JAMES II (1633-1701), King of England, Scotland and Ireland. Letter signed ('James R' at the head, and with initials, 'J.R.', at the foot), to Sir John Ernle, 'Our Court at the Castle of St Germains', 2 April 1692, 2 pages, folio, integral address leaf, fragment of seal (a few tiny splits in folds in 2nd leaf, address panel slightly dust-stained). Provenance: Sotheby's sale, 29 October 1975, lot 104; Sotheby's, 27 September 1988, lot 90; the Spiro Family Collection.
Announcing the forthcoming birth of his child and recalling the 'Warming Pan Affair'. The King urges his privy council to attend the birth ('The Queen Looking about the middle of May next ...'), the French king having consented to their coming. The letter refers to the 'malitious aspersions' surrounding the birth in 1688 of his son, James, Prince of Wales (the Old Pretender), when (despite the attendance of the privy council) it was rumoured that, the Queen having been unable to give birth successfully during the previous six years, a substitute baby had been smuggled in to her bed in a warming pan. Since a male heir would appear to secure the probability of a Catholic successor to James II, these suspicions were loudly exploited by James's Protestant enemies.
James II's daughter, Louisa Maria Theresa, was born on 28 June 1692, but the privy council was not present. Instead, Madame Meyercron, wife of the Danish ambassador, attended 'as a person on whose testimony the people of England might reasonably rely'. Sir John Ernle, of Whetham, of a staunchly royalist family, was Chancellor of the Exchequer to Charles II and to James II.