Portrait of Henrietta Maria of France (1609-1669), Queen consort of England, Scotland and Ireland (1625-1649), 1637
Henrietta Maria of France (25 November 1609 – 10 September 1669) was queen consort of England, Scotland, and Ireland as the wife of King Charles I. She was mother of his two immediate successors, Charles II and James II. Her Roman Catholicism made her unpopular in England and also prohibited her from being crowned in a Church of England service; therefore she never had a coronation. She began to immerse herself in national affairs as civil war loomed on the horizon, and was compelled to seek refuge in France in 1644, following the birth of her youngest daughter, Henrietta, during the height of the First English Civil War. The execution of King Charles in 1649 left her impoverished. She settled in Paris, and then returned to England after the Restoration of her eldest son, Charles, to the throne. In 1665, she moved back to Paris, where she died four years later. Henrietta Maria was the youngest daughter of King Henry IV of France (Henry III of Navarre) and his second wife, Marie de' Medici, and named after her parents. She was born at the Palais du Louvre on 25 November 1609, but some historians give her a birth-date of 26 November. In England, where the Julian calendar was still in use, her date of birth is often recorded as 16 November. Henrietta Maria was brought up as a Catholic. Henrietta Maria and Charles I of England were married on 13 June 1625, during a brief period in which England's pro-Spanish policy was replaced by a pro-French policy. After an initially difficult period, she and Charles formed an extremely close partnership and were devoted to each other. Henrietta Maria never fully assimilated herself into English society; she did not speak English before her marriage, and as late as the 1640s had difficulty writing or speaking the language.
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