During the reign of Queen Victoria, the tombs in Westminster Abbey were surveyed and reviewed. In 1867 Dean Stanley instituted a search for the body of James 1 ( it was eventually found in the tomb of Henry VII,in the Henry VII Chapel). During the search a decision was made to look in the tomb of James' mother, Mary Queen of Scots.
Mary's effigy, calm and prayerful,gave no hint of what lay beneath. At the foot of a steep flight of stairs they found a large brick vault,12 ft long,6ft high and 7ft wide.
But Mary,Queen of Scots was not alone.
Beside her, heaped up in confusion,was a great pile of lead coffins,many of them very small indeed. The tiny coffins contained the bodies of royal children who had died in infancy,including the first 10 children of James II; and the 18 babies of Queen Anne,with the only one of her children to survive infancy,the beloved Duke of Gloucester.
POOR QUEEN ANNE
Anne married in 1683.
From the age of 19 she bravely suffered the loss of babies,either miscarried,stillborn or dying in their infancy. The list is tragic:
1684 May 12 A stillborn daughter
1685 June 2 Mary(died of smallpox, 8.2.1687)
1686 June 2 Anne Sophie(died of smallpox,2.2.1687)
1687 Between Jan 20 & Feb 4 A miscarriage
1687 October A miscarriage
1688 April 16 A miscarriage
1689 July 24 William Duke of Gloucester(died 30.7.1700)
1690 Oct 14 Mary(2 months premature,lived 2hours)
1692 April17 George(lived a few minutes)
1693 March 23 A miscarriage
1694 January 21 A miscarriage
1696 Feb 18 A miscarriage
1696 Sept 20 A double miscarriage(a son of 7 months' growth,the other of 2 or 3 months)
1697 March 25 A miscarriage
1697 December A miscarriage
1698 Sept 15 A miscarriage
1700 Jan 25 A miscarriage
As Queen Anne grew older, her health deteriorated. She suffered from painful arthritic joints,her body swelled up with dropsy and she finally had to be carried everywhere.
In 1975 the medical press reported the discovery of an antibody in the blood of some women- the condition is known as Lupus erythematosus, & following symptoms may include arthritis in joints, skin eruptions, dropsy& obesity(all experienced by Queen Anne).
Maybe, if she had lived today, Queen Anne could have been a happy mother.
In the royal portraits she appears serene and powerful; but how she must have suffered