SECRET MESSAGE TO THE PRINCE OF ORANGE
1 page with integral envelope leaf, with the Queen's Black Mourning Seal,
Although Mary had no interest in Politics, she was well aware of the difficult times leading up to the Glorious Revolution, which took place in December 1688, and the flight with her husband James II on 23rd of that month to France. In 1688 James II's ongoing affair with Catherine Sedley, Countess of Dorchester, had prompted Mary to move in to the new Wren designed apartments in Whitehall in February. At the time of this letter she was pregnant with her son, James Francis Edward, who was born 3 months later in June. In July her mother died and that year and the whole Court was in mourning. William of Orange, sensing the popular discontent in Britain at that time, sent his uncle Count Zuylestan to England, ostensibly to condole with Queen Mary, but really as a spy. Bevil Skelton (1641-1696), honoured by Charles II and knighted by James II, had in 1687 been appointed as envoy-extraordinary to France. It was the hope of James to make an ally of France against the Dutch, who he feared would aid William of Orange if he attempted to usurp James's crown.
Louis XIV, however, was well aware of the English King's intention, and declared that it was an attempt by England to poison France against the Dutch. James was forced to publicly deny the charge of insincerity towards Holland, and hastened to find a scapegoat – Skelton became that man. With this letter Mary tries to reassure William of her own faith in Skelton, and the message she was sending through him, "therefor I referre myself to what he shall tell you, and desire you to give him credit, and beleeve me truly yours M.R."
Stock ref: 13498