The Lady Elizabeth by Alison Weir

  By 1509, Thomas Boleyn had begun his long career at court when he was appointed “Esquire of the Body” to Henry VII, a post that brought him into daily contact with the King. The four Esquires of the Body enjoyed great influence, and were usually able and cultivated knights who took turns to wait on the King day and night in his bedchamber, helped him dress, attended to his daily needs, and informed the Lord Chamberlain “if anything lack for his person or pleasaunce. Their business is in many secrets.”80 This was naturally a position of great honor and trust, and its occupants were often able to enjoy manifold benefits from being in such close proximity to the monarch. This gave them a distinct advantage over other courtiers, and opportunities to sue for favors for themselves—and for others at a price—and express persuasive opinions. Thus early on did Mary’s father become influential at court.

  Elizabeth Howard, who was rarely at court, would from now on have been the guiding figure in her childen’s daily lives, and a far less distant one than Thomas Boleyn, who was often away from home, either at court or on the King’s business, and who, in the manner of Tudor fathers, would have had much influence over, yet little hands-on involvement with, the rearing of his children. Thomas was in his element at court, where there was every chance that he could fulfill his ambitions. He can have had little idea of where those ambitions would take him and his family.


  1 Loades: Henry VIII: Court, Church and Conflict

  2 Blomefield

  3 The Complete Peerage

  4 Griffiths

  5 For Blickling Hall, to which there are many references in this chapter, I am indebted in several instances to the paper of Elizabeth Griffiths, who discovered that Sir Geoffrey Boleyn built a house on the site. The date 1452 is inferred from internal evidence in The Paston Letters; Blomefield gives it as 1450.

  6 Wilkinson: Mary Boleyn

  7 Ibid.; Griffiths; Leland

  8 The Paston Letters; National Archives: Ancient Deeds: C.137,862,5972

  9 The Paston Letters

  10 The Complete Peerage; his will was proved on July 2 that year.

  11 Stow

  12 Calendar of Inquisitions Post Mortem: Henry VII

  13 Ibid.; her age is given as twenty or more in the inquisition postmortem on her mother, taken in November 1485.

  14 The Complete Peerage.

  15 The Oxford Companion to Irish History

  16 Michael Clark

  17 Harleian mss.

  18 Calendar of Patent Rolls: Henry VII: 1485–1509; Blomefield

  19 L. & P.; in 1529, at the legatine court convened at Blackfriars to try Henry VIII’s nullity suit against Katherine of Aragon, Boleyn gave his age as fifty-two.

  20 Calendar of Patent Rolls: Henry VII: 1485–1509; Wilkinson: Mary Boleyn; Griffiths; The Crown and Local Communities in England and France in the Fifteenth Century

  21 Meyer

  22 L. & P.

  23 Cited by Ives.

  24 Brewer

  25 L. & P.

  26 Surrey is known to have been resident at Sheriff Hutton Castle only between 1489 and 1499, when he was serving as Lieutenant of the North. Anne Bourchier had married Lord Dacre probably in 1492; Elizabeth Tylney died in 1497. Her daughters Elizabeth and Muriel are given their maiden name and style, so were not yet married when the poem was written (Muriel married before 1504). For Skelton and this poem, see Rollins; Tucker; Morley and Griffin; Brownlow in Skelton, John: The Book of the Laurel; The Complete Peerage.

  27 L. & P.

  28 For example, Anne Boleyn; Jones

  29 For example, Warnicke: The Rise and Fall of Anne Boleyn; Claremont

  30 For example, Loades: The Six Wives of Henry VIII; Plowden: The Other Boleyn Girl; Wilkinson: Mary Boleyn

  31 Not her son, Henry, as Hart states.

  32 Round is incorrect in asserting that Hunsdon was mistaken here, and that Boleyn was created Lord Rochford to him and his heirs male, and Earl of Wiltshire and Ormond to him and his heirs general; the earldom of Wiltshire was granted to him in tail male, the others in tail general; see The Complete Peerage.

  33 Calendar of State Papers, Foreign Series, of the Reign of Elizabeth

  34 Round

  35 The Complete Peerage; Broadway. On the death of Queen Elizabeth in March 1603, George Carey became sole heir to Thomas Boleyn, Earl of Wiltshire and Ormond, and when he died without male issue six months later, his daughter Katherine Carey inherited his claim to the earldom. When she died in 1635, her son, George Berkeley, born in 1613, succeeded her in her apparent right to the earldom of Ormond, even though that earldom was in fact still held by the Butlers.

  36 Ms. in the Chapter House, Westminster Abbey

  37 Tallis; Bernard: Anne Boleyn; Sergeant

  38 Sergeant

  39 The Complete Peerage; Starkey: Six Wives

  40 Ives; Calendar of the Close Rolls preserved in the Public Record Office: Henry VII. I am indebted to Douglas Richardson for kindly drawing my attention to this reference.

  41 Barbara Harris

  42 Ibid.

  43 As before, I am grateful to Douglas Richardson for this information.

  44 Ives

  45 Warnicke: “Anne Boleyn’s Childhood”

  46 Warnicke: The Rise and Fall of Anne Boleyn; Wilkinson: Mary Boleyn

  47 Bell. For a fuller discussion of the examination of the bones, see Weir: The Lady in the Tower.

  48 For example, Warnicke: The Rise and Fall of Anne Boleyn; Jones

  49 The best source is The Complete Peerage.

  50 Paget: “The Youth of Anne Boleyn”; Warnicke: ‘Anne Boleyn’s Childhood.” For the full text of the letter, in context, see p. 51–52.

  51 Ives; Bernard: Fatal Attractions

  52 S. C.

  53 Round

  54 Plowden: The Other Boleyn Girl

  55 Powell

  56 Hughes

  57 Powell

  58 Ibid.; Mongello

  59 Powell states that Mary Boleyn was born around March 25, 1498, “at the same time as the Princess Mary,” but the latter had been born two years earlier.

  60 Powell

  61 Brewer, in L. & P.; The Complete Peerage

  62 Somerset: Ladies in Waiting; Hoskins; Hackett; Williams: Henry VIII and His Court. Tunis has Mary born in 1504 at “Hever Castle in Chilton Foliat,” but Hever is in Kent, not Wiltshire, while Chilton Foliat was possibly the birthplace of Mary’s first husband, William Carey.

  63 Warnicke: The Rise and Fall of Anne Boleyn

  64 Bernard: Anne Boleyn

  65 Metrical Visions

  66 Ambassades en Angleterre de Jean du Bellay

  67 Powell

  68 Blomefield

  69 Ibid.; Griffiths; Shelley

  70 L. & P.

  71 The Rutland Papers

  72 Calendar of Patent Rolls: Henry VII: 1485–1509

  73 Calendar of the Close Rolls preserved in the Public Record Office: Henry VII; Griffiths; Norwich Cathedral: Church, City and Diocese, 1096–1996

  74 Calendar of Patent Rolls: Henry VII: 1485–1509; Calendar of the Close Rolls preserved in the Public Record Office: Henry VII; L. & P.; Blomefield. Sir William’s will is given in Testimenta Vetusta.

  75 Calendar of Patent Rolls: Henry VII: 1485–1509

  76 Calendar of the Close Rolls preserved in the Public Record Office: Henry VII, where he is described as “late of Blickling, Co. Norfolk.”

  77 Blomefield

  78 L. & P. This overturns John Newman’s assertion that Hever was never the Boleyns’ chief residence, as they did nothing to “transform their house into a worthy expression of their ambitions.” But the works at Hever carried out by Sir Geoffrey Boleyn, and, more importantly, by Sir Thomas, prove rather the contrary. Moreover, there are very few references to Thomas Boleyn being in Norfolk during the reign of Henry VIII.

  79 Norton: Anne Boleyn

  80 Cited by Norris.


blished her first book, Britain’s Royal Families, in 1989, and has since written many other historical works, among them The Six Wives of Henry VIII, The Life of Elizabeth I, Eleanor of Aquitaine, Henry VIII: The King and His Court, and The Princes in the Tower, as well as two novels, Innocent Traitor: A Novel of Lady Jane Grey and The Lady Elizabeth. She lives in Surrey, England, with her husband.


  Britain’s Royal Families: The Complete Genealogy

  The Six Wives of Henry VIII

  The Princes in the Tower

  The Wars of the Roses

  The Children of Henry VIII

  The Life of Elizabeth I

  Eleanor of Aquitaine

  Henry VIII: The King and His Court

  Mary, Queen of Scots, and the Murder of Lord Darnley

  Queen Isabella

  Innocent Traitor: A Novel of Lady Jane Grey

  The Lady Elizabeth is a work of historical fiction. Apart from the well-known actual people, events, and locales that figure in the narrative, all names, characters, places, and incidents are the products of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to current events or locales, or to living persons, is entirely coincidental.

  Copyright © 2008 by Alison Weir

  Excerpt from Mary Boleyn copyright © 2011 by Alison Weir

  All rights reserved.

  Published in the United States by Ballantine Books, an imprint of The Random House Publishing Group, a division of Random House, Inc., New York.

  Originally published by Hutchinson, a division of Random House Group Limited, London, in 2008.

  BALLANTINE and colophon are registered trademarks of Random House, Inc.


  Weir, Alison.

  The Lady Elizabeth : a novel / Alison Weir.

  p. cm.

  1. Elizabeth I, Queen of England, 1533–1603—Childhood and youth—Fiction. 2. Great Britain—History—Tudors, 1485–1603—Fiction. 3. Queens—Great Britain—Fiction. I. Title.

  PR6123.E36L33 2008

  823'.92—dc22 2008000284

  This book contains an excerpt from the forthcoming title Mary Boleyn by Alison Weir. This excerpt has been set for this edition only and may not reflect the final content of the forthcoming edition.

  eISBN: 978-0-345-51292-5




  Alison Weir, The Lady Elizabeth



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