Sarah Fraser

AUTHOR
Front Page | The Stuarts

First British Stuarts – introducing Henry Stuart, The Prince Who Would be King –

April 29, 2017

The Prince Who Would be King –

Who is Henry Stuart, Prince of Wales?

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Henry as he looked at the time of his death

 

I went looking for a missing prince, perhaps the greatest king we never had. He’s Henry Frederick Stuart, Prince of Wales…

Henry, eldest son of James VI and I died in 1612 aged only 18. His huge funeral is the first recorded state funeral for a prince – only monarchs and consorts had them before him. By his untimely death, Henry was already a celebrity across Europe. What he had achieved and had in hand, suggests he is one of the greatest kings we never had. And then he disappears. Millions of us love a mystery. This biography recreates a lost prince, to find out why he was forgotten, and to restore him to our national memory.

The first prince born to inherit the four countries of Britain, in 1603 Henry embodied the kingdoms united. A renaissance prince, charismatic, vigorous, brave and cultured, people thought Henry mirrored all the princely virtues.

The Gunpowder Plotters 1605
The Gunpowder Plotters 1605

In November 1605, Guy Fawkes and his fellow Gun Powder plotters tried to blow him, as well as his father King James VI and I, to kingdom come.
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A passionate art collector and builder, Henry laid the foundations for the Queen’s Royal Collection. His court attracted brilliant minds, scientists, inventors and empire builders.

Under Henry, the court of the heir to the thrones at St James’s Palace combined a cutting edge military college with chivalric virtues.

British race planted in American soil permanently for first time in 1607
British race planted in American soil permanently for first time in 1607

Called ‘the heir of Virginia’, Henry was behind the push to plant the British race permanently in American soil. Against the backdrop of religious turmoil in Europe, he stood ready to unite and lead all Protestants in the cosmic conflict for the soul of Christendom that loomed over the horizon. His thrilling story casts the Stuarts in a very different light in 1603 – at the start of a century of transformation for Britain.

My biography of Henry recreates this missing prince, to find out why he was forgotten, and to restore him to our national memory.click link to go to biography.

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Henry’s hearse and lifelike effigy in his coronation robes

Following Henry’s untimely death the succession fell in 1625 to his younger brother, Charles I.  King James dissolved Henry’s court, fearing its political and religious radicalism. Perhaps he was right. Twenty years on, former members of Henry’s inner circle and their families were among those who came to sign his brother’s death warrant in 1649, and inaugurate the Puritan Republic of Oliver Cromwell.

Had Henry lived, British history might have been very different. More to follow over the next few months – on Prince Henry Stuart…on the dark faction ridden world of the Jacobeans … the birth of Britain, and British America … the lead up to the longest, bloodiest conflict in early modern Europe until World War I … and the fabulous lifestyles of people who knew that magnificence was power…

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