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This is one of a series of paintings produced to record the marriage of Frederick, Elector Palatine, to Princess Elizabeth, daughter of James I and Anne of Denmark, in 1613. After elaborate celebrations, the couple and their retinue processed to the coast at Margate where they boarded the 'Prince Royal' and set sail for the Continent. The Prince, later King of Bohemia, was seen as a champion of Protestantism in Germany but after only one year as king he lost Bohemia and the Palatine at the start of the Thirty Years War, 1618–1648. The political aim of the marriage, which was to gain support from James I for the South German Protestant Alliance, therefore failed and Frederick and Elizabeth went into exile as the ill-fated 'Winter King and Queen'. In 1661, nine months before her death, Elizabeth returned to England and it was her grandson, the Elector of Hanover, who in 1714 succeeded to the English throne as George I, on the failure of the direct Stuart line.
Arrivals and departures formed a popular artistic theme in the Dutch Republic as they made strong political statements and this series of paintings was use by the United Provinces to proclaim loyalty to the Protestant cause. Born in Antwerp, Willarts emigrated from Flanders to the northern Netherlands at a time when many protestant Flemings did so, to seek work free from religious or political persecution.
oil on panel
H 77.4 x W 137.1 cm