Little person Jeffrey Hudson was famous as "The Queen's Dwarf" for his close relationship to the British Queen Henrietta Maria. Only, his exploits were anything but miniature. From his bizarre introduction to royalty to the one violent act that changed his life forever, Hudson more than earned his outsized notoriety.
Born in 1619, Hudson looked like a typical infant at first. But as he grew, people began to notice his extremely small stature, likely due to a growth hormone deficiency. While he exhibited "perfect" proportions (one of his trademark "marvels"), he only stood at about 18 or 19 inches. Those closest to him quickly took advantage of these differences.
When he was seven years old, Hudson's own parents "gifted" him to their local Duke for the noble's entertainment. The Duke then re-gifted him to the Queen Henrietta Maria, for her entertainment. After watching Hudson jump out of a pie in a miniature suit of armor, she realized she had to make him her royal court dwarf. He was still just seven years old.
History’s most fascinating stories and darkest secrets, delivered to your inbox daily. Making distraction rewarding since 2017.
The next years of Hudson's life involved great luxury and great humiliation in equal parts. Yes, the Queen dressed him in the finest clothes, had him painted in portraits, and taught him royal manners and Roman Catholicism. Still, he was fundamentally a sideshow. Case in point: He was part of an almost literal menagerie, which included two disproportionate little people and the Queen's favorite monkey. What else could Jeffrey Hudson do but rebel?
After decades of this, Hudson finally had enough. Now a man of 25, Hudson made it clear to Henrietta Maria's court that he would no longer tolerate being the butt of every joke. In October 1644, Hudson even challenged a member of the powerful Crofts family to a duel, presumably after yet another slight on his worth. So when his mocking opponent brought a water gun to the fight, Hudson showed him just how serious he was. He shot the man fatally, right in the forehead.
This, perhaps, was the single defining moment of Hudson's life. Amid calls for his execution and imprisonment, Queen Henrietta Maria showed him one real act of mercy and exiled him instead...but it only led to one last brutal twist. Months later, a slave ship captured him, and he spent the next 25 years in a labor camp. Then, when he finally got back to England, anti-Catholic sentiment soon landed him in prison.
He died a free man, but barely. In 1680, they released him from his cell and he passed just two years later. An unremembering public buried "The Queen's Dwarf" in an anonymous pauper's grave.
My mom never told me how her best friend died. Years later, I was using her phone when I made an utterly chilling discovery.
Madame de Pompadour was the alluring chief mistress of King Louis XV, but few people know her dark history—or the chilling secret shared by her and Louis.
I tried to get my ex-wife served with divorce papers. I knew that she was going to take it badly, but I had no idea about the insane lengths she would go to just to get revenge and mess with my life.
Catherine of Aragon is now infamous as King Henry VIII’s rejected queen—but few people know her even darker history.
Want to tell us to write facts on a topic? We’re always looking for your input! Please reach out to us to let us know what you’re interested in reading. Your suggestions can be as general or specific as you like, from “Life” to “Compact Cars and Trucks” to “A Subspecies of Capybara Called Hydrochoerus Isthmius.” We’ll get our writers on it because we want to create articles on the topics you’re interested in. Please submit feedback to firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks for your time!
Do you question the accuracy of a fact you just read? At Factinate, we’re dedicated to getting things right. Our credibility is the turbo-charged engine of our success. We want our readers to trust us. Our editors are instructed to fact check thoroughly, including finding at least three references for each fact. However, despite our best efforts, we sometimes miss the mark. When we do, we depend on our loyal, helpful readers to point out how we can do better. Please let us know if a fact we’ve published is inaccurate (or even if you just suspect it’s inaccurate) by reaching out to us at email@example.com. Thanks for your help!
The Factinate team
If you like humaverse you may also consider subscribing to these newsletters: