Saturday, August 23, 2008

Question from Nikki - Elizabeth I's signal on her deathbed

In the book "Royal Affairs: A Lusty Romp Through The Extramarital Adventures That Rocked The British Monarchy" by Leslie Carroll, it is said that on Elizabeth's death bed she pantomimed a crown above her head with her hands since she was unable to speak. This was to signal that James VI of Scotland was to succeed her. This is the first I have heard of this?


Anonymous said...

Leslie Carroll is, in her own words, the "queen" of historical romance writing. That is, she writes pure fiction of the bodice-ripping kind. So take her invetned story of Elizabeth's pantomiming for what it is, pure fiction.

Anonymous said...

I thought that was a bit of wishful thinking myself!

kb said...

Fiction is so much fun.

I have never heard of her pantomiming a crown, nor do I see how miming a crown indicates James. Most of th court had been trading information with James for a few years and it was pretty much an accepted fact that he would take over. There are stories that she pointed to a miniature portrait of James as well.

The only story I know is true is that Philadelphia Carey Scrope had a ring, possibly sapphire that she and James had arranged would be the signal that Elizabeth was really truly sincerely dead. As with most royal deaths, information controls were put in place and the palace sealed once Elizabeth died.

Philadelphia dropped the ring out a window to her brother Robert Carey who rode through the night and a thunderstorm to get to James arriving disheveled, bloody and muddy with the ring.

The King Duncan's opening lines in Macbeth include the phrase 'What bloody man is this?'. Some Shakespearean scholars believe that this is a reference to Robert Carey's arrival in Scotland announcing Elizabeth's death.

Lara said...

I heard the pantomime story from a friend of mine who was writing her dissertation on Elizabeth. The crown was supposed to refer to the fact that James was already a King or something like that.

If I remember correctly, the thought is that the story was made up afterwards (since there is no evidence Elizabeth actually did it) to make people feel comfortable that Elizabeth had indeed named James to succeed her. I'm not sure when the story first popped up though.

kb said...

might be. Sounds like a story Robert Cecil would be happy to pass around.

Anonymous said...


Thats an awesome story, and Ive never heard it before. Also, I know Im lame but its cool to know there's a Philadelphia in the very interesting Carey family, and Im philly-born and bred....


kb said...

kate -

There were 5 Philadelphias in the Carey family.

Philadelphia Carey Scrope (of ring fame) married to Thomas Scrope, 10th baron Scrope.

Philadelphia Carey, daughter of Thomas Carey and Margaret Smith Carey

Philadelphia Carey, daughter of Henry Carey viscount Rochford, earl of Dover, 4th baron Hunsdon and Judith Pelham Carey viscountess Rochford, countess of Dover

Philadelphia Carey, daughter of Robert Carey, 1st earl of Monmouth baron of Leppington and Elizabeth Trevianon countess of Monmouth.

and finally

Philadelphia Carey, daughter of Henry Carey 2nd earl of Monmouth and Martha Cranfield Carey countess of Monmouth.

I haven't had a chance yet to explore the links between the Carey family and the city in the new world. If anyone has any information, please share.

There are strong links between the Knollys side of the Carey family and the state of Delaware (which was named for them).