Saturday, September 26, 2009

All about Anne - Part II

As I mentioned in a previous post, Anne had many pregnancies - most ending in tragedy. And the one child who lived past infancy – William – died when he was 11. Below are all the recorded series of births and miscarriages:

1684 May 12 Stillborn Daughter
1685 June 2 Mary or Marie (died February 8, 1687)
1686 May 12 Anne Sophia (died February 2, 1687)
1687 Miscarriage January 1687
1687 Stillborn Son October 22, 1687
1688 Miscarriage April 16, 1688
1689 William, Duke of Gloucester 24 July 1689 (died July 30, 1700)
1690 Mary October 14, 1690 (two months premature, lived two hours)
1692 George April 17, 1692 (born at Syon, lived a few minutes)
1693 Stillborn Daughter March 23, 1693
1694 Stillborn Child January 21, 1694
1696 Stillborn Daughter February 18, 1696
1696 Double Miscarriage September 20, 1696 (‘a son of 7 months growth, the other of 2 or 3 months’)
1697 Stillborn Daughter March 25, 1697
1697 Miscarriage December 1697
1698 Charles September 15, 1698
1700 Stillborn Son January 25, 1700

All of Anne's children bore the titles of Prince(ss) of Denmark and Prince(ss) of Norway.

I am reading a book called Queen Anne by David Green published in 1970 by Scribners. There is an appendix dealing with the health of Anne over the years. It’s pretty darn depressing. As a 5-year old child she developed some kind of eye ailment which troubled her for the rest of her life. When she was 12, she had smallpox. After marriage at 18 to Prince George of Denmark in 1684, she had the terrible list of pregnancies shown above.

Green says, “In 1698, when Anne was 33, we have the first mention of gout which, from then on, begins to affect various parts of the body: both hands, both feet, elbow, knees and eventually ( as then diagnosed) stomach and head. In 1701 she was ‘extremely afflicted with gout’, and the following year, at the age of 37, she had to be carried to her coronation.”

Later Green says, “The remedies prescribed for Queen Anne were typical of the time: ass’s milk, hiera picra, oil of millipedes, spa water, steel, quinine, Sir Walter Raleigh’s Cordial and for pain laudanum. She was quite often bled, but preferred cupping.”

Who knows what “hiera picra” is – sounds a bit nasty. Actually, this is what I was able to find (but who knows if it's accurate) – "Priestly bitters", a name given to many medicines in the Greek pharmacopoeia but especially to a purgative drug composed of aloes and canella bark, sometimes mixed with honey and other ingredients.

And as far as “oil of millipedes” goes, you wouldn’t get a drop of that past my lips, I can tell you! Don’t you love “Sir Walter Raleigh’s Cordial” – it probably had a wee drop of alcohol in it. But, for me, laudanum’s the ticket – just stay doped up for the whole time.

And then, this benighted lady lost her husband in 1708. More in the next post.