1 September 1532 – Anne Boleyn becomes Marquess of Pembroke

On this day in Tudor history, 1st September 1532, in a special ceremony at Windsor Castle, King Henry VIII elevated his sweetheart Anne Boleyn to the peerage by making her Marquess of Pembroke.

This was a hugely significant act because Henry VIII made Anne a marquess in her own right, granted the title to her and her heirs male (legitimate or not) and gave her a title associated with his father, Henry VII, and uncle, Jasper Tudor. It also made her a rather wealthy woman, and a fitting consort for their trip to Calais to meet with King Francis I of France.

Find out more about what happened on this day in 1532, who was there, and just what Anne Boleyn was given by King Henry VIII, in today’s talk.

I do videos like this every day on YouTube and you can my channel here.

By the way, I’m giving away lots of Tudor treats at the moment to celebrate the 5-year anniversary of the Tudor Society. Find out more in my video here and get access to the Tudor treats at https://mailchi.mp/tudorsociety/28-things.

Here’s the link to the British Library’s page on the patents: http://www.bl.uk/catalogues/illuminatedmanuscripts/record.asp?MSID=4058&CollID=8&NStart=303

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5 thoughts on “1 September 1532 – Anne Boleyn becomes Marquess of Pembroke”
  1. Anne I would think would have been very excited over this. Not not just having a title bestowed on her that was created specifically for her but seeing that the road ahead was finally clearing for her life with the king and that marriage would soon follow.

    Hi Claire. I have a personal question that you certainly don’t need to answer but I am just curious as to why you and your family moved to Spain?

    1. Hi Michael,
      We moved to Spain mainly because we were fed up of living the rat race in the UK. Tim was self-employed and I was working part-time and it just seemed that we were living pay cheque to pay cheque and not having a quality of life. We considered down-sizing but that would have been compromising so much, so we looked into moving abroad. Spain wasn’t on our list until we visited my brother, who had moved there, and it ticked all the boxes – cheap cost of living, more relaxed way of life, good quality of life, good healthcare… so we did it. The move has allowed us both to do jobs that we want to do and to provide for our family, plus I feel our kids had an old style childhood with lots of playing outside and lots of family time too. It was definitely the right decision for us.

  2. This was significant in many ways as the Earl of Pembroke was originally the Uncle of King Henry Viii, Jasper Tudor, later of course his mother also had this title with that of Richmond, which belonged to Henry Tudor at his seizure of the throne. Well technically, as although Henry styled himself as Earl of Richmond and had the Honour of Richmond, which is in Yorkshire and a lovely place, the title was removed from him by Edward IV and given to George, Duke of Clarence and then the future Richard iii. The Earldom of Pembroke, given to Jasper by Henry vi had been given to William Herbert. The title became extinct in 1491,_being handed to Edward, Prince of Wales, later Edward V, who of course vanished. Both ancient titles have old noble and royal House of Lancaster connections, the former being held traditionally by the Dukes of Brittany, before being conferred on the brother of Henry V and the latter was held by the illustrious families of Clare, Marshall and Hastings, again before being given to another brother of Henry V, Humphrey and finally William de la Pole another Royal relative. The present holder of what was in theory his father’s title as Earl of Richmond had been given by Henry Viii in 1525 to his illegitimate son, Henry Fitzroy, in 1525. He also gave him the title Duke of Somerset, representing the House of Beaufort. The title was also elevated to that of Duke, traditional title for the brother or legitimate son of a King only.

    You can see above the real significance of Henry making Anne Boleyn , his future consort, a noble in her own right and giving her a title associated with his own immediate family, he was giving her an ancient honour above other peers of the realm, saving that of a Duke. Anne had already been given precedence over his own sister and daughter, a great insult, well before she was Queen and Henry had found his favourite, Charles Brandon, Duke of Suffolk, berating him about it and calling Anne names in a fit of fury. Now she was elevated in front of the Court and the presence of Norfolk and Suffolk above everyone else, which was a clear message of his intentions towards Anne as his future wife. I can just imagine the murmurs and gasps and talking afterwards. Margaret Pole had been given a title in her own right, but she was the niece of a King, not the daughter of a knight whose service was long and duly rewarded, but certainly not the Royal Princess Henry should have married. The Boleyn family already held recent elevated titles in that Thomas was the Earl of Wiltshire, an old family connection to that title did already exist. Henry Vii and Henry Viii developed a habit of making new men, that is rewarding people for their talents or loyalty or friendship, rather than heraldic entitlement. This was how a son of a gentleman whose father had been killed at Bosworth by King Richard himself, while holding the standard of Henry Tudor, had been knighted, showered with riches and titles and official authority, had been raised to the title Duke, normally reserved for royal male relatives. Charles Brandon as Duke of Suffolk had caused eyebrows to rise and now Anne Boleyn, enshrined in her marvellous majestic purple gowns, her coronet upon her head and her illuminated patent in hand, the King at her side, proudly did the same. The noble households must have bitten their lips. I can just imagine what they were thinking.

    The patent is unusual in one other aspect, in that it allowed succession regardless not only of sex but of legitimacy. Illegitimate children could not normally inherit property unless that property was conferred upon them and in rare occasions as the sole heir they may be given the title for life. Here Anne could pass on her title, held in her own right, to more or less any heirs she pleased. Was Henry simply taking no chances because of the possibility that Anne may soon be pregnant? That is a rhetorical question and one to which there is no answer but it shows a man with the immediate future on his mind. Henry intended to make Anne his wife, but here he has a title which can be inherited by Anne’s immediate descendants no matter what happened in the next couple of years. Anne had a generous income to allow her to reside in the luxurious state to which she would be expected to live. Money and luxury and splendour were there to be displayed in the sixteenth century, not hidden, not snarled at, but looked up to. There were strict laws on dress and income, going back centuries but updated in every reign called Sumptuary Laws which said who could wear what material and how much income they must have. Believe it or not people actually got sent home from Court or retirement forced upon them because they didn’t have the income to show off their wealth. I know this sounds sick by our standards of people flaunting so much wealth while others barely scratched out an existence, but this was centuries before socialism and we cannot put our modern ideas on a society were mobility was becoming possible, but which was still rigid for the majority. Anne had every right to be proud of her achievements on this day and the older nobility could simply suck it up.

  3. We can see how this elevation from Annes present title of being the Lady Anne Rochford to Marchioness of Pembroke ruffled a few feathers, certainly Mary the Duchess of Suffolk and Henrys sister had always hated Anne because of her devotion to her friend and sister in law Katherine, and her husband Henrys great friend had no love for her to, I have often wondered why Brandon was her enemy, was it because of loyalty to his wife or may he have felt that she came between his friendship with the King? One can just just see the Duke and Duchess of Suffolk spluttering into their porridge that norning, Brandon four years later was to exultantly witness her execution so we can see there was no love lost between them, over the years Annes influence had been growing and Chapyus noted that greater court was paid to Anne as if she was the queen, her arrogance and total disrespect for the present queen made her many enemies and now this, oh my Henry had set her up to be Marchioness in her own right, and it was a new title too of course Kings could bestow titles where they wished, and this was a great honour as she was now a member of the peerage and its connections to Henrys father and uncle proved his utter devotion to her and showed he was hell bent on making her his consort, eyebrows had been raised and Katherine had been furious when his bastard Fitzroy had been created Duke of Richmond and Somerset, royal titles his father had possessed and this gave voice to rumours that the King was preparing to make him his heir, now Anne that despised hussy the queens own lady in waiting was elevated to the ranks of the aristocracy and she must have looked very regal that day, on such occasions she wore her hair loose and it rippled down her back and over her shoulders, like at her coronation and she must have looked spectacular in crimson and ermine and her coronet on her dainty head, as the sunlit poured through the great stained glass windows of Windsor castle she was honoured in a way no other woman of the realm had been honoured before, interesting too that this title was to be for her heirs male legitimate or not, as Bq says could this be because the longed for anullment may not come through in time if Anne was pregnant ? Thus Henry was protecting the future of his offspring so it could well have been, the 1st of Sunday is today and so it was in the year 1532, the court of that year in the reign of Henry V111 was certainly undergoing a lot of change, if any were in doubt that Henry intended to make his mistress his queen then this ceremony proved once and for all that his intentions were plain, the meeting with the French King was some way off and Henry was going to take his beloved Anne with him as his future bride and for that he wished the support of Francois, many old families at court viewed the Boleyns as upstarts and this next act must have made them seethe with rage, but as for Anne and her family I agree with Michael, she must have been overjoyed so excited as this was an incredible honour to her, and she was also now very wealthy, after this we can see Anne becoming more overbearing and arrogant but who can blame her? In that snobbish class conscious world when her association with the King became known, she probably had to endure the odd slights and sniggers from the older aristocratic ladies, now she was on a par with them, as the saying goes ‘ her cup runeth over’.

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