The real Jeffrey Hudson and Pug the monkey with Queen Henrietta Maria
This was the first image I saw of the real Jeffrey Hudson, the fascinating historical figure who inspired The Queen's Dwarf. On Jeffrey's shoulder perches his fellow member of the queen's 'Royal Menagerie of Curiosities and Freaks of Nature', the monkey, Pug. What would it have been like to be the queen's 'pet'? He was so beloved that, when he took a tumble out of the window, the queen was so upset she didn't dress for the day. He was her constant companion, able to make the homesick young queen laugh. Yet was Jeffrey homesick as well? I wonder. He was scooped up from his home, taken away from his family, everything he had ever known. What is he thinking here? I wondered. . .
I wanted to do a novel from the point of view of a court fool. When I researched Jeffrey's life, I knew I had discovered the perfect character for the story I wanted to tell. He was only eighteen inches tall, perfectly formed-- an 'angelic freak', unlike many court fools who suffered the physical challenges of dwarfism. What stunted Jeffrey's growth? A lack of growth hormone secreted by his pituitary. Today, the disorder can be treated with injections. How was Jeffrey presented at court? He popped out of a pie at a banquet.