King James VI of Scotland and I of England was born at Edinburgh Castle on June 19, 1566, to Mary, Queen of Scotts, and Henry Stuart, Lord Darnley. He was the great-great-grandson of Henry VII and was named king before he was a year old. King James was a beloved king, having one of the longest reigns of any Scottish monarch. During his reign, the colonization of America began, as well as the Plantation of Ulster.
Before King James turned one year old, his father was murdered. The murder sparked scandal and intrigue in which his mother, Mary, was entangled. She was soon forced to abdicate due to her rumored involvement in the murder of her husband. King James was immediately named king soon after. Four regents ruled on King James’ behalf as they waited for him to reach adulthood. Though he was named king, it wasn’t until he was 13 that he was formally crowned King of England.
Being the king of England and Scotland, King James tried to unify the two kingdoms in his reign. He ruled for over 50 years, but the kingdoms of Scotland and England remained separate. He married Anne of Denmark and had several children that survived to adulthood. He died on March 27, 1625 in Hertfordshire, England.
King James’ rule and policies were well-received and obeyed in Scotland. However, in England, he encountered many difficulties, including the Gunpowder plot and scandals that put his relationship with men and sexuality into question. So, was King James gay? Is there truth to the rumors? Let’s read further and find out the truth about the monarch’s sexuality.
VOTE: What was King James’s Sexuality?
King James’s Favorite Lovers
Surprisingly, the actor is pretty tight-lipped when it comes to the details of his relationships. This comes as a total surprise considering that Miller would be involved in high-profile scandals later in his career. Over the years, he had dated plenty of models and actresses with some notable names. Here’s a quick look at Miller’s interesting love interests.
King James and Anne of Denmark
Many historians noted King James’ chastity and how he was praised for it. He showed very little interest in women and preferred male companions. Regardless of his preferences, he still needed to find a suitable bride to produce an heir. He married Anne of Denmark on November 23, 1589, and had several children who lived to adulthood: Henry Frederick, Prince of Wales, Elizabeth, Queen of Bohemia, and King Charles. They were married for 30 years until Anne’s death in 1619.
King James reportedly sailed to Norway upon hearing that Anne’s crossing to England was abandoned due to heavy storms. He took 300 men with him and sailed to Oslo, where they were married. Historian David Harris Willson calls this King James’ “one romantic episode in his life. The royal couple returned to England in 1590. Anne gave birth to seven live births and two stillbirths. Her pregnancies are often cited as evidence that disproves King James’ homosexuality.
King James and Robert Carr, Earl of Somerset
King James first met Robert Carr when the young king first ascended the throne. Carr was part of an envoy from Scotland that had come to England for the celebration. Carr was injured in a tournament but was immediately tended to by the king’s personal physicians. During Carr’s recovery, people started noticing the king’s visits were becoming more than a formality. Carr soon became the king’s favorite.
King James then began throwing all the titles he could come up with to Carr. Within seven years of their first meeting, Carr became a gentleman of the bedchamber, Knight of the Garter, Lord Treasurer of Scotland, Viscount Rochester, Earl of Somerset, Privy Councilor, Lord Chamberlain, Keeper of the Privy Seal, and Secretary of State for England.
The affair began its disastrous end when one of Carr’s lovers, Overbury, threatened to reveal his relation to Carr. Carr’s final undoing came when his wife murdered Overbury. Carr, his wife, and several others were found guilty of the murders and were sentenced to death. King James then agreed to change Carr’s sentence to imprisonment. Carr eventually got his freedom and retired to an estate. The king and Carr continued to exchange letters, but their relationship had ended.
King James and George Villiers, Duke of Buckingham
George Villiers was a minor gentleman and became the champion for those who opposed Carr at court. Other members of the court joined together and made Villiers desirable. They dressed him up and allowed him to exhibit his dancing skills. He came into court around the same time Carr fell out of favor. This strategy worked a little too well. Even bishops became smitten. In fact, William Laud, who would later become the Archbishop of Canterbury wrote in his diary:
Much like Carr, Villiers experienced an immediate rise to power with several titles and honorable positions bestowed upon him. He became Duke of Buckingham in 1623. They exchanged letters filled with endearing words such as “sweet boy,” “my dear,” and “husband.” The most revealing nickname King James had for Villiers was “dog,” with Villiers referring to himself as the king’s most loyal slave and dog.
Their letters also contained references to being together in bed. Villiers was rumored to be at King James’ side in the king’s final moments. A secret passageway that linked Villiers’ chambers to the king’s was also discovered after the king’s death.
King James And Homosexuality
Many scholars and historians still argue about King James’ sexuality. One side of the argument states that the kind was openly gay. The other side claims that his actions were purely masculine affection and were widely accepted then. Was he gay or bisexual? Here are a few pieces of information that may help you decide on the matter.
King James’ court often remarked on his excessive affection with men, often to the point that the court became embarrassed. He would kiss and hug his “favorite men” frequently. He opted to live with the men rather than with his wife, and they would sleep together in the king’s bed. He was also often heard saying he loved his male companions above all living men. The letters he sent to his favorite men also included lots of erotic imagery and sexual references. Finally, he referred to some of his male companions as his husbands.
Was King James Gay?
Yes, King James was gay. He was considered by many as the first openly gay king. He’s had numerous relationships with men and was unafraid to express his desires publicly. He was reportedly seen hugging and kissing men in his court – his favorites. King James was married to Anne of Denmark, but he was said to have spent very little time with his wife and preferred the company of men.
Featured Image: “Anne Frank”, by The Elisha Whittelsey Collection, The Elisha Whittelsey Fund, 1949, licensed under CC0 1.0 DEED