus, 63.
  35. "His majesty minded to give the Queen a kiss after the Scots fashion at meeting, which she refused as not being the form of her country. Marry, after a few words spoken privately between His Majesty and her, there passed familiarity and kisses." David Moysie's account, quoted by Stewart, 112; Williams, 20; McManus sees Anne's protests as an early sign of assertiveness. McManus, 65–66; Willson distrusts Moysie's version and prefers a Danish narrative whereby James enters Oslo in state with heralds, observing the diplomatic niceties in full. Willson, 90–91
  36. Stewart, 112.
  37. Stewart, 112; Willson, 91.
  38. Stewart, 113; Williams, 23. Anne and James may have repeated their marriage ceremony at Kronborg, this time by Lutheran rites, on 21 January 1590. Williams, 23; McManus regards this repeat ceremony as unsubstantiated. McManus, 61.
  39. Stewart, 117.
  40. Stewart, 118.
  41. Croft, 24; Stewart, 119
  42. Williams, 30; McManus, 70,
  43. Willson, 93; Williams, 29.
  44. Williams, 31.
  45. Stewart, 119; Williams, 31; McManus, 71.
  46. Willson, 85–95, 94–5.
  47. Croft, 134.
  48. Even before Anne arrived in Scotland, rumours circulated that she was pregnant. Stewart, 139.
  49. Stewart, 139–40.
  50. Stewart, 140; He was named after his two grandfathers, Henry Stuart, Lord Darnley, and King Frederick II of Denmark. Williams, 47.
  51. Williams, 47.
  52. "Her anger and distress at the removal of her first child were never entirely assuaged." Croft, 24; "... a struggle with her husband of such bitterness that it wrecked her married life." Williams, 52; The Earls of Mar were the traditional custodians of the heirs to the Scottish throne. Stewart, 140; Williams, 53.
  53. Stewart, 140–141; Williams suggests that Maitland was playing a double game: though he shared Anne's enmity towards Mar, he secretly urged James not to give way to her. Williams, 53–57.
  54. Stewart, 141; "And in case God call me at any time see that neither for the Queen nor Estates, their pleasure, you deliver him till he be eighteen years of age, and that he command you himself." Williams, 55.
  55. Williams, 54.
  56. One of Robert Cecil's agents reported that on 25 May 1595 at Linlithgow Palace he had heard Anne desperately pleading with James to be allowed custody of Henry, complaining that "it was an ill return to refuse her suit, founded on reason and nature, and to prefer giving the care of her babe to a subject who neither in rank nor deserving was the best his Majesty had." The King had countered that "though he doubted nothing of her good intentions yet if some faction got strong enough, she could not hinder his boy being used against him, as he himself had been against his unfortunate mother." Williams, 54.
  57. Williams, 56.
  58. Stewart, 141.
  59. at his departure James made a tender public farewell to his wife. Willson, 160; Williams, 70–1
  60. Stewart, 169–72.
  61. Stewart, 169; Williams, 70; Foreign commentators in London passed on rumours about the miscarriage: the Venetian ambassador reported that Anne had beaten her belly to induce it, the French Maximilien de Béthune, duc de Sully, that she had faked the miscarriage for political effect. Williams, 71; Stewart, 169; McManus, 91.
  62. James' reply indicates that Anne had accused him of not loving her, of only marrying her because of her high birth, and of listening to rumours that she might turn Catholic: "I thank God," he wrote, "I carry that love and respect unto you which by the law of God and nature I ought to do my wife and mother of my children, but not for ye are a King's daughter, for whether ye were a King's or a cook's daughter ye must be all alike to me, being once my wife." And he swore "upon the peril of my salvation and damnation, that neither the Earl of Mar nor any flesh living ever informed me that ye was upon any papist or Spanish course." Stewart, 170.
  63. Croft, 55; Willson, 160; Williams, 71; Both Barroll, 30, and McManus, 81, point out that Anne's actions were political as well as maternal; Elaborate diplomacy and politics went into the hand-over: the governing Council met at Stirling and banned Anne's noble attendants from coming within ten miles (16 km) of Henry; Mar delivered Henry to Ludovic Stewart, 2nd Duke of Lennox, representing the king; Lennox delivered him to the Council; the Council handed him over to Anne and Lennox, who were to take him south together. Stewart, 170–1; As the Queen travelled south, John Graham, 3rd Earl of Montrose, wrote to James urging him to exercise greater control over her: "But lest Her Highness' wrath continuing, should hereafter produce unexpected tortures, I would most humbly entreat Your Majesty to prevent the same ... and suffer not this canker or corruption to have any further progress." Barroll, 33.
  64. Princess Elizabeth followed two days later and soon caught up, but Prince Charles was left in Scotland, being sickly. Stewart, 171; Anne kept with her the body of the child she had miscarried. McManus, 91.
  65. Willson, 164–5; Lady Anne Clifford was thirteen years old at the time. Williams, 79.
  66. Observation by a lady of the court. Williams, 181.
  67. Williams, 61–63; Barroll, 25.
  68. She gave birth to her second son, Charles, on the evening of 19 November 1600, at the same time as the Ruthven brothers' corpses were being hanged, drawn, and quartered. Williams, 66; Barroll, 26.
  69. James Melville, who witnessed the scene, wrote in his diary: "Foremost among those refraining to believe in the guilt of the two brothers was the Queen herself. She remained in her apartment and refused to be dressed for two days ... Although the King receiving full information of his wife's conduct and of the consequences to be drawn from it, he could not be persuaded to take up the matter right, but sought by all means to cover his folly." Williams, 63.
  70. Williams, 63–4.
  71. Barroll notes a "politically relentless" streak in Anne. Barroll, 23. Anne, however, always promised she would never take part in any "practice" against James. Barroll, 28.
  72. Barroll, 27; Williams, 64–65.
  73. "Because though her family is hateful on account of the abominable attempt against the King, she has shown no malicious disposition." Williams, 65.
  74. Williams, 164–5.
  75. Williams, 76.
  76. 1 2 Croft, 56.
  77. Stewart, 181.
  78. 1 2 Stewart, 182: 'conversing together' in the now obsolete sense of living together
  79. 1 2 Willson, 403.
  80. 1 2 3 Williams, 112.
  81. Anne had originally objected to the match with Frederick, regarding it as beneath her dignity; and she did not attend the wedding at the Banqueting House in Whitehall, absent "as they say, troubled with the gout." Stewart, 247, 250; Williams, 154–56.
  82. 1 2 3 Croft, 89.
  83. Barroll, 134; The letter writer John Chamberlain suggested that Anne absented herself from the investiture of Charles as Prince of Wales four years later "lest she renew her grief by the memory of the last Prince." Stewart, 249.
  84. Croft, 89; Anne's ailments included gout, dropsy, arthritis and swollen feet. Williams, 159.
  85. Barroll, 148; Archbishop of Canterbury George Abbot and others had pressed Anne to support Villiers' appointment as a Gentleman of the Bedchamber; at first, she refused, saying, according to Abbot's own account, "if Villiers get once into his favour, those who shall have most contributed to his preferment will be the first sufferers by him. I shall be no more spared than the rest"; but Carr's enemies nonetheless persuaded the Queen to advocate for Villiers. Williams, 170; Willson, 352; Stewart, 268–9.
  86. Williams reproduces a facsimile of a letter from Anne to Villiers which begins: "My kind dog, I have receaved your letter which is verie wellcom to me yow doe verie well in lugging the sowes eare. [sic]" Williams, plate facing page 152. Villiers wrote back that he had pulled the King's ear until it was as long as any sow's. Williams, 172.
  87. Croft, 100.
  88. Willson takes Anne's abstention as a sign of Catholicism; McManus cautions that it may have signalled reformed-church distrust of the Eucharist. Willson, 221; McManus, 92–93.
  89. Historians are divided on whether Anne ever converted to Catholicism. "Some time in the 1590s, Anne became a Roman Catholic." Willson, 95; "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". Fraser, 15; "The Queen ... [converted] from her native Lutheranism to a discreet, but still politically embarrassing Catholicism which alienated many ministers of the Kirk." Croft, 24–5; "Catholic foreign ambassadors—who would surely have welcomed such a situation—were certain that the Queen was beyond their reach. 'She is a Lutheran', concluded the Venetian envoy Nicolo Molin in 1606." Stewart, 182; "In 1602 a report appeared, claiming that Anne ... had converted to the Catholic faith some years before. The author of this report, the Scottish Jesuit Robert Abercromby, testified that James had received his wife's desertion with equanimity, commenting, 'Well, wife, if you cannot live without this sort of thing, do your best to keep things as quiet as possible.' Anne would, indeed, keep her religious beliefs as quiet as possible: for the remainder of her life — even after her death—they remained obfuscated." Hogge, 303–4.
  90. Barroll, 25; Stewart, 143.
  91. The Countess of Huntly, a strong supporter of the Jesuits, was the daughter of Esmé Stuart, 1st Duke of Lennox, James' boyhood favourite, who had been hounded out of the country in 1582; she was therefore the sister of Ludovic Stewart, 2nd Duke of Lennox. Williams, 45.
  92. Stewart, 144; Williams, 59.
  93. James sent the rosary back to the Pope. Willson, 221–222; Standen had confided to the Jesuit subversive Robert Parsons that he was acting in Rome for the Queen. Haynes, 41. Willson assumes this incident is a proof of Anne's Catholicism, Haynes that it represents growing "Catholic leanings".
  94. Willson, 221–222.
  95. Williams, 200.
  96. Williams, 53.
  97. Willson, 156–7; Another of James' secret correspondents, Robert Cecil, believed that "the Queen was weak and a tool in the hands of clever and unscrupulous persons." Williams, 93.
  98. She later told Secretary of State Robert Cecil that "she was more contented with her pictures than he with his great employments." Williams, 93.
  99. Barroll, 35.
  100. Croft, 25.
  101. Croft, 55.
  102. Willson, 95.
  103. Strickland (1848), 276.
  104. Croft summarizes the elements of this reappraisal in her introduction to King James (2003).
  105. "Queen Anne has traditionally been regarded with condescension by male historians who emphasized her extravagance and triviality. Recent studies have pointed instead to her influence, certainly as long as her marriage (despite its obvious frictions) remained alive." Croft, 55; "... the power of Anna's politicised maternity." McManus, 82.
  106. See: Barroll, Anna of Denmark, Queen of England: A Cultural Biography, and Clare McManus, Women on the Renaissance Stage: Anna of Denmark and Female Masquing in the Stuart Court (1590–1619).
  107. Croft, 25; In 1593, James appointed a special Council, known as the "Octavians", to sort out Anne's accounts and make economies. Stewart, 142–3.
  108. Barroll, 161; "The cultural interests of Queen Anne and Prince Henry led to a brief flowering of elegance in the Royal Family." Croft, 129.
  109. Williams, 99; This Burbage was probably Cuthbert Burbage, brother of Richard Burbage. McCrea, 119; Ackroyd, 411.
  110. Croft, 2–3, 56; "The allure of these elaborate, expensive pieces of theatre is by no means clear from their surviving scripts, suggesting that their appeal lay instead in the design of their sets and costumes, in their special effects, in their music and dancing, and in the novelty of having royalty and nobility performing on stage." Stewart, 183; "These spectacles lasted (not counting rehearsals) for the space of only one night a year and were not even performed every year of her reign. Thus, although surveys of the period define James' Queen via these masquings, they were, in the end, only the tip of the iceberg." Barroll, 58.
  111. Barroll, 108–9.
  112. McManus, 3; Barroll uses the extant masque lists from 1603–10 to identify the noblewomen of Anne's inner circle. Barroll, 58.
  113. Williams, 126; McManus, 2–3; After Anne's first masque, Samuel Daniel's The Vision of the Twelve Goddesses, Carleton judged Anne's costume as Pallas Athena too short because it revealed her legs and feet. In 1605, Anne and her ladies scandalized members of the court by appearing as "blackamores" in The Masque of Blackness. Cerasano, 80; McManus, 4; Anne was six months pregnant when she performed in this masque. McManus, 11.
  114. Croft, 56; "The part she played in promoting the fortunes of Ben Jonson and Inigo Jones has never been sufficiently recognised." Williams, 124. Other writers employed by Anne included Samuel Daniel, Thomas Campion and John Donne. Williams, 157; Stewart, 183.
  115. Croft, 3; Probably, the first floor was finished at Anne's death. Williams, 181.
  116. Dowland dedicated his Lachrymae to Anne. Barroll, 58.
  117. Barroll, 58; Stewart, 182.
  118. Barroll, 58.
  119. Stewart, 183; Williams, 106.
  120. William Harvey, who discovered the circulation of blood, was a pupil of Mayerne. Williams, 194–98.
  121. Croft, 100; Willson, on the other hand, says that James visited her twice a week until he moved to Newmarket in February; both James, through messengers, and Charles were anxious Anne should make a will (James distrusted Charles's interest in the matter, fearing Anne might make him her sole heir), but she would not co-operate. Williams, 198–200.
  122. 1 2 Stewart, 300.
  123. Williams, 201; Stewart, 121, 300.
  124. Croft, 101; James had also fallen seriously ill when Prince Henry was dying. Willson, 285.
  125. Stewart, 300; The king "took her death seemly". Willson, 403.
  126. The cause of the delay was a lack of ready money to pay the funeral expenses, the monarchy already being in great debt to its suppliers. Williams, 202.
  127. Willson, 456; John Chamberlain recorded that the funeral procession turned into "a drawling, tedious sight", since the noblewomen had to walk such a distance and became so exhausted by the weight of their clothes that "they came laggering all along", leaning on the gentlemen for support "or else I see not how they had been able to hold out". Williams, 204; McManus, 204.
  128. Williams, 219.
  129. Willson, 404.
  130. Stewart, 140, 142.
  131. John Chamberlain (1553–1628) recorded: "It was verily thought that the disease was no other than the ordinary ague that had reigned and raged all over England". Alan Stewart writes that latter-day experts have suggested enteric fever, typhoid fever, or porphyria, but that at the time poison was the most popular explanation. Stewart, 248.
  132. Child Stuart 1595–1595 on [retrieved 16 June 2014].
  133. Willson, 452; Barroll, 27.
  134. Son Stuart 1603–1603 on [retrieved 16 June 2014].
  135. Croft, 55; Stewart, 142; Sophia was buried at King Henry's Chapel in a tiny alabaster tomb shaped like a cradle, designed by Maximilian Colt. Willson, 456; Williams, 112.
  136. "Disney's Animated Voices, etc. - Movies: Pocahontas II: Journey To A New World". Retrieved 4 May 2016.


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Anne of Denmark
Born: 12 December 1574 Died: 2 March 1619
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Title last held by
Mary of Guise
Queen consort of Scotland
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Henrietta Maria of France
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Queen consort of England and Ireland

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