Wednesday, April 3, 2013

The Warming Pan Baby

The birth of the "Old Pretender," James III. From author Tim Vicary:
The reign of Charles II had been disfigured by fantasists like Titus Oates, whose lies about non-existent Catholic plots had sent many innocent men to the scaffold. Many believed the Great Fire of London, even the Plague, were spread by Catholics. To the London mob, Catholics were monsters, like Jews in Nazi Germany.

And here was the Queen about to give birth to one! It was such an awful thought that many people refused to believe it.  After all, the last Catholic queen - Bloody Mary - had claimed she was pregnant too. And it had all turned out to be a fantasy, a dropsy, a joke. Surely this would be the same.

Plans were laid to ensure that 'unbiased' witnesses - respectable Protestants - would be on hand to witness the birth. The Archbishop of Canterbury, for instance, and King James' second daughter, Princess Anne. (Read entire post.)