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A LITTLE ROMANCE
 KING JAMES had not, indeed, an excuse, but a reason for putting Raleigh to death, in this, that he greatly
desired to be on friendly terms with Spain. It makes one quite ashamed to see how an English King disgraced
himself. As soon as the English ambassador at Madrid heard that Raleigh had been beheaded, he hurried to tell
the King, who, he wrote back, "showed much contentment with the hearing." One of the English ministers wrote to
the ambassador, telling him to make as much as he could out of the matter. He was to let King Philip
understand that James had caused Sir Walter Raleigh to be put to death chiefly to give him satisfaction; he was
to dwell on what a very clever man Raleigh was, and how much he might have done for his King and country, and
so prove to the Spanish King that he ought to be very grateful. What could be more shameful than that a King of
England should make a merit
 with a foreign ruler of having put to death one of his most useful subjects simply to please him? The King of
Spain wrote him a letter of thanks with his own hand, and that was all the payment he got. But he hoped to get
much more, especially one thing on which he had set his heart. What this was I shall now show.
After the death of Prince Henry, Charles, who was born in 1600, became the next heir to the throne. It was now
time to think of finding a suitable wife for him, and King James hoped that such a wife might be found in the
Spanish royal family. Philip III. never liked the idea, and no wonder, for the last Spanish princess that had
come to England, Katharine of Aragon, had been very unhappy. But Philip III. died in 1621, and his son, Philip
IV., seemed more favourably disposed. Indeed, an agreement was come to that Charles should marry the Infanta
Maria, sister of the King. She was to be at liberty to worship God in the way to which she was accustomed.
James also promised that the Roman Catholics in England should not be persecuted any more. If they gave
assurance of their being loyal subjects, they were to be let alone. But then difficulties began to arise. There
was a dispute about the dowry which the Infanta was to have when she was married, and another about the time of
 marriage. The Spaniards too, backed up by the Pope, wanted to secure better terms for the Roman Catholics in
England; King James, who had already given great offence to his subjects by what he had
 done, was unwilling to do any more. Another thing about which they differed was, what was to be done with a
certain Frederick, a German Prince, who had married the King's daughter Elizabeth. He was the sovereign of
certain provinces on the Rhine, and had been elected King of Bohemia, but had lost that kingdom and his own
possessions. James hoped to get the Spaniards to restore them to him.
THE DUKE OF BUCKINGHAM.
And now some one suggested the idea that Prince Charles should go himself to Madrid. He might see the Infanta,
and perhaps settle the matters in dispute with her brother. It has been said that the idea first came from the
Spanish ambassador. But the man that had most to do with it was a certain George Villiers, younger son of a
country knight, who had become a great favourite with both the king and the Prince, and had by this time been
made Marquis of Buckingham. It was not very easy to get the King's consent. He was afraid, he said, that he
should lose "Baby Charles"—this was his pet name for his son. At last he gave way, and the two young
men—Buckingham was just eight years older than the Prince—started on their journey, calling themselves Mr.
Smith and Mr. Brown. They went by way of Paris, and saw the Royal family, among them the Queen, who was the
sister of the Queen of Spain, and Henrietta Maria, whom he was afterwards to
 marry. In France the proposed marriage was not liked—nor, indeed, was it in England—and the travellers were
warned that they had better hurry on, lest they should be arrested. They got safely across the frontier, and
reached Madrid without any mishap. They went to the Ambassador, who was not a little surprised to see them.
Charles was introduced to the King, and the two were very friendly. But for the present, he was told it was not
possible that he should be allowed to speak to or even come near the Infanta. But he could see her when she was
taken out for a drive.
Then there came an entry in state. Charles rode at the King's right hand, with a canopy held over his head. At
the palace he made what we may say was a "call" on the Royal family. The King and the Queen were there, the two
brothers of the King, and the Infanta. But they had to talk through an interpreter, for the Spanish royalties
never spoke any language but their own, at least in public. When Charles did manage to get a few words in
French with the Queen, she told him that he would not be allowed to marry the Infanta, and that he had better
give up the idea, and think of her sister Henrietta, whom he had seen in Paris.
Charles, however, was not going to own himself beaten. He determined to see the Infanta a little
 closer, and finding out that she used to go in the early morning to a certain orchard, scrambled over the wall
and presented himself before her. Both she and her attendants were terribly frightened, and the Prince found
that he had come to no purpose.
In the end nothing came of the treaties and the courtship. It was a bit of romance and nothing more. The Pope,
whose leave was wanted before the marriage could take place, wanted more than King James was willing to grant.
He even demanded that the Prince should become a Roman Catholic, a quite impossible thing, for, even if he had
been willing, which he was not, the English people would not have permitted it. Then, when after a time the
Pope gave way, King James began to draw back. He began to insist that the King of Spain should help his
daughter's husband to get back his dominions. In fact it was he that broke off the affair in the end. Prince
Charles parted from his Spanish friends on very good terms, giving them some handsome presents, among them a
diamond ornament for the Infanta, and receiving as much or more from them; and he left authority to one of the
Spanish princes to marry the Infanta by proxy. When it was not convenient for a bridegroom to be present at a
marriage, he would give his proxy—from the Latin proximus, "nearest"—to some one who would go through the
 his stead. Among ourselves godfathers and godmothers sometimes stand for children by proxy. Preparations were
made for the marriage to take place in this way, when at the last moment King James sent a courier to stop it,
unless the things which he asked were granted. And stopped it was. The King of Spain naturally felt very much
offended, and all King James's scheming came to nothing. The next year there was war with Spain, and the year
after James died.