The Queens’ Arcanum: Authority and Authorship in The Queens Closet Opened (1655) JAYNE ARCHER (UNIVERSITY OF WARWICK) On the subject of Queen Henrietta Maria’s contribution to the intellectual and cultural life of the Caroline Court, historians have long been dismissive. ‘As far as the bulk of her subjects could judge’, Elizabeth Hamilton remarks, ‘all her artistic sense seemed to have gone into dress and decoration’.1 More recently, however, literary historians such as Martin Butler, Sophie Tomlinson and Erica Veevers have examined Henrietta Maria’s use of forms such as pastoral drama, French romance and Christian Neo-Platonism to advance an ‘oppositional’ politics and to develop what Tomlinson calls a ‘femino-centric court culture’.2 But Henrietta Maria’s contribution to other intellectual traditions, most notably natural philosophy, remains largely overlooked.3 Into her household, Henrietta Maria drew a number of natural philosophers/scientists, including John Evelyn, Kenelm Digby, the physician Theodore Turquet de Mayerne, the mathematician John Pell and the apothecary John Parkinson. Drawing together the work of these men and other members of the queen’s household, Henrietta Maria’s name is associated with one of the most successful publications of the seventeenth century: The Queens Closet Opened (1655). Significantly, it is a work in which the discourses of natural philosophy, politics, housewifery and religion intersect to translate household management into a branch of national government, and in which the authority of the office of queen is in part shown to be passed down in the form of accumulated knowledge from woman to woman, queen to queen.4 1 Elizabeth Hamilton, Henrietta Maria (London: Hamish Hamilton, 1976), p. 76. Martin Butler, ‘Court Drama: The Queen’s Circle 1632-37’, in Theatre and Crisis: 1632-1642, by Butler (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1984), 25-54; Clare McManus, ed., The Queen’s Court: Elite Female Cultural Agency and the Cultures of Early Stuart Courts (Aldershot: Ashgate, forthcoming); Sophie Tomlinson, ‘She That Plays the King: Henrietta Maria and the Threat of the Actress in Caroline Culture’, in The Politics of Tragicomedy: Shakespeare and After, ed. Gordon McMullan and Jonathan Hope (London: Routledge, 1992), 189-207; Erica Veevers, Images of Love and Religion: Queen Henrietta Maria and Court Entertainments (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1989). 3 An exception is Lynette Hunter, ‘Women and Domestic Medicine: Lady Experimenters, 1570-1620’, in Women, Science and Medicine 1500-1700: Mothers and Sisters of the Royal Society, ed. Lynette Hunter and Sarah Hutton (Stroud: Sutton, 1997), p. 93. 4 For the purposes of this short article, I will not consider the significant constitutional differences between the offices of queen and queen consort. On these differences, see Leeds Barroll, Anna of Denmark, Queen of England: A Cultural Biography (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2001), p. 4. 2 A neat twelvemo pocketbook of household receipts, The Queens Closet Opened was first published in 1655 and proved an instant success. With various corrections and additions, it went into at least eighteen editions in the seventeenth century alone. The title-page of the first edition promises ‘Incomparable secrets in physick, chirurgery, preserving, candying, and cookery’, and is divided into two books: ‘The Pearl of Practice: Accurate, Physical, and Chirurgical Receipts’, a collection of mostly herbal remedies punctuated with recipes for cosmetics and pigments; and ‘A Queens delight: or, The art of preserving, conserving, and candying’, a book of sugarcraft, distilled waters, cordials, perfumes, wines and cakes. Editors of printed receipt books were eager to make their publications as comprehensive as possible (to offer, as Hannah Woolley exclaimed, ‘A little of everything’), and so later editions boasted a third book, ‘The Compleat Cook’, containing recipes for the ‘Dressing of Flesh and Fish, Ordering of Sauces, or Making of Pastry’, incorporating national and international cuisine.5 According to the titlepage, Queen Henrietta Maria collected and experimented upon many of these recipes: ‘they were presented to the Queen by the most experienced persons of our times, many whereof they were honoured with her own practice, when she pleased to descend to these more private recreations’.6 A portrait of Henrietta Maria, which provided an illustrated frontispiece for several of the early editions, reinforced this attribution. In recent years, however, the ‘authenticity’ of The Queens Closet Opened has been questioned. John B. Blake, for example, admits ‘some skepticism about this royal contribution’; while Antonia Fraser assumes it to have been the work of an opportunistic hack, eager to ‘cash in on a famous name for commercial purposes’.7 Certainly, by the midseventeenth century it was something of a convention for the editors and publishers of receipt books to identify the source for their publication as the manuscript receipt book of a (usually anonymous and recently deceased) noblewoman.8 That hack writers exploited the popularity of 5 Hannah Woolley, A Supplement to the Queen-Like Closet, Or A Little of Everything (London, 1680), A1r. 6 The Queens Closet Opened (1655), A1r. Unless otherwise indicated, all quotations are taken from this, the first edition. 7 John B. Blake, ‘The Complete Housewife’, Bulletin of the History of Medicine 49.1 (1975), p. 31; Antonia Fraser, The Weaker Vessel: Woman’s Lot in SeventeenthCentury England (London: Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 1984), pp. 45-6. In her recent biography of Henrietta Maria, Alison Plowden makes no mention of The Queens Closet Opened: Henrietta Maria: Charles I’s Indomitable Queen (Stoud: Sutton, 2001). 8 John Partridge, for example, claims that his printed receipt book The Widowes Treasure (1586) was based on a manuscript written out ‘at the earnest request and sute of a Gentlewoma[n] in the Countrie for her priuate use’ (A2r). Gervase Markham this genre does not, however, render the attribution implausible. Women of the nobility and gentry were expected to compile such receipt books so that they could fulfil their roles as household managers and as caregivers both within the home and the wider community. The recipes in The Queens Closet Opened are typical of those found in the manuscript receipt books compiled by elite women.9 The medical receipts are predominantly herbal; using simples readily available within the household (and kitchen garden), occasionally supplemented by minerals (to be purchased from an apothecary), basic astrological lore and sympathetic magic. The healing powers of these preparations mostly come from repeated acts of distillation. The following treatment, ‘A special water for a Consumption’, is typical: Take a peck of garden shell snails, wash them in small Beer, put them into a great Iron dripping pan, and set them on the hot fire of charcoals, and keep them constantly stirring till they make no noise at all, then with a knife and cloth pick them out, and wipe them clean, then bruise them in a stone Mortar, shels and all, then take a quart of Earth worms, rip them up with a knife, and scowr them with Salt. (p. 22) The snails and earthworms are then distilled in a large brass pot with herbs, flowers, spices, berries and powdered ‘Harts horn’ (p. 23) to produce a strong medicinal water. This recipe, which is by no means the least palatable of the remedies in The Queens Closet Opened, reminds us that the value of these recipes lay not simply in their ability to cure, but for their ability to provoke change in a patient (whether for good or ill), as a source of entertainment (or ‘delight’) and as a spur to curiosity. Carola Oman, one of the few historians to accept Henrietta Maria’s involvement in this publication, assumes that these recipes represent the work of Theodore Turquet de Mayerne (1573-1655), physician to a succession of French and British kings and queens, including James and Anna, Henrietta Maria and Charles: ‘Mayerne’, Oman writes, ‘occupied his leisure hours with chemical experiments and first won Henrietta’s favour by giving her the prescriptions that appear in The Queen’s [sic] claimed that the medical portions of The English House-wife (1631) were taken from ‘a Manuscript given to a great worthy Countesse of this land’ (p. 5). 9 This observation is based on consultation of over thirty manuscript receipt books, including, for example, those owned by Joan Barrington, c.1615-1679 (Essex County Record Office D/Dba F40/1-20); Lady Frances Catchmay, c.1625 (Wellcome Western MS. 184a); Lady Anne Fanshawe, c.1651-1678 (Wellcome Western MS. 7113); Lady Tyrrell, c.1647-c.1677 (Guildhall MS. 558); and Sarah Wigges, c.1616 (Royal College of Physicians MS. 654). Closet’.10 Mayerne’s experiments with pigments, dyes, cosmetics, medicines and foodstuffs may well appear among the many unattributed recipes in The Queens Closet Opened.11 But it is notable that only one recipe, ‘A purge’, is directly attributed to ‘Dr. Mayherne’ (p. 180). Indeed, the task of establishing ‘authorship’ of early modern printed receipt books is anachronistic. The editors and publishers of these books borrowed heavily from one another, often without acknowledgement, altering recipes in the light of experience or in order to appeal to the tastes and means of a new readership. Instead, the notion of ‘authorship’ in these books rests equally upon the ownership of a particular collection of receipts and upon ‘authorities’, the individuals whose names give ‘proof’ to the value (encompassing the originality as well as the effectiveness) of a receipt. Typically, therefore, a recipe will be attributed to a particular individual, possibly with a date, place or a brief case-history, and with the tag ‘prooved’ or ‘probatum est’. In such books, the value of a receipt rests entirely in its association with a specific person and the assertion that it has worked for them. For this reason, later editions of The Queens Closet Opened boast a list of ‘The Prescribers, and Approvers of most of these rare Receipts’.12 Of the eighty-three named sources, thirty are women, of whom three are queens or princesses, five are countesses, fifteen are titled ‘Lady’ and seven are titled ‘Mrs.’ These women stand alongside the names of noblemen, licensed physicians, senior churchmen and politicians. Again, this is a characteristic feature of women’s manuscript receipt books, in which recipes are collected (or ‘received’) from a wide circle of friends, relatives, neighbours and employees, without any apparent attempt to distinguish between the kinds of authority that their names might represent.13 Carola Oman, Henrietta Maria (London: White Lion, 1976), p. 61. Oman’s thesis is repeated in the DNB entry for Mayerne: ‘His industry in chemistry, shown in his innumerable notes and experiments, explains his prescriptions of cosmetics for the queen. Her vanity was pleased by them and his experimental curiosity satisfied’ (DNB vol. 13, p. 152). On Mayerne, see Allen Debus, The English Paracelsians (New York: F. Watts, 1966), pp. 150-6. 11 The recipes in The Queens Closet Opened are similar to those published in Archimagirus Anglo-Gallicus ... Copied from a choice manuscript of Sir Theodore Mayerne Knight, physician to the late K. Charles ([London]: Printed for G. Bedell and T. Collins, 1658), a work of ‘Kitchin-physick’ (A2v), containing recipes for sugar-work and preserves. Further correspondences can be identified with the recipes in Mayerne’s manuscript receipt books, especially British Library Sloane MSS. 304, 2041 and 2222. 12 The Queens Closet Opened (1659), 3r. 13 On the notion of personal authority in establishing the truth-value of receipts and scientific knowledge in the seventeenth century, see: Michael Hunter, ‘The Reluctant 10 While the formal features of The Queens Closet Opened confirm that it is indeed typical of the type of manuscripts compiled by early modern women, a consideration of some of the contributors indicates that this publication represents the accumulated knowledge of three queens, namely Elizabeth, Anna and Henrietta Maria. The missing apostrophe in the title immediately arouses doubt in the reader as to how many queens are (so to speak) having their closet opened. This ambiguity is only heightened by the one recipe that does invoke the name of ‘the Queen’: ‘A Medicine for the Plague that the Lord Mayor had from the Queen’ (pp. 31-2). Implying that ‘the Queen’ was in the habit of giving as well as receiving recipes, the reader is nevertheless left uncertain as to which Queen this recipe refers. Indeed, while one recipe is connected with the name of Queen Elizabeth I (a ‘perfume’, p. 272), the single dated recipe (‘A drink for the plague or pestilent feaver proved by the Countesse of Arundel, in the year 1603’ [p. 25]) comes from the year of Elizabeth’s death. The implication is that manuscript receipts were collected by Elizabeth and Anna, and passed down to Henrietta Maria. Again, this is a characteristic feature of women’s manuscript receipt books which, unlike many other forms of property, tended to be passed down from woman to woman, usually following the distaff line, but in this instance, perhaps, being inherited with the office of queen. With housewifery an accomplishment expected of all early modern women, including the queen, collecting receipts becomes an important aspect of queenship.14 Identifying some of the authorities for the recipes in The Queens Closet Opened, the connections with the households of Elizabeth, Anna and Henrietta Maria are strengthened. The ‘Countess of Arundel’, who is the source for a ‘drink for the scurvy’ (p. 149), a ‘special remedy for the stone, back, and to make a woman conceive’ (p. 168) as well as the ‘drink for the plague or pestilent feaver’ cited above, can probably be identified with Alathea Howard, née Talbot (d. 1654), an intimate of Anna and Henrietta Maria, and the supposed author of Natura Exenterata (1655), a sophisticated compendium of household and chymical receipts. Alternatively, this Countess of Arundel could be Anne Howard, née Philanthropist: Robert Boyle and the “Communication of Secrets and Receits in Physick”’, in Religio Medici: Medicine and Religion in Seventeenth-Century England, ed. Ole Peter Grell and Andrew Cunningham (Aldershot: Scolar Press, 1996), pp. 247-272; and Steven Shapin, A Social History of Truth: Civility and Science in Seventeenth-Century England (London: The University of Chicago Press, 1995). 14 Housewifery features in the educational curriculum devised by Juan Luis Vives for Katherine of Aragon’s daughter, Princess Mary. See: Instruction of a Christian Woman (comp. 1523, pub. c.1540), trans. Richard Hyrde, in Vives and the Renascence Education of Women, ed. Foster Watson (London: Edward Arnold, 1912), pp. 46-8. At least one recipe, ‘King Edwards perfume’ (p. 272) would appear to predate Elizabeth’s reign. Dacre (1557-1630), Alathea’s mother-in-law, an amateur healer and a prolific collector of manuscript receipts.15 Alathea’s sister, Elizabeth Grey, Countess of Oxford (1581-1651), also appears as the source for the famous ‘powder presented by her to the Queen’ (p. 274); like her sister, Elizabeth’s manuscript collection was cited as the source for a printed receipt book, A Choice Manuall of Rare and Select Secrets in Physick and Chyrurgery (1652/3).16 A number of women healers cited in The Queens Closet Opened also date from the reigns of Elizabeth and Anna. For example, Lady Grace Mildmay (1552-1620), who maintained a large medical practice from her home in Northamptonshire, is ascribed a ‘drink for a cold or cough’ (p. 164).17 “‘Lady Thornborugh’, who is credited with a ‘syrup of elders’ (p. 267), can probably be identified with Elizabeth Bayles, the second wife of John Thornborough (1551-1641), the ‘bishop-alchemist’.18 (Under his title Bishop of Worcester, John Thornborough is the source for an ‘admirably curing powder’ [p. 19].) We know that Elizabeth Bayles produced her own remedies, because she appears in the diary of Lady Margaret Hoby as the source for ‘a medeson’.19 Lady Hoby (1571-1633), who is cited in The Queens Closet Opened as the source for a ‘medicine for a dropsie’ (p. 11), used her diary to record her work in her stillroom (or ‘closet’), where she distilled medicinal oils and waters.20 A more detailed reconstruction of the named sources in The Queens Closet Opened and their links to the queens (Elizabeth, Anna and Henrietta Maria) is, unfortunately, beyond the scope of this short article. In what remains of this article, I want to advance a hypothesis concerning the identity of the editor of The Queens Closet Opened, and establish a link between this mysterious ‘W. M.’ and Henrietta Maria. On the occasion of Alathea’s marriage to Thomas Howard in 1606, Anne had her collection of household receipts copied out in a new manuscript volume for her daughter-in-law: Wellcome Western MS. 213. ‘Lady Dacre’ is named as the source for a ‘drink’ for ‘the stone & stranguary’ (pp. 168-170). 16 A Choice Manuall of Rare and Select Secrets in Physick and Chyrurgery; Collected, and Practised by the Right Honorable, the Countesse of Kent, Late Deceased (1652/3). On the Countesses of Arundel and Oxford, see Lynette Hunter, ‘Women and Domestic Medicine: Lady Experimenters, 1570-1620.’ 17 Some of Lady Mildmay’s manuscript receipts have been edited for publication in With Faith and Physic: The Life of a Tudor Gentlewoman, Lady Grace Mildmay, 1552-1620, ed. Linda A. Pollock (London: Collins & Brown, 1993). 18 On Thornborough’s alchemical work, see Allen G. Debus, The English Paracelsians, p. 103. 19 Margaret Hoby, The Diary of Lady Margaret Hoby, 1599-1605, ed. Dorothy M. Meads (London: Routledge, 1930), p. 159. This entry is dated Dec. 9th 1600. 20 Margaret Hoby, The Diary, pp. 134, 180. 15 Until at least 1664, Nathaniel Brooke was named as the publisher of The Queens Closet Opened, using a succession of different printers. But on the various title-pages the editor was consistently identified as ‘W. M.’: ‘Transcribed from the true copies of her Majesties own receipt books, by W. M. one of her late servants’. ‘W. M.’ was also the author of a lengthy dedicatory epistle, in which he identifies himself as Henrietta Maria’s former secretary, who both transcribed and took possession of the Queen’s personal papers: Generous Reader; My particular relation for many yeares to her Majesties service might easily, should I write my own history, rid thee of all scruples touching the truth of this collection, there being few or none of these receipts presented to her Majesty, which were not transcribed into her book by my self, the Original papers being most of them preserved in my own hands, which I kept as so many Reliques, and should sooner have parted with my dearest bloud, then to have suffered them to be publick. (A3r-A3v) Holding on to the ‘Reliques’ of his former mistress, just as a Catholic might treasure a relic of their patron saint, W. M. associates himself with Henrietta Maria’s religion. These ‘Reliques’, the editor explains, were accidentally leaked when W. M. leant a transcript of the ‘Original papers’ to an untrustworthy patron (‘a person of Honor’). Rather than suffer the release of an unauthorised edition of these papers, he has (albeit reluctantly) agreed to participate in the publication of The Queens Closet Opened: [S]ince my Soveraign Mistresse her banishment, as also this continued change, being diffident of the alteration of these times, I could not deny the importunities of a person of Honour, to whom I was obliged, who got a transcript of one of the true copies from me, but by ill fortune either lent it or lost it; which I had never known from himself, but that to my no small amazement, I found no lesse then two other copies abroad, the sad consideration whereof inforced mee to consult with my friends, who all of them advised me to dispatch my Original copy to the Presse to prevent those false ones; for otherwise I should not have thought it lesse then Sacriledge, had not the lock been first pickt, to have opened the Closet of my distressed Soveraigne Mistresse without her Royall assent; but since that unfortunate miscarriage, I thought this publication to stand upon no ordinary tearms of honour, as it might continue my Soveraign Ladies remembrance in the brests and loves of those persons of honour and quality, that presented most of these rare receipts to her ... (A3v-A4v) This rhetoric of closets, secrets, keys, locks, the revelation and occlusion of secrets closely resembles the role of the secretary as set out by Angel Day in The English Secretary (1599): ‘The Closet in every house, as it is a reposement of secrets, so it is onelie ... at the owners, and no others commaundement: The Secretorie, as hee is a keeper and conserver of secrets, so is hee by his Lord or Maister, and by none other to bee Directed’ (p. 103).21 As Richard Rambuss has argued, Day draws a close correspondence between the roles of secretary and spy.22 A Catholic, an exile, a published author, a loyal servant who ‘fell with the Court’, a secretary and, perhaps, a spy: for a contemporary reader, ‘W. M.’ would have been instantly identifiable as Walter Montagu[e] (c.16031677), perhaps the closest and most loyal of Henrietta Maria’s ‘late servants’. The precise facts of Montagu’s life are sketchy, but it is clear that he served Henrietta Maria as secretary and spy, a keeper and discoverer of secrets.23 The second son of the Earl of Manchester and a protégé of the Duke of Buckingham, Montagu first met Henrietta Maria in 1624, when he was sent on a secret mission to France to prepare the way for marriage negotiations. Following Buckingham’s assassination in 1628, Montagu established himself as a leading member of the Queen’s court at Denmark House. During the 1630s, he influenced the religious, political, cultural and philosophical life of Henrietta Maria’s household. Following his conversion to Catholicism in 1635, Montagu encouraged the Queen to take a more active role in propagating the Catholic faith in England, and helped shape her cultural persona through the composition of three works: The Shepheard’s Paradise (London, 1659), a pastoral drama performed by the Queen and her ladies in January 1633; Miscellanea Spiritualia (1648), an examination of corruption at court; 21 On the motif of the closet in early modern culture, see: Patricia Fumerton, Cultural Aesthetics: Renaissance Literature and the Practice of Social Ornament (London: The University of Chicago Press, 1991), pp. 1-25, 67-100; and Alan Stewart, ‘The Early Modern Closet Discovered’, Representations 50 (Spring 1995): 76-100. 22 Richard Rambuss, Spenser’s Secret Career (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1993), p. 4. 23 All biographical information relating to Montagu is taken from DNB vol. 13, pp. 717-9. There is a brief biographical sketch of Montagu in the introduction to Sarah Poynting’s edition of Montagu’s The Shepheard’s Paradise (Oxford: Oxford University Press for the Malone Society, 1997-8). and The Accomplish’d Woman (London, 1656), a translation of the first edition of Jacques du Bosc’s vindication of female virtue and education.24 Another publication, Jeremias Redivivus (London, 1649), is a lamentation upon the death of King Charles I; Montagu’s Letter Against Protestantism was published with Lucius Cary Viscount Falkland’s A Discourse of Infallibility (London, 1660).25 Henrietta Maria’s secretary during the late 1630s and early 1640s was Sir John Winter. But throughout this period and beyond, Montagu served as a different kind of ‘secretary’ to the Queen, acting as an intermediary between her, King Charles, Marie de Médici and prominent Royalists in England and on the Continent. Alongside Winter and Kenelm Digby (the Queen’s Chancellor and another collector of manuscript receipts), Montagu was commissioned by Henrietta Maria to collect money from English Catholics towards defraying the costs of the Royalist army.26 Montagu, Digby and Winter were called to account before the Commons in 1641, and in August 1649 all three were formally banished upon pain of death, when Montagu went into exile in France. During this time, Montagu continued to rely upon the patronage and trust of Henrietta Maria and her mother, Marie de Médici. Montagu acted as almoner to Henrietta Maria, and took charge of her son, Henry Duke of Gloucester. Marie de Médici, who continued to consult Montagu on affairs of state, had him appointed abbot of the Benedictine monastery of Nanteuil in the diocese of Metz and subsequently the abbey of St. Martin, near Pointoise. Despite receiving such lucrative appointments, Montagu spent these years supervising the publication of his writings (some of which had previously circulated in manuscripts) in England. A brief scan of the dates of Montagu’s publications (1648, 1649, 1656 and 1660) reveals that he was in close and frequent contact with London publishers during the period when The Queens Closet Opened was first published. We know that Montagu secretly returned to England towards the end of the 1660s to visit his brother Edward, Earl of Manchester. Despite the professed reluctance of ‘W.M.’ to publish, money may have been a Of particular relevance to The Queens Closet Opened is du Bosc’s defence of women’s ‘divine’ and virtuous desire to investigate the ‘secrets of nature’. 25 On Montagu’s religious publications, see Susan Field Senneff, ‘Some Neglected Writings on Contemplation by Walter Montagu (c.1603-1677), the English Recusant Chaplain to Queen Henrietta Maria’, in Neglected English Literature: Recusant Writings of the 16th-17th Centuries, ed. Dorothy L. Latz (Salzburg: Univerität Salzburg, 1997), 75-97. 26 Digby features in The Queens Closet Opened as the source for ‘Aqua mirabilis’ (p. 290). Digby’s manuscript receipt collection formed the basis of a number of publications, including Choice and Experimented Receipts in Physick and Chirurgery (1668) and The Closet of the Eminently Learned Sir Kenelme Digby Kt. Opened (London, 1671). 24 motive—the Countess of Oxford’s A Choice Manuall (1652/3) had been sufficiently successful to suggest that a similar publication might prove profitable. Certainly, towards the end of his life Montagu was wealthy enough to devote his retirement in Paris to charitable works. But it is also possible to discern another motive. Indeed, if Montagu can indeed be identified with ‘W. M.’, then it is tempting to interpret the publication of The Queens Closet Opened as a continuation of his work as loyal secretary/spy to Henrietta Maria. An important aspect of the work of a secretary, as delineated by Angel Day, was to know when to keep and when to reveal secrets—to know when, how and to whom the ‘closet’ should be opened. In natural philosophy, the feminised ‘closet’ was typically the repository for the secrets of nature.27 But to a contemporary readership, the term ‘closet’ (together with its synonym ‘cabinet’) also carried potent political connotations. Hero Chalmers has argued that Royalist women writers (men and women) often associated themselves with tropes of inwardness, retirement and secrecy—regions typically identified with femininity, but invested with political and religious affiliations.28 The Queens Closet Opened would seem to function within this discourse, but the Queen’s closet was equally able to function as a locus for the oppositional politics of Protestantism. Thus John Foxe commemorated the ‘closets and coffers’ of Queen Katherine Parr and her ladies as repositories for the forbidden books of the Reformed faith.29 For Foxe, as for ‘W. M.’, the queens’ closet keeps alive a truth (the Reformed religion; the legitimacy of Henrietta Maria’s queenship) that is suppressed by the corruption of the outside world. But Montagu had more immediate precedents. In two publications from the 1640s, The Kings Cabinet Opened (1645) and The Lord George Digbys Cabinet (1646), the ‘closets’ of King Charles I and his supporters, containing their secret correspondence, were opened up and revealed to the public. Complete with Parliamentarian exegesis, these publications were used to discredit the King, chiefly through his perceived reliance on Henrietta Maria, who is denounced as a member of ‘the weaker sexe, borne an Alien, bred up in a contrary Religion’.30 It is quite appropriate that Montagu, who carried these and similar secret On this motif, see Evelyn Fox Keller, ‘From Secrets of Life to Secrets of Death’, in Body/Politics: Women and the Discourses of Science, ed. Mary Jacobus, Evelyn Fox Keller and Sally Shuttleworth (New York: Routledge, 1990). 28 Hero Chalmers, ‘Royalist Women Writers and the Literature of Retirement’, unpublished paper presented at the Renaissance Graduate Seminar, Cambridge University, 2nd June 1998. 29 John Foxe, The Acts and Monuments (1563), ed. George Townsend (London: Seeley, Burnside and Seeley, 1846), vol. 5, p. 557. 30 The Kings Cabinet Opened (1645), p. 43. 27 letters between Charles, Henrietta Maria and their supporters, should have used this motif of the opened closet in order to reassert the legitimacy of Henrietta Maria’s queenship.31 With the publication of The Queens Closet Opened, this Parliamentarian rhetoric is used against itself, and Henrietta Maria, although in exile, returns to Britain in textual form, in the apparently innocuous guise of housewife. She thus retains what is arguably one of her most important functions as queen, namely the production and circulation of the secrets of nature, by which the sick can be healed, the impoverished nourished and the charitable work of the nobility and gentry enabled.32 Thus in later editions of The Queens Closet Opened, ‘W. M.’, no longer feeling it necessary to apologise for the publication of his former mistress’s secrets, gives emphasis to this charitable impulse, with the nobility (implicitly, perhaps, Royalists and Catholics) raised to their former status: ‘what can be more noble then that which gives the rich such an opportunity of spending upon good works, while they succour the poor, and give comfort to them in their greatest distresses’.33 Reinstating Henrietta Maria as head of a vast network through which the secrets of nature are produced, tested and circulated, the act of opening the ‘Queens’ closet’ thus becomes one way in which the Restoration may begin to be realised. Transposing household management onto national politics, the receipt books published immediately following the Restoration could properly claim to be ‘domestic’ in both senses of the word. Thus John Ponteus could assert that his collection of medical receipts, The Queens Cabinet Newly-Opened (1662), ‘are Printed for the good and benefit of the Kingdome’ (B4v), and Hannah Woolley, author of The Queen-Like Closet: Or, Rich Cabinet (1670), could argue that in revealing her household ‘Secrets’, she was working ‘for my Countries good’ and not simply to ‘get fame’ (A2r). In this article I have suggested that the ‘secrets’ or receipts contained in The Queens Closet Opened are consonant with the particular intellectual circle fostered by Henrietta Maria, and have identified Walter Montagu as the agent by which these secrets were published. But I have also suggested that Henrietta Maria’s queenship, as it is presented in The Queens Closet Opened, is legitimated 31 In a letter to the Marquis of Newcastle, written from Oxford in 1643, Henrietta Maria reports on the ‘misfortune’ of Montagu’s capture at Rochester while conveying letters between her and her husband: Letters of Queen Henrietta Maria, ed. M. A. E. Green (London, 1856/7). 32 An interesting parallel to The Queens Closet Opened is provided by Randal Taylor’s The Court & Kitchin of Elizabeth, Commonly called Joan Cromwell (1664), a printed receipt book in which the injustices of the Cromwellian regime are attacked and ridiculed through the restricted diet and chaotic housewifery of Elizabeth Cromwell. 33 The Queens Closet Opened (1659), 2r. through the ghostly presence of former queens, whose knowledge and power is passed down from queen to queen by virtue of their symbolic role as housewife (healer, cook and carer) for the nation. In later editions, the portrait of Henrietta Maria was replaced by that of Queen Mary, refocusing attention not on a particular individual, but on the power of the office. ‘The Queen’ of The Queens Closet Opened, therefore, reaches out to encompass the authority of all queens, past, present and future.