chapter  3
16 Pages

Queen Henrietta Maria’s Theatrical Patronage

ByKaren Britland

On 7 December 1625, about six months after Henrietta Maria arrived in England, the noblewoman Katherine Gorges wrote a letter to her brother-in-law, Sir Hugh Smyth, describing a visit she had paid to court in the company of her kinswoman, Susan, Lady Denbigh.1 She wrote:

my Lady Denbeigh my old acquaintance and kinswoman dyninge at Langford, would needs haue me promise hir that I would goe to see the Queen and the Masque, on Sunday night was fortnight, where I saw the Masque acted by the Queens seruants all french, but it was disliked of all the English for it was neither masque nor play, but a french antique; and for the french ladies the elder sorte that are neerest hir Maie: are something like to Nurce Ball only Nurce is a litle hansomer, but whether it was the sight of the Masque, or the old french Ladies I know not, but I cam home the next day soe sicke that I kept my Chamber 3: or 4: dayes after, and soe weared with the Court, that for ought I know Ile’ neuer desire to be Courtiar more.2