Elizabeth Stuart (1635–1650)

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Elizabeth Stuart (1635–1650)

English princess. Name variations: Princess Elizabeth. Born on December 29 (some sources cite the 28th), 1635, at St. James's Palace in London, England; died it is said of grief over her father's execution at age 15 on September 8, 1650, at Carisbrooke Castle, Isle of Wight, England; buried at Newport, Isle of Wight; second daughter of Henrietta Maria (1609–1669) and Charles I, king of England; sister of James II and Charles II, kings of England; Mary of Orange (1631–1660); Henry (1640–1660), duke of Gloucester; and Henrietta Anne (1644–1670), duchess of Orléans; said to have been considerably proficient in Greek, Hebrew, and Latin, as well as in Italian and French.

At the outbreak of England's Civil War in 1642, with their mother Henrietta Maria in Holland and their father, King Charles I, out of London, Princess Elizabeth and her infant brother Henry, duke of Gloucester, were left under the care of Parliament. That October, Elizabeth, a serious and intelligent child, sent a letter to the House of Lords begging that her old attendants be allowed to remain with her. In July 1644, the royal children were sent to Sir John Danvers at Chelsea, and in 1645 to Alger-non and Elizabeth Percy , earl and countess of Northumberland. After the final defeat of the king in 1646, the children were joined by their brother James (later James II), and during 1647 paid several visits to the king at Caversham, near Reading, and Hampton Court, but were again separated by Charles' imprisonment at Carisbrooke Castle. On April 21, 1648, Elizabeth persuaded James to escape, boasting that if she were a boy she would not be confined for much longer.

The last meeting between Charles I and his two children, at which 13-year-old Elizabeth was overcome with grief, took place on January 20, 1640, the day before his execution. In tears, she promised her father she would "write down the particulars" of the meeting and later produced a short account in which Charles had instructed Henry: "Sweetheart, now they will Cut Off thy Father's Head; mark, child, what I say; they will Cut Off my Head and perhaps make thee a king; but—mark what I say—you must not be a king so long as your brothers Charles and James do live, for they will cut off your Brother's Heads (when they can catch them) And Cut thy Head off too at last."

In June, Elizabeth was entrusted to the care of the earl and countess of Leicester at Penshurst. But in 1650, when her brother Charles II landed in Scotland, intent on reclaiming the throne of England, the Parliament ordered the royal children to be taken for security to Carisbrooke Castle. By then, the princess' health was precarious. Almost immediately upon her arrival, she fell ill and died of fever on September 8. She was buried in St. Thomas' church at Newport, Isle of Wight, where only the initials "E.S." marked her grave. In 1856, a monument was erected to her memory by Queen Victoria . Elizabeth Stuart's sad life and early death have made her a popular subject. Her restrained demeanor and manners while in the hands of her father's enemies earned her the name of "Temperance."

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Elizabeth Stuart (1635–1650)