I recently received this book, The Correspondence of Elizabeth Stuart, Queen of Bohemia from the Oxford University Press. It’s edited by Nadine Akkerman, who is also contracted to write a biography of Elizabeth Stuart. The correspondence actually consists of three volumes and the second volume was actually released first in 2011 as it was Nadine Akkerman’s PhD thesis.
The book begins with an introduction into Elizabeth Stuart’s life, which begins as an English Princess, a Queen in exile and finally as the beginning of a new royal line of succession. The book begins with her very first letters to her brother Henry Frederick ‘my dear and worthy brother’ and ends in 1631 when she’s already in exile in The Hague. I was particularly touched by her grief for her son Louis, who died of ‘teething’ and for the tragedy that would befall her eldest son, who drowned in the Haarlemmermeer at the age of 15. The rivalry between her and Amalia of Solms-Braunfels also shines through again as she calls her ‘petite tante’.
Some of the letters are in French and are translated into modern English; others are in English but with medieval spelling and grammar. They are still quite readable, though it takes a bit more effort! All the letters have plenty of footnotes for a bit of context. In total there are 588 letters to and from Elizabeth. How amazing that so many (and much more!) survived to this day.
I hope to one day be able to read all three volumes, but I’m not sure if Volume III has a release date yet and I’m really looking forward to Nadine Akkerman’s biography of Elizabeth Stuart. I enjoyed her style of writing from the introduction. (UK & US)