Royal Family burials part 4 : the Stuarts

Children of Charles I by Sir Anthony van Dyck (1637)

L to R: Mary, James, Charles, Elizabeth, and Anne. Not pictured, because not born yet, is Henrietta, the ancestress of the current Stuart claimants to the British throne.

I must confess, I have a bit of a mental block about the Stuarts. I can never remember that Charles II and James II are brothers, and then I get caught up in trying to figure out what relation Queen Anne was to her successor, George I (second cousins, I think - they have a great-grandfather, James I, in common). Honestly, take me back to the Wars of the Roses where one side was called Henry and the other side was called Richard and Edward, and it was all so simple. (On the sons of Edward III, I'm your woman. Not only do I correctly picture John of Gaunt as an emaciated grandee, I picture Thomas of Woodstock as a Plantagenet hippy.)

Anyway. When it comes to burials, the Stuarts are pretty simple. Most of them are in vaults under the Henry VII Chapel in Westminster Abbey. Several of them had monuments planned but never executed, so most of them are commemorated by small stones in the Chapel's floor. Here we go in detail:

  • James I and his queen Anne of Denmark are in vaults beneath the Henry VII Chapel.
  • Charles I is in St. George's Chapel Windsor, in the Henry VIII vault (with Big Fat Hal himself, Jane Seymour and one of Queen Anne's babies); William IV put a rather nice memorial stone in the Chapel floor.
  • Charles' queen, Henrietta Maria of France, was buried at the Saint Denis Basilica near Paris (with her father, Henri IV of France); her remains were thrown into a common grave after the mob raided the Bourbon vault in 1793.
  • Charles II is in the Henry VII Chapel; a wax effigy stood over his grave for many years and is now in the Abbey museum.
  • His queen Catherine of Braganza returned to Portugal after his death and is buried at the Jerónimos Monastery, in Belém, Lisbon.
  • James II died in exile in France. He was buried in the Chapel of Saint Edmund in the Church of the English Benedictines in the Rue St. Jacques in Paris. In 1793, his tomb was set upon by the mob and his remains scattered. However, his viscera were buried near his place of death in the Parish Church of Saint-Germain-en-Laye; these were rediscovered in 1824 and reburied in the church. (I'm assuming the separation of the body was to do with preserving it while preparations for a state funeral were made; anyone want to correct me?)
  • Lady Anne Hyde, James' first wife and the mother of the two queens who succeeded him, is buried in the Mary Queen of Scots vault in the Henry VII Chapel.
  • Mary of Modena, James' second wife, was buried with him in Paris and also had her remains destroyed in 1793. Her viscera were reburied with his in 1824.
  • Mary II and her husband and cousin William III are buried under the Henry VII chapel. A joint monument to them was planned but never executed, though wax effigies were made of them too, and can be seen in the Abbey museum. Mary's spectacular funeral cost £50,000
  • Mary's sister, Queen Anne, and her husband Prince George of Denmark and Norway, Duke of Cumberland, are buried under the Henry VII Chapel. Anne's body was so obese and swollen by gout that it apparently had to be carried in a coffin that was almost square.

Stuart tomb in the VaticanOf course, I don't want to take sides, so:

  • James II's son, James Francis Edward, Prince of Wales, a.k.a. James III, a.k.a. The Old Pretender, died in Rome and was buried in the crypt of St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican.
  • His son, Prince Charles Edward Louis John Casimir Sylvester Maria Stuart, a.k.a. Bonnie Prince Charlie, a.k.a. the Young Pretender, was initially buried in the Cathedral of Frascati where his brother was bishop. After his brother's death, his remains were moved to St. Peter's Basilica, though his heart was left in an urn in Frascati.

And for the republicans:

Visiting: Westminster Abbey is not cheap: £16 per adult to visit as of time of writing. Check opening times before you go; sometimes it's closed for religion. Despite all that, it's utterly spectacular and everyone should go at least twice in their lifetime.

Stuart children painting by van Dyck and Jacobite tomb in Rome courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

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