Cavalier Queen-Behind the Scenes
‘I was nearly half way through the first draft of an entirely different story about the Civil War when, during the course of my research, I came across Anthony Adolph’s wonderful biography of Henry Jermyn. As soon as I started reading, it sent tingles down my spine. It is the kind of story any historical novelist, who writes books based on real people and facts, dreams of discovering.’
Set during the English Civil War, Cavalier Queen tells the epic true story of Queen Henrietta Maria of France, Queen of Charles I, and her chamberlain, Henry Jermyn Earl of St Albans, after whom Jermyn Street in London is named. Henrietta’s love for the executed King Charles I is one of the most famous love stories in history, but there were contemporary rumours that she and Henry were lovers. It was Henry who went with her into exile, who rode with her at the head of her army and he remained devotedly by her side all his life, even when he risked being hung as a traitor. Some said it was her love for him that resulted in the King’s death.
Henry Jermyn, Earl of St Albans (1605-1684) is regarded as the fonder of the West End of London. He created St James’s Square, Jermyn Street with its surrounding streets and the church of St James’s, Westminster on a patchy of scruffy ground granted him by Charles II in 1661, in lieu of the £45,000 which he had spent helping the king to be restored.
Henry owed his rise to the favour of Henrietta Maria and their closeness inspired contemporary rumours of a secret marriage, and that he, not Charles I, was the true father of Charles II.