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Who were the women who were held in captivity by the English monarchs, and why did they go to jail
Who were the women who were held in captivity by the English monarchs, and why did they go to jail

Meghan Markle and her late mother-in-law, Princess Diana, both complained that they were imprisoned by the British royal family. History shows us that these two women were not the first to find themselves in this position. From time to time, British monarchs kept women in honorable (or not so honorable) imprisonment. Perhaps this is one of the bad old English traditions that is so difficult to abandon, who knows.

The domestic violence scandal that rocked Europe for a long time

In our time, the Windsor dynasty reigns in Britain, renamed from Saxe-Coburg-Gotha, after the title of the husband of Queen Victoria. Victoria herself belonged to the Hanoverian dynasty, and the first representative of this dynasty on the throne of Britain was a man who became famous as a family tyrant and murderer - King George I.

When he was not yet an English king, his family forced him to marry his cousin Sophia Dorothea, one of the richest brides in German lands. Sophia Dorothea herself did not strive for this marriage, as if she felt that she would be unhappy in it. Indeed, immediately after the husband's family received her dowry and got an heir from her, not a trace remained of the polite treatment of the young woman.

Sofia Dorothea before marriage

She was bullied long enough, humiliatingly, and perhaps with enough threats to make her decide to flee. This behavior was not normal even for the most frivolous ladies of that time - that is, a woman of her circle really had to be brought to the brink.

Fortunately, fate brought her together with her childhood friend and peer, Count von Königsmark, or simply (for her) Philip Christoph. They planned an escape, and on the agreed night Philip Christophe entered the castle of the future English king. But the plans of the lovers have already been passed on to Georg and his family. Count Koenigsmark was simply killed, and his body was destroyed, so that it was never possible to find him.

Georg divorced Sophia Dorothea, moreover, having achieved all sorts of restrictions in rights (for example, the prohibition to marry again and see his children), but this was not enough. He imprisoned her in Alden Castle. It was around this time that George was invited to the English throne and crowned, and it seemed that the old life should not have bothered him so much: there was a new, much more brilliant one ahead.

George I, portrait by Gottfried Kneller

Nevertheless, the English king George continued to keep his ex-wife in captivity, rejecting requests (from her and her relatives) to soften the regime. Sofia Dorothea died quite early, from diseases caused by the inability to walk or otherwise exercise and nervous overeating. Her daughter, who had become the Prussian empress by that time, declared mourning. This infuriated Georg. He jokingly tried to forbid the queen of another state to grieve over her mother. Of course, this was no longer in his power.

George's treatment of his ex-wife, the emerging story of a murder, a failed escape, the years of violence behind it shocked Europe, and the prisoner of Alden Castle as one of the most unfortunate women in history (of course, among aristocrats) was remembered for a long time.

From prisoner to jailer

The legendary virgin queen, Elizabeth I, spent her youth nervously.When her older sister Mary ascended the throne, persecution of Protestant nobles began: Mary was a Catholic and wanted to return England to Catholicism. Raised as a Protestant, Elizabeth also fell into disgrace, although Mary did not dare to kill her own sister. Instead of execution, Elizabeth was prepared for imprisonment.

It cannot be said that Mary did not think about the execution of Elizabeth. When her Protestant policy led to a riot, a group of young noblemen and the rioters were captured, interrogated and even tortured, demanding to confess that Princess Elizabeth was the head of the conspiracy against royalty. Not one ever put Elizabeth under the death sentence.

Sister Maria tried to beat the conspirators out of the testimony that would enable her to execute Elizabeth

Elizabeth was imprisoned in the Tower fortress. She endured her imprisonment meekly, without complaining or cursing anyone, although the conditions in the fortress were far from the life that she led during the life of her brother Mary, the young King Edward. After a while, she was released so that nothing would overshadow the wedding of Mary with the visiting Spanish prince.

Mary did not live a very long life, and Elizabeth came to the throne after her (by the way, with the support of Mary's husband). After many years of reign, she has already imprisoned in a fortress, only now in Sheffield Castle, her relative - her niece, Queen Mary Stuart of Scots. Due to the tumultuous life of Henry VIII, Elizabeth, his daughter, constantly questioned how much she could be considered law-born. Under the pretext that Elizabeth could not be considered such, Mary claimed her throne … and as a result lost hers, failing to pay due attention to domestic politics.

Elizabeth treated her niece very well - she relied on an extensive staff of servants, and a lot of money was allocated for her maintenance. Mary did not inflame with gratitude from this and all the years of imprisonment tried to intrigue in order to force the nobility to depose Elizabeth and give the throne to her. After almost a decade and a half, Elizabeth got tired of this, and she executed Maria when another conspiracy was revealed.

Maria Stewart still could not come to terms with the fact that she was no longer a queen

Three prisoners of brother Richard the Lionheart

Ballads, fairy tales and films celebrate the brave English king Richard the Lionheart, leaving usually unenviable roles and definitions for his younger brother John (John) Landless. Nevertheless, Richard could not stand England, tried to spend as much time as possible in the Crusades and surrounded by the French, and his insane bravery often cost the lives of his comrades. John, in spite of all the ridicule in his direction, diligently engaged in the affairs of England, observing her and only her interests, and went down in history as not the most successful king, including because he could not clean up everything that his brother heaped up in front of him … Most likely, few people could.

He also had his own prisoners. But they remained to John as an inheritance from his father. The King of England fought the King of Scotland and was victorious; the Scottish king sent his daughters to England as hostages. Fourteen-year-old Isabella and sixteen-year-old Margarita were placed in the castle of Corfe, where they ended up with a young woman who had the right to claim the English throne - Eleanor of Breton.

Eleanor was John's niece, moreover, from his older brother Jeffrey. In fact, there was no reason to believe that she would succeed in taking the throne, because the nobility of England was opposed to women in this regard. So her conclusion by John was the most senseless act in his politics, which, moreover, did not add to his popularity. Moreover, Eleanor was an orphan from the age of two. In this light, her imprisonment by her own uncle looked especially bad.

Portraits of John and Eleanor

The three captives spent several years in captivity. Occasionally they were allowed to leave under the strictest security. Once John sent them gifts - a set of clothes, however, luxurious.In the end, the Scottish princesses were married to English aristocrats - one became the Countess of Norfolk, the other the Countess of Kent. But Eleanor continued to languish. When she was thirty-two, John died, but before that he demanded never to release his niece.

The new king, son of John, strengthened Eleanor's guards. He also permanently stripped her of all titles. He also passed additional laws so that Eleanor could never become queen. At the same time, in order to calm the murmur of those dissatisfied with the treatment of the princess, she was very well kept - the dresses could not be called luxurious, but they corresponded to her origin, she ate good food, she was taken out on horseback (under escort). Every year, Eleanor was shown to people to suppress rumors that the orphan princess was being killed. She was also visited by a kind of commission made up of local sympathizers of the noblewomen. In total, she spent 39 years of her life in prison. Already in old age, she was allowed to go to a monastery.

Their relatives became prisoners of monarchs not only because of politics. hide or just love: What did they do with "special" children in the families of presidents and monarchs.

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