Writ of James VI and Queen Anne of Scotland, 1591

Scope and Content

Writ of James VI and Queen Anne of Scotland, with their signatures, to the privy seal.

Ordering letters to be made appointing John Geddes (Gedde) as Secretary to the Queen. Details concerning allowances have not been completed.The dating clause gives Holyrood, with blanks for the day and month, 1591.

Administrative / Biographical History

John Geddes, secretary to the queen of Scotland from 1591.

Anne of Denmark (1574-1619), Queen consort of King James VI of Scotland and I of England. She was the daughter of Frederick II of Denmark and Norway. James VI had started negotiations to marry Frederick's eldest daughter but diplomatic delays, opposition from Elizabeth I and the English court and the death of Frederick II in 1588 prevented the completion of arrangements before she became engaged to someone else, but growing pressure for a Scottish-Danish alliance encouraged James to settle for the 14 year old Anne. They were married in 1589. Anne received the regality of Dunfermline as a marriage gift and later pursued John Maitland, Lord Thirlestane, to retrieve part of her lands at Musselburgh from him. She believed firmly in her royal prerogatives, making her a formidable opponent. She began to interfere in court politics under the guise of helping her husband, showing strength of will but not always judicious choice of advisors, as a dalliance with the charming but untrustworthy earl of Bothwell brought trouble.

She had a talent for languages, being bilingual in Danish and German as a child and learning French to talk to her husband and his court. She was also a patron of the arts and culture, encouraging music, art, literary works and architecture. She ran up debts in Scotland through the magnificence of her court, and when the royal family moved to Windsor after the union of the crowns in 1603, the greater affluence of the English court allowed her to expand and elaborate her entertainments, particularly in dances and masques where she employed Ben Jonson and Inigo Jones amongst others.

She had been brought up as Lutheran and retained her Danish Lutheran preacher but gradually was drawn towards Catholicism, eventually worshipping in private in the Catholic faith, surrounded by a small coterie of faithful Catholic servants. This private religious worship was tolerated by James, and she continued to attend public Protestant services.

Her first son Henry was born in 1594, although the heir was to be the future Charles I. She spent her last years involved in matchmaking schemes to procure suitable spouses for her children.


Single item

Access Information

By appointment with the Keeper of Manuscripts. Access to records containing confidential information may be restricted.

Acquisition Information

Presented to the library by George Buist, Professor of Hebrew and Oriental Languages, St Mary's College, University of St Andrews, 7 Feb 1855


Call number used to be ms633

Other Finding Aids

Individual Manuscripts and Small Collections database available as part of Manuscripts Database.

Physical Characteristics and/or Technical Requirements

Binding: cloth and marbled boards. 'MR JOHN GEDDE THE QUEENES SECRETARE 1591' in gold border on front cover.Paper: 30x20.4cm (mounted in hand made paper 37x29cm.)

Archivist's Note

Description compiled by Maia Sheridan, Archives Hub project archivist, based on material from the Manuscripts Database

Conditions Governing Use

Applications for permission to quote should be sent to the Keeper of Manuscripts. Reproduction subject to usual conditions: educational use and condition of documents.