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Mary Beatrice of Modena: A queen observed

Llewellyn-Jones, Lloyd ORCID: 2022. Mary Beatrice of Modena: A queen observed. Norrie, Aidan, Harris, Carolyn, Laynesmith, J.L., Messer, Danna R. and Woodacre, Elena, eds. Tudor and Stuart Consort, Queenship and Power, pp. 291-311. (10.1007/978-3-030-95197-9_17)

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Mary Beatrice of Modena is little known amongst all the queens consort of England. Yet, as the wife of James II, and the last Catholic queen consort, she played an important role in the construction of late Stuart monarchy. Throughout her time in England, Mary Beatrice was the focus of both flattering poems penned in praise of her extraordinary beauty and of cruel representations. During her short period as queen consort, scandalous observations were made about Mary Beatrice’s body. Things reached a fever pitch early in 1688 when James announced his wife’s pregnancy and, terrified of an England under the dominance of Papal authority once more, Protestant pamphleteers issued slanderous broadsheets, songs, and ballads lampooning the Queen’s chastity. Within the royal palaces of London, Protestant and Catholic courtiers securitized her body for signs of swelling, flushing, or bloating. No other queen consort’s body underwent more obsessive, pernickety, observation than that of Mary Beatrice of Modena.

Item Type: Book Section
Date Type: Published Online
Status: Published
Schools: History, Archaeology and Religion
ISBN: 978-3-030-95196-2
ISSN: 2730-938X
Last Modified: 17 Jan 2023 12:45

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