1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Anne of Denmark
ANNE OF DENMARK (1574-1619), queen of James I. of England and VI. of Scotland, daughter of King Frederick II. of Denmark and Norway and of Sophia, daughter of Ulric III., duke of Mecklenburg, was born on the 12th of December 1574. On the 20th of August 1589, in spite of Queen Elizabeth’s opposition, she was married by proxy to King James, without dower, the alliance, however, settling definitely the Scottish claims to the Orkney and Shetland Islands. Her voyage to Scotland was interrupted by a violent storm—for the raising of which several Danish and Scottish witches were burned or executed—which drove her on the coast of Norway, whither the impatient James came to meet her, the marriage taking place at Opslo (now Christiania) on the 23rd of November. The royal couple, after visiting Denmark, arrived in Scotland in May 1590. The position of queen consort to a Scottish king was a difficult and perilous one, and Anne was attacked in connexion with various scandals and deeds of violence, her share in which, however, is supported by no evidence. The birth of an heir to the throne (Prince Henry) in 1594 strengthened her position and influence; but the young prince, much to her indignation, was immediately withdrawn from her care and entrusted to the keeping of the earl and countess of Mar at Stirling Castle; in 1595 James gave a written command, forbidding them in case of his death to give up the prince to the queen till he reached the age of eighteen. The king’s intention was, no doubt, to secure himself and the prince against the unruly nobles, though the queen’s Roman Catholic tendencies were probably another reason for his decision. Brought up a Lutheran, and fond of pleasure, she had shown no liking for Scottish Calvinism, and soon incurred rebukes on account of her religion, “vanity,” absence from church, “night waking and balling.” She had become secretly inclined to Roman Catholicism, and attended mass with the king’s connivance. On the death of Queen Elizabeth, on the 24th of March 1603, James preceded her to London. Anne took advantage of his absence to demand possession of the prince, and, on the “flat refusal” of the countess of Mar, fell into a passion, the violence of which occasioned a miscarriage and endangered her life. In June she followed the king to England (after distributing all her effects in Edinburgh among her ladies) with the prince and the coffin containing the body of her dead infant, and reached Windsor on the 2nd of July, where amidst other forms of good fortune she entered into the possession of Queen Elizabeth’s 6000 dresses.
On the 24th of July Anne was crowned with the king, when her refusal to take the sacrament according to the Anglican use created some sensation. She communicated on one occasion subsequently and attended Anglican service occasionally; but she received consecrated objects from Pope Clement VIII., continued to hear mass, and, according to Galluzzi, supported the schemes for the conversion of the prince of Wales and of England, and for the prince’s marriage with a Roman Catholic princess, which collapsed on his death in 1612. She was claimed as a convert by the Jesuits. Nevertheless on her deathbed, when she was attended by the archbishop of Canterbury and the bishop of London, she used expressions which were construed as a declaration of Protestantism. Notwithstanding religious differences she lived in great harmony and affection with the king, latterly, however, residing mostly apart. She helped to raise Buckingham to power in the place of Somerset, maintained friendly relations with him, and approved of his guidance and control of the king. In spite of her birth and family she was at first favourably inclined to Spain, disapproved of her daughter Elizabeth’s marriage with the elector palatine, and supported the Spanish marriages for her sons, but subsequently veered round towards France. She used all her influence in favour of the unfortunate Raleigh, answering his petition to her for protection with a personal letter of appeal to Buckingham to save his life. “She carrieth no sway in state matters,” however, it was said of her in 1605, “and, praeter rem uxoriam, hath no great reach in other affairs.” “She does not mix herself up in affairs, though the king tells her anything she chooses to ask, and loves and esteems her.” Her interest in state matters was only occasional, and secondary to the pre-occupations of court festivities, masks, progresses, dresses, jewels, which she much enjoyed; the court being, says Wilson—whose severity cannot entirely suppress his admiration—“a continued maskarado, where she and her ladies, like so many nymphs or Nereides, appeared ... to the ravishment of the beholders,” and “made the night more glorious than the day.” Occasionally she even joined in the king’s sports, though here her only recorded exploit was her accidental shooting of James’s “most principal and special hound,” Jewel. Her extravagant expenditure, returned by Salisbury in 1605 at more than £50,000 and by Chamberlain at her death at more than £84,000, was unfavourably contrasted with the economy of Queen Elizabeth; in spite of large allowances and grants of estates which included Oatlands, Greenwich House and Nonsuch, it greatly exceeded her income, her debts in 1616 being reckoned at nearly £10,000, while her jewelry and her plate were valued at her death at nearly half a million. Anne died after a long illness on the 2nd of March 1619, and was buried in Westminster Abbey. She was generally regretted. The severe Wilson, while rebuking her gaieties, allows that she was “a good woman,” and that her character would stand the most prying investigation. She was intelligent and tactful, a faithful wife, a devoted mother and a staunch friend. Besides several children who died in infancy she had Henry, prince of Wales, who died in 1612, Charles, afterwards King Charles I., and Elizabeth, electress palatine and queen of Bohemia.
- Fasti S. J., by P. Joannis Drews (pub. 1723), p. 160.
- Cal. of St. Pap.—Venetian, x. 513.