D’Artagnan’s trip to London: Windsor, April 1625

The duke was at Windsor hunting with the king. 

On their arrival at the castle they learned that Buckingham and the king were hawking in the marshes two or three leagues away. In twenty minutes they were on the spot named. Patrick soon caught the sound of his master’s voice calling his falcon.

Alexandre Dumas, The Three Musketeers, 1844

It took D’Artagnan 3 days to travel from Paris to London. Once there, and completely exhausted, he still needs to ride to Windsor, 23 miles west of the duke’s home in London.

James was the recognized heir of the English crown, and in 1603 when Queen Elizabeth passed away, he came from Edinburgh to London for his coronation. By the accident of heredity, England and Scotland were now united under one single kingdom. King James the First was openly bisexual.  It is alleged by several history books that George Villiers became his favorite and lover, and is believed that the dukedom of Buckingham  was re-created in 1623 to thank Villiers for his services. In Alexandre Dumas’ book, Buckingham is however depicted as in love with Anne of Austria.

michiel_j-_van_miereveld_-_george_villiers_duke_of_buckingham_-_google_art_project

Portrait of the Duke of Buckingham, 1625, by Michiel J. van Miereveld

Medieval hawking was a favorite pastime for the English nobles. The laws of ownership as detailed in the Boke of St. Albans are as follows: King : Gyr Falcon ; Prince : Peregrine Falcon ; Duke : Rock Falcon ; Earl : Tiercel Peregrine Falcon ; Baron : Bastarde Hawk ; Lady : Female Merlin. All birds were subjected to a rigorous course of training by a falconer.

lathams-falconry-1615

Latham’s Falconry, published in 1615.

 

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