Anne of Denmark (1574-1619)
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Anne of Denmark (1574-1619)

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The people liked her, if they did not love her, because of her good humour and high spirits, because of her love of amusement. When she had nothing better, she told her husband she was not a little pleased with 'the practise of tilting, of riding, of drumming and of music.'
Dictionary of National Biography.

Additional Information on
Anne of Denmark (1574-1619)

At the age of only 14, soon after the death of her father, Anne of Denmark was married by proxy to James V of Scotland, then aged 23. Unfortunately, when she set out for Scotland her ship was driven back by a tremendous storm, which the superstitious James declared was the work of witches, so he departed for Norway himself and married her in Oslo in 1589. They returned the following Spring and she was duly crowned in Edinburgh. It must have been a terrible shock for her to discover that her husband was bisexual and while he had a succession of favourites she nevertheless became pregnant eight times of whom three children, Henry, Elizabeth and Charles survived.

On Elizabeth I of England's death in 1603 they were suddenly catapulted into the English court and Anne saw an opportunity while James was in England to bring back her son, who James had sent away (as had happened to him) to be brought up by the Earl of Mar. Mar refused whereupon she had a miscarriage of another son and almost died in the process, at which news James relented and let her keep the boy.

At their wedding in Westminster Abbey, Anne refused to take Communion, which severely embarrassed the King, and she eventually converted to Catholicism causing yet more trouble. They also both adapted badly to the more democratic style of rule in England believing in the Divine Right of Kings, but Anne did at least cut a more impressive figure than her husband, and proved to be a significant patroness of the arts, encouraging Shakespeare and Ben Jonson and bringing the architect Inigo Jones over from the continent. Unfortunately, Anne's interest in buildings and general extravagance created many more problems for her husband with Parliament.

Anne tried in vain to influence her husband on many issues, particualrly exemplified through her opposition to the marriage of her daughter to the Protestant Elector Palatine, she even tried to prevent the execution of Sir Walter Raleigh who was more or less innocent of the charges of treason. Both the King and his wife were distraught when their son Henry died in 1612.

Although Anne and her husband lived in the same palaces they led entirely separate lives in different quarters. She hated his favourite Robert Carr, favouring the wicked Duke of Buckingham who succeeded him. Anne died in 1619 from breast cancer and was buried in Westminster Abbey.


On first meeting the Queen, His Majesty was minded to give her a kiss, after the Scottish fashion - which she refused, as not being the form of her country.
- Contemporary account of their first meeting.

Her white skin was far more amiable than the features it covered.
- Osborne, Traditional Memoryes.

In the midst of her frivolous existence she would seem to have cherished a desire, if not to have possessed a capacity, for higher things.
- Dictionary of National Biography. Advanced Category Search

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