Anglo-French Relations The Cloak of Secrecy A personal voyage of detection



An Instrument of French Foreign Policy: The Secret Treaty of Dover

In 1665 Louis XIV sent the Duc de Verneuil on a special embassy to England to avert the war referred to. Verneuil was the legitimised son of Henri IV and Catherine Henriette de Balzac, hence brother-in-law to Bernard, Duc d’Epernon and half-brother to Henrietta Maria, Charles’ mother, and hence an uncle to Charles

Philibert writes on 18.2.1665 to Lord Fitzharding – ‘I have just given your letter to Madame, who has told me to send you many compliments on her behalf. She also told me that she would write to you. M. de Verneuil and Courtin are going as Ambassadors, and in embassies of this kind there are always a prince, a gentleman and a lawyer. I would have liked to have been one of these two last so as to be able to be with you more often than I shall be. Good-bye. It is six in the morning and we have been dancing so hard that I am exhausted. I know that you are fond enough of me to have been grieved at my little misfortune, but I have recovered long ago. You know that your friend could only perform brave actions, never cowardly ones. Good-bye again, I am yours – the Comte de Gramont’. (Fitzharding may have been Charles Berkeley who was killed by a cannon ball on 3.6.1665, but was probably his father, also Charles, who was Comptroller then Treasurer of the King’s household 1663-8, and who was then succeeded in this role by Thomas Clifford. His brothers had interests in Virginia, Carolina and New Jersey.)

On 14.1.1668 a pass was issued for Comte de Gramont and Marquis de Duras (eventually Lord Feversham and head of the Army for King James, at the time of the arrival in England of William of Orange); with a memorandum that these two passes were cancelled and two others of like tenure were granted in the names of the Earl of St Albans (Henry Jermyn, friend of Henrietta Maria, Lord Chamberlain at the Restoration, in favour of friendship with France) and Thomas Howard (son of Thomas Howard and Elizabeth Cecil), Sir George Hamilton (Philibert’s father-in-law) and Walter Montague (He laid the groundwork for Charles 1’s marriage to Henrietta Maria, worked in France as a secret agent. He was a Catholic Convert who officiated at Henrietta Maria’s funeral and was Almoner to her daughter the year before she died).

 
 

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