HENRIETTA MARIA, letters, autographs, documents, manuscripts

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HENRIETTA MARIA (1609-1669). Queen of Charles I.
Autograph Letter Signed ('Henriette Marie') in French, to Henry Rich, Lord Holland, her High Steward, 1 page 4to (one small hole), with address-leaf bearing two wax seals, no place, no date. Addressed A Mon cousin / le conte de holand. The two red wax armorial seals have the remains of pink coloured threads, and the small hole in the paper (touching a word or two) may have been made when the letter was opened.
'I am extremely distressed that my letter should have to begin on such a sad note as the need to commiserate with you on your loss. I take an interest in everything which affects you as you are someone I hold in the greatest esteem. I will not write more but will tell you more [later] and also hear news of your meeting.'
In 1623, as Baron Kensington, Rich had been involved in the negotiations with the French which concluded with the marriage of Charles I and Henrietta Maria. Oxford DNB records him as displaying 'a penchant for political dealings with women'. He had an affair with the duchess of Chevreuse, and later pursued Anne of Austria, queen of Louis XIII. His relationship with Henrietta as queen of England blossomed in the 1630s, from which time the present letter probably dates.
 Although a prominent courtier, Holland failed to achieve political dominance as chief minister to the king and supported parliament in the Civil War, commanding parliament's forces at Turnham Green. At the outbreak of the second Civil War, Holland raised a force in support of the king with the duke of Buckingham which was easily defeated by parliamentary forces under Sir Michael Livesy. Caught in St Neots a few days later, Holland was tried in a special court by John Bradshaw and found guilty and sentenced to death despite pleas for clemency by the earl of Warwick and Sir Thomas Fairfax. Holland was executed in New Palace Yard, Westminster on 9 March 1649.
[No: 25626]

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