Category Archives: The Tudors

Thomas Seymour (1508-1549) – House of Seymour -Lord High Admiral

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Thomas Seymour and Elizabeth Tudor

Thomas Seymour, 1st Earl of Sudeley and Lord High Admiral, was the brother of Henry VIII’s Queen Consort, Jane Seymour, and thus another Uncle of King Edward VI of England.

Thomas Seymour was the son of a common knight, Sir John Seymour and Lady Margery Wentworth. His sister, Jane Seymour, died after the birth of the only male heir of England, Prince Edward Tudor. Thomas well known for his scandalous marriage to Katherine Parr, Henry VIII’s sixth and final wife (and eventually his widow). Before marrying the King, Katherine was also married and widowed to two other elder Lords. After the death of her second husband, and being assigned to Mary Tudor’s (Henry VIII’s daughter with Catherine of Aragon) household, she and Thomas Seymour struck up a flirtation/romance. It was snuffed out abruptly when Henry VIII became interested in Katherine as his next wife.

As the brother of Henry VIII’s favorite Queen and uncle of his only heir, Thomas Seymour was favored by the king, and continued to be favored after his sister’s death. He went on several diplomatic missions for the King, and was often the King’s chosen companion. It must have been known by Henry VIII that Thomas had proposed once to Katherine, because he was made ambassador of the Netherlands after the King married her, probably to remove him from court. Like his brother, Edward, Thomas was also a successful military leader. Weeks after the King’s death, Thomas and Katherine secretly married. When it became known, it was a great scandal.

When Henry VIII died, Thomas’s elder brother, Edward Seymour, sized power by naming himself Lord Protector, Guardian of the King’s Person, and giving himself the title of 1st Duke of Somerset. Even though Henry VIII’s will named a council of men to govern until Edward VI’s majority, he managed this because the young king was just nine years old. He also bribed all the other powerful Lord’s of realm with titles, lands, and money.

Thomas Seymour became his brother’s most significant opponent. Not only did Edward Seymour disregard the will of the previous king, but he also tried to consolidate all the power with himself. At no time in History was it prudent for a Lord Protector to also be Guardian of the King. Edward was as powerful as a regent and Thomas was jealous of this power. Thomas demanded that he be made Guardian of the King, if he brother assumed the role of Lord Protector. Edward refused to share power with Thomas, and instead tried to placate him with a Barony and making him Lord High Admiral. This was not enough.

Thomas first attempted to befriend young Edward VI. It was known that Edward Seymour kept a tight leash on the young king and even limited his pocket money. Uncle Thomas started slipping him some, which when discovered looked as though Thomas was trying to bribe or buy Edward’s favor. Another scandal erupted when Thomas was found in the compromising position with Princess Elizabeth. Princess Elizabeth had been living with Katherine Parr, her step-mother, after her father’s death. Katherine and Elizabeth had always been close. It was Katherine’s intervention that restored Elizabeth and her sister Mary to the succession, as they had both been removed when Henry VIII discarded their mothers.

Some suspect that Thomas had been romancing the Princess for some time and that he intended to marry her one day in order to gain power. It was believed that his wife Katherine Parr was not in the best of health, and should she die, Thomas wanted to use the opportunity to marry the Princess. Elizabeth seems to have been pretty infatuated and welcoming of the Baron’s attentions. Rumors intensified when Katherine Parr became pregnant and sent Elizabeth away from her house. Katherine gave birth to a daughter, Mary Seymour, but succumbed to childbirth fever. She left all her possessions to Thomas in her will, making him one of the richest men in England.

Although Thomas proclaimed his remorse at his wife’s death, his pursuit of Elizabeth continued. But for some reason she cooled toward him. Perhaps she found his attentions so soon after his wife’s death distasteful.

Thomas’s continued schemes to undermine his brother’s authority and usurp his position led to his downfall. He used his position as High Lord Admiral (his command of the Navy) to consort with pirates and rebels in what seemed to be an attempt to revolt against his brother. Edward asked his brother to defend himself and make clear his motives before the council, but he never showed. Instead he was caught trying to breach the King’s apartments (perhaps to kidnap him). Thomas was arrested and sent to the Tower of London. He was tried, found guilty of treason, and then executed.

Thomas Seymour had one daughter with his wife Katherine Parr:

Mary Seymour (1548-c.1550)

*As her mother’s wealth was left entirely to her father and later confiscated by the Crown, Mary was left a destitute orphan in the care of Katherine Willoughby, Duchess of Suffolk, who appears to have resented this imposition. After 1550 Mary disappears from historical record completely, and no claim was ever made on her father’s meager estate, leading to the conclusion that she did not live past the age of two. (PBS Documentary: The Six Wives of Henry VIII.)

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Lord Edward Seymour (c.1500-1552) – House of Seymour – The Regent Uncle

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Edward Seymour

Edward Seymour, 1st Duke of Somerset, received his power when his nephew ascended the throne as King Edward VI of England. Edward was the son of Henry VIII and his 3rd wife, Jane Seymour. Edward Seymour was the young king’s uncle, as he was Queen Jane’s eldest brother.

Before the death of Henry VIII, Edward Seymour was the Earl of Hertford and Viscount of Beauchamp. He enjoyed favor with Henry VIII as the brother of his wife, and continued to remain in favor and close to the King after Jane’s death (she died after childbirth). This favor lasted the whole of Henry VIII’s reign.

Edward married two times. His first wife, was heiress Catherine Fillol. She bore two children, but if was public knowledge that she had an affair. For this reason Edward disinherited the children from this marriage, and made the children of his second wife, heiress Ann Stanhope, his heirs. Ann gave birth to ten of Edward’s children.

It is said that Edward was named Lord Protector in the will of Henry VIII, as who would better guide and protect the nine year old king, but the king’s mother’s own eldest brother? Seems like as good as choice as any, however, this is not even remotely true. The fact is, Edward Seymour, with the backing of bribed powerful nobles, named himself Lord Protector. It is recorded that many titles, lands, and monies were distributed to Edward Seymour’s supporters. Henry VIII’s will actually named sixteen executors that were supposed to act as King Edward’s council. Well… that did not happen.

One of the first things that Uncle Edward did was Lord Protector, was give himself the high and mighty title of Duke. Duke of Somerset to be precise. He also got the young king to decree that he could make important decisions for the realm. Pretty much he obtained the monarchical power of a king regent. He could even appoint privy council members.

One person who was against him was his own brother, Thomas Seymour, who felt that he should be Lord Protector, or protector of the kings person. One should not be both, as Edward was doing. Edward tried to bribe/placate his brother with a barony, by making him Lord Admiral, and giving him a seat on the privy council. This still was not enough for Edward’s brother, who went behind his back and tried to befriend and influence the young king. When his brother went to far in planning to marry Princess Elizabeth, the king’s half sister, Edward had Thomas arrested and eventually executed.

Edward Seymour was a skilled military leader. What he lacked in governing, he made up for on the battlefield, keeping the ever problematic Scots at bay. Also, a few rebellions surfaced that Edward put down.

As time went on, the powerful nobles began to resent Edward’s power. When it was suspected there would be a possible power struggle, Edward took possession of the King (really took him hostage), but power lasts only as long as the powerful nobles allow it. Every King learns that in order to protect his throne, that he must keep his nobles happy, something that the Lord Protector had forgotten.

Edward found himself arrested and the King was freed. The King himself accused him of mismanagement and abuse of power, as he was just a little bit upset that he was taken prisoner. Edward Seymour was forgiven and released, but eventually, Edward Seymour would be executed when he attempted to take power from the King’s new man who led the council, John Dudley, Earl of Warwick.

Edward had two wives and twelve children. With his first wife, Catherine Fillol, there were two sons whose paternity was questioned.

John Seymour (1527-1552)
Lord Edward Seymour (1529-1593), Sheriff of Devon

With his second wife Ann Stanhope:

Edward Seymour (1537-1539), Viscount Beauchamp of Hache
Edward Seymour (1539-1621), Earl of Hertford
Lady Anne Seymour (1538-1588)
Lord Henry Seymour (1540-?)
Lady Margaret Seymour (1540-?)
Lady Jane Seymour (1541-1561)
Lady Catherine Seymour (maybe died in infancy)
Lord Edward Seymour (1548-1574)
Lady Mary Seymour (1552-?)
Lady Elizabeth Seymour (1552-1602)

Jane Seymour (1508-1537) – House of Seymour – Plain Jane

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Jane Seymour

Jane Seymour, Queen Consort of England, was the third wife of infamous King Henry Tudor VIII of England. Jane was raised to throne as soon as the King’s second wife, Anne Boleyn was thrown off. The King proposed marriage to her the day after Anne Boleyn was executed for treason, on trumped up charges of adultery and incest, and then married her ten days later. He wasted no time. It has been documented that the King and Jane had a romance while Jane was Lady in Waiting to Queen Ann. When Ann also failed to deliver the promised heir and prince (like the King’s first wife, whom he divorced), it is clear that the King called on his men to get rid of her, so he could take a new wife. This time, he did not want a long drawn out process of a divorce. The King’s men were swift and thorough, and several men, along with Queen Ann and her brother, the Viscount of Rochford, were put to death. All victims were innocent of all charges brought against them. One can say, that Jane’s marriage began with blood and would end with blood.

Plain Jane was not known as a great beauty, but she was very fair and demure, which were ideal qualities in women of this era (Renaissance). Jane was also the daughter of a simple knight, Sir John Seymour, and Lady Margery Wentworth. Jane’s common birth and upbringing in the countryside shaped her into the woman she was. Unlike Catherine of Aragon, (a Spanish Princess born to be Queen someday), or Anne Boleyn, daughter of a minor nobleman and niece of a Duke- she was not as educated as Henry VIII’s first two wives. In fact, plain Jane was the polar opposite of her predecessor, the witty, sharp tongued, dark beauty, Anne Boleyn. Anne was opinionated and demanding. Jane was quiet and submissive. She was not of the temperament to debate and contradict the King, especially in front of his court, like Anne was remembered for. She was the perfect wife for the volatile, arrogant, and impetuous Henry VIII. Also, she had a frailness about her that appealed to Henry’s tough, over protective, chivalrous side.

Like all women of this era, Jane was a tool to be used by her family to further their social standing at court. Surely when the King took interest in her, her mother, father, and two older brothers were right beside her, pushing her and pressuring her to welcome the King’s attentions. It made no difference that the King was married or not. Gifts and titles were to be given to the family of any King’s mistress. However, it was because that Queen Anne had not provided the desperately desired son, that Jane’s family no doubt instructed her to wait for a possible marriage with the King. Since the court watched in shock as the Catholic King divorced and set aside his first Queen and wife to marry his second, and also broke with the Catholic Church in order to do so- Many young ladies knew it was possible to be the next Queen. Anne Boleyn did not only set fashion trends at court. She also gave common ladies hope that they too can wear a crown. All they must do is make the King notice them and then remain moral and virtuous ladies, patiently awaiting a respectable marriage.

Henry VIII would declare openly on several occasions that Queen Jane was his favorite wife. Historians note that Jane was the only one to give him the son he most desperately needed, and she had the good grace to die before she became annoying or boring. Yes, Jane Seymour, gave birth to her prince Edward Tudor, who would later become Edward VI of England. Sadly though, childbirth was very dangerous at the time. Queen Jane most likely caught an infection after she gave birth and she succumbed to childbirth fever nine days later.

Henry VIII was publicly and privately mournful of her death. It was said that after her death is when Henry VIII began to put on some serious weight, becoming grotesquely obese. He did not remarry for three years, which is considerable, since Kings were supposed to stay married if possible and keep providing heirs for the Kingdom. No expense was spared for Jane’s funeral. Also, when Henry VIII commissioned a family portrait, he was married to his sixth and final wife Katherine Parr, but instead of her painted by his side, Jane was painted instead. Henry VIII decreed that he would be buried next to Jane upon his death, and he was.

Jane had two older brothers, Edward Seymour, 1st Duke of Somerset, and Thomas Seymour, 1st Baron of Sudeley. Both men were key figures during the Tudor era. I plan to do a piece on each of them in the future.

George Boleyn (1503-1536) and Jane Parker (1505-1542) – House of Boleyn – Lord and Lady Rochford

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George Boleyn and Jane Rochford

George Boleyn, was the brother of Queen Consort of England, Anne Boleyn, the 2nd wife and queen of Henry VIII. It is believed that George was the eldest sibling of Anne and Mary Boleyn, and eldest surviving child/son of Thomas Boleyn 1st Earl of Wiltshire and Lady Elizabeth Howard. The Boleyn family was at the very head of the reformation of the Catholic Church in England. With the rise of Anne Boleyn from royal mistress to wife, the Boleyns all enjoyed favors from their King. George Boleyn was particularly favored, gaining many titles and a wife from a wealthy family. The King himself had a hand in setting up George’s marriage to Jane Parker.

Jane Parker, was the daughter of lesser nobility, Henry Parker, 10th Baron of Morley, but of an old and wealthy family. It was common for new and upcoming men at court, given great titles by the King, to take very wealthy brides from old, but less noble families (and vice versa). Many times one party held the great title, the other great wealth and ancient lineage. George and Jane’s greatest favor bestowed by the King was the title of Viscount and Viscountess of Rochford. George was said to be one “loveth and trustith” by the king.

The marriage between George and Jane was a match made to further family interest (on both sides) and had nothing to with love. Also, by the way Jane slandered her husband and Queen during a later investigation, gives credit to the rumors that she was not fond of her husband, and probably not very fond of her sister-in-law.

George Boleyn was one of the King’s greatest supporters during his “Great Matter,” when the king was seeking an annulment from Catherine of Aragon in order to marry Anne Boleyn. George was an intelligent and politically astute young man, wise beyond his years. He was also, like his sister, a Lutheran sympathizer. In fact is was through very careful and delicate political influence over the king, that Anne and George planted the seeds of the possibility of a break with the Roman Church, making the king the supreme authority in his country.

George, a skilled diplomat like his father, was sent on several assignments abroad to negotiate with the French, and to gain support for the English King’s annulment. George also had the reputation of being proud to a fault and a womanizer. Later writers suggested that George Boleyn also had a thing for seducing men too. There are no historical accounts of these rumors, and if any one of George’s peers thought so, it could be assured that these kind of rumors would have spread like wildfire. Historians believe this is just a liberty taken by novelist and historical drama screen play writers.

George and Jane Parker had no children, and many believed that the couple did not like each other for the most part. Either one, or both parties, did not care for the arranged marriage. It was most likely Jane, as men tended to not care whom they married so much as long as the marriage benefited them and their family legacy. Men of this era could easily obtain mistresses to amuse themselves with. Women did not have that option, unless they wanted to suffer great consequences.

When George’s sister Anne was raised high to queen consort, it did not take long for her to fall from grace. Anne, no longer the reluctant and coy mistress that the king was chasing, was now his wife. Her first duty was to have babies and secure the throne of England with sons. Her opinionated and sharp tongue (whether witty or cutting) was no longer cute and endearing. In fact, her lack of regal grace and humbleness was becoming tiresome to the king. She even went so far as to berate him and argue with him in front of the whole court. On top of that, Anne gave birth to one healthy daughter, and suffered two (possibly three) miscarriages of male children afterwards.

The king ordered an investigation upon Queen Anne. He also implied that they were to investigate until some fault be found in the Queen (who he accused of using sorcery to seduce him) in order to get him free of her. Many of those close to Queen were taken for questioning. We know that two ladies in particular, Madge Shelton (Anne’s cousin and former mistress to the king), and Lady Rochford (Jane Parker, George’s wife) were questioned. What questions that were asked are not known. It is also not known if any threats were made if they did not comply. It was written though that Jane gave evidence of an improper relationship between Anne and some male members of her court, including her own brother (and Jane’s husband) George.

Five men were arrested along with the Queen. Four noblemen, Sir Francis Weston, William Brereton, Henry Norris, including Anne’s own brother George were among them. One commoner, Anne’s private musician, Mark Smeaton, was also arrested. The charge was carnal knowledge of the Queen (incest in George’s case) and treason. Only Mark Smeaton confessed to the charges, but it is also common knowledge that he would have been extensively tortured since he was a commoner. Anne was also arrested, charged, and put on trial along with these men. All were found guilty, as was the king’s pleasure, and all were sentenced to death and executed.

It is seen that Jane played a major role in the death of her husband, for which she was labeled a most evil and wicked wife. Jane would go on to serve three more Queens of Henry VIII. It was ironically while she was serving Henry VIII’s 5th wife and cousin of Anne, Kathryn Howard, that she got her just deserts. She acted as a liaison between Queen Kathryn and her lover. Covering for them and helping to arrange their meetings so they could carry on with an affair behind the king’s back. It is interesting that Henry VIII had the cousin falsely accused of adultery and treason, then executed, when his seemingly perfect wife really was guilty. When the affair was discovered, Jane and the Queen were arrested, charged and executed along with the implicated men. In Jane Parker’s case, blood was repaid with blood.

Jane Parker, Lady Rochford never remarried after George Boleyn. Perhaps other men were horrified by what she had done. She had no children.

Mary “Madge” Shelton (1515-1571) – House of Shelton – Pretty Madge

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Madge Shelton

Mary Shelton, known as “Madge” or “Pretty Madge,” was the daughter of a simple knight, Sir John Shelton and Anne Boleyn (sister of Thomas Boleyn). Lady Anne Shelton (Boleyn) was the aunt of Queen Anne Boleyn, which made Madge and Queen Anne first cousins.

Not much is know about Pretty Madge. We do know that she was a brief Mistress of King Henry VIII, while he was married to Anne Boleyn, and that she was a poet. She and several other courtiers put together a volume of poetry that they all contributed to, Madge writing many of the poems in the collection. She also helped scribe Medieval poems into the volume. Some other poets who contributed were, Sir Thomas Wyatt (main contributor), Sir Edmund Knyvet, Thomas Howard, 3rd Duke of Norfolk, and Henry Stuart, Lord Darnley (later husband to Mary Queen of Scots).

Mary became the kings mistress while she was serving Anne Boleyn as her lady in waiting. Some writers have taken liberties to suggest that Anne put forth her cousin to be the king’s mistress while she was with child, so that at least she could choose and control whom the king took to his bed. Anne had many enemies who wanted to see her replaced almost all noblemen threw their young an beautiful daughters in the king’s way, hoping that she would be noticed and bring royal favor to her family. However, it is only a suggestion that Anne did this. What we do know is that Anne was very intolerant of the king’s infidelities and threw public fits over them, something that was considered very common-like (and not queenly) behavior. One should not assume that she felt any differently over the king having an affair with her cousin. It isn’t even know if Mary and Anne liked each other. Not all Boleyn’s were on good terms with Thomas Boleyn and his branch of the family.

Mary was young, very beautiful, and very intelligent, all things that most likely would have made Anne see Mary as a rival and a threat. She was not the air headed ditz that Hollywood sometimes portrays her as. She was very cultured, well read, a writer, somewhat scholarly, and sophisticated. All things that attracted Henry VIII to women (even Anne to initially). Oddly though, Mary did not seem to seek land a titles for her family. She seemed to be content just being a brief lover of the king. The affair only lasted maybe six months.

Mary was first betrothed to Sir Henry Norris, but the engagement was broken when her families financial prospects dwindled. After that, she was engaged to the poet Thomas Clere. He died soon after and left her is property. Finally in 1546, Mary married her cousin, Sir Anthony Heveningham. They had at least two children. Mary married one more time to a commoner, Henry Appleyard. It is said that at some point she was also romantically involved with Sir Thomas Wyatt and Henry Howard Earl of Surrey. It appears Madge was a bit of a free spirit. She died around 1571.

The known children of Mary Shelton and Anthony Heveningham:

Arthur Heveningham (1547-1630)

Dorothy Heveningham (1559-1635)

Elizabeth “Bessie” Blount (1500-1539) – House of Blount – Mother of the King’s Son

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Elizabeth Blount, also known as Bessie Blount, was the daughter of the humble knight, Sir John Blount and Lady Catherine Pershall. Bessie was most known as the Mistress of King Henry VIII of England and the mother of his illegitimate son, Henry Fitzroy (Fitzroy meaning, son of the King). She had a reputation for being very beautiful.

Bessie Blount was a lady in waiting to Queen Catherine of Aragon. When she became the King’s mistress she was fairly young. The affair lasted around eight years, which was a long time for Henry VIII to be involved with any mistress. In 1519 she became pregnant with the King’s child. She was dismissed from court and took refuge in a convent in order to give birth in private, but not secretly.

Henry VIII, who was desperately trying to have a son, was ecstatic when he got word that Bessie had given birth to a boy. Some said that he was relieved to know the fault did not lay with him, but his wife, as to why he only had one frail daughter with the queen. He announced the good news to the court, fully acknowledging his illegitimate son publicly, and celebrating for several days. Even Queen Catherine, in order to spare her dignity publicly congratulated the King.

The next step in order to make sure his son was well taken care of was to find a suitable husband for Mistress Blount. It was arranged that Bessie would marry Gilbert Tailboys and he was created 1st Baron of Kyme for his services. Normally, when subjects married one of the King’s mistresses as a kind of favor, the King in return doled out titles and lands. I mean he could not allow for the mother of his kid to live shamelessly out of wedlock.

After her marriage to Tailboys, Bessie’s affair with the king ended and he moved on to Mary Boleyn. However, the King honored Bessie (and Henry) even further. When Henry Fitzroy was about 6 years old, the King knighted his son and created him Duke of Richmond and Somerset (royal titles). Bessie was now mother to a Duke. As his importance rose, so did hers (and her husband’s). She had at least three children with Baron Tailboys.

In 1530, Bessie’s first husband died leaving her a young and still very beautiful widow. She remarried to Edward Clinton, Earl of Lincoln. He was rather younger than her, but titled. Shortly after her marriage, in 1536, her adored precious son, Henry Fitzroy, died of consumption (tuberculosis). Not only was Bessie devastated, but so was the King.

The Kingdom went into mourning for the King’s only son. At the time the King was already married his third wife, Jane Seymour, who like his two wives before, had yet to give him a legitimate son. His illegitimate son dying probably made Henry even more anxious for a male heir. It is believed that Bessie loved all her children deeply. She even had three more children with her second husband, Edward Clinton. However, sometimes a first born baby holds a special place in his/her mother’s heart.

Bessie Blount did return to court sometime briefly and was a lady in waiting to Henry VIII’s 4th wife Anne of Cleves. She left service and court because she fell ill. She died of consumption (tuberculosis) on her husband’s estates.

Bessie had a total of seven recorded children:

Henry Fitzroy, Duke of Richmond and Somerset (1519-1536)

Elizabeth Tailboys, 4th Baroness of Kyme (1520-1563)

George Tailboys, 2nd Baron of Kyme (1523-1540)

Robert Tailboys, 3rd Baron of Kyme (1423-1541)

(Some babies were found buried with Bessie’s first husband, probably children who died young)

Lady Bridget Clinton (1536-1580?)

Lady Catherine Clinton, Baroness of Burgh (1538-1621)

Lady Margaret Clinton, Baroness Parham (1539-?)

Lady Mary Boleyn (1499-1543) – House of Boulogne – The Dutiful Daughter

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Mary Boleyn

Mary Boleyn was the eldest daughter and child of Sir Thomas Boleyn, Viscount of Rochford and 1st Earl of Wiltshire, and Lady Elizabeth Howard. She was also the sister of Anne Boleyn, Queen Consort of England.

Mary was mostly known for her bad reputation she earned in France when she went there as a young lady in the service of the French Queen, and also for being Henry VIII’s mistress. This would have not earned her very much fame alone, but for the fact that her sister Anne ended up marrying the same King. It was quite a scandal. Especially as the King set aside his wife and queen, Catherine of Aragon, of many years, on the grounds that she had once been the wife of his brother and therefore their marriage was incestuous.

When Mary was recalled from France around 1520, it was to quickly force her into marriage before she ruined her reputation any further, and that of her younger unmarried sister. Her groom was Sir William Carey, an untitled cousin of King Henry VIII. The King was even among the wedding guests at their wedding. Historians are not sure about when, but soon after her marriage to Carey, Mary became the mistress of Henry VIII. After 1520, several gifts were made to Mary Boleyn, which were not of the platonic nature. Also, Mary’s husband began to receive lands and properties, probably as a way to placate him. Mary was the King’s mistress out in the open, so everyone knew. Although she and Carey had two children, the eldest was rumored to be the king’s. If she was, the king never claimed her.

Mary’s husband was not the only one to benefit from the affair. Mary’s father and other family also received gifts of lands and properties. Being the king’s mistress was not a bad thing, and Mary’s father no doubt was pleased with the arrangement and encouraged it. Sadly, most fathers of this era would have done the same.

Mary was the complete opposite of her sister. She was said to be the ideal beauty of the times. She had long golden hair, blue eyes, and a pleasantly plump figure. However, she was not known for her intelligence, or conversational skills. She was only known for private talents she learned in France. Soon the king grew bored and set aside Mary for her much more witty, ambitious, and virtuous sister, Anne Boleyn.

Very soon after Anne married the King and became Queen of England, Mary’s husband had died of the Sweating Sickness. The Sweating Sickness was a very serious disease during the Tudor Era that claimed many lives. Mary afterwards met a fell in love with a poor common soldier, William Stafford. They married in secret and when it was discovered that Mary was pregnant the marriage was revealed. Anne was furious. She was Queen and it was her right to marry her sister to any lord she saw fit. On top of that, her sister married someone of such humble birth it was an embarrassment. Anne had her sister banished from court causing her to live in poverty pretty much the rest of her life. One may suspect that Mary no longer wanted to be used by her family. She chose to live a simple country life, poor, but free. Mary died in her forties, perhaps of an illness.

Only Mary’s children with her first husband survived infancy. These children were:

Catherine Carey (1524-1568)

Henry Carey (1526-1596), Baron Hundson