The Negotiations for Anne Boleyn to marry James Butler

Posted By on September 2, 2014

James Butler

James Butler

In today’s part of my series on Anne Boleyn’s life, I’m going to examine the negotiations which aimed to marry Anne Boleyn off to James Butler, son of Sir Piers Butler, and to settle the dispute over the title of Earl of Ormond. This article is based on a chapter of my book The Anne Boleyn Collection II, although that goes into much more detail.

Before we look at the negotiations, we need to consider who the Butlers actually were, how they linked with the Boleyn family and why the Ormond title was under dispute. The Butler link came from Anne Boleyn’s paternal grandmother, Lady Margaret Butler, who married Sir William Boleyn, son of the wealthy mercer (and Lord Mayor of London), Geoffrey Boleyn from Blickling, Norfolk, and his wife Anne Hoo. Margaret was born at Kilkenny Castle in Ireland, somewhere between 1454 and 1465. She was the daughter of Thomas Butler, 7th Earl of Ormond, (known as “The Wool Earl”) and his first wife, Anne Hankford. Thomas Butler served on Henry VII’s privy council and was Catherine of Aragon’s first Lord Chamberlain, serving her from 1509-1512.1 Her paternal grandparents were James Butler, 4th Earl of Ormond, and Joan Beauchamp. James Butler was known as “The White Earl” and was the patron of “The Book of the White Earl”, an Irish religious and literary miscellany.

This simplified family tree shows how Anne Boleyn and James Butler were related, both being descended from James Butler, 3rd Earl of Ormond. You can click on it to see a larger version.

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1 September 1532 – Anne Boleyn is created Marquis of Pembroke in her own right

Posted By on September 1, 2014

The letter patent creating Anne Boleyn as the Marquess of Pembroke.

On 1st September 1532, Anne Boleyn was created Marquis of Pembroke, a title in her own right, at a ceremony at Windsor Castle.

The purpose of the granting of the title was to “fit” Anne for the European stage, in readiness for the couple’s upcoming meeting with King Francis I of France. Despite years of trying, Henry VIII’s marriage to Catherine of Aragon had still not been annulled so Anne was still Henry’s queen-in-waiting. It was important that she be given a status befitting of England’s future Queen and be recognised as Henry’s consort.

You can read a contemporary account of the ceremony, and also a valuation of the lands granted to Anne as part of her title, in my article from 2012 – click here.

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