Queen Henrietta’s piercing analysis of Calvin

July 25, 2013

Charles I and his wife Henrietta Maria with their eldest children: Charles, Prince of Wales (Charles II) next to his father and James, Duke of York (James II) next to her mother. Painting by Antoon van Dyck

Charles I and his wife Henrietta Maria with their older children: Charles, Prince of Wales (Charles II) next to his father and James, Duke of York (James II) next to her mother. Painting by Antoon van Dyck

When Henrietta Maria of France married Charles I, king of England, he called her attention to a Van Dyck hanging in one of the rooms. The painting showed Calvin holding a quill, and looking up, heavenwards.

Silently and intently, the queen pondered the masterpiece. At last the king asked:

—“What are your thoughts?”

—“Now I understand,” she replied, “how he was able to write so much nonsense. He paid no attention at all to what he was doing.”

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Fernando Palazzi, Enciclopedia degli Aneddoti (Milan: Ceschino, 1946), col. 4802.

Short Stories on Honor, Chivalry, and the World of Nobility—no. 302

 

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