Exhibition preview: Minette: The Life and Letters of a Stuart Princes, Scottish National Portrait Gallery, Edinburgh, until January 5 2014
The daughter of Charles I and youngest sister of Charles II is a relatively little-known royal. But the beautiful paintings of her, including a full-length one by 17th century French artist Jean Nocret which may have its two-metre height to thank for its rare public appearances, portray a woman with an amazing life story.
© Scottish National Gallery
Henriette Anne Stuart was reunited with her exiled mother, Queen Henrietta Maria, in France after being smuggled from England by her governess at the height of the Civil War.
Brought up in the French court and married to Louis XIV’s Duke of Orléans brother, Philippe, the Princess was nicknamed Minette by her brother, and known for her charm, manners, interest in the arts and flair for politics, exemplified when she played a key role in negotiating a secret pact between monarchs on either side of the Channel.
She died at just 26, but her achievements and ancestry are remembered in lavish style here. John Greenhill’s rare miniature of Charles II and a three-quarter length painting of Charles II’s wife, Catherine of Braganza, are among the highlights.
- Open 10am-5pm (7pm Thursday). Admission free. Follow the gallery on Twitter @NatGalleriesSco.