Friday, 13 July 2007

'Henry IX' 1807-2007

Today is the bicentenary of the death of Cardinal Henry Stuart, brother of 'Bonnie Prince Charlie', Stuart claimnant to the British Throne (1788-1807) and popular Bishop of Frascati. In fact, the day of his death, 13 July 1807, was the 46th anniversary of his enthronement as Cardinal Bishop of that See. In the revised calendar, of course, it is the feast of St Henry the Emperor (though this was originally 15 July).

The Cardinal has left his mark in and around the Eternal City more than any of the other English Cardinals. His coat of arms can be found in Santa Maria in Trastevere and his monument stands proudly at the back of St Peter’s. There is a Largo Duca di York in Frascati and a Via di Cardinal di York near a villa that still bears his name in the Riserva Naturale della Valle dei Casali, to the west of Rome. Throughout the Castelli area there are numerous plaques in churches and on streets witnessing to his munificent patronage. In the little town of Monte Porzio, for example, there is a tablet on the Via Giuseppe Verdi recording the school he established in 1773 for ‘the education of young girls in piety and the useful arts’. A stone’s throw away in the duomo of San Gregorio Magno inscriptions recall the dedication ceremonies at which he pontificated in 1766 and the translation of the relics of the martyr, St Laconilla, which he organised in 1783. The Cardinal is indeed remembered as the benemerito Cardinale Tuscolano (‘well-loved cardinal of Frascati’).

With his death, the House of Stuart came to an end. The de jure Crown passed to his second cousin twice removed, Charles Emmanuel IV of Savoy, who was noted for his piety and ended his days in a Jesuit novitiate. After lying in state at the Palazzo Cancelleria, ‘Henry IX’ was buried at St Peter's together with his father ('James III') and brother. A monument by Antonio Canova was later placed near the entrance of the basilica, which was paid for partly by the Prince Regent. The bodies were placed in the crypt and moved slightly to the east in 1938 to make way for the eventual tomb of Pius XI. This time the new tomb was financed by George VI.

May he rest in peace!

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's always good to find references to the Cardinal Duke of York, by far the most attractive of the Stuarts. The best account I know is in 'The Late Stuarts', by James Lees-Milne (1984). Whenever I am in Rome and celebrate Mass in St Peter's it always gives me consolation when I pass an altar given by him (unfortunately no longer in use) on the way from the sacristy into the basilica. Requests to use it are always declined because it is in an inconvenient place. Following his footsteps in Frascati, his diocese, is one of the many pleasures to be found in Rome and I recommend it to all English visitors and pilgrims. The light white wine was the favourite of Pope Paul VI and its delicate palate also matches the character of the Cardinal.

4:39 pm  
Anonymous David (from Glasgow) said...

English Cardinal? Shurely shome mishtake!

6:53 pm  
Blogger Fr Nicholas said...

OK, fair enough - British Cardinal might be more inclusive (because of the book, I'm used to using the phrase 'English Cardinal'). Of course, he never visited Great Britain and spoke rather bad English..

10:25 pm  
Blogger Mrs Jackie Parkes MJ said...

Fr Guy gave a very good homily to the school children.

Could do with your support on the 2 20 comments on the sex ed..& the other re The National Secular society!

God bless

9:42 am  
Blogger Young Fogey said...

You might be interested to know that on Sunday members of the Royal Stuart Society and their guests gathered at the Royal Hospital Chelsea to commemorate the bicentenary of the death of Henry Benedict Stuart, the Cardinal Duke of York (also known to Jacobites as de jure King Henry IX and I) photographs from the event and a brief summary may be viewed on my blog by clicking on my name "Young Fogey" or at this link:

10:06 pm  

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