Anna Beaumont

In the chapel of St Nicholas in Westminster Abbey is the heart shrine of Anna Sophia daughter of Christophe de Harley, Comte de Beaumont, Ambassador from the French Court to James I. It is one of two heart shrines remaining in the Abbey (the other is Esme Stuart). It consists of a free standing floor monument of black and white marble with a shield of arms on the base, surmounted by a tall obelisk on the top of which is a metal urn, which presumably still contains her heart. The Latin inscription can be translated:

To God, best and greatest: Stand here, O wayfarer; pity the human condition and read these words.
Christopher Harley, Count of Beaumont, Prefect of the King's Privy Council at the court in Paris, now Ambassador of the King of France to His Most Christian Majesty the King of Great Britain; together with his wife, Anna Rabot, ordered that the little heart of Anna Sophia, deprived of life in the very dawn of infancy by the hasty heartlessness of the Fates, should be buried in this urn. Both her parents, united in their tears, most sorrowfully raised this small memorial of a very great grief to the departed spirit of their darling little daughter as a remembrance for posterity, as a laudable work of piety, and in the hope of a better life (to com), in the year of Our Lord 1605. This was my wish for you: depart, and fare you well.
That which recently swelled with the fire of air and breathed life into her little golden body, touched by the powerful hand of the Maker, that cold heart, reposes now in this marble, a small flower sprung from British soil, that little heart, torn from his own heart, her father freely relinquishes to her own place of birth, and entrusts this dear token to the safekeeping of this urn, until a sweet breeze sent forth from heaven shall quicken her veins once more, and shall bring her limbs, reunited with her heart, and never more to be separated again, into the dance of heaven

Further reading

"England c.1560-c1660: a hundred years of continental influence" by Adam White, in Church Monuments, Vol.VII, 1992.


Chapel of St Nicholas

Memorial Type


Material Type


Anna Beaumont
Anna Beaumont shrine

This image can be purchased from Westminster Abbey Library

Image © 2023 Dean and Chapter of Westminster