When the 15-year-old Henrietta Maria, daughter of Henri IV of France and Marie de Medici, arrived in England in June 1625 to marry Charles I, she could not speak English. She discovered her future husband to be short, puny, stiff in manner, who spoke with a stammer. Within months, Henrietta was at odds with both her new husband and his country, because of her Frenchness, Catholicism, extravagance and her refusal to be crowned at the Protestant coronation ceremony. However, Charles turned to his wife following the assassination of his favourite, the Duke of Buckingham, and the next ten years were the happiest of Henrietta's life. Her loyalty and personal bravery saw her stand by him during the Civil War: she tried to sell her jewels to raise money and supplies and lead a force of 5000 men from York to Oxford. When she became pregnant, she escaped to France - running the gauntlet of a blockade - where she tried to persuade other countries to come to Charles's aid. This study of the passionate and courageous wife of Charles I also details the life of the Court during the great age of court patronage.