A Jacobite Gazetteer - Italy


In 1687 Queen Mary Beatrice (wife of King James II and VII) sought the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary, under the title of Our Lady of Loreto, that she might conceive a son. 1 Gilbert Burnet (appointed Anglican Bishop of Salisbury in 1689 by the Prince of Orange) provides this account: 2

She came to Windsor on the sixth of October. It was said that at the very time of her coming to the King, her mother the Duchess of Modena made a vow to the Lady Loretto, that her daughter might by her means have a son. And it went current that the Queen believed herself to be with child in that very instant in which her mother made her vow: of which, some travellers have assured me, there was a solemn record made at Loretto.

Queen Mary Beatrice donated to the shrine of the Holy House at Loreto "a golden angel set with jewels kneeling in a praying attitude, offering with his left hand to the Virgin a heart set with diamonds and emeralds from which issue flames of gold which enclose a perpetually burning lamp". 3 This golden angel was set in front of the image of the Virgin next to another silver angel which had been given to the shrine by Queen Mary Beatrice's mother, Duchess Laura of Modena. These two angels seem to have been removed from the shrine by the French after the Treaty of Tolentino in 1797.

In 1727 King James III and VIII and Queen Clementina visited the shrine. 4

In the Treasury are a necklace and a cross offered to the shrine by two of the daughters of King Victor: Princess Maria Anna (Empress of Austria) and Princess Maria Christina (Queen of the Two Sicilies). 5


1 There are many contemporary works which attest to the prayers made by Queen Mary Beatrice to Our Lady of Loreto. An interesting (but hostile) work on the subject is Appendix. I hereby declare it to be one article of my political creed, that the Pretender is an impostor, London?, 1715? (Eighteenth-Century Short Title Catalogue T002273).

2 Gilbert Burnet, History of His Own Time (London: Printed for Thomas Ward, 1724), I, 749.

3 Calendar of the Stuart Papers, Historical Manuscripts Commission (London, 1904), II, 514.

4 Giuseppe Santarelli, La Santa Casa di Loreto: Un' Esperienza de Fede e di Arte Attraverso i Secoli (Milano: Mondadori, 1999), 47.

5 William Garratt, Loreto, the New Nazareth, and its Centenary Jubilee (London: Art and Book Company, 1895): 163-164.

This page is maintained by Noel S. McFerran (noel.mcferran@rogers.com) and was last updated March 21, 2006.
© Noel S. McFerran 2003-2006.