Book Series European Festival Studies: 1450-1700

The Wedding of Charles I and Henrietta Maria, 1625

Celebrations and Controversy

Marie-Claude Canova-Green, Sara Wolfson (eds)

  • Pages: 365 p.
  • Size:178 x 254 mm
  • Illustrations:15 b/w, 18 col.
  • Language(s):English
  • Publication Year:2020

  • ISBN: 978-2-503-58532-1
  • Hardback
  • Available
  • ISBN: 978-2-503-58533-8
  • E-book
  • Available

The union of 1625 between Charles Stuart, the Protestant king of Great Britain, and Henrietta Maria, a Catholic Bourbon princess, was a unique cross-confessional alliance in post-Reformation Europe. The volume brings together literary, art, music, and political-cultural scholars to explore for the first time the variety of celebrations that accompanied the match.


“It should be noted that this collection of essays is a comprehensive scholarly work by many of the outstanding academics in the field. Its audience are those who study Bourbon-Stuart royal-sponsored art, ceremonies, and festivals, there is much to enjoy. The essays nicely complement one another and cover a broad range of topics to satisfy any scholar of this era. For students of Stuart England, this is a definite must addition to one’s library.” (Laura Endicott Hayden, in The Sixteenth Century Journal, LII/4, 2022, p. 1021-22)


Marie-Claude Canova-Green is Professor of French at Goldsmiths, University of London. She has research interests in European Court entertainments and has edited a four-volume collection of seventeenth-century ballet libretti. She has also published monographs on Molière and early modern French drama. Her most recent edited collection is Writing Royal Entries in Early Modern Europe (Brepols, 2013). Her latest book, Faire le roi. L’autre corps de Louis XIII, came out in 2018 (Librairie Arthème Fayard). She is currently working on an edition of the complete works of the French playwright Raymond Poisson for Éditions Garnier.

Sara J. Wolfson was Senior Lecturer in Early Modern History at Canterbury Christ Church University and is currently at the Open University. Her research interests chiefly concern the female court and household of Queen Henrietta Maria, above all the political, social and religious roles that Caroline court women played in the period 1625-1669. Her first monograph on Caroline Court Women, 1625-1669 is under contract with Manchester University Press. She has recently co-edited a collection of essays on Stuart Marriage Diplomacy: Dynastic Politics in their European Context, 1604-1630 (Boydell and Brewer, 2018) and is co-editing a special issue of the Women’s History Review journal on premodern queenship and diplomacy (forthcoming 2019).


On 11 May 1625 Charles I married Henrietta Maria, the youngest sister of Louis XIII of France. The match signalled Britain’s firm alignment with France against Habsburg Spain and promised well for future relations between the two countries. However, the union between a Protestant king and a Catholic princess was controversial from the start and the marriage celebrations were fraught with tensions. They were further disrupted by the sudden death of James I and an outbreak of the plague, which prevented large-scale public celebrations in London. The British weather also played its part. In fact, unlike other state occasions, the celebrations exposed weaknesses in the display of royal grandeur and national superiority. To a large extent they also failed to hide the tensions in the Stuart-Bourbon alliance. Instead they revealed the conflicting expectations of the two countries, each convinced of its own superiority and intent on furthering its own national interests. Less than two years later Britain was effectively in a state of war against France.

In this volume, leading scholars from a variety of disciplines explore for the first time the marriage celebrations of 1625, with a view to uncovering the differences and misunderstandings beneath the outward celebration of union and concord. By taking into account the ceremonial, political, religious and international dimensions of the event, the collection paints a rounded portrait of a union that would become personally successful, but complicated by the various tensions played out in the marriage celebrations and discussed here.

Contributors: R. Malcolm Smuts, Lucinda H. S. Dean, J. R. (Ronnie) Mulryne, Karen Britland, Marie-Claude Canova-Green, Erin Griffey, Margaret Shewring, Sara J. Wolfson, Sara Trevisan, Kevin Laam, Sydney Anglo, Margaret M. McGowan, John Peacock, Gordon Higgott, Ella Hawkins .


Contents, List of Illustrations, Contributors, Foreword, Note from the Editors

R. Malcolm Smuts

Introduction. Festivals, Dynastic Alliances, and Political History: Notes on the History and Historiography of Royal Weddings

Lucinda H. S. Dean

Chapter 1. ‘Keeping Your Friends Close, But Your Enemies Closer’? The Anglo-Franco-Scottish Marital Triangle, c. 1200 to c. 1625

J. R. (Ronnie) Mulryne

Chapter 2. Paradoxical Princes: Charles Stuart and Henrietta Maria, Personality and Politics (1600–1625)

Karen Britland

Chapter 3. A Ring of Roses: Henrietta Maria, Pierre de Bérulle, and the Plague of 1625–1626

Marie-Claude Canova-Green

Chapter 4. Love, Politics, and Religion: Henrietta Maria’s Progress through France and the Entry into Amiens

Erin Griffey

Chapter 5. ‘All Rich as Invention Can Frame, or Art Fashion’: Dressing and Decorating for the

Wedding Celebrations of 1625

Margaret Shewring

Chapter 6. Divergent Discourses: Multiple Voices in Festival Accounts of the Marriage of Charles I and Henrietta Maria

Sara J. Wolfson

Chapter 7. The Welcoming Journey of Queen Henrietta Maria and Stuart–Bourbon Relations, 1625–1626

Sara Trevisan

Chapter 8. Nebuchadnezzar, Charlemagne, and Aeneas: John Finch’s Speech for the King and Queen at Canterbury

Kevin Laam

Chapter 9. Robert Herrick, Clipsby Crew, and the Politics of the English Epithalamium in 1625

Sydney Anglo

Chapter 10. The Festivities that Never Were: 1625–1626

Margaret M. McGowan

Chapter 11. ‘A French Antique’: The Forms of Court Ballets in France, 1621–1627

John Peacock

Chapter 12. Inigo Jones between a Spanish Princess and a French Queen

Gordon Higgott

Chapter 13. ‘Mutual Fruitfulness’: A Nuptial Allegory on Queen Henrietta Maria’s Bedchamber Ceiling at the Queen’s House, Greenwich

Ella Hawkins (Transcribed and annotated)

Appendix 1: A True Discourse of All the Royal Passages, Tryumphs and Ceremonies, observed at the Contract and Mariage of the High and Mighty Charles, King of Britain: The Principal English Festival Book of the 1625 Wedding, Including Two Addresses at Canterbury by John Finch

Margaret Shewring (Transcribed and annotated)

Appendix 2. A Relation of the Glorious Triumphs and Order of the Ceremonies: An English-Language Version of the French Festival Book