Posted By Claire on March 6, 2014
Today we have a guest post from historical novelist Anne Clinard Barnhill, whose novel “Queen Elizabeth’s Daughter: A Novel of Elizabeth I” will be released on 18th March.
When I began writing my first novel, AT THE MERCY OF THE QUEEN, I’d done tons of research about my ancestors, the Sheltons. As a matter of fact, I’d been obsessed with these people for about thirty years, ever since my grandmother explained that we were descended from this British family and as a result, we could say we were also related to the infamous Anne Boleyn. Lady Anne (Boleyn) Shelton was the sister of Sir Thomas Boleyn, making Lady Anne an aunt of the remarkable queen. I had already fallen in love with Queen Anne Boleyn and to discover I was connected to her was heady news indeed.
I wrote the first novel about Lady Margaret Shelton, daughter of Sir John and Lady Anne, and her affair with Henry VIII. In my new novel, QUEEN ELIZABETH’S DAUGHTER, I chose another Shelton ancestor about whom to write — Lady Mary Shelton. This Lady Mary is not to be confused with the Lady Mary Shelton who may have been a sister to Lady Margaret. This Lady Mary is in the next generation and served at the court of Elizabeth I, her second cousin.
Lady Mary was born around 1550-1551 to Mary Parker Shelton and Sir John Shelton, 22nd Lord of Shelton. Most likely she was born at Shelton Hall in Norfolk. We know nothing of her early years but in her late teens she was sent to serve Queen Elizabeth at court in 1568 as a gentlewoman of the queen’s privy chamber. Prior to her service to the queen, she would have been a royal ward, as she was orphaned in November of 1558, the same month Elizabeth became queen. Her parents died within two weeks of each other, most likely from an illness or riding accident.
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