Letter XI

The King’s Cabinet Opened was written by Victorious St. Thomas Fairfax. He published them although King Charles obviously was the original author of the letters being written to his wife during wartime. He was writing them to Queen Henrietta during the first English Civil War. He wrote her many letters because communication was obviously stricken due to the lack of mobility of the Army. Plus, the war had many time periods filled with waiting that men had to find something to keep them occupied. In the preface it explains exactly the meaning behind all the letters, it is basically explaining that the King should have been making decisions based on his own judgment, not Queen Henrietta’s.

            It is obvious from the letters that the King has given the Queen complete and total power in his absence, “the King’s councils are wholly managed by the Queen.” This was a total and complete taboo in this time. On top of this, the queen was also French Catholic, which also distasteful in this era. The English people knew that her influence would not help them out in the long run. This obviously did not matter to King Charles. Absolutely no decisions were made without her opinion and thoughts on it were first made, although this was unknown to the public. To start out you can see that the relationship between the King and Queen Henrietta is special by the way he addresses the letters to her with a  “Deare heart.” From the outside looking in their marriage appears to be filled with love and kindness if he would go out of his way to not only update her on his travels and ask her what she thinks about practically everything, but also refer to her as being his heart. Looking at letter XI we can see that a simple summary to begin with is that King Charles speaks of a man named Montrose, who’s actual name is James Graham (1st Marquess of Montrose.) He is one of the King’s supporters. King Charles reports good news from him to his wife. He says the army seems solid and reassures his wife that everything is in order in that area.


In the area of his son however, he mentions to his wife that his son has taken on a “gentleman of the bedchamber.” This sounded life a reference to homosexuality but in reality it was not like that. He simply hired a man who was basically an assistant to him. This almost seems like something frivolous to consult his wife about but when you dig deeper into the letters, we learn that he seemed to consult his wife on basically everything. His main reason for concern is that he does not want another man influencing his son that comes from another religion and a different country. He clearly states that he “refused the admitting of him till I shall hear from thee (referring to the Queen).”  He does not punish or stop his son though until he first hears what the Queen has to say about it. I can see why Charles II would want someone else to consult with that has another opinion on things, it makes problem solving and other things easier plus it may be a benefit having an outsider’s view, but the King would have none of that. This is quite a hypocritical thing to think because he was gaining opinions from Queen Henrietta whose background was completely different from the country he was ruling.

              The letter and the article on Snowden are intertwined because of one main point; the idea of deception from the government. King Charles crossed his people by consulting with Queen Henrietta and in recent times, a type of similar scandal has happened. Snowden exposed how the American government was violating privacy by looking into individual’s personal records and information. After these letters that King Charles wrote to his wife were exposed, the general public was downright shocked to know that a woman was making such a huge impact on the decision making of the King. In both cases the general public felts extremely fooled and violated to a point that huge controversies broke out. Although they both deal with different situations regarding what was going on with the time period, both concern the rulers and government and their opinion of them.

Madison Johnston

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