Sunday, 16 December 2012

The Duchess of Cambridge: Another unsuccessful attempt to link her to "noble" blood

This is just getting rather sad. The Daily Mail refuses to give up on finding possible "royal/noble" blood when it comes to the Duchess of Cambridge. The Daily Mail had previously put out a few years back that Kate or Catherine Middleton is a descendant of Mary Boleyn, sister of Queen Anne Boleyn. This however has been disproven by professional genealogists who have been researching her genealogy for years now. (

The latest attempt on 16 December 2012 to link her to "noble" blood (which the Daily Mail is incorrectly calling her ancestors) shows a link to a supposed second cousin, 3x removed; Barbara Lupton. The study was done by school children. "Pupils in Melbourne, Australia, stumbled across the link during a genealogy project set by their teacher Michael Reed." So how factually correct this all is -- we have no idea because once again, the Daily Mail, has NO sources as to where the information came from exactly! Just word of mouth!

What exactly is the obsession to link her to noble/royal blood? She is a commoner through and through.

According to the Daily Mail:
The teacher contacted Edward, the surviving son of Sir Christopher and Lady Bullock who confirmed the connection.

He also sent his findings to the Duchess, who thanked him for the research.

Her assistant private secretary Rebecca Deacon wrote back on October 19, in the early stages of Kate's pregnancy, that the Duchess sent her best wishes and thanks to the teacher.

Mr Reed told The Sunday Times: 'It is a good feeling to know that I've unearthed something that may be of interest to the Duchess, her family and the Royal family.'

He traced the Duchess's family line back five generations to the Marquess of Lansdowne and his brother Thomas FitzMaurice who lived at the Buckinghamshire stately home Cliveden with his wife Mary, 4th Countess of Orkney in the late 18th century.

William Bortrick, the chairman of Burke's Peerage, said it will make an 'interesting inclusion' in the next edition of the guide, which will be published after the Duchess gives birth.
Ok, let's get this correct. She is linked to them -- related by marriage -- she DOES NOT descend from them or have any blood connection to them so that means there is no noble blood involved. Olive Lupton, Kate's great-grandmother, is a 2nd cousin (distant relation for these days) of Barbara Lupton who married Sir Christopher Bullock. So these are not ancestors.

Ancestors: are those people you directly descend from, not extended family members! An ancestor or forebear is a parent or (recursively) the parent of an ancestor (i.e., a grandparent, great-grandparent, great-great-grandparent, and so forth). Ancestor is "any person from whom one is descended. In law the person from whom an estate has been inherited."

The ancestry here, according to the chart above is that of Bullocks father, The Rev. L. Bullock [full name not written out] who married Cecil Augusta Spearman. The connections come from Spearman's family, NOT the Lupton's OR Bullock's! So, the Duchess of Cambridge IS NOT related at all to these previous ancestors of Spearman as two marriages remove the Duchess's distant cousin from the actual family from which these notable people descend. She is only related to the children of Sir Christopher Bullock and Barbara Lupton -- Richard Henry Bullock and Edward Anthony Bullock.

The Prime Minister and Marquess of Lansdowne, William Petty FitzMaurice isn't even an ancestor of the Spearman's or the Duchess's cousin's (Richard and Edward Bullock), but rather a great-uncle of Thomas FitzMaurice, 5th Earl of Orkney (maternal grandfather of Cecil Augusta Spearman). The Marquess was a brother to Thomas FitzMaurice, the husband of Mary, suo jure 4th Countess of Orkney. So again, I applaud the Daily Mail at twisting the truth -- which is far from these conclusions.

As of right now, Kate's lineage only links her back to Edward III of England as an ancestor through a Sir William Fairfax (b. circa 1496). Sir William was the son of Sir Thomas Fairfax (b. circa 1475) and Agnes Gascoigne (b. circa 1474); herself the daughter of Sir William Gascoigne (b. circa 1450) and Lady Margaret Percy (b. circa 1447). By William Fairfax, she descends from Edward III thrice.

Sir William descends from Edward III by the king's granddaughter Lady Joan Beaufort's first marriage to Lord Ferrers. Their daughter Mary married to her step-brother, Sir Ralph Neville, son of Sir Ralph Neville (later 1st Earl of Westmorland) by his first wife, Lady Margaret Stafford. Sir Ralph would go on to marry Lady Joan Beaufort after the death of Margaret Stafford.

Lady Margaret Percy also descends from Edward III by her paternal grandparents, Sir Henry Percy, 2nd Earl of Northumberland and Lady Eleanor Neville. Percy was a great-grandson of Prince Lionel of Antwerp, Duke of Clarence, son of Edward III. Eleanor Neville was another daughter of Lady Joan Beaufort by her second marriage to Ralph Neville, 1st Earl of Westmorland.

However -- Croft's Peerage -- has put this up on their site...
A descent from Sir William Gascoigne V is one of the commonest "royal descents" in both Britain and the United States. The New England Historic Genealogical Society has estimated that up to 50 million Americans can trace their ancestry back to King Edward III. All of these people are related (albeit very distantly) to the Duke of Cambridge and possibly to the Duchess.

This purported Royal descent depends on the correct identification of the Duchess of Cambridge's Fairfax ancestors. Anthony Adolph ("The Fairfax Ancestry of the Duchess of Cambridge - A Correction" Genealogists' Magazine Vol 30 No 10 Jun 2012 page 407) casts a critical eye on this line of descent and finds that the Fairfaxes of Norwich are unlikely to be descended from the Fairfaxes of Walton and Gilling, thus making the Duchess of Cambridge's connections to royalty through her Fairfax ancestry "probable" at best.[4]
  1. WARGS.COM: Ancestry of Catherine Middleton
  2. Douglas Richardson. "Magna Carta Ancestry, 2nd edition, 2011.
  3. Douglas Richardson. "Plantagenet Ancestry," 2nd edition, 2011.
  4. Croft's Peerage: Kate Middleton

Saturday, 13 October 2012

Turquoise Parures of Queen Mary

 The Turquoise Parures of Queen Mary
Queen Mary wearing the original tiara

There were two turquoise parures assembled by Queen Mary; one was worn by Princess Margaret, Countess of Snowdon and the other was given to the late Princess Alice, Duchess of Gloucester.[1]



The Gloucester Parure

Princess Alice, Duchess of Gloucester
The Queen Mary turquoise parure was given to the young Princess Mary of Teck (Queen Mary) by her parents the Duke and Duchess of Teck when she became engaged to the future George V in 1893. The parure, later given to the Duchess of Gloucester, consisted of three 1850 turquoise brooches, a tiara, a necklace, and earrings.[1] Over the years another drop necklace was added and the Teck earrings worn as detachable pendant drops on the oval cluster earrings.[1]

The three brooches had been a gift to Mary's mother, Princess Mary Adelaide of Cambridge, upon her confirmation in December 1850.[1] Princess Mary of Cambridge wore the two brooches as part of a headdress and the corsage brooch pined to her bodice when she attended her first debutante at Buckingham Palace.[1]

The collection known as the “Gloucester Jewels” is mainly the collection of jewels given to Princess Alice, Duchess of Gloucester upon her marriage to Prince Henry, Duke of Gloucester, son of King George V and Queen Mary, in August 1935.[1] During the beginning of the 20th century turquoise was a very fashionable stone and Queen Mary was aware of the Duchess's fondness of them. The turquoise parure from Queen Mary consists of the tiara, a long chained necklace of twenty-six turquoise and diamond oval clusters, matching cluster earrings and ring, two bow brooches, a bow-shaped corsage brooch with a tassel, a bangle bracelet, and two four row turquoise bead bracelets.[1]

Birgitte, Duchess of Gloucester
The tiara of turquoise and diamonds was arranged in rococo scrolls and a sunburst. The centre of the tiara contains the largest turquoise in the piece surrounds by a “burst” of diamonds and turquoise pear shaped stones, quite similar to the famous Persian tiaras of Empress Farah of Iran. Apparently Queen Mary found the composition too high, and it was lowered by E. Wolff & Co. in August 1912.

On 29 October 2004, after the death of Princess Alice, the collection was passed to the current Duchess of Gloucester, wife of Prince Richard, Duke of Gloucester. Her Grace has worn every parure known to have been given to her late mother-in-law Princess Alice.



The Princess Margaret Parure

Princess Margaret wearing her turquoise parure
As a baby, Princess Margaret was given a string of turquoise and pearl beads.[1] In August 1951, upon her 21st birthday, Princess Margaret was given the antique parure of Persian turquoises set in diamonds.[1]

The parure had been given to her mother upon her marriage in 1923 to the Duke of York, later George VI.[1] This parure consisted of a long necklace with a number of graduated pendant drops, matching pendant earrings, hair ornaments, a large square brooch, and a high oval tiara.[1] A bow brooch and ring were added to the set.[1]

Bow brooch most likely added after; © Christie’s 2012

The string of turquoise and pearl beads given to Margaret at birth were eventually given to her daughter, Lady Sarah Armstrong-Jones.[1]

  1. Leslie Field. ''The Queen's Jewels,'' Henry N. Abrams, Times Mirror Books, 1987. pg 158.


Wednesday, 12 September 2012

Lady Frances Manners, Lady Bergavenny

Coat of arms of the 8th Baron Bergavenny
Lady Frances Neville, (née Manners) Lady Bergavenny (c.1530 - circa September 1576) was an English noblewoman and author. Little is known of either Lady or Lord Bergavenny, except that the latter was accused of behaving in a riotous and unclean manner by some Puritain commentators. Lady Bergavenny's work appeared in The Monument of Matrones in 1582 and was a series of "Praiers". Her devotions were sixty-seven prose prayers, one metrical prayer against vice, a long acrostic prayer on her daughter's name, and an acrostic prayer containing her own name.


Frances, Lady Bergavenny was the third daughter of Thomas Manners, 1st Earl of Rutland and his second wife, Eleanor Paston. Her father was a soldier and the eldest son of Sir George Manners of Belvoir, Leicestershire, and his wife, Anne St. Leger. By Anne St. Leger, Frances was thus a great-granddaughter of Anne of York, the elder sister of Edward IV and Richard III.

Before 1554, Frances had married Henry Nevill, 6th Baron Bergavenny. Nevill or Neville, was born between 1527 and 1535. He was the son of George Neville, 3rd Lord Bergavenny and Lady Mary Stafford. Neville succeeded to the title of 4th Lord Bergavenny after his father's death in 1535. He held office of Chief Larderer at the coronation of Queen Mary in 1553. When Lady Bergavenny died in 1576, Neville remarried to Elizabeth Darrell, daughter of Stephen Darrell and Philippe Weldon, before 1586; they had no issue. He died 10 February 1586/87 without male issue. He was buried on 21 March 1586/87 at Birling, Kent, England.

She died circa September 1576 and was buried at Birling, Kent, England.


Lord and Lady Bergavenny had one daughter Hon. Mary Neville, Baroness Le Despenser (25 March 1554 -- 28 June 1626). Mary gained the title of suo jure 3rd/7th Baroness le Despenser. She had claimed the succession to the Barony of Bergavenny, but this was settled on her cousin, Edward Neville, who became the 7th Baron Bergavenny.

The first, second, and fourth creations of Baron le Despenser had been under attainder from 1400 upon the death of Mary's ancestor, Thomas le Despencer, 2nd Baron le Despencer, [1st Earl of Gloucester] (1373–1400) and became abeyant as well in 1449 after the death of the infant Lady Anne Beauchamp, the 15th Countess of Warwick. The representation of the three Baronies of le Despencer fell into abeyance between Anne's cousin George Nevill, 4th Baron Bergavenny and aunt, Anne de Beauchamp, 16th Countess of Warwick. On the attainder and execution of Lady Margaret Plantagenet [Margaret Pole], Countess of Salisbury on 28 May 1541 any claim to the three Baronies by the descendants of the 16th Countess of Warwick, lapsed and the sole representation lay with the Barons Bergavenny. The attainder of Thomas, 2nd Baron le Despenser, was reversed in 1461 but the abeyancies continued until 25 May 1604, when the abeyancy of the 1295 Barony of le Despencer was terminated in favour of Mary Neville. She married Sir Thomas Fane, son of George Fane, on 12 December 1574. They were parents to Sir Francis Fane, who gained the title of 1st Earl of Westmorland. The title of Earl of Westmorland was forfeit after the death of Mary's cousin, Charles Neville, 6th Earl of Westmorland. The title was revived in 1624 in favour of Fane because Mary was a descendant of Sir Edward Neville, 1st Baron Bergavenny, a younger son of the 1st Earl of the 1329 creation [Ralph Neville, husband of Lady Joan Beaufort and son-in-law to Prince John of Gaunt, 1st Duke of Lancaster].

Lady Despenser died on 28 June 1626 at age 72.


Her Praiers in prose and verse were later published in 1582 by Thomas Bentley in the Second Lamp of his anthology of Protestant women writer's prayers, The Monument of Matrones. In a deathbed dedication of her work to her daughter, she calls it a "jewell of health for the soule, and a perfect path to paradise." Her collection includes sixty-seven pages of prose prayers for private use and public worship linked to various occasions and times of day; a five-page acrostic prayer based on her daughter Mary Fane’s name, and a concluding prayer based on her own name.


  • Beilin, Elaine V. "Frances Neville, Lady Bergavenny" in Matthew, H.C.G. and Brian Harrison, eds. The Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. vol. 45, 490-491. London: OUP, 2004.
  • McCoy, Richard, Kathleen Lynch, Carol Brobeck, Martha Fay, Roque Rueda, "Redefining the Sacred--Monument of Matrones," Redefining the Sacred in Early Modern England: An NEH Summer Institute. -Folger Shakespeare Library, 1998. Web. 30 Nov. 2011.
  • Bentley, Thomas. Monument of Matrones. London, imprinted by Henrie Denham, [1582].
  • The Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. The Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. vol. 45, 490-491. London: OUP, 2011
Re-written by Meg McGath (September 2012)

Friday, 13 April 2012

Sudeley Castle Exhibit by Belinda Durrant: Where is Mary?


Sudeley Castle Exhibit by Belinda Durrant: Where is Mary?

Belinda Durrant has three new works on display at Sudeley Castle as part of their exhibition celebrating the quincentenary of the birth of Katherine Parr. She was gracious enough to share them with us and to even write what inspired her to make these works. 

Sudeley Exhibit by Belinda Durrant ©
"It [the exhibit] was made as a direct response to visiting the castle. I am no history scholar...just couldn't understand why there was so little info about the poor little child at the Castle and decided I was going to find out myself....and promptly discovered that there was nothing much more to find, which just made it all worse, somehow.

Katherine Parr was the 6th wife of Henry VIII. After his death in 1547 she married Thomas Seymour and moved to his country residence, Sudeley Castle in 1548 where she gave birth to a daughter, Mary on August 30th of that year. She died from puerperal (childbed) fever just seven days later and is buried in St Mary’s Church within the castle grounds. The site of baby clothing often provokes unexplained sentimental reactions, particularly from women. Freud tells us that this is fetish. Such clothing reminds us of the child itself and is embraced as a substitute for the ‘lost’ child. Freud means ‘lost’ in terms of the fleeting period of babyhood, but in this case, Lady Mary Seymour was apparently quite literally ‘lost’.

We are told that Mary became an orphan at just a few months old when her father was executed for treason and that she was sent to live with Katherine Willoughby, the Duchess of Suffolk. I have been able to find out very little else. It seems all record of her disappears after August 29 1550, the eve of her second birthday.

The three works I have displayed in the Castle exhibition centre, ‘Where is Mary? Bonnet, Mittens, Bib’ were made as a direct response to a visit I made to the castle in July 2011. The work is not about embroidery and stitch.

It is about the ACTS of embroidering and stitching; the almost ritualistic time, care and love which goes into the making of those very special first clothes which celebrate the arrival of a new child.
Bonnet which reads "Where is Mary" by Belinda Durrant, picture by Sudeley Castle.

 © 13 April 2012

Sunday, 12 February 2012

The Execution of Lady Jane Grey

National Gallery, London, exhibit on DeLaRoche featuring his execution portrait of Lady Jane Grey
On this day in 1554: The execution of de facto Queen Regnant Jane Grey. Jane's cousin, King Edward VI, had changed the succession before he died to over-ride his deceased father's succession act which put his half-sister by Katherine of Aragon, Lady Mary, before the Protestant Lady Elizabeth. Instead of just cutting Mary out, he bi-passed BOTH Mary AND Elizabeth for the line Henry had designated as his successors if Mary and Elizabeth both died childless.. that of his younger sister, Princess Mary, Queen of France and Charles Brandon. Technically, the next in line was Princess Mary's eldest daughter, Lady Frances Brandon, Duchess of Suffolk, but Edward also bi-passed her for her daughter, Lady Jane Grey. The sudden burden was placed upon her daughter who never wanted to become queen, but none the less became the queen of nine days. Lady Mary's claim to the throne as a daughter of Henry VIII was more legit in the eyes of the English people and even Lady Elizabeth supported her half-sister in this decision and the two road into London together to take back the throne in the name of Mary who became Queen Mary I. Initially, Lady Jane's life was spared; but Sir Thomas Wyatt's rebellion in January and February 1554 against Queen Mary's plans of a Spanish match led to her execution at the age of 16 or 17, and that of her husband, Lord Dudley, brother of Elizabeth's favorite, Robert.
The execution of Lady Jane Grey, de facto Queen of England by Paul DelaRoche
Lady Jane Grey had an excellent humanist education and a reputation as one of the most learned young women of her day. She had stayed with the Queen Dowager, Katherine Parr, where she was tutored by John Aylmer, a close friend of Katherine's chaplain, John Parkhurst and her almoner, Miles Coverdale. Given the queen's leaning toward learning and her affection for Jane, it is probably that Katherine had some effect on the direction of Jane's education during the two years that she spent with the Dowager Queen. 
A committed Protestant, she was posthumously regarded as not only a political victim but also a martyr.

Friday, 10 February 2012

Favorite Moments in Tudor Period Productions

You just can't have one. If you've watched multiple Tudor era films, shows, etc. there are so many scenes that are unforgettable, truthful or not. Can I have more than one? Well I sure do.

 The Sword and the Rose (1953)

 A movie about Princess Mary Tudor, Queen of France; a funny movie by Walt Disney. Not very accurate, yet it is still a good laugh!

My favorite for the longest time was from Anne of a Thousand Days -- the "Tower Scene" with Anne. 

Elizabeth (1998)
Mary speaks with her half-sister, Elizabeth. "Your Majesty forgets that he was also my father."
"It is your death warrant, all I need do is sign it." -- "Mary, if you sign that you will be murdering your own sister!"

Dudley and Elizabeth dance a "Volta" and she says: "I am no man's Elizabeth. If you think to rule her, you are mistaken. I will have one mistress here and NO master."

Elizabeth: Why do you do this, Robert?
Dudley: Because I love you. And though you will not see me, I am the only one who would care for you.
Elizabeth: You love me so much you would have me be your whore?
Dudley: For God's sake, I do this for us. I ask you to save some part of us!
Elizabeth: Lord Robert, you may make whores of my Ladies but you shall not make one of me.

The last thing Elizabeth says to Dudley in the movie before she storms out. That ALWAYS makes me cry. The music and the speech.. wow! "He will be kept alive, to always reminds me of how close I came to danger." 

BBC: The Virgin Queen (2005)

Confrontation of Mary and Elizabeth.
Queen Mary I: "Is it not enough that my mother was left to die alone in exile while YOUR mother STOLE her place in our father's favor?" [resentment much?]


La Volta with Robert Dudley. [left]
The queen finds that Dudley has married Lettice Knollys; the queen confronts and insults Lettice.

The Tudors (series)

Katherine defends herself to Henry and walks out of the court.

Mary and Anne: "I recognize no queen but my mother." 

Henry visits Princess Elizabeth and stops to bow to the Lady Mary.

Mary takes care of the crying Princess Elizabeth 

Memories of Queen Katherine of Aragon

The miscarriage scene in The Tudors where Anne comes back with "You have no one to blame but yourself for this...." 

"One more chance.."
Anne Boleyn's last confession to Cramner

Henry and Mary are reconciled, for now.
Lady Mary Tudor is welcomed back to court thanks to Jane.

"Please God, in your mercy, don't take her away from me.. My son needs his mother and I need my queen."; Henry's speech at the deathbed of Jane Seymour

"And what about me?" 

The Earl of Surrey: "The Happy Life"
"Which of these, your grace, do you not have?"
Brandon: "All of them."
Surrey: "Then you are like me and all the Romans and all the barbarians and the generations before us and all those yet to come; for who does not wish, your grace, with all their heart for the quiet mind? Tell me a soul who has ever found it."

Katherine Parr's reign as queen.

Katherine Parr talks to Kat Ashley about Anne Boleyn.
"I believe that I can trust you, I think that your family are reformers?" -- Catherine Parr. "Yes, madame." -- Kat Ashley. "Lady Elizabeth's mother, Anne Boleyn, was also a Lutheran and a reformer. I suppose it is my duty therefore to bring the daughter up in her mother's faith. Would you have any objection to that Mistress Ashley?" -- Katherine Parr. "None, your Majesty, I would be proud to help the Princess thus honour the memory of her mother, who's life and thus faith too many have easily disparaged." -- Kat Ashley. "Good, then I will appoint as her tutor Roger Ascham, he is also one of us... oh, Mistress Ashley, this conversation never happened." -- Katherine Parr.
"Although Your Majesty's absence has not been long, yet the want of your presence means that I cannot take pleasure in anything until I hear from Your Majesty. Time hangs heavily. I have a great desire to know how Your Majesty has done since you left, for your prosperity and health I prefer and desire more than my own. And although I know Your Majesty's absence is never without great need, still love and affection compel me to desire your presence. Thus love makes me set aside my own convenience and pleasure for you at whose hands I have received so much love and goodness that words cannot express it. We hear word of ill weather and delays besetting you and though we thank God for your good health we anxiously await the joyous news of the success of your great venture and for your safe and triumphant return for which all England offers daily prayers. I fear am I but a poor substitute for Your Majesty in the matter of the guidance of your kingdom. I long for your return. I commit you to God's care and governance.
By Your Majesty's humble obedient wife, and servant,
Katherine, the Queen." - Episode 7.

Henry spares Queen Katherine Parr.  
I am but a woman, with all the imperfections natural to the weakness of my sex. And therefore in all matters of doubt and difficulty I must refer myself to your Majesty's better judgement as my Lord and Head." Henry forgives Catherine and proclaims that they are "perfect friend's again". He then promises that he will never doubt her again. His servant then asks if he should re-send the warrant tomorrow; Henry asks "why?"

Henry Dreams of Death...and the end of a King 

Henry says goodbye to his family.

There are many more that I would love to place on this page, but many of them are not caught on YouTube. These are the few that top my list for now.

Friday, 27 January 2012

Review of The Broadview Anthology of Sixteenth-Century Poetry and Prose by Sandra Bell, Marie Loughlin, and Patricia Brace, Chapter: Queen Katherine Parr

Review of the Chapter on Queen Katherine Parr within The Broadview Anthology of Sixteenth-Century Poetry and Prose by Sandra Bell, Marie Loughlin, and Patricia Brace

First off, the fact that this book was published in 2011 gives them no excuse for the authors to get major facts incorrect in the chapter on Queen Katherine Parr; to top it off they use Susan James as a source! After all the recent biographies and research done on her there is absolutely no excuse for it. Katherine did not marry at age 13 to the Lord Borough of Gainsborough. She married in 1529 the grandson of the 2nd Lord Borough of Gainsborough who had not even been called to Parliament as such since he was declared insane. The two shared the same name and the younger Edward would have inherited the barony after his father Thomas's death, but he died in 1533 before his father. Proof of who she really married is stated in her mother's will.

What is interesting about the chapter is that the authors state that "Parr" became a lady-in-waiting to Katherine of Aragon after the death of her first husband and that she was on her way to marry her second husband when the King married Anne Boleyn in 1533. FACT: In 1533, Katherine had just been widowed and was in no hurry to re-marry. She was never lady-in-waiting to any of Henry's other wives. Her mother and her sister were the only ones to attend upon one of the wives; her sister served all six. Maud Parr, her mother, attended Queen Katherine of Aragon until her own death in 1531.

Moving on, Lord Latimer was not the "head" of the Uprising of the North. In fact, he himself was captured by the rebels while Katherine and her step-children were held hostage. The fact that Katherine changed her views after she married King Henry is simply untrue. There is no set date as to when Parr may have converted to Protestant views, but it is thought that it might have happened after the rise of Anne Boleyn or during the time that she was held hostage. As for the undertaking of translating Erasmus, Katherine Parr encouraged the Lady Mary Tudor to translate it and when she became too sick to complete it, it was finished by Mallet. Mary and Katherine got along and were good friends through out her reign. It is known to be the happiest time of Mary's life.

I love how the author quotes using Susan James's as a source for her biographical information when it completely contradicts what she actually wrote in her book. Apparently these authors did not read the book carefully enough.

Monday, 9 January 2012

Letters and Papers, Foreign and Domestic, Henry VIII: Account of marriage to wife no. 6

Letters and Papers, Foreign and Domestic, Henry VIII, Volume 18 Part 1: January-July 1543
The wedding of Henry and Katherine, Dowager Baroness Latimer as recorded
Notarial instrument witnessing that, on 12 July 1543, 35 Hen. VIII., in an upper oratory called "the Quynes Pryevey closet" within the honor of Hampton Court, Westm. dioc., in presence of the noble and gentle persons named at the foot of this instrument and of me, Ric. Watkins, the King's prothonotary, the King and lady Katharine Latymer alias Parr being met there for the purpose of solemnising matrimony between them, Stephen bp. of Winchester proclaimed in English (speech given in Latin) that they were met to join in marriage the said King and Lady Katharine, and if anyone knew any impediment thereto he should declare it. The licence for the marriage without publication of banns, sealed by Thos. abp. of Canterbury and dated 10 July 1543, being then brought in, and none opposing but all applauding the marriage, the said bp. of Winchester put the questions (recited) to which the King, hilari vultu, replied "Yea" and the lady Katharine also replied that it was her wish; and then the King taking her right hand, repeated after the Bishop the words, "I, Henry, take thee, Katharine, to my wedded wife, to have and to hold from this day forward, for better for worse, for richer for poorer, in sickness and in health, till death us depart, and thereto I plight thee my troth." Then, releasing and again clasping hands, the lady Katharine likewise said "I, Katharine, take thee Henry to my wedded husband, to have and to hold from this day forward, for better for worse, for richer for poorer, in sickness and in health, to be bonayr and buxome in bed and at board, till death us depart, and thereto I plight unto thee my troth." The putting on of the wedding ring and proffer of gold and silver (described) followed; and the Bishop, after prayer, pronounced a benediction. The King then commanded the prothonotary to make a public instrument of the premises. Present : John lord Russell, K.G., keeper of the Privy Seal, Sir Ant. Browne, K.G., captain of the King's pensioners, and Thos. Henage, Edw. Seymer, Hen. Knyvet, Ric. Long, Thos. Darcy, Edw. Beynton, and Thos. Speke, knights, and Ant. Denny and Wm. Herbert, esquires, also the ladies Mary and Elizabeth the King's children, Margaret Douglas his niece, Katharine duchess of Suffolk, Anne countess of Hertford, and Joan lady Dudley, and Anne Herbert.
Notarial attestation by Ric. Watkins, Ll. B., King's prothonotary.
Large parchment.
James Gairdner and R. H. Brodie (editors). "Henry VIII: July 1543, 11-15." Letters and Papers, Foreign and Domestic, Henry VIII, Volume 18 Part 1: January-July 1543 (1901): 480-489. British History Online. Web. 10 January 2012. <>

Saturday, 7 January 2012

ON THIS DAY in 1536: The Death of Queen Katherine of Aragon

On this day in 1536, the death of Queen Katherine of Aragon.
Romanticized drawing of Katherine of Aragon at the time of her death
Katherine was the first wife and queen of King Henry VIII. She was born Infanta Catalina de Aragón on 16 December 1485, the youngest daughter of King Ferdinand II of Aragon and Queen Isabella I of Castile; the great Catholic monarchs who united the kingdoms of Aragon and Castile. She was married to Arthur, Prince of Wales, eldest son and heir of King Henry VII of England and his consort Princess Elizabeth of York on 14 November 1501. Soon after the marriage Arthur died on 2 April 1502 in Wales.

On the 25th of June 1503, she was formally betrothed to the king's second son, Henry, now prince of Wales, and a papal dispensation for the alliance was obtained. They were married on 19 June 1509 and Katherine was crowned queen on the 24th.

Katherine's marriage to Henry was joyful and happy for more than a few years; but after "her" failure to produce a male heir, Henry started to stray from his wife. On 15 June 1519, Henry's mistress Bessie Blount had given birth to the King's illegitimate child; a boy also named Henry. As the King acknowledged the child he was given the surname Fitzroy (meaning son of a king) and was given numerous titles and estates. For awhile there was talk that Fitzroy might become the heir to the throne, but Henry already had an heir by his wife Katherine; a girl named Mary. By 1526, Katherine's health deteriorated and it was generally accepted that she could not have any more children. [for more info on this topic, click -- Childbearing; A Tale of Katherine of Aragon]

Fast forward, Henry has more affairs and falls in love with an English commoner named Anne Boleyn. Anne was the sister of Henry's former mistress Mary. Henry would go to hell and back just to divorce Katherine and marry Anne. This whole ordeal created friction at the court and abroad; Katherine's nephew was now Charles V, the Holy Roman Emperor. Long story short -- after a trial it was determined that Katherine and Henry had been living in sin and the marriage was null and void.

Henry married Anne and Katherine was titled Princess Dowager while her daughter Mary was bastardized and her status as Princess was revoked. Although the marriage was never seen as valid in the Catholic Church, within Henry's Church of England the marriage was valid. She was kept in strict seclusion, separated from her daughter Mary, and from all outside communication. In December 1535 her health started to deteriorated and on 7 January 1536 she died at Kimbolton Castle. By the King's command she was buried at Peterborough Cathedral.

Tomb of Queen Katherine of Aragon, Peterborough Cathedral
 The following day, news of her death reached the king. There were rumors at the time that she was poisoned[1][2][3], possibly by Gregory di Casale.[4] Rumors also circulated that Katherine had been poisoned by Anne or Henry, or both, as Anne had threatened to murder both Katherine and Mary on several occasions. The rumors were born after the apparent discovery during her embalming that there was a black growth on her heart that might have been caused by poisoning.[7] Modern medical experts are in agreement that her heart's discoloration was due not to poisoning, but to cancer, something which was not understood at the time. According to the chronicler Edward Hall, Anne Boleyn wore yellow for the mourning, which has been interpreted in various ways; Polydore Vergil interpreted this to mean that Anne did not mourn.[5] However, Chapuys reported that it was actually King Henry who decked himself in yellow, celebrating the news and making a great show of his and Anne's daughter, Elizabeth, to his courtiers.[6] This was seen as distasteful and vulgar by many. Another theory is that the dressing in yellow was out of respect for the late queen-princess dowager as yellow was said to be the Spanish color of mourning.

Before her death, Katherine wrote a final letter to her husband the King.

Last Letter to Henry VIII, January 7, 1536 
Written shortly before her death, Katherine of Aragon's last letter to the man she still considered her husband was more a tender farewell than a bitter recrimination. 
M y most dear lord, king and husband,

The hour of my death now drawing on, the tender love I owe you forceth me, my case being such, to commend myself to you, and to put you in remembrance with a few words of the health and safeguard of your soul which you ought to prefer before all worldly matters, and before the care and pampering of your body, for the which you have cast me into many calamities and yourself into many troubles. For my part, I pardon you everything, and I wish to devoutly pray God that He will pardon you also. For the rest, I commend unto you our daughter Mary, beseeching you to be a good father unto her, as I have heretofore desired. I entreat you also, on behalf of my maids, to give them marriage portions, which is not much, they being but three. For all my other servants I solicit the wages due them, and a year more, lest they be unprovided for. Lastly, I make this vow, that mine eyes desire you above all things.

Katharine the Quene.

  1. Letters and Papers of the Reign of Henry VIII, vol. X, no. 190
  2. Letters and Papers of the Reign of Henry VIII, vol. X, no. 59
  3. Letters and Papers of the Reign of Henry VIII, vol. X, no. 230
  4. Letters and Papers of the Reign of Henry VIII, vol. X, no. 200
  5. Warnicke, p. 187.
  6. Warnicke, p. 188.
  7. Lofts, p.139.
    © 7 January 2012
    Meg McGath 

    Friday, 6 January 2012

    ON THIS DAY in 1588: The Birth of Lady Elizabeth Stanley (6 January)

    Lady Elizabeth Stanley, Countess of Huntingdon, Lady Hastings of Hungerford and Lady Botreaux (6 January 1588 – 20 January 1633)

    Lady Elizabeth was born and baptised on 6 January 1588,[1] in Knowsley, Lancashire, the third and youngest daughter, and co-heir of Ferdinando Stanley, 5th Earl of Derby, Lord of Mann, (1559-April 16, 1594) and Alice Spencer (4 May 1559 -January 1637) Her paternal great-grandmother was Lady Eleanor Brandon, Countess of Cumberland, daughter of Princess Mary Tudor, Dowager Queen of France and Sir Charles Brandon, 1st Duke of Suffolk. Another paternal great-grandmother was Lady Dorothy Howard, daughter of Sir Thomas Howard, 2nd Duke of Norfolk and his second wife, Agnes Tilney.

    As the great-great-granddaughter of Princess Mary Tudor, Duchess of Suffolk, the younger sister of King Henry VIII, Elizabeth became, after the death of her grandmother, Lady Margaret Clifford in 1596, third in line of succession to the English throne. Her father, Ferdinando, had died before his mother. Upon the death of Queen Elizabeth I in 1603, Elizabeth and her older sisters, Lady Anne Stanley, Countess of Castlehaven, heir presumptive, and Lady Frances Stanley were passed over in favour of King James VI of Scotland, who was descended from King Henry's elder sister Margaret Tudor.

    She was one of the dancers in Ben Jonson's, The Masque of Queens performed at Whitehall Palace in 1609.

    Shortly after her 13th birthday, she married Henry Hastings (1586-1643), later the 5th Earl of Huntingdon, only son of Francis Hastings, Baron Hastings and Sarah Harrington on January 15, 1601. As his father had died in 1595, Henry was heir to the earldom of Huntingdon. On 31 December 1604, upon the death of his grandfather George Hastings, 4th Earl of Huntingdon, he succeeded as the fifth earl.

    They made their principal home at Ashby de la Zouch Castle, Leicestershire, where the earls of Huntingdon had their family seat. Together Henry and Elizabeth had four children:[2][3]
    • Lady Alice Hastings (1606–1667), married Sir Gervase Clinton; died childless.[3]
    • Ferdinando Hastings, 6th Earl of Huntingdon (18 January 1608- 13 February 1655), married Lucy Davis, by whom he had issue.[3]
    • Lord Henry Hastings, 1st Baron Loughborough of Loughborough (28 September 1610- 10 January 1667), died unmarried without issue.[3]
    • Lady Elizabeth Hastings (born ca. 1605), married Sir Hugh Calverley; died childless.[3]
    Lady Elizabeth was a patron of the arts, as well as a writer. She was the author of five Huntington Library manuscripts: four copies of prayers, biblical extracts, and meditations, and one volume of sermon notes. Forty-six of her letters (written from 1605 until late 1632), which provide a keen insight into her life and personal sentiments, survive in the Hastings Collection of the Huntington Library. In one of these letters, she described a visit to the royal court where she watched the rehearsals and final production of a masque, at which she was kissed by both King James and Queen Anne.

    Her miniature portrait by Nicholas Hilliard was painted sometime between 1601 and 1610. She was also the subject of a portrait by Paul van Somer painted in about 1614.

    Tomb of Alice Spencer, Countess of Derby which depicts her three daughters L to R: Anne, Frances and Elizabeth
    Elizabeth died on 20 January 1633 shortly after her 45th birthday at Whitefriars, London at the home of her brother-in-law, John Egerton, 1st Earl of Bridgewater. A procession took her body to the parish church of St. Helen in Ashby-de-la-Zouch where she was buried on 9 February. The minister praised her in conventional terms, but he also mentioned her literary activities. The four manuscripts of her religious writings represented her thoughts right up to her death; in three of her four manuscripts, her final meditation was Of Death. Her husband died 10 years later in 1643.