Protecting England and its church: Lady Anne and the death of Charles Stuart

Article


Heffernan, Troy. 2016. "Protecting England and its church: Lady Anne and the death of Charles Stuart." The Seventeenth Century. 31 (1), pp. 57-70. https://doi.org/10.1080/0268117X.2016.1142469
Article Title

Protecting England and its church: Lady Anne and the death of Charles Stuart

ERA Journal ID7687
Article CategoryArticle
Authors
AuthorHeffernan, Troy
Journal TitleThe Seventeenth Century
Journal Citation31 (1), pp. 57-70
Number of Pages14
Year2016
Place of PublicationUnited Kingdom
ISSN0268-117X
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.1080/0268117X.2016.1142469
Web Address (URL)http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/0268117X.2016.1142469
Abstract

In 1666, the English physician Thomas Sydenham determined that patients with smallpox could remain contagious for 41 days, that apparent health was no indicator of contagiousness, and that children were the most susceptible of contracting the disease. Yet in 1677, when 12-year-old Lady Anne Stuart (later Queen Anne) contracted smallpox, only 21 days had passed when she was introduced to her 1-month-old stepbrother, Charles Stuart, heir to the throne and likely Catholic king. Charles Stuart subsequently contracted smallpox from Anne, and the infant died of the disease at a time of heightened paranoia regarding the succession of a Catholic heir. This paper assesses the motives, means, and opportunity that may have led to Anne’s meeting with her stepbrother. The intention is not to suggest or prove that a deliberate attempt was made to remove the Catholic heir, rather, the purpose is to explore the reasons, implications, and possibilities that such an act may have occurred. In a period that resounded with conspiracies and threats to the Protestant succession, Charles Stuart’s death, regardless of whether the infection was, or was not, caused with intent, demonstrates a reversal of common fears where the Catholic line was extinguished to the advantage of the Protestant succession. This paper examines Charles’s death and its implications against a background of contemporary medical knowledge, and while it does not suggest that there is unequivocal proof linking Anne as an unwitting agent in a conspiracy, the paper nonetheless assesses the body of evidence that links Anne to Charles Stuart’s death.

KeywordsAnne Stuart; Charles Stuart; biological warfare; religious history; English history
ANZSRC Field of Research 2020430304. British history
Public Notes

File reproduced in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher/author.

Byline AffiliationsSchool of Arts and Communication
Institution of OriginUniversity of Southern Queensland
Permalink -

https://research.usq.edu.au/item/q37xz/protecting-england-and-its-church-lady-anne-and-the-death-of-charles-stuart

Download files


Submitted Version
  • 1715
    total views
  • 144
    total downloads
  • 2
    views this month
  • 2
    downloads this month

Export as

Related outputs

The media’s coverage of ‘Closing the Gap’ in Australian education
Heffernan, Troy A. and Maxwell, Jacinta. 2020. "The media’s coverage of ‘Closing the Gap’ in Australian education." Discourse: studies in the cultural politics of education. 41 (6), pp. 926-939. https://doi.org/10.1080/01596306.2019.1592365
Queen Anne's upbringing, education, and their impact on her reign and influence over the Church of England
Heffernan, Troy A.. 2017. Queen Anne's upbringing, education, and their impact on her reign and influence over the Church of England. PhD Thesis Doctor of Philosophy. University of Southern Queensland. https://doi.org/10.26192/5c05d9ebd30ce
Propaganda in the English civil wars: designing emotions to divide a nation
Heffernan, Troy. 2015. "Propaganda in the English civil wars: designing emotions to divide a nation." Broomhall, Susan and Finn, Sarah (ed.) Violence and emotions in early modern Europe. New York, United States. Routledge. pp. 173-184