Of Birth & Marriage

The following Paper contains the Letters received from Lucy Walter regarding her marriage to Charles and then birth of Prince James, later the Duke of Monmouth

Covent Garden, May 1695

Download the file:  The-Savage-Truth-Of-Birth-and-Marriage.pdf

There have been many false accounts of Prince James, of his mother and her marriage contract to the late King Charles II. The truth was not in the ‘Black Box’[1] of Lucy Walter, for no such item ever existed[2]. Although, I can assure you that such letters and contracts did exist, for they were for some time in my possession.  However, the following Letters are in my collection and relate to the same events that surrounded the marriage of Lucy Walter to King Charles II. Most are in Lucy’s own hand to me and all were sent after she arrived in Paris.

Paris, 2 June ‘48

My dearest brother,

I have received yours without a date, in which you tell me of your promotion to Captain. I’m so very proud of you and hope you are still safe.

With the escape of the Duke of York and revolt of the Roundhead fleet, Charles is planning to travel to Calais and then onto Sluys to join his brother and sister. He has promised his betrothal to me once again and given me a pearl necklace worth over a thousand. We are so much in love and can’t be parted. Once we are away from Paris, we shall formally marry, for although the Queen has consented, she does not wish to draw attention to this change in Paris.

Please ask Lord Castlehaven for his leave, so you may join us in Calais for my birthday. You can write me through Dr Cusin, Dean of the Chapel Royal, at St Germains, Paris.

Your loving Sister

The next was sent to me whilst I was on campaign with Lord Castlehaven[3]. Unfortunately, it reached my hands after Lucy had left Calais[4] with Charles.

Calais, 30 June ‘48

My dear Brother,

I have not seen any reply to my last, so I pray you are secure. We are now in Calais, leaving Paris on the 25th of this month. We set out with a great number of fine cavaliers, with Prince Rupert at the lead. Our coach was not well suspended and the road rough, so I’m a little bruised.

Charles had a fantastic masked ball to celebrate his eighteen birthday. The music, food and court life here is so memorising and magical. He told me that nothing could have been seen better or more magnificently arrayed than I was that day, and I did not fail to find many people who assured me, that my fine figure, my good looks, my pale complexion, and the splendour of my fair hair became me better than all the riches that shone upon Madame. Yet, for all this attention I had eyes only for my Prince.

There is far too much to tell in this rushed letter. Yet before we left Paris, I received news that father is ill again and now at Rhosmarket with Richard and Aunt Prudence. Richard tells me that he is very faint and unable to walk.

I pray you can join me soon, for we plan to marry after my birthday. I will send word to Aunt Margaret in Rotterdam, if you can’t join me here before we leave.

Your loving sister

It was with some good grace that the Lord Castlehaven gave me leave and I travelled directly to Rotterdam[5], to join the party before they departed for Liege. The barge took two days to travel up the Maes to the city. The Cathedral was an impressive sight over the smoke of the town. We stayed just a short while for the ceremony and feast, before returning to Rotterdam the following day. I’m sure that I had another letter, before the next yet can’t find it. I wrote before we left for Ireland on the 21st September ’48[6], to arrive just nine days later back in Cork. So, I did not see the next three for some time. Nor could I write as the War in Ireland was vexing.

Rotterdam, 17 September ‘48

My dearest Brother,

It was wonderful to see you and that you could share the wedding feast with us in Liege. Charles has safely return to me and sends his regards to both you and Lord Castlehaven and wishes you safety to Ireland. It is still so fresh that he is my husband, and now Princess Mary my sister. I’m so in love with him and pinch myself each morning. His love making is long and so passionate after his return from the sea. It must be the air or the constant motion, either way I pray it continues. My heart is so full of love and happiness for Charles and he has started calling me ‘wife’.

I wrote to mother and father with my news, yet not had a return. In my last was from Richard who told me father was now well enough to walk, yet his head fever and the faint spells are with him always.  I have more news for you, for I’m with child. Only you and Aunt M. know for now, as the baby may not last.

Forever your loving sister

The Hague, 27 September ‘48

My William,

I have yours from Harve d’ Grace dated 21 September. I now pray daily for your safe return from Ireland, I will keep Aunt M, with knowledge of my travels as the King still talk of Scotland or taking the fleet to Ireland. I have told Charles of my state and he is so pleased with the news he has written to the Queen this very day. She was not happy with the marriage in Liege, yet it was her wish that it was in the highest of churches and outside of French domains.

Your ever loving sister

I had the opportunity to write to Lucy from Kilkenny[7] but saw nothing from Lucy. The next is from her Aunt Margaret Gosfright and this found its way to me in Ireland at the same time as Lucy’s own letter. Both gave me much cheer as I was a little worried for the safe delivery of Lucy from childbirth.

Rotterdam, 9 April ‘49

Dear William,

I would fail in my duty, which I owe you, if I didn’t hasten to inform you, that your sister was this morning safely delivered of a very fine boy. The child seems to in excellent health, and will, I pray, grow up worthy of his father. I wish you the same joy with all my heart. I have set to your father with this joyful news.

Margaret Gosfright

Rotterdam, 20 April ‘49

My dearest Brother,

I received your dated December ’48 from Kilkenny. I return with the greatest of news, for you are now an Uncle! I can’t remember much of the dramatic events, but we are all well and the Prince is most handsome. We have named him James and he is the most beautiful creature alive. He has healthy lungs and feeds like his great ancestor, King Henry VIII.

Other than my small ray of sunlight, the mood is dark and sombre in the court. The talk is now of retribution and murder, but they are all bluster. For all speak out and proclaim they will raise an Army, none have the skill or gumption to do so, otherwise why did we lose in the last War.  Of these the Scots are the worst, both in their actions and words. Charles is angry and still in shock, he is talking of returning to his mother in Paris soon, although I may join my sister Princess Mary in the Hague. I’m doing my best to comfort and console him, I fear the worst and that he is off set on revenge. He muttered to me that ‘if I cannot live a King, I will die a gentleman!’ and I’m worried for our child if he should die. It is so hard to think that I’m now Queen in exile, yet no one has called me Queen. I will endeavour to push Charles for a more formal role, once the next few weeks find the level.

I’ll write soon with more information and let Aunt Margaret know where to find me. Please take your leave to visit me and your nephew very soon. I look forward daily to your news.

Your loving sister

As you can read, these letters show the true nature of Lucy’s relationship[8] with King Charles during the first year of his reign.

William Savage

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