British Royalty: Elizabeth Stuart (1594-1662)

Figure 1.--Sir Robert Peakthe Elder was appointed court painter and did a number of portraits of the royal family, including Elizabeth's brother Henry. It provides an example of court dress. Elizabeth would have been about 10 years old. Note the beautiful embroidery.

Elizabeth Stuart was born in 1596 at Dunfermline. We do not know a great deal about here. There is a wonderful portait by Robert Peake the Elder, done about 1606. Dhe would have been 10-11 years old. We know that she was very close to her older brother. the Prince of Wales Henry Frederick. He took a great interest in her marriage plans. In fact his last words on his death bed was to ask about her. I', less sure about her relationship to Charles. Elizabeth married Frederick V, Elector of Palatine of the Rhine, King of Bohemia 1619-1620. Had 13 children. was known as the "The Winter Queen", Queen of Bohemia. She died in 1662 at Leicester House, London, England. With the death of Queen Anne and thus the end of the Stuart dynasty (1714), it was Elizabeth's grandson King George of Hannover that acceeded to the British throne.


Henry Frederick, Prince of Wales (1594-1612), the eldest son of James I and Queen Anne (of Denmark). James was the son of Mary Queen of Scotts, but raised a Protestant in Scotland. He acceeded to the British throne after the death of Queen Elizabeth. He was scholarly and interested in theology. He experienced difficulties dealing with Parliament becuse of his concept of monarchy. This was a problem his desendents shared and would eventually lead to the Civil War and the execution of his son Charles. Then later it would lead to the the Glorious Revolution.


James and Anne had nine children, most did not survive infancy. Henry Frederick (1594) was the eldest. A stillborn child was born (1595). Elizabeth (1596) was the cloest to Henry. Elizabeth was born in 1596 at Dunfermline. We do know that Henry and Elizabeth were very close to Elizabeth Margaret Stuart (1598) lived only 2 years. Margaret was born in 1598 and died as a very young child in 1600 at Dalkeith Palace, Linlithgow. Charles was born in 1600 at Dunfermline, Scotland. He acceded to English throne upon death of his father in 1625. I am not sure about the relationship between the two. He lived in his older brother's shadow untilHenry's untimely death. A son was born in May 1603 at Stirling Castle, but did not survive. Mary Stuart (1605) lived only 3 years. Sophia was born in 1606, but lived only 1 day.


Elizabeh was named after the great Queen Elizabeth who preceeded her father's reign and who had ordered the execution of her gandmother, Mary Queen of Scotts.

Childhood Clothing


Elizabeth spent part f her time as a child at Coombe Abbey in Warwickshire.

The Gun Powder Plot (1605)

One of the great conspiracies of all time was the Gun Powder Plot. The British still celebrate it to this day as Gut Fawkes Day. The young Priness Elizabeth was witingly involved in the Gun Powder Plot. The plot was to blow up Parliament, thus doing away with much of the Protestant aristocracy and other leaders. Guy Fawkes and the other plotters planned to then overthrow the governnment, kill Jing James, and put the young princess on the throne as a Cathloic monarch. Of course Elizabeth was not a Catholic, but she could be easily married off to a Catholic monarch and part of a process to return England to the Catholic faith.

Robert Peake the Elder (1551?-1619)

Sir Robert Peakthe Elder began as a goldsmith apprentice. He was active by 1576. He was appointed court painter and did a number of portraits of the royal family, including Elizabeth's brothers. The prtrait here of Princess Elizabeth is an example of court dress. Elizabeth would have been about 10 years old. Peake was not the most brilliant of prtraitists, but few can match him in the detailed depiction of clothing.


Elizabeth when she was born was only a princess of Scotland. When her father became the King of England, soon to be the King of Britain, Elizabeth became a much more attractive prospective bride. Thus the question of her marriage was a major diplomatic issue, greatly complicated by the religious struggles going on in Europe. Prince Henry as a young man showed a great interest in the selection of Elizabeth's husband, both a personal and diplomatic question. The choice was Frederick V, Elector Palatine. Henry died right before the marriage. His last words were 'where is my dear sister?'. She married Frederick on St. Valentine's Day 1613 she married Frederick. Several works where written for their wedding, the most notable was William Shakespeare's The Tempest. Frederick's court was in Heidelberg.

Queen of Bohemia

Frederick was a leader of the Protestat Party in Germany (the Holy Roman Empire). He was elected king of Bohemia (1619). Elizabeth this became Queen of Bohemia). Their reign was very short which is why Elizabeth beczme known as the "Winter Queen". She was also known as the "Queen of Hearts Bohemia" because she was very popular. Frederick as a Protestamt leader became enbroiled in the early stage of the Thirty Years War (1618-48). The Protesant forces suffered a devestating defeat at the Battle of White Mountain (1620). They were exiled from Bohemia.


Frederick and Elizabeth fleed Bohemia for the The Hague, a saffe Protestant site. Frederick died in 1632. Elizabeth remained in Holland. Her son, Charles I Louis, managed to recover his father's electorship in 1648 as part of the settlement of the Thirty Years War.


Frederick and Elizabeth had 13 children. Prince Charles sided with the Parlimentary forces during the Civil War. Charles' chaplin was John Wilkins, a secretary of the Royal Society. Their elest daughter was Princess Elizabeth (1618-1680). She was a friend of Descartes (1596-1650) and became abbess of the Protestant nunnery at Hertford in Westphalia. Prince Rubert became Rubert of the Rhine. Princess Sophia (1630-1714) married in the Hanovarian royal family and becamee known as Sophie of Hannover. Sophie was the mother of George I of England. She was also a patron of Leibniz.


Elizabeth was able to return to England after the Stuart Resoration. She went to London to visit her nephew, King Charles II. She died in 1662 at Leicester House, London, England.


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Created: 11:22 PM 7/23/2006
Last updated: 11:22 PM 7/23/2006