Sunday, 30 January 2011

The Hanover Fringe Tiara

The Hanover Russian Fringe Tiara

Queen Mary
This tiara (which can also be worn as a necklace) was made for Queen Mary in 1919. It is not, as has sometimes been claimed, made with diamonds that had belonged to George III but re-uses diamonds taken from a necklace/tiara purchased by Queen Victoria from Collingwood & Co as a wedding present for Queen Mary in 1893. In August 1936 Queen Mary gave the tiara to Queen Elizabeth.

 Queen Elizabeth later loaned it to her daughter, Princess Elizabeth, the future Elizabeth II as "something borrowed" for her wedding in 1947.

HRH Queen Elizabeth II
As The Princess Elizabeth was getting dressed at Buckingham Palace the tiara snapped. Luckily the court jeweller was standing by in case of emergency.
The jeweller was rushed to his work room by a police escort. Queen Elizabeth reassured her daughter that it would be fixed in time, and it was. In the above picture you can see where the tiara detached.
Queen Mary's Fringe Tiara
 The Queen Mother later also loaned it to her granddaughter The Princess Anne for her marriage to Captain Mark Phillips in 1973.
Princess Anne 

Elizabeth II

A recent photo of Her Majesty wearing her wedding tiara for a state visit to Trinidad and Toba
go, Nov 2009.

Bishop Cuthbert Tunstall

Bishop Cuthbert Tunstall

Born 1474, died 18 November 1559 at Lambeth Palace
Character's backstory: Was an English church leader, diplomat, administrator and royal adviser. He was "lucky" enough to have served as Bishop of Durham during the reigns of King Henry VIII, Edward VI, Mary I and Elizabeth I.

Tunstall was an outstanding scholar and mathematician, he had been educated in England, spending time at both Oxford and Cambridge, before a six year spell at the University of Padua in Italy, from which he received two degrees. His Church career began in 1505, after he returned to England. He was ordained four years later. At the time of his ordination four years later he had caught the attention of the Archbishop of Canterbury, William Warham, who sponsored Tunstall's advancement and brought him to court. Tunstall was also a close to Wolsey, who recognized his potential to serve his country and diplomacy.

Tunstall was close to all the great names of English humanism in the early sixteenth century, especially Sir Thomas More. The European humanist Erasmus greatly admired Tunstall's modesty, scholarship, and charm. Tunstall helped Erasmus in his publishing.

Tunstall was a great publisher of many books including De arte supputandi libri quattuor (1522), which enhanced his reputation among the leading thinkers of Europe. This book would be used later by Mary Tudor and Catherine Parr as queen.

Like More, Tunstall was on intimate terms with King Henry VIII. During the King's 'Great Matter', Tunstall defended Queen Katherine of Aragon, but not with the vigour or absolute conviction of Bishop Fisher. Tunstall had been bold enough to tell Henry that he could not be Head of the Church in spiritual matters and he may have been one of the four bishops of the northern convocation who voted against the divorce, but he recognized that the queen's cause was hopeless and never attempted opposition to the King. In fact, he attended Anne Boleyn's coronation. But Tunstall felt he could not keep quiet, he wrote a letter personally to Henry about the rejection of Christendom, and other matters that bothered him. Henry disagreed and refuted every point Tunstall made. These exchanges led to a search of Tunstall's home by order of the King, but no incriminating evidence was found. Rumor was that Sir Thomas More warned Tunstall in time to dispose of anything that might incriminate him.

Tunstall agreed to take the oath, unlike More and Fisher. He and Archbishop Lee of York were required to explain to the imperial ambassador, Eustace Chapuys, and subsequently the very angry Katherine of Aragon the justification for the annulment of her marriage. They did not succeed in getting her to agree or acknowledge the fact that she was no longer queen.

After the 'great matter' was resolved, Tunstall turned his loyalty back to the King. Tunstall was an executor of King Henry VIII's will. Tunstall would go on to serve in the reigns of Edward VI, Mary I, and Elizabeth I. It was during Elizabeth's reign that Tunstall refused to take Elizabeth's Oath of Supremacy and was subsequently arrested. He was deprived of his diocese in September 1559, and held prisoner at Lambeth Palace, where he died within a few weeks, aged 85. He was one of eleven Catholic bishops to die in custody during Elizabeth's reign.

Tunstall was illegitimate at birth, although his parents later married and the irregular circumstances of his background were never held against him. Sharing a grandmother, Alice Tunstall, Tunstall was first cousin on his father's side to Queen Katherine Parr and her siblings Anne and William. Tunstall was a close family friend after the death of Katherine's father, Sir Thomas. Katherine's mother, Maud, named Tunstall as one of the executors of her will.

Gentility: illegitimate son of a courtier, Clergy

Position: Bishop of Durham, Bishop of London, Archdeacon of Chester, Lord Privy Seal, diplomat

Personality type: engaging man, loyal, ambitious

Endearing trait(s): prominent humanist, survivor of sixteenth century Tudor England, outstanding scholar and mathematician, reputation of virtue and intellect, modesty, charm.

Annoying trait(s): Tunstall was afraid to stand up to Henry VIII much like everyone else in England, he was very affected by the death of Sir Thomas More who he thought could have done more in life than death, stubborn.

Family members:
Father: Sir Thomas Tunstall of Thurland
Mother: Eleanor Conyers
Brother: Brian Tunstall (died 1513 at battle of Flodden Field)
Cousins: Katherine Parr, Anne Parr, William Parr

Romance(s): none known of, never married.

Katherine Parr
Anne Parr
William Parr
Sir Thomas More
King Henry VIII
Bishop Warham
Bishop Gardiner
Queen Katherine of Aragon
Cardinal Wolsey
Princess Mary Tudor (when Queen)

Edward Seymour, Earl of Somerset
Princess Elizabeth Tudor (when Queen)

Written by Meg McGath
Information from: Porter, Linda. 'Katherine, the Queen'. 2010.

Cambridge Lover's Knot Tiara

The Cambridge Lover Knot Tiara
Cambridge Lovers Knot Tiara 1913 Version

The above picture is the 1913 Version of the Tiara in which the original pearl spikes are removed.

Queen Mary had made in 1914 to her own design and from pearls and diamonds that were already in her possession.

In 1913, Queen Mary commissioned the Crown Jewelers Messrs. Garrard & Co. to construct a tiara based on the design of the Cambridge Lovers Knot Tiara, that was once owned by her maternal grandmother Princess Augusta of Hesse-Cassel, the Duchess of Cambridge, and subsequently owned by her aunt, Princess Augusta of Cambridge, the Grand Duchess of Mecklenburg-Strelitz.

This new lovers knot tiara, also came to be known as the Cambridge Lovers Knot Tiara, because of the resemblance of its design to the original Cambridge Lovers Knot Tiara, and consisted of 19 arches, and 38 drop-shaped pearls, 19 hanging as pendants and 19 rising up as spikes. The 19 pearls that rose up as spikes could also be dismantled.

Queen Mary wore the new Cambridge Lovers Knot Tiara, both with and without the pearl spikes, removing and adding the upright pearls, as and when she deemed it fit.

The tiara was given to Diana as a wedding present from the Queen and to this day the tiara is most frequently associated with Diana. After her divorce from Prince Charles in 1995, the tiara was given back to Her Majesty to make sure the tiara was not passed on to any person outside the royal family or sold.

The circlet of the Cambridge Lovers Knot Tiara is made up of a lower semi-circular band, set with a row of round brilliant-cut diamonds. Nineteen inverted arches arise from the lower band, also set with round brilliant cut diamonds. Where two adjacent arches meet a pillar-like structure is formed that rises up and ends in a large round brilliant-cut diamond, forming a diamond spike. There are nineteen diamond spikes of this nature, and the size of these diamonds decrease gradually from the center towards both ends. A combination of lovers knots and scroll motifs is placed at the upper end of each inverted arch. The center of each lovers knot is occupied by a large round brilliant-cut diamond, from which arises two large drop-shaped pearls, one suspended in the space inside the inverted arch, and the other rising above the surface of the tiara as a spike. There are nineteen arches and nineteen drop-shaped pearls inside the arches, and nineteen drop-shaped pearls rising as spikes, making a total of 38 drop-shaped pearls. The largest drop-shaped pearl is exactly in the central arch of the tiara, with nine drop-shaped pearls gradually decreasing in size occupying the nine arches on either side. The pearl spikes that rise up above the surface of the tiara also follow a similar trend in size and arrangement. Thus the Lovers Knot Tiara is perfectly symmetrical about its median line. The tiara is essentially made of repeated units of the same motif, consisting of the inverted arch, with the lovers knot and the scrolls and the two pearls, the pendant and the spike situated inside the arch.

Elizabeth II
Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II
wearing the tiara above.

Queen Mary

Queen Mary
wearing the 1913 version of the Cambridge Lovers Knot Tiara, with the pearl spikes removed. 4 of the pearls that were removed are used as pendants on the 4-strand pearl necklace she is wearing.

Queen Mary
With the Pearl spikes

Princess Diana in the Cambridge Lover's Knot

*After the divorce of Princess Diana of Wales and Prince Charles the tiara was given back to the Queen.

Saturday, 29 January 2011

Russian Kokoshnik tiara of Queen Alexandra

Originally given to Queen Alexandra on her Silver Wedding Anniversary in 1888.
TIARAS of the Tudors Ladies - The Tudors Wiki
Queen Mary of Teck,
Queen Consort of Great Britain
Queen Alexandra and her Russian Kokoshnik
HM Alexandra of Denmark, Queen consort of the United Kingdom
The tiara was presented to Princess Alexandra on her Silver Wedding Anniversary in 1888 by Lady Salisbury on behalf of 365 peeresses of the United Kingdom. Alexandra had requested that the tiara be in the fashionable design of a Russian girl's headdress, a kokoshnik. She knew the design well from a similar tiara belonging to her sister Marie Feodorovna, the Empress of Russia. The tiara was made by Garrard Jewellers and supervised by Lady Salisbury. It is made up of 61 platinum bars and encrusted with 488 diamonds, the largest of which being 3.25 carats each. Princess Alexandra wrote to her aunt, the Grand Duchess of Mecklenburg-Strelitz
"The presents are quite magnificent. The ladies of society gave a lovely diamond spiked tiara".
One of the interesting characteristics of Kokoshnik or fringe tiaras is that each piece is attached only to the base, so it is free to move unless fastened into a frame. That is why they are often worn as necklaces or swag corsages as well. The tiara in question would not need to be altered from the version Alexandra wore to the version we see now, if the central jewel is indeed a hairpin. Hairpins were common in the 1870s and 1880s, so this seems viable enough. In order for the tiara to appear "tighter" as it did, for example, when HM wore it recently in Canada, it only need be fastened into a more restrictive frame.
The tiara has been a royal favorite ever since.

Wednesday, 26 January 2011

Ancestry of Kate [Catherine] Middleton - debunked

These rumors are solely based on a few articles which do not refer to reliable sources. Even in that Reitweisner page there are self-published books trying to confirm this lineage and for the Fairfax lineage there is only one book, a family memoirs book called The Suffolk Bartholomeans : a memoir of the ministerial and domestic history of John Meadows.

William Fairfax, son of Thomas and Anne Gascoigne -- Apparently his name is listed in the Douglas Richardson 'Plantagenet Ancestry' book which is online -- but it stops there. There is also no date of birth or death and no wife listed on Reitwiesner's page. When you try to search for this guy nothing comes up, just says that he was the twin of Sir Nicholas. Only two sources list him, Crofts Peerage, which claims that he got married and had issue.. but there are no names of the wife or children -- Reitwiesner's site which goes on to say that William had a son named William who married Lucy Goodman.. cannot be validated. The only source for it is what he posted: The Suffolk Bartholomeans : a memoir of the ministerial and domestic history of John Meadows which is a self-published memoir about John Meadows and is thus the only source for it which can only be accessed through or by going to a library. Alas many sites including Stirnet are not concluding whether this information is correct or not until further research is done. On one of the wikipedia pages about a Thomas Fairfax it clearly states at the bottom under sources, within in the source, 'A guess but most likely within the link to the Reitwiesner's page". Apparently this info is true according to Reitweisner and a book is being published. A book on Kate Middleton's ancestry? Why and who paid for it; her parents?

Also this most recent news about her being connected to royalty is rubbish as it was put out by newspapers and magazines. There is no official source for it. This is the only source which shows the direct lineage, an article from the Daily Mail [1]. Those who use the official books which were written over a decade ago such as Burke's Peerage know that her supposed ancestor William Davenport and Grace Alloway are NOT listed anywhere except for those newspapers, etc just put out. Also the question to ask is why would this information just come out AFTER the engagement when for 8 or 9 years people have had access to every possible source and information about the family?

This claim that William Davenport was a son of Elizabeth Talbot and Henry Davenport is not proven to be correct. Even the Reitwiesner page which is not authoritative argues this is not correct due to people just trying to link whomever without correct sources. The page states that a correspondent "concludes that insufficient evidence exists to establish such a connection beyond a reasonable doubt." Recent additions to the page state that it has been DISPROVEN. In the article from the Dail Mail it states the Kate is a descendant of Elizabeth Knollys by Sir Thomas Leighton, their daughter Elizabeth Leighton married a Sherrington Talbot; their son Sherrington Talbot married a Jane Lyttelton -- this is ALL correct up to this point.. then it goes off with some undocumented names that don't seem to add up as they are not mentioned in both of the sources below and others. In the Daily Mail article it then goes on to state that their supposed daughter Elizabeth Talbot marries a William Davenport. Crofts Peerage's Sherrington Talbot who married Jane Lyttelton doesn't even mention an Elizabeth Talbot who married a William Davenport. The same goes for the book Charles Mosley, editor, Burke's Peerage, Baronetage & Knightage, 107th edition, 3 volumes (Wilmington, Delaware, U.S.A.: Burke's Peerage (Genealogical Books) Ltd, 2003), volume 1, page 838. But then if you go over to Burke's Peerage here Burke's Peerage there is a mention of an Elizabeth Talbot, daughter of a Sharington Talbot, but there is NO mother and NO mention of that Elizabeth Talbot who married Henry Davenport ever having a William Davenport that went on to marry a Grace Alloway and it only states:

"Henry Davenport Esq who m 82 Oct 1665 Elizabeth dau of Sharington Talbot Esq of Lacock co Wilts and d. in July 1698 leaving with other daus who died unmarried, a dau Mary m 1st to the Rev William Hallifax DD who rf in 1720 and 2ndly to the Rev Prideaux Sutton of Itreedon co Worcester and two sons Sharington the elder a major general in the army who rf unm in Ireland 5 July 1719 and Henry Davenport Esq baptized 26 Feb 1677 8 who m 1st Mary Lucy dau of Daniel Charden Esq and had by her a son Sharington of whom presently and two daus Mary Elizabeth m to John Mytton Esq of Halftone and Mary Luce rf unm Mr Davenport m 2ndly Barbara second dau of Sir John Ivory of Ireland by Aline his wife dan of Sir John Talbot of Lacock co Wilts and by her who rf in 174ft left at his decease in 1731 a son William in holy orders DD rector of Bree don who m Mary dau of John Ivory Talbot of Lacock and had issue The only son of the first marriage".

From discussion:
I'm not sure how you can call my input 'original research' when you brought up the Richardson book which was not even listed as a source on the Reitweisner page. Since you would not accept the sources that were listed above which listed no William -- I was simply citing more. The thing is that both Richardson and Reitweisner only list a William. There is no birth date, no death date, and no wife listed. I'm not overruling Douglas Richardson, if you read what I wrote I acknowledge that the name William is in there, but that is it.. there is nothing else on him. Just his name in parenthesis and the book goes on to his elder brother's line, Nicholas. Richardson. (Pertaining to the William Fairfax connection). How exactly is Reitweisner an expert? He's just another person doing exactly what we are doing which is considered 'original research'. Well the research is being done because everyone wants to believe that this is true about her ancestry when it has not been completely confirmed by anyone other then newspaper articles and this Reitweisner site. What I was doing is simply looking into this Reitweisner's claims, since you insist on making him an expert in your eyes, which came from his page which is 'original research'. I am calling it as I see it. I'm simply saying that there is no other source linking the William of Thomas and Anne (which I might ad has no birth or death date or even a wife's name on his page) to the next William who again has no birth date, no death date, and no wife -- who supposedly had a son named William as of right now. If you can find something that is not written by an 'original researcher' that proves otherwise, let it go. I would also like to add that the Thomas Fairfax pages which were added to wiki were added right after this news came out -- and at the bottom under references for Reitweisner, it states within the link 'A guess, but most likely'. I am not the only one who has investigated this and said that it may not be entirely correct, you can see that within this page. If you are calling Lundy an amateur genealogist (who is generally accepted on here as a source because he actually cites reputable sources and books), how is Reitweisner any different with his 'original research'? This is ridiculous -- you have proved nothing other than the fact that William was listed in the Richardson book and that's where it ends for now. Unless you can find more on this confirming the lineage down to Kate with legit sources I'm done trying to talk about this.

== Elizabeth Knollys and Kate Middleton ==

There is no definitive evidence that Kate Middleton is the descendant of Elizabeth Knollys. The Daily Mail cites NO sources and is not a genuine source that is allowed on Wikipedia. Even the Reitwiesner's page just posted that is has been DISPROVEN.

"In Hobbs (full citation below), on p. 13, F. M. Lupton cites a pamphlet William Davenport, of Reading, and his descendants, by Rev. James Davenport, which claims that this William Davenport of Reading (number 636, above) was the same person as the William Davenport born at Worfield, Shropshire, on 24 Feb. 1679, a younger son of Henry Davenport of Hollon, Shropshire, by his wife Elizabeth Talbot.

Rev. James Davenport appears to have written several different works on William Davenport of Reading, as a correspondent refers to a publication by Rev. James Davenport, Rector of Harvington in Worcestershire, titled The Davenport Family of Reading and Welford on Avon, and printed in 1923 (long after Hobbs was printed). About the identification of William Davenport of Reading with the William Davenport baptized at Worfield, the correspondent states that the author "concludes that insufficient evidence exists to establish such a connection beyond a reasonable doubt." This identification has been DISPROVEN." -- meaning it's NOT true!

Email from Reitweisner's;
"Yes we have disproven it, both with the will of Elizabeth Davenport not mentioning a son William, other records showing her son William died in his 20s and with her research showing Kate's William was likely the son of a Laurence Davenport."

Monday, 10 January 2011

Sir Thomas Parr, father of Queen Katherine Parr

Sir Thomas Parr (c. 1483 – 11 November 1517) was an English nobleman, Lord of the Manor of Kendal in Westmorland (now Cumbria). He is best known as the father of Queen Katherine Parr.
He was the son of Sir William Parr of Kendal and the Lady Elizabeth Fitzhugh, later known as Baroness Vaux of Harrowden. He was descended from King Edward III of England through his mother, Lady Elizabeth.[1]
Section by Meg McGath:
Thomas Parr was the descendant of a rough and ready northern gentry clan, the Parrs of Kendal. They had been, after the crown, the most influential presence in Southern Westmoreland since 1381. His mother and grandmother before him were royal ladies-in-waiting giving Sir Thomas an upbringing at court.[1]
Sir Thomas was most likely a scholar under Maurice Westbury of Oxford who was installed as a teacher by Lady Margaret Beaufort at her estate of Colyweston. It was at Colyweston that certain gentlemen, including the son of the Earl of Westmoreland, were taught not only education but important future political connections. Thomas' father, William Parr, 1st Baron Parr of Kendal had once been Lady Margaret Beaufort's revisionary heir to her substantial lands in Westmoreland, known as the Richmond fee. Thomas' grandmother's family, the Vaux's, were close to and had had a long time relationship with Margaret. Through his education Thomas was a scholar in Latin, Greek, and modern languages. He was a master of wards.[1]
Parr was fond of Sir Thomas More. He found his ways of education to be useful and looked to his household when it was time to educate his own children. Sir Thomas More's first wife, Jane, was a niece of Parr, therefore making More an in-law. Parr was also an advocate of his cousin, Sir Cuthbert Tunstall's teachings; which included that of mathematics; something that his daughter Katherine would use later in her life as the lady of many households.[1]
Under the rule of King Henry VIII the Parr family flourished. Influence, income, and titles increased as the Parr's became more involved with the court of Henry VIII. Thomas became Master of the Guards and Comptroller to Henry VIII. He was knighted and made sheriff of Northampton in 1509, and of Lincolnshire in 1510. His wife, Maud, became a lady-in-waiting to Queen Catherine of Aragon. Shortly before the birth of their first child, Katherine, the couple had bought a house in Blackfriars, London. Sir Thomas was popular with the King and had served at court with such men as Sir Thomas More. Although he was rich in land and money, Thomas never attained the title of Baron. Sir Thomas was found to have held messuages, lands, woods, and rents in Parr, Wigan, and Sutton; with the manor of Thurnham.[1]


He married Maud Green (6 April 1495 – 20 August 1529), daughter of Sir Thomas Green and Joan Fogge in 1508. Before the birth of Catherine, Maud gave birth to a son shortly after their marriage. The happiness was short lived as the baby quickly died and his name was never known. After the birth of their third child, Anne, Maud again became pregnant c. 1517, the same year of Thomas' death. The baby was either lost through a miscarriage, stillbirth, or death in early infancy. Whatever the cause, it must have been somewhat of a relief as the baby came at a most difficult time.[2]

Children of Sir Thomas and Maud:
  • Katherine Parr (c. 1512–5 September 1548); Queen consort of England and Ireland, who married four times:
    • Sir Edward Borough, 1529 at Gainsborough, Lincolnshire, England.
    • John Neville, 3rd Baron Latimer, 1534 in London, Middlesex, England.
    • King Henry VIII of England, 1543 at Hampton Court.
    • Sir Thomas Seymour on 4 Apr 1547. Had issue: Lady Mary Seymour.[2]
  • William Parr, 1st Marquess of Northampton (c. 1513–28 October 1571) He married three times, all without issue:[2]
    • Anne Bourchier, 7th Baroness Bourchier
    • Elisabeth Brooke
    • Helena Snakenborg.
  • Anne Parr, Countess of Pembroke (c. 1515-20 February 1552), married in 1538, William Herbert, 1st Earl of Pembroke, by whom she had two sons and a daughter. Anne was the only child to have surviving issue. Her descendants include the current Earls of Pembroke.[3]


In November 1517, Thomas fell ill. He left a will for his wife and children leaving dowry's and his inheritance to his only son, William, but as he died before any of his children were of age, Maud along with Cuthbert Tunstall, their uncle Sir William Parr, and Dr. Melton were made executors. Sir Thomas died in his home at Blackfriars, London on 11 November 1517 leaving two daughters and a son. He was buried in St. Anne's Church, Blackfriars, beneath an elaborate tomb. His widow, upon her death, was buried beside him.[1]


  1. ^ a b c d e f James, Susan. Catherine Parr: Henry VIII's Last Love. The History Press. 1 Jan 2009.
  2. ^ a b Catherine Parr The Complete Peerage of England, Scotland, Ireland, Great Britain and the United Kingdom, Extant, Extinct or Dormant, new ed., 13 volumes in 14, 1910-1959; reprint in 6 volumes, Gloucester, U.K.: Alan Sutton Publishing, 2000, volume VII, page 483. Hereinafter cited as The Complete Peerage.
  3. ^ Anne Parr, Lady Herbert entry of Anne Parr, Lady Herbert.
  4. ^ "thePeerage". Retrieved 2010-09-20
  5. ^ "thePeerage". Retrieved 2010-09-20

Sunday, 9 January 2011

William Parr, 1st Baron Parr of Horton

By Meg McGath

William Parr, 1st Baron Parr of Horton (c. 1483 – 10 September 1546) was the son of Sir William Parr of Kendal and his wife Elizabeth Fitzhugh, Baroness Vaux of Harrowden.

William Parr was a military man who fought in France, where he was knighted by King Henry VIII at Tournai Cathedral, and Scotland. Parr seemed to be uncomfortable in court circles and insecure in securing relationships. None the less he accompanied the King at the 'Field of the Cloth of Gold' in France. Like his brother, Sir Thomas Parr, William flourished under Sir Nicholas Vaux.

William was a family man. After the death of his brother, Sir Thomas Parr, William's sister-in-law Maud, widowed at age 25, called upon him to help in financial matters and to manage her estates in North England while she was busy in the south securing a future for her three children. William had been named one of the executors of his brother's will. Along with Cuthbert Tunstall, a kinsman of the Parrs, Parr provided the kind of protection and father figure which was missing in the lives of Maud's children. William's children were educated along side Maud's children.

Although William was en-adapt at handling his financial matters, he was ironically appointed the office of Chamberlain in the separate household of Henry FitzRoy, 1st Duke of Richmond and Somerset, the acknowledged illegitimate son of King Henry VIII and Elizabeth Blount, based at Sheriff Hutton Castle in Yorkshire. It was William who found a spot for his nephew, William Parr, later Earl of Essex, in the Duke's household where he would be educated by the very best tutors and mixed with the sons of other prominent families. Though thought to be a wonderful environment for Parr and his nephew to flourish in, the household was not a great passport to success as Parr hoped for. Henry VIII was very fond of his illegitimate son, but had no intention of naming him his heir. It has been claimed that Parr and his sister-in-law, Maud Parr, coached William to make sure that he ingratiated himself with the Duke, in case the Duke became heir to the throne but there is no factual evidence to support this claim.

Although Parr was named Chamberlain of the Duke's household, the household was actually controlled by Cardinal Thomas Wolsey in London. This control by Wolsey diminished any opportunity of Parr gaining financial benefit or wider influence. Along with the limited possibilities came other daily frustrations as the Duke's tutors and the household officers under Parr disagreed on the balance of recreation and study. Parr was a countryman who thought it perfectly normal for boys to prefer hunting and sports to the boring rhetoric of learning Latin and Greek. As the Duke's behavior became more unruly Parr and his colleagues found it quite amusing. The Duke's tutor, John Palsgrave, who had only been employed six months, would not tolerate being undermined and decided to resign. Such was the household in which Parr presided over. Parr was suspicious of schoolmaster priests and anyone of lesser birth, even though he was not considered a nobleman at the time. The experience did not further the Parr family. If Sir William had paid more attention to his duties and responsibilities he may have reaped some sort of advancement; thus when the overmanned and over budgeted household was dissolved in the summer of 1529, Parr found himself embittered by his failure to find any personal advancement or profit from the whole ordeal.

Despite his failed attempts at achieving personal gain from the household of the Duke, Sir William made up for it during the Pilgrimage of Grace during 1536. William showed impeccable loyalty to the Crown during the rebellion. He had been in Lincolnshire along with Charles Brandon, 1st Duke of Suffolk and supervised the executions at Louth and Horncastle. William tried to ingratiate himself with Thomas Howard, 3rd Duke of Norfolk and Thomas Cromwell, 1st Earl of Essex. Parr's presence at the execution in Hull of Sir Robert Constable prompted Cromwell to share in confidence a correspondence in which he received from the Duke of Norfolk on William's "goodness" which "never proved the like in any friend before."

Sir William was Sheriff of Northamptonshire in 1518 and 1522. He was also Esquire to the Body to Henry VII and Henry VIII. In addition to this, he was a third cousin to King Henry VIII through his mother. William was appointed Chamberlain to his niece Katherine Parr and when she became Queen regent during Henry's time in France, Catherine appointed William part of her council. Although he was too ill to attend meetings, the appointment shows her confidence in her uncle.

Parr was knighted by King Henry VIII on Christmas Day, 1513. He was made a peer of the realm as 1st Baron Parr of Horton on 23 December 1543. Upon his death in 1546, with no male heirs, the barony became extinct.

He married Mary Salisbury, the daughter and co-heir of Sir William Salisbury; who brought as her dowry the manor of Horton. It was a happy marriage which produced four daughters who survived infancy:

* Maud (Magdalen) Parr, who married Sir Ralph Lane of Orlingbury. One of their children was Sir Ralph Lane, the explorer. Maud grew up with her cousin Katherine Parr, who would later become the last queen of Henry VIII. Maud would become a lifelong friend and confidante of the queen.
* Anne Parr, who married Sir John Digby.
* Elizabeth Parr, who married Sir Nicholas Woodhall.
* Mary Parr, who married Sir Thomas Tresham I.

He is buried at Horton, Northamptonshire where the family estate was.

By two of his daughters, Maud and Mary, the late Princess Diana is a descendant.

References: 'Parishes: Horton', A History of the County of Northampton: Volume 4 (1937), pp. 259-262. URL: Date accessed: 19 October 2010.

Burke, A general and heraldic dictionary of the peerages of England, Ireland, and Scotland, extinct, dormant, and in abeyance, pg. 411

Porter, Linda. Katherine, the Queen: The Remarkable Life of Katherine Parr, the Last Wife of Henry VIII. Macmillan, 2010.