A 13-Year-Old King James I And His Adult Lover
King James I
He was born June 19, 1566. The son of Mary Queen of Scots and her second husband Henry Stewart, Lord Darnley. Little is recorded about King James’ childhood. But it is rumored that James’ childhood and youth were unhappy, abnormal, and precarious; he had various guardians, whose treatment of him differed widely.
In his late thirties, Queen Elizabeth I of England died unmarried, so James quickly moved to London and was crowned King James I of England the first of the Stuart Kings of the combined crowns of England and Scotland. While riding through the bustling streets of London from 1603 to 1621, a person was liable to hear the shout “Long live Queen James!”
But the story of his older erotic play mate, Esme Stuart, is of much more interest. It appears that when Jamie was a lanky Scots lad of thirteen, he developed a romantic crush on Esme Stuart—Seigneur d’Aubigny, Earl of Lennox, and his 37-year-old cousin. The two would be seen everywhere together. One observer said James was ‘in such love with him as in the open sight of the people often he will clasp him about the neck with his arms and kiss him’. A Scots chronicler, Moysie, would delicately put it, “he conceived an inward affection to the Lord d’Aubigne, and entered in great familiarity and quiet purposes with him.” But a more outspoken clergyman put the matter more bluntly: “the Duke of Lennox went about to draw the King to carnal lust.” Their erotic play ended in 1582 when a conspiracy of nobles was formed against Esme, and James was abducted by his would-be protectors. Afterward, Esme was ordered to leave the country on pain of death, and the two lovers never saw each other again.
As James grew older, he married. But he was not a faithful husband. Instead, he found handsome young boys and men to share his time with. The Scots chronicler, Fowler, commented that there was “the King’s best loved minion,” Alexander Lindsay, Lord Spynie, the boy nicknamed “Sandie” whom James appointed as his Vice-Chamberlain. Fowler also wrote that “it is thought that this King is too much carried by young men that lie in his chamber and are his minions.”
Later in the 1580s there would be his minion Francis Stewart Hepburn, Earl of Bothwell, whom James loved to kiss and affectionately embrace in public places, which usually led to public scorn and scandal. When that relationship went south, James met Robert Carr.
Robert Carr (born 1587) was a handsome Scots lad who came to England in 1603 to run beside the royal coach as a page-boy. When Carr was injured during a game, James ran out to the field—astonishing the onlookers—and tenderly cradled Carr in his arms. James immediately ordered the best medical care for Carr and often visited his bedside during the recuperation.
After a long recovery, Robert Carr was appointed Gentleman of the Bedchamber. A courtier wrote of their relationship: “The Prince constantly leaneth on his arm, pinches his cheek, and smoothes his ruffled garment. Carr hath all favours; the King teacheth him Latin every morning [and Greek every night?]. I tell you, this Scottish lad is straight-limbed, well-favoured, strong- shouldered, and smooth-faced, with some sort of cunning and show of modesty.” Years later, Robert Carr was convicted of conspiring to murder Sir Thomas Overbury. He was convicted by the courts and sentenced to death, but James issued a royal pardon. So Robert Carr lived the rest of his life in the country in poverty and shame.
In 1614 came George Villiers (born August 28, 1592), whose rise was monumental. He was the son of a squire. After meeting King James, he become the Royal Cup Bearer and they spent a few days together at Farnham Castle. Also Farnham Castle was the first place these two may have had sex. For many years later, George wrote to James asking “whether you loved me now . . . better than at the time which I shall never forget at Farnham, where the bed’s head could not be found between the master and his dog.” (George was fond of calling himself “dog.” As one letter reads “Your most humble slave and servant and dog Steenie.”) Under King James, in 1618 George became a Marquess, in 1619 a Lord High Admiral, and finally in 1623 the Duke of Buckingham. Finally, there was a wonderfully obscene poem written in 1623 by Théophile de Viau (1590- 1626), titled: “Au marquis du Boukinquan,” relating that:
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 [a friend of Viau],
Another fucks the Comte de Tonnerre.
And it is well known that the King of England
Fucks the Duke of Buckingham.
James made this reply: “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.
For a bisexual king, James was intolerant of sodomy. In fact he was a hypocrite. He instituted severe punishments and no mercy for those who participated in sodomy.
Time Line for James I
Name: King James I
Born: June 19, 1566 at Edinburgh Castle, Scotland
Parents: Mary, Queen of Scots, and Henry Stewart, Lord Darnley
Relation to Elizabeth II: 9th great-grandfather
House of: Stuart
Ascended to the throne: March 24, 1603 aged 36 years
Crowned: July 25, 1603 at Westminster Abbey, also as James VI of Scotland at Stirling Castle on July 29, 1567
Married: Anne, Daughter of Frederick II of Denmark and Norway
Children: Three sons and five daughters, of whom three survived infancy; Henry, Elizabeth and Charles
Died: March 27, 1625 at Theobalds Park, Hertfordshire, aged 58 years, 9 months, and 7 days
Buried at: Westminster
Reigned for: 22 years, and 3 days, King of Scotland for 57 years 1567-1625
Succeeded by: his son Charles