Fact of the day: 17th May

On this day in 1590 Anne of Denmark was crowned Queen of Scotland.

The second daughter of King Frederick II of Denmark, Anne married James in 1589 at age 14 and bore him three children who survived infancy, including the future Charles I.

She demonstrated an independent streak and a willingness to use factional Scottish politics in her conflicts with James over the custody of Prince Henry and his treatment of her friend Beatrix Ruthven.

Anne appears to have loved James at first, but the couple gradually drifted and eventually lived apart, though mutual respect and a degree of affection survived.

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In England, Anne shifted her energies from factional politics to patronage of the arts and constructed her own magnificent court, hosting one of the richest cultural salons in Europe.

After 1612, she suffered sustained bouts of ill health and gradually withdrew from the centre of court life. Though she was reported to have been a Protestant at the time of her death, evidence suggests that she may have converted to Catholicism sometime in her life.

Historians have traditionally dismissed Anne as a lightweight queen, frivolous and self-indulgent. However, recent reappraisals acknowledge Anne’s assertive independence and, in particular, her dynamic significance as a patron of the arts during the Jacobean age.

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