Marriage of Charles 1 and Henrietta Maria
Henrietta Maria,(1609-1669) was the daughter of Henry IV of France and his second wife, Marie de Medici, her name being a combination of their two names.She was the youngest sister of Louis X111, Henry having been assassinated when she was just one year old.
The marriage was a great diplomatic coup for Louis, by uniting France and England, it was equally a blow for Spain.
However, as Henrietta Maria was a devout Catholic, this caused suspicion and made her immediately unpopular in her adopted country, something that was going to have huge political implications as the reign wore on. She also maintained an extensive court of her own, in the continental style and conducted herself in a way which seemed increasingly at odds with the more austere English ways during this period.
The proxy marriage of Charles and Henrietta Maria took place at Notre Dame on 1st May 1625. Charles did not attended but was represented by the Duke of Buckingham.
Their marriage ceremony in England did not take place until the following month and their first night together was 13th June at the royal palace of St. Augustine's, Canterbury.
These medals, produced by the French engraver Pierre Regnier, were distributed at the service in Paris as can be seen from the correspondence of 28th May from Rev.Joseph Mead to Sir Martin Stuteville, sent from Christ Church, Oxford.
"I have one of the pieces flung about at the marriage. On one side is Cupid, holding in one hand lilies, in the other roses; the motto Fundit amor Lilia mixta rosis. On the other side. The picture of the King and Queen with this- Carolus Mag Et Henrietta Maria, Brit. Rex et Reg. No jollity at the marriage, not any of the French, save the King himself and the prince in gay clothes. But our ambassadors were very rich and gallant."
It is an interesting statement from Mead that the medals were "flung about," suggesting that they were distributed as loyalty gifts and souvenirs. This tradition was also popular at coronations and continued for many centuries.
There are graphic accounts of the great and the good scrabbling around at the abbey at the coronation of George IV, where they were seen jostling with each other to catch the medals which were thrown into the crowd by "The Treasurer of his Majesty's House."
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