Amy Licence: historian of the lives of Medieval, Tudor and early modern women; nineteenth and early twentieth century art, history, literature and culture; writer of literary ficton.
Friday 21 June 2013
My forthcoming book ‘Royal Babies, a History 1066-2013,’ will be published to tie-in with the impending birth of the new royal baby in July 2013.
The expectant royal parents
Babies are born every day, but only once or twice in a lifetime, a child arrives who will inherit the throne. This summer, the Duchess of Cambridge will deliver our future monarch. There will be predictions, expectations and a flurry of media attention around the new parents but apart from the flashing cameras and internet headlines, this is nothing new. Royal babies have excited interest since before their births, for more than a millennium.
Edward V born in 1470 in sanctuary
When a queen or princess conceived, the direction of a dynasty was being defined and the health and survival of the child would shape British history. Amy Licence explores the stories of some of these royal babies and the unusual circumstances of their arrivals from the Normans to the twenty-first century. 1470 saw the arrival of Edward, a longed-for son after three daughters, born in sanctuary to Edward IV and his beautiful but unpopular wife, Elizabeth Wydeville (The White Queen); he was briefly King Edward V at the age of twelve, but would disappear from history as the elder of the two Princes in the Tower. In 1511, amid lavish celebrations, Catherine of Aragon gave birth to the future Henry IX, whose survival would perhaps have kept Henry from having five more wives; alas, he was to die after just seven weeks. In 1817 came George, the stillborn son of Charlotte, Princess of Wales; had she not died as a result of the birth, she would have become queen instead of Victoria.
James VI and 1 born to Mary Queen of Scots in 1566
This new book explores the importance and the circumstances of these and many other arrivals, returning many long-forgotten royal babies to the history books.