Your RDA of Irony

Termagent of Endearment

June 13, 1625:  The First Martyrdom of Charles I

There was a fifty/fifty chance that one of our states might have been “Henriettaland”. Fortunately, the wife of Charles I had a more palatable middle name: Marie. That probably was the most tolerable thing about her.

On this day in 1625, she became the wife of Charles I. What an unfortunate time for an English king to be a heterosexual. It did not help that Charles was a weak-willed dolt. The French Princess Henrietta was a domineering, belligerent moron. Her father, Henri IV was a wise, adroit, charming, tolerant ruler but who died when his daughter was an infant. Henrietta took after her mother, a blundering battle-axe (yes, Henri cheated on her) whose inept regency of France triggered rebellion and coups. In fact, the Queen Mother was eventually exiled by her annoyed son Louis XIII (on the always wise advice of then Bishop Richelieu).

However, England had no Richelieus. (James I had picked his ministers for their looks.) Charles I simply…very simply…deferred to his wife. Henrietta’s goading and provocations triggered the civil war that would kill her husband. In fairness, Cromwell should have beheaded her, too–but she was watching the Civil War from a spectator’s box in France.

Upon Restoration of the monarchy, she returned to England where her belligerent nature quickly exasperated her wise, adroit, charming, tolerant son Charles II (who obviously took after grandpere). She was encouraged to retire to France.

Nonetheless, as an observant Catholic, Henrietta Marie did have some admirers–among them her fellow parishioner Lord Calvert. In 1632 Calvert decided to sponsor a Catholic colony in North America, and it seemed a clever idea to name the haven for both the Queen of England…and the presumed Queen of Heaven.

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