Jeffrey Hudson

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Jeffrey Hudson (1619 – circa 1682) was an English court dwarf at the court of Queen Henrietta Maria. He was famous as the "Queen's dwarf" and "Lord Minimus", and was considered one of the "wonders of the age" because of his extreme but well-proportioned smallness. He fought with the Royalists in the English Civil War and fled with the Queen to France but was expelled from her court when he killed a man in a duel. He was captured by Barbary pirates and spent 25 years as a slave in North Africa before being ransomed back to England.

Early life and rise to prominence

Jeffrey was baptised in Oakham in Rutland on 14 June 1619. His parents, three brothers, and a half-sister were all of 'normal size.' Hudson's father John was keeper of George Villiers, 1st Duke of Buckingham's baiting bulls. Jeffrey's marvellous smallness and normal proportions became apparent in early childhood.

On his seventh birthday, in 1626 Jeffrey Hudson was presented to the Duchess of Buckingham as a "rarity of nature" and she invited him to join the household. A few months later the Duke and Duchess entertained King Charles and his young French wife, Queen Henrietta Maria in London. The climax of the lavish banquet was the presentation of Jeffrey to the Queen, served in a large pie. When the pie was placed in front of the Queen, Jeffrey arose from the crust, 18 inches tall and perhaps dressed in a miniature suit of armour. The Queen was delighted and the...
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