Henrietta d’Orleans, 1644-1670; Gather Ye Rosebuds

She is better known to history as the sister of Charles II of England and the sister in law of Louis the XIV of France.  It was the latter association which made the luck of Henrietta’s life.  She was the last child of Charles I  and his French Queen Henrietta Maria. She had gone with her mother into exile in France after her father’s capture and execution, and endured a cold and miserable childhood flitting about the backstairs of the French court, noticed by the young Louis only for her extreme lankiness.

After the Restoration of her brother Charles’s crown, Henriette went from being a skinny girl of no consequence, to being one of the most eligible young women in France.  She made a very grand marriage indeed (1661) to Phillippe d’Orleans, younger brother of Louis XIVContinue reading

Sir Thomas Urquhart, 1611-1660: A Man of Parts

Urquhart is best known as the first translator into English of Rabelais’ Gargantua and Pantagruel, a work completed by Peter Anthony Motteux.

It is perhaps something of his nature to be attracted to his work.

The family is old, and was well stocked with real estate, which Thomas’ father spent a good deal of effort in squandering.  It came to such a cross that Thomas and his brother in frustration locked the old fellow up à la Mrs. Rochester, albeit only for a few days.  Afterwards father sued, but got nowhere with it, and family amity was eventually restored.   But nothing improved the finances of the estate, concerning which creditors hounded once the old man died. Continue reading