Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Question from Mike - Elizabeth I and James VI's relationship

What was the relationship between Elizabeth and James VI, i.e. did they ever meet one another, civil correspondence and also what exactly was James's feelings once he bacame aware of his mothers plight.

Thank you,



djd said...

I don't know a lot about their relationship. I don't think that James was very concerned with his mother's plight, as he probably would have done something to help her. And - with mom locked up in England, he did not have to worry about her coming back and making any trouble for him. Elizabeth did not want to get on James' bad side, though. She was very concerned about his reaction to his mother being executed. There is a copy of the letter that Elizabeth sent to James right after his mother was executed where she claims that the execution was a horrible mistake and not condoned by her. The letter might even be on this site. That is about all I know.

Lara said...

No, I don't have any of Elizabeth and James' letters to one another on the site - yet. I have a bunch of letters that I will eventually post and I think some of those are in the batch I've been working on periodically.

Bearded Lady said...

I don't remember reading about any meetings between Elizabeth and James? That's a great question. I wonder if they met? If I remember correctly, it was Cecil who was pushing for Elizabeth to name James as her successor.

kb said...

There are a bunch of letters between Elizabeth and James published in Elizabeth I: Collected Works, ed by Meuller, Marcus et al. I have a copy and would be happy to type some of them up and send them to Lara if she thinks it would be useful to the site.

Elizabeth called James every possible term of endearment and signed her letters in the same tone. For example - 'Your most assured, loving sister and cousin'; 'To my good brother and cousin the king of Scots'. He returned the compliment. Including at least one letter where he opens 'Madame and mother' and signs 'your most loving and devoted brother and son'. However. this was the typical form of address between monarchs denoting respect.

Even in the letter she sent disavowing her complicity in the execution of his mother Mary QoS she opens the letter 'my dear brother' and signs it 'your most assured. loving sister and cousin'. He answered with a letter that opens 'madame and dearest sister'.

This exchange of letters was carried by one of 'my guys' Robert Carey. The Careys were frequently messengers between the 2 monarchs because Elizabeth trusted them to 'have no other faction than my will'.

I think that James and Elizabeth had exactly the sort of relationship one might expect of neighbors keeping an uneasy peace with the junior monarch hoping to inherit the kingdom next door. Be nice - but not too nice so political events don't rush the inevitable. I think this was especially true after it became clear Elizabeth would never have children and James was old enough to rule in his own right.

James named one of his daughters after Elizabeth and she stood as godmother. A pretty standard exchange of royal 'sucking up' that occurred between most monarchs who were not at war with each other.

Anonymous said...

Ahhh...leave it to "Hollywood" to effect a meeting between Elizabeth and James.

"Elizabeth I", with Helen Mirren, offered such a historic meeting.

The things that might have been :)

Lara said...

I have the Marcus book too - it's a great resource! I've been slowly putting together a collection of letters and transcripts that I hope to develop into a big part of the website eventually. I'll almost certainly be calling for help at some point! I have a bad habit of bouncing around between topics instead of concentrating on one thing... yeah, I'm a bit ADD in my hobbies (although I'm getting better about not leaving needlework projects unfinished before going on to the next one... I only have three going right now and one is just a small Christmas ornament.) :^)