Friday, July 06, 2007


The first edition of the English Bible commonly known as the "King James Version" was printed in 1611.

King James VI of Scotland & I of Great Britain had sponsored the project, and the translators appropriately dedicated the new Bible to him."

Throughout his youth, James was praised for his chastity, since he showed little interest in women; and although he preferred the company of males and showed a special fondness for the Duke of Lennox; a suitable marriage, was necessary to reinforce his monarchy, and the choice fell on the fourteen-year-old Anne of Denmark (born October 1574), younger daughter of the Protestant Frederick II. The couple produced three surviving children: Henry, Prince of Wales, who was to die, probably of typhoid, in 1612, aged 18; Elizabeth, later Queen of Bohemia; and Charles, the future King Charles I of England.

Shortly after his marriage to Anne, King James having already been involved in a love affair with the Duke of Lennox; took as his current lover in England, a young man whose special relationship with the king would earn him the Earldom of Somerset.

By 1615, however, Somerset's fortunes declined and James succeeded in luring his most famous lover, George Villiers, later Duke of Buckingham, into bed. What are we to make of these relationships between King James and his so-called "favorites?"

in 1617 James addressed the venerable Privy Council with an official affirmation of his right to love men:

"I, James, am neither a god nor an angel, but a man like any other. Therefore I act like a man and confess to loving those dear to me more than other men. You may be sure that I love the Earl of Buckingham more than anyone else, and more than you who are here assembled. I wish to speak in my own behalf and not to have it thought to be a defect, for Jesus Christ did the same, and therefore I cannot be blamed. Christ had John, and I have George."

Quote from a letter written by James I to the Duke of Buckingham: "I desire only to live in the world for your sake, and I had rather live banished in any part of the world with you, than live a sorrowful widow-life without you. And so God bless you, my sweet child and wife, and grant that ye may ever be a comfort to your dear dad and husband."

Théophile de Viau did not mince words in describing the king's relationship. In his poem, Au Marquis du Boukinquan, (1623) de Viau writes:

Apollo with his songs
Debauched young Hyacinthus
Just as Corydon fucked Amyntas,
So Caesar did not spurn boys.

One man fucks Monsieur le Grand de Bellegarde,
Another fucks the Comte de Tonnerre.
And it is well known that the King of England
Fucks the Duke of Buckingham.

Assasinated in 1628 the Duke of Buckingham's body was entombed in the Henry VII Chapel at Westminster Abbey, hitherto reserved for royalty, where it now resides beneath a recumbent bronze effigy near the tomb of his beloved King James who died in 1625. On a tablet facing the tomb is the famous (Latin) inscription describing him as "THE ENIGMA OF THE WORLD."

The magnificent Buckingham tomb is on James's left; on his right is the tomb (with bronze figures representing Hope, Truth, Charity and Faith) of his other lover, Ludovic Stuart, Duke of Richmond and Lennox.

King James was responsible for the restoration and remodelling of the Henry VII Chapel—presumably to celebrate for eternity his love for two men.

Many earlier historians treated the subject of James' homosexuality with shock, disdain, and denial. Only recently has the subject been treated more seriously and fairly by scholars such as Caroline Bingham, Jonathan Goldberg Roger Lockyer, and David Bergeron.


Michael in Norfolk said...

Great post. I always find it too, too funny that the King James Bible is the one favored by the Christianist fruit loops crowd. If one truly knows history (I was a history major with emphasis on British and Russian History), they know that James I of England was as queer as they come. Of course the anti-knowledge fundies vigorously deny it. However, I doubt the Privy Council recorded information about James' boy friends just for the Hell of it, particularly since in those days, the King could have one executed.

cats said...

ohhh, i didn't know this. how interesting.

of course it wasn't uncommon especially since many men of that time believed that true love could only be found in the friendship of another man since women were not equal to them.

now it's seen as unmasculine to love a man.

RIC said...

Wonderful text, dear Don! Now I understand the reason why you spoke of inspiration.
All in all, it seems they've been quite a few (!) throughout History, kings who had lovers. From Egypt to present day monarchies.
And Portugal is no exception: what is said of Sebastian is also said of Henry, the Navigator... But the Portuguese in general are not so inclined to admit about a true national myth: the man who started to give new worlds to the world - as Camoens wrote in «The Lusiads».
Thank you so very much! :-)

CrackerLilo said...

What a fantastic post! Like Michael in Norfolk, I also find the hypocrisy staggering...and hilarious, too. Thank you so much for sharing this. I especially love the poem!

ConnieJane said...

Great post!!!

I too agree with Michael and Cracker. The holy rollers will never believe it.

leone said...

Good old James!! Ha ha. I love your new template - very bright and cheerful... Have a great weekend.