Jane Whorwood (1612––84) was one of Charles I’s closest confidantes. The daughter of Scots courtiers at Whitehall and the wife of an Oxfordshire squire, when the court moved to Oxford in 1642, at the start of the Civil War, she helped the Royalist cause by spying for the king and smuggling at least three-quarters of a ton of gold to help pay for his army. When Charles was held captive bythe Parliamentarians, from 1646 to 1649, she organised money, correspondence, several escape attempts, astrological advice and a ship to carry him to Holland.
The King and she also had a wartime ‘brief encounter’. After Charles’s execution in 1649, Jane’s marriage collapsed in one of the most public and acrimonious separation cases of the seventeenth century. Using known and new evidence, John Fox provides the first biography of this extraordinary woman, a forgotten key player in the English Civil War.