Sunday, October 11, 2009

A Much Loved Queen

Edward Gregg in his 1980 book, Queen Anne (first published by Routledge & Kegan Paul Ltd and republished by Yale University Press in 2001), is another very sympathetic author. He says that the queen enjoyed “enormous popularity…until the last months of her life. She worked hard to maintain the most fervent and continuous public support enjoyed by any monarch since Elizabeth. A history of her reign published in 1721 described this popularity in recording the queen’s visit to Newmarket in October 1706:

Crouds of people from all parts of the Country came to see Her Majesty and wish her a long Life and Happy Reign; and, indeed, thus it was in whatever part of England she was pleased to appear amongst them. Nor was their sincerity, I believe, ever doubted…they ever looked upon her as their common parent. She found no necessity of following the Turkish Maxim of immuring her self for fear of being assassinated, the affections of the people were her surest Guard, and she was never safer then when she was surrounded by them. – (Abel Boyer, The Life and Reign of Queen Anne, London, 1735)

Gregg goes on the say that although most people didn’t actually see the queen in the flesh, the “propagandists of her reign” gave her a triumphant image. However, that image was in great contrast to the “pathetic invalid” that the queen actually was. Gregg says, “Surrounded by political rancour and personal sorrow, burdened by her deteriorating physical condition, subject to the unrelenting demands of daily business, the queen’s spirits were sustained by her personal popularity and by her sense of mission: ‘as long as I live’, she told Godolphin in 1705, ‘it shall be my endeavour to make my Country and my friends easy’. Her determination to succeed in this mission was to be among the greater glories of her reign.”

The picture of Queen Anne today is a Thornhill Engraving and that’s all I can tell you about it.