A Student of History

March 15, 2007

A Royal Blush

Filed under: The Academy — John Maass @ 6:37 am

Anthony van Dyck, 1636

 Dr. Sarah Poynting of England’s University of Keele has cracked two letters written in code to reveal secrets of the sex life of Charles I. While preparing a scholarly edition of the King’s writings, to be published by Oxford University Press, Dr Poynting examined the letters Charles smuggled out on scraps of paper from Carisbrooke Castle, where he was imprisoned in 1648, and discovered that a letter written in cipher by the 17 th -century monarch – renowned for his strong moral values – had previously been incorrectly decoded, concealing the King’s attempt to arrange a sexual liaison with Jane Whorwood, one of his supporters. This discovery produced considerable interest in the international media, with reports in British, Hungarian, Swedish and New Zealand newspapers and websites, and on Scottish radio. The curator of historical manuscripts at the British Library described Dr Poynting’s work as ‘pure archival genius’, adding that it has ‘overturned our previous views of Charles’. Her work is published as ‘Deciphering the King: Charles I’s Letters to Jane Whorwood’, The Seventeenth Century , 21:1 (2006), pp. 128-140. See also:





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