341 Knights Adventurer

In March 1623 Simon Digby noticed two suspicious looking blokes with dodgy beards hanging around outside his uncle’s house in Madrid. He rushed over to find out what they were doing. Find out who they were.

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Let me take you away from all of this everyone, transport you to places more exotic where you can let your imagination fly like a bird. I am talking of course, of Gravesend.

Gravesend is apparently quite a big place now. In 1623 it was still a busy little place though of course much smaller than now, but there was a bit of cottage industry, mills, and since it lies in North West Kent on the south bank of the river Thames not far from the estuary, there was also a ferry operating there. One of Gravesend’s many, many claims to fame is that it is the place where 6 years earlier a boat landed for tragic reasons – Rebecca Roilfe, or Pocahontas, on her way back to her native America, died and was put ashore and buried there.

Anyway, ferry, that’s the thing, there’s a ferry, not a ferry across the Mersey but across the Mighty father Thames. A river so mighty that a friend, from a land down under where they have proper rivers, on seeing it for the first time used the word creek, which was rude. But anyway, it’s the early morning of 18th February, 1623, and the ferryman is waiting on the north bank for a mark, when up clattered two very fine bearded gentlemen, dressed in the very best quality clothing with the most exquisite tailoring. Boatmen notice things like that, it’s a well-established fact, my granny told me. The two gentlemen called each other John and Thomas Smith. They were an odd pair. As the ferry man pulled away at his hawser, admiring the tailoring, he also happened to notice something odd about their beards – they kept moving across their faces in the most bewildering way until the boatman began to think he’d had a few too many last night of the wife’s ale, until it clicked – God’s bodikins – they were wearing falsies! Good golly you’d have thought with that tailoring that they could have bought ones that fitted.

Anyway, he hauled away, possibly he was called Joe so he could sing haul away Joe, you Shanty singers know what I am talking about, until they arrived at Gravesend, and the ferryman hung out a had for the fee. Well, golly that caused a right old fuss, they turned their backs, messed about in purses, whispered with a blizzard of clinking coins until one of them – a very attractive man who looked a lot like St Stephen must have looked, handed over a coin in a rather embarrassed way and before you could say Zwounds, they were off, mounting the horses and riding like the devil was at their heels. Joe looked down and marry come up! It was a 20 Bob Bit! A whole English pound of gold! And it was real – Joe knew, because he gave it a good go with his teeth to check it wasn’t soft, lead or something. Well, that was way too much money, and now Joe began to get worried. If That pair were John and Thomas smith, he was a Dutchman’s uncle – which he might have been anyway, but you know what I mean, they were up to no good they were, off to fight a duel or something in France. Joe tied up his ferry, and went off into Gravesend to tell the local JP. He had no idea who they were.

A month later, in Madrid, a man called Simon Digby saw two men with dodgy beards and fine tailoring lurking around outside his uncle’s house. Worried Simon approached them, and in pantomime whispers they demanded to be lead to his uncle in the greatest secrecy and with greatest possible despatch. Simon let them in the back door, thinking maybe this was some espionage stuff, and led them to his uncle’s study. Whose face when he saw them was a picture, jaw hit toecaps and all. Head exploded. Who were these men wondered Simon?

I have really milked this haven’t I? Way too much, flogged it really. Anyway, as I am sure you have guessed by now, these men were not John and Thomas Smith. They were Charles, Prince of Wales and heir to the throne of England and Wales, and George Villiers, the Marquis of Buckingham. Well, houdi elbow. No wonder Simon’s Unck, John Digby the Earl of Bristol, emissary to the Spanish court, rushed out and sent a despatch to London immediately. I mean, the whole thing is quite remarkable and I have never tasted a fruit cake even remotely as nutty. How on earth did it come to this?

Well, we’ll have to go back a bit to explain exactly how, but part of why is probably reasonably obvious; as we heard last time the 1621 parliament had been dissolved in January 1622 without the required war subsidies, leaving James’ strategy to bring peace in Europe through a marriage and alliance with Spain – in ruins around his spindly little legs. Without the threat of war with England, which of itself wasn’t particularly terrifying as far as Spain was concerned, James had no leverage to persuade the Spanish to give up the Palatinate and make peace, other than a level of toleration for Catholics in England James was not even close to being able to offer.

None the less, James persisted. Diplomatic activity from England was at bonkers levels, the amp of communication was turned up to 11. And while you can probably sense there’s a level of mockery going on here from the author of the History of England, we might just pause for a while and make the point that at least James was desperate for that most valuable of commodities, peace, and even when trying to threaten war was very, very reluctant to see that happen. Maybe if folks like James had been in control throughout Europe, maybe all those millions of hapless German and Czechs would not have had to die, not to mention the soldiers from multiple nations. So you know, he deserves surely a lot of credit for that, playing his rather poor hand, no more than a pair of twosies, and trying hard not to losies. Between 1619 and 1622 he sent 10 diplomatic missions to German states; from 1621 to 23 alone there were also embassies to London –    from Bohemia, Denmark, France, the HRE, Muscovy, the Palatinate, Poland, Spain, the Swiss, the Dutch Republic and Venice, and the red carpet were laid out for all. But to be honest, few were fooled by all the ceremony; at one, an army of sugar soldiers were lined up for the pud, provoking mutters that ‘other muskets and pikes were required now’. John Digby was despatched back to Spain in March 1622, to try and get the stalled negotiations back on track. Actually, Digby the Earl of Bristol was full of beans and enthusiasm for the prospects of the marriage when he got there, sending a stream of positive reports back home, blown away by the magnificence of the court of an empire at the peak of its global power and naively impressed with the fine words of the Spanish hosts. Here’s just one example

‘I now make no doubt but that the prince [Frederick] shall entirely be restored, both to his territories and to his electorate, and this king, merely to gratify His Majesty, will make it his work’,

So, in the bag then, there’s a fat lady giving it her all. The truth was rather south of there, and a few simple reflections might explain why, and which are probably summed up by the previous Spanish monarch Philip III on his death bed, who was reported as saying that he never intended for the marriage to actually take place.



Philip IV came to the throne in March 1621 a man with a remarkably long, oblong face, which I imagine has no light to shed at all on his historical reputation, though it’s worth noting that it’s from his reign that historians often map the start of Spain’s decline from its dominant position in European politics. He acquired a state of affairs to which two important factors had been added.

Firstly, Maximillian of Bavaria had got involved in the Imperial conquest of the Palatinate, and would in short order conquer the Upper Palatinate. His price was to become the Prince Elector of the Palatinate to replace poor old Frederick the Winter King, and for Ferdinand he was a great candidate. He as fiercely Catholic and proponent of the Counter Reformation, and his elevation to Elector would guarantee a Catholic majority among Imperial electors. Maximilian was a competent ruler who would sweep away the feudal rights of the Estates in Bavaria and lay the foundations of Absolutist rule. For Spain, this made it effectively impossible to contemplate the idea of restoring Frederick to the Palatinate; because it was vanishingly unlikely they’d be able to persuade the HRE to do so.

Secondly, the truce agreed with the Dutch Republic in 1609 had expired. You might think that this would be a good time to draw a line, reflect that at least they’d managed to hang on to the Spanish Netherlands where the counter reformation was proceeding most satisfactorily, and move on. However, sometimes it’s difficult to let go. And so war was to resume, and more Spanish bullion, blood and energy would be spent in the low countries, and continue to bleed dry the economy and wealth of the Empire’s Castilian heartlands. This had an impact on the Palatinate – because it lay on the Spanish Road. The Spanish Road was the complicated route armies would have to take to get from Spain to fight the Dutch. You might think taking the overnight ferry from Santander would be better, but there was at that stage a problem we don’t face now, namely the Dutch Navy which would try to send them all to Davy’s Locker; The Spanish would nonetheless risk it in 1639 with disastrous results. On occasion there as also English navy to consider to boot. So instead, the armies had to be shipped to Phillip’s possessions in Italy. Over the alps through the heavily contested Valtellina pass, and up along the Rhine. You could go via the Tyrol but that was a long way round. Having an angry Protestant, Frederick, in control of the Palatinate would make the whole thing impossible. So – good Catholic Maximillian it must be then.

Philip IV had installed his favourite the Count Duke of Olivares, one of those super famous names in European history. Olivares would remain in power until 1643, when his policies and the inherent standing problems of the Spanish Empire would result in inflation and revolt in Catalonia and Portugal and would force him from power. Olivares was determined to maintain Spain’s position in European affairs, and was convinced they had powerful friends in high places – “God is Spanish and fights for our nation these days” he was to remark. Olivares saw the situation clearly though, and made it clear to Philip that his policies contained a fatal conflict; marriage to the English would commit them to restore the Palatinate to Frederick and they would be

‘together with the King of Great Britain, engaged in a war against the Emperor and the Catholic League . . . a thing which, to hear, will offend Your Majesty’s godly ears’.

He was right. This from the start made the idea of an alliance with Protestant England almost completely impossible to contemplate without giggling.

Nonetheless, the message Digby was picking up from those cheeky Spanish was uniformly positive, and it has to be said that Digby was rather overwhelmed by the magnificence of the court and the assurances he received; at one stage he was able to get in front of Philip himself and reported back excitedly that there was no need for a long face because he had a commitment from his mouth that if necessary Spanish troops would join with English to remove the Imperial forces and restore Frederick. Trouble was, Olivares resolutely refused to give him that in writing. But no matter surely a King’s word was law. Back at the English court, there was rather more cynicism. The Venetian ambassador regarded Spanish assurances as a

narcotic to make the English sleep the more profoundly this winter

And some councillors contrasted the reality of events in the Palatinate with all the positive news from Digby; some were strongly in favour of the idea of trying to find some iron first given all that velvet glove stuff, and hot on the suggestion that the King should take into his pay the troops of the two protestant mercenary commanders, Count Mansfeld and the Duke of Brunswick.

James resisted the intention, and instead firmly pursued policies designed to sell to the Spanish that the only other lever he had over their affections was made of solid serviceable material – namely, the prospect of Catholic toleration. He was encouraged to take energetic and practical action to convince the Spanish that he was in earnest, perversely, by one John Knight – a young Oxford puritan scholar who preached when discussing the palatinate, that it was lawful for subjects when harassed in religion to ‘take up arms against their Sovereign’ which very effectively pushed the requisite button on James’ personal control panel and led to Knight’s immediate imprisonment. As a result in August James issued his proclamation, Directions concerning Preachers which put a list of subjects off the Preachers’ agendas, including ‘bitter invectives against either Papists or Puritans’, and ‘all matters of state’. Behind this lay James’ fear that anti-Spanish agitation might itself lead to widespread disobedience against the Crown, not just Catholics.

Over time, James’ fear of Puritanism, their resistance to the Spanish match and the link in James’ mind with public disobedience had a longer term impact which would bear fruit in Charles’ reign. The balance between puritans and Arminians within the church, a balance James had carefully maintained, began to shift slowly but perceptibly off centre, and the ship of state began to veer towards Arminianism. After all Arminians were strongly supportive of royal authority and governance of the church. By 1621, nine out of 24 bishops were Arminian, or would support Archbishop Laud’s later reforms; by the end of his reign, 12 were; the same trend was discernible at the universities.

And at the same time, James suspended the penal laws against Catholics and moved to control the press to prevent licences being issued to publish works that might upset Spain. Buckingham boasted to Gondomar that English prisons were

Emptied of Priests and Recusants, and filled with Zealous Ministers, for preaching against the Match

All of this had the impact of encouraging Catholics. The Catholic Bishop of Chalcedon was reported to be preaching openly in the Midlands in his full kit, regalia and indeed caboodle. An aristocratic party emerged at court, gloated openly that the tables would soon be turned, and achieved some high profile conversions – particularly dramatic was the conversion of Buckingham’s very own Mum.

All of this had the impact of clamping down on public anti Spanish and anti Catholic polemic, and spread a sense of danger through Protestant circles. A later chronicle catalogued the time as when

The Romish foxes came out of their holes

But opposition was not entirely suppressed – libels and ballads for example complained of ‘Rhomish druggs’ and the ‘dangerouse fig of Spain’.

This was in addition a time of widespread economic distress and even famine. The years 1621 to 1623 in particular were hit by a string of bad harvests; in many places rural poor flooded to the towns to find relief. There they found many places suffering from a fall in trade, and a crisis among weavers in particularly, and therefore unable to cope with the influx. In Wales they complained of a failure of the Cattle trade, and blamed imports from Ireland. Meanwhile bubonic plague returned with increasing frequency. All of this meant the arrival of what has been termed the last famine in England. Historians have questioned whether people actually died from this famine, and much argument has taken place. It seems clear that the famine was more localised, mainly in the North of England, but not entirely – also famine deaths were detectable in Cambridgeshire. However, it is equally clear that yes, many did die for lack of food. The 1620s were in a way the culmination of the decades of population growth and pressure on resources. None of this helped the sense of public crisis. But the decade would prove to be the last such major event; not the end of dearth and economic distress, obviously, but the increasing flexibility in the economy, the ability to tranship food and poor relief systems meant that actual famine deaths would not re-appear in future periods of harvest failure, in England and Wales, even n times of massive conflict such as 1646-9. It’s quite a milestone.





In this atmosphere of religious, political and economic distress, when James tried to raise money to help his son in law in the Palatinate, the money came hard. Charles ordered another benevolence to be raised – some JPs like Lord Saye and Sele refused to do so and were imprisoned. The Earl of Oxford was imprisoned for speaking out against Buckingham’s complete dominance of politics and patronage. Murmmerings continued across the country against the Match.

But in the confines of James’ court, the perspective was different, and we must go to the king’s court at James’ favourite house, Theobalds in January 1623. And we need to bring Charles into the picture, just 22 years of age still, but as we’ve heard from the 1621 parliament, increasingly involved in official business, and growing in personal influence. Although he had been raised a Calvinist, and was passionately keen to rescue his sister’s inheritance in the Palatinate, he had been very much convinced that a marriage with Maria Anna, though inter faith, was the best way to restore the Palatinate to her.

He was also under the considerable influence of Buckingham, with whom he met frequently, both together with James and on his own. Clarendon, who would be close to him, accordingly recorded in his history that what followed was Buckingham’s idea; but in fact it appears to have been Charles’ very own. Back in May 1622, Gondomar had written with astonishment to Philip IV in Spain that

The Prince has offered to me in strict confidence and secrecy that if upon my arrival in Spain, I should advise him to come and place himself in your majesty’s hands at your disposition, he would do it and come to Madrid incognito with two servants

Not only was Charles feeling more self confident and determined to assert himself, he was also suffering from the pernicious horrors of romance, in multiple forms, the same impulse that brought us Valentine’s Day. This had two forms; one was an example given to him by own his Dad – James proudly told his lad that he’d gone to Oslo to collect his own bride. He may have neglected to mention that the marriage was fully agreed and betrothal taken place by proxy by the time he left, but hey, that’s a detail. And then the more straightforward thing – Charles was convincing himself that he was in love.

So there we are at Theobalds. Baby Charles, Steenie, and Dear Dad s they called each other, touchingly. Charles was increasingly convinced that this thing needed to be heaved over the line, and on his knees in front of his Dear Dad he sprung his plan – that he should go and fetch his bride, just like Dad. James of course turned to Steenie for advice; Steenie of course was looking at the future king of England at this point but kept the tone business like – not – saying instead that to refuse such a piffling, trifling request might jeopardise his son’s love for his afther. James shed some tears at this point, but Charles and Buckingham had the bit between their teeth. Another courtier’s opinion was sought – Francis Cottingham. Poor Francis when told about this took a while recover from the shock. And then, to give him his due, Cottingham stood up to the plate of professionalism and said that such a daft move would jeopardise years of careful diplomacy, and deliver the Prince as a hostage subject to whatever demands the Spanish cared to inflict. He was roundly and comprehensibly ignored. And James gave in.

On February 17th then, when James set out for Royston and his beloved hunting, John and Thomas, false beards suitably attached stayed behind and set off to pay the ferryman in Gravesend, thence to Rochester; they called their enterprise the ‘journey of the knights of adventure’, dripping with romance of the finest novels. At Rochester were almost rumbled when they happened to meet the Imperial Ambassador and train on the road, and had to leap over a hedge to avoid being seen. At Canterbury the Mayor tried to arrest the two dodgy beards, and Buckingham had to come clean about who they were, in strictest confidence guv’. Thence to Dover, where they were joined by Cottingham would you believe, who despite saying the whole thing was potty, was ordered to go with them. Across the channel with associated royal vomiting and to Paris. There they managed to sneak into court where Louis III and Queen Anne were having a public supper, and gawped along with the crowd. This was followed by a night at the ballet and then off at 4, riding through France with £1000 in Gold. Wizard Wheeze, and wizard prey for a highwayman, but fortunately they reached the Spanish borders intact, thence to Madrid and Simon Digby’s astonishment. By golly.

Back at home the news was out. Privy Councillors besieged James who was forced to admit it was true – but hey it’s OK, the Buck is with him. Slowly the news spread over the next few days weeks and months and frankly, many decided that this was the perfect time to panic. At one level, prayers were held for the Prince’s safety. Others feared that Charles had simply delivered himself into the hands of his enemies, and if a marriage was to take place it would be at an ever higher cost. ‘God have mercy on us for we are in a deplorable condition’ one wrote to a cousin. Poems reflected the general sense of worry about what would happen if the marriage went ahead

True religion’s buried in the dust

The Popes bulls breath and crosses be adorned

Simmond D’ewes wrote of a dream sent to him

To arme myself for preparation against worser times

Stories from Madrid filtered back; it was said that one of Charles’ servants had died, and had been ceaselessly asked to convert before meeting his maker, and when he refused denied burial. Buckingham, began to be the focus of blame, accused of having used his

Best tricks with Catholics, to bring our Prince to Spain

Hispanophobia rose on the streets of London, the Spanish Ambassador protested that he was

Besieged and dares scarce to go abroad

A highwayman went to the Gallows a folk hero when he proclaimed to the watching crowd that hatred of the Spanish Match had driven him to rob a Spanish Courtier rather than the more obvious but clearly unworthy suspicion that he’d just wanted to nick a few quid. [1]

In Spain back in March the rumour began to get out that the Prince of England was in Madrid. He was where? Olivares could be heard to thunder. Digby had let Gondomar know – Gondomar was in Madrid at the time, not London; and a secret meeting was held in a carriage with Buckingham, Digby and the Prince. There were all manner of skullduggeries going on.

The Spanish Council of State met and looked at each other with some breathlessness.

Since this event has no parallel in history, it was hard to know how to deal with it[2]

Ran the record. Well, the Spanish decided that they had better put their best foot forward but for a while the duggeries continued to be skulled; Buckingham and Charles took a casual carriage ride round a royal palace grounds, and just happened upon Philip walking along, good lord, what a spooky coincidence, picked him up and went for a secret couple of hours chat. On 17th March, it was finally publicly admitted that the Prince of England was indeed in the building, the rumours were true, and Charles and Buckingham made a public entrance into Madrid in grand fashion.

Most people assumed that there must be some special reason why Charles had decided to come in person, and they strongly suspected the reason was that Charles had resolved to convert to Catholicism – it surely had to be something dramatic. The Pope had been contacted straight away and made that assumption, Digby meanwhile was due to be rather sidelined by their arrival, since Buckingham and Charles would take the negotiation off his hands; even he was mystified, and after chatting with Gondomar assumed the same thing. Charles had not decided to convert as it happens; and when Digby made the suggestion he was horrified at the very thought.

Charles and Buckingham wrote home to their Dear Dad in a steady stream, and James wrote back

My sweet boys, and dear adventurous knights, worthy to be put in a new romance

So, good to see someone’s keeping their feet firmly on the ground then. James also wrote kindly and constantly to Buckingham’s family, Kate Buckingham and his sister Lady Denbigh, keeping them informed. Charles wrote of his exciting experiences, and he was mighty impressed by what he saw of the magnificent Spanish court. The Spanish staged a mock battle for his entertainment, and he dined in elaborate court style. The court was very formal, and Charles loved that as he would love such fomality all his life. He toured round Madrid and indulged his love of art – he bought two Titians and was painted by Velasquez. At the start at least he was having a hoot.

What, you might ask, of the bride to be, Maria Anna. Maria was 17 now, and it has to be said that if the Pope was unenthusiastic about heretics, Maria would be his greatest supporter; she was not keen on the idea, not keen at all and started off by announcing that she’d rather retire to a nunnery. Maybe just maybe, if the two of them had met Charles would have been able to convince her – who knows. But formal protocol kept them apart, although finally a sort of encounter was contrived – Maria was to walk in a particular garden, while Charles and Buckingham were strategically located in the palace at a suitable window so they could see her. Maria refused to even look in their direction. But Charles was smitten, and Buckingham reported to Dear Dad

I think there is not a sweeter creature in the world. Baby Charles himself is so touched at the heart that he confesses all he ever yet saw is nothing to her, and swears if that he cannot have her there shall be blows

So that’s all nice then. But in terms of the business end of this, well, things were less satisfactory, and Buckingham, grew increasingly impatient as the weeks passed by. Papal dispensations were required for the match; and when they arrived they were tough. They were partly tough because Olivares, the tinker, had secretly written to the Pope asking him to block a dispensation in the hope that Charles would convert in desperation. Forewarned that the Spanish were playing out of the back of their hands, the terms were toughened. So when they arrived there was a sharp intake of breath, accompanied by much tooth sucking. The infanta was to educate her children in the Catholic faith until they were 12, was to have a chapel in London open to all; recusancy laws were to be repealed and Catholics were to have formal toleration; and the Pricy Council were to swear to abide by any agreement Charles made in Madrid. Meanwhile discussions about the Palatinate went nowhere; Olivares made the suggestion that the lands should be made as Maria’s dowry – a generous offer, since the lands didn’t belong to Spain and therefore Charles would have to take an army to go get them. Fetch, sir, fetch!

Things went to and fro; Digby confided to Gondamar that James would find it almost impossible to get formal toleration, because it would require an act of parliament, and would be impossible to get by MPs. Buckingham, showed increasing irritation as the months went by, and Charles was running out of money. James was desperate to get his son back, but had never thought of anything other than offering some vague promises as far as toleration was concerned; in fact he became most irritated when reflecting that by repealing recusancy laws he’d have to give up £36,000 of back recusancy fines!

Even Charles began to get frustrated; in June, he tried desperately to engineer a meeting with Maria Anna – climbing a wall surrounding her garden and advancing towards the object of his passion. Maria Anna shrieked for her virtue and ran off in the other direction calling for her chaperone who sternly ordered Charles to leave by a side door.

And yet, as high as were the hurdles thrown in his path by the Spanish to stop this impossible match from happening, it seemed Charles would try to climb them. Having made sure impossible offers had been placed in front of Charles, Olivares sat back and smugly waited for the refusal. But darn it all – Charles went and accepted them! He did what! Charles agreed to repeal the recusancy laws within 3 years. His poor father meanwhile was just desperate to have his boys back

I care more match nor nothing so I may once more have you in my arms again: God grant it, God Grant it, Amen, amen, amen

On 20th July 1623 James agreed to Charles’ request that his father give him carte blanche to cut any deal he saw fit – James had the entire Privy Council to write a blank cheque, well before such things were invented, swearing that they would abide by any deal agreed. Charles signed the agreement with Spain and wrote home:

We are very confident when we see your majesty to give you very good satisfaction for all we have done

This all sounds very incredible; but by this stage probably even Charles had received a gift in the form of second thoughts. The Spanish threw up more objections – the marriage could not possibly happen til later, Maria would have to travel later, they’ have to agree a betrothal; Charles found out they’d read all his mail, and the big one, Olivares in an off moment admitted the king of Spain would never fight his Imperial cousins to release the Palatinate. By August Charles was as desperate to leave as Buckingham had been for a while. Buckingham’s only compensation was that in May James had written to him announcing his promotion to the title of Duke – the first non-royal to be created a Duke since 1553, and almost unique. So, the Duke of Buckingham, it now shall be.

Now then we need to hop back to blighty, and a sumptuous place called Godalming – where Ranulph Flambard I believe was once the priest if you can remember back to Rufus. Anyway, Mr Wiats was a publican at the local pub, and on the evening of the 5th October he received a party of visitors. Very smart visitors they were too, which he wondered at, look at that tailoring! Quality. And actually they were a bit tight lipped about who they were and why they were in such a hurry, hard as Wiatts tried to get them to talk, which made him a bit suspicious. And when it came to the bill – there was a bit of a shock, since they paid in Spanish coin, so the value needed to be calculated on weight. And Wiat was a bit non plussed that his wife kept kissing the leader of the party, about which there would be words later, and there was an old lady in the pub who grabbed the leader by the hand and absolutely refused to let it go, demanding relentlessly that he promise never to repeat the journey he’d just been on.

Eventually the poor man did as he was ordered, and was finally able to carry on, and Wiats watched the party as they left, thinking ‘look at the cut of those clothes! Exquisite!’ Anyway, time to find out from the missus what on earth was going on there.

[1] Cogswell, T, England and the Spanish Match pp124-5, in Cust, Conflict in Early Stuart England

[2] Jackson, Clare ‘Devil-land’ p170


2 thoughts on “341 Knights Adventurer

  1. There are 2 or 3 benefits from this intensely silly attempt. A Captain Alatriste novel was written about it. Maria Anna had a chance to make a marriage that was not, genetically speaking, incestuous. And from the Spanish point of view, a lot of diplomatic and political gains were won at the low cost of a little hospitality and a heap of lies.
    What England got out of it, other than upsetting the delicate religious balance is hard to see, except maybe for James avoiding spending money he didn’t have on a war he didn’t want to fight and could probably not have won.

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