Mary, Queen of Great Britain

admirer and almost visitor
Birth or Baptism date: 
April 30, 1662
Death or Burial date: 
December 28, 1694

Before she left for England to be crowned in 1689, Mary Stuart (right; click to enlarge) visited Leeuwenhoek unannounced. To his regret, as he explained in Letter 124 of September 23, 1692, Leeuwenhoek was out of town when she arrived at his house.

because Your Majesty, when still in this Country, was pleased to vouchsafe to my insignificant Person to come personally to the City of my residence, in order to behold my discoveries, which were never so highly valued by me that they should be allowed to appear before the Eye of so great a Queen; although Fortune was then so ill-disposed towards me (which will and must be lamented by me all my life) that owing to my absence from the city I was not allowed to enjoy the honour of serving Your Majesty with everything that had been in my power, and revealing them to Your Majesty's most keen-sighted eyes

He made no mention of giving her any microscopes. However, Folkes wrote:

Upon the late Queen Mary's doing Mr. Leeuwenhoek the Honour of a Visit at Delft, and viewing his Curiosities with great Satisfaction, he presented her with a couple of his Microscopes, which, as I have been inform'd by one who had them a considerable Time in his Hands, were of the same Sort as these, and did not any ways differ from one of the 13 cases contain'd in the Drawers of this Cabinet.

Folkes, writing thirty-five years after the fact, must have been repeating court lore. There is no other reference to or trace of the two microscopes that Folkes claimed Leeuwenhoek gave to Mary.

Johannes Verkolje painted the portrait on the right of 26-year-old Mary in 1688, a year or so after he painted Leeuwenhoek's and only six years before Mary died.

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