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

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

The record in Letters and Papers reads:

“”Creacion of lady Anne, doughter to therle of Wilteshier, marquesse of Penbroke.”
Sunday, 1 Sept. 1532, 24 Hen. VIII. The lady was conveyed by noblemen and the officers of arms at Windsor Castle to the King, who was accompanied by the dukes of Norfolk and Suffolk and other noblemen, and the ambassador of France. Mr. Garter bore her patent of creation; and lady Mary, daughter to the duke of Norfolk, her mantle of crimson velvet, furred with ermines, and a coronet. The lady Marques, who was “in her hair,” and dressed in a surcoat of crimson velvet, furred with ermines, with strait sleeves, was led by Elizabeth countess of Rutland, and Dorothy countess of Sussex. While she kneeled before the King, Garter delivered her patent, which was read by the bishop of Winchester. The King invested her with the mantle and coronet, and gave her two patents,—one of her creation, the other of 1,000l. a year. She thanked the King, and returned to her chamber.

Gifts given by the lady Marques :—To Mr. Garter, for her apparel, 8l.; to the Office of Arms, 11l. 13s. 4d. The King gave them 5l.
Officers of Arms present :—Garter and Clarencieux, kings; Richmond, Carlisle, and Windsor, heralds; Rougecross, Portcullis, Bluemantle, and Guisnes, pursuivants.”

A record of the valuation of her lands followed this record in Letters and Papers:

“Total of the lands of the lady Anne marchioness in Wales, over and above casualties not charged, 710l. 7s. 10¾d., out of which she is charged to pay by the King’s grants yearly, 199l. 5s. 11d., “which the tallage or knowledge money will discharge for the time; and after that, the fines for the sessions and the customs which be not charged in the value will discharge them.”
Sum of the lands in England : Corry Mallett, Soms., Hundesdon, and Estwyke, Herts, “lands late Philip Pary’s, in Hundesdon,” manors of Stansted, Roydon, Fylollyshall, and Cokkeshall, and Weston next Baldoke (value of each stated separately), 313l. 5s. 3¾d. Total for England and Wales by the last gift of the King, 1,023l. 13s. 2¾d.”

The special ceremony was followed by a sumptuous banquet in honour of the new Marquis of Pembroke.

Anne Boleyn was Henry VIII’s queen-in-waiting, not yet his consort because the struggled for the annulment of his marriage to Catherine of Aragon was still ongoing, so this title was a way of making Anne a suitable consort for the upcoming visit to Calais to meet Francis I of France. Anne required some status befitting of a future queen of England.


  • LP v. 1274

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15 thoughts on “1 September 1532 – Anne Boleyn Created Marquis of Pembroke”
  1. That must have been SOME ceremony – controversial and shocking for the time, for a woman to be ennobled in her own right. Yet, not four years later, she was executed on charges of adultery and treason. Henry sure was a flip-flop artist!

    Speaking of artists, has anyone ever tried to compose a picture of Anne in full regalia as Marchioness of Pembroke, based on the descriptions? That would be SO nice to see!

  2. Thanks Claire.

    I’ve always been interested to know, what exactly was the reasoning behind the masculine term Marquis, rather than the feminine Marquess? Was this to ensure that she had this title in her own right and establishing that her future husband would not share the title? I suppose I think it is confusing because surely Henry could have altered the law to have the female allowed to control their property. So essentially what I’m asking is that was Henry being the sexist and not wanting females of the land to have control of their wealth, except for Anne who he saw as different? Or was the law fairer to women than I assume? When women were widowed as say for example their husband was the Duke of Sussex, they get the title of Dowager Duchess of Sussex obviously, but is this any sort of actual entitlement from the king, or is it simply a title with no control, and the widow must either live off of what their husband willed to them or marry another? In the instance that they had no male heir, but a grown adult daughter, would that daughter have any claim to the Duchess title? In the instance there is a male child not yet of age, does the mother act as ‘regent’ (for lack of a better word) for child and is therefore allowed control of the estate?

    1. As I understand it, widows could inherit … and control their own property … but they were “easy pickings” when it came to taking it (Edward IV enriching his brothers with property rightfully belonging to their joint mother-in-law the Countess of Warwick is an example … she wasn’t attainted, but was stripped of her own property by Act of Parliament) Some people think that one reason so many widows married “beneath them” (Frances Grey, Duchess of Suffolk to Adrian Stokes) is that their superior social status gave them some protection from the husband, while his existence protected them from getting forced into a marriage.

      IIn Anne Boleyn’s case, there was the possibility that Anne and Henry could end up with a child before they could marry. Illegitimate children could inherit from their mothers, but not their fathers … so, the patent was drafted so that any son born to Anne (by Henry) would be protected, even if something delayed the wedding.

  3. henry did tihis for show only there was no other way to get anyone to accept her as his “queen in waiting” and considering less than four years or so later everything was taken off her including the fact that she was ever married to him in the first place by annulling his marriage ,i think to give her a title like that was just snobbishness on henrys part,it didnt mean anything at all.

    1. Of course it meant a great deal. To understand history, we must forget what happened later and what the persons could not know, and try to concentrate on what was the aim of the persons at that time.

      The title gave Anne a fitting position to be presented to Francis, and thus gaining his support to marriage, but in addition the wording of the patent (“children” instead of usual “legitimately begotten children”) also shows that Henry and Anne had either begun to sleep to together or have decided soon to do so, and that they could still not be sure if they could marry in time, so that there was a possibility of illegitimate children.

      All in all, it shows that Henry and Anne were not reckless in love but, though taking great risks, were careful to secure their back for all possible events.

  4. It’s amazing how Henry loved Anne so much by that time and then sent her to her own death, and i think i might now understand Anne’s motto, she obviously was The Most Happy, she was getting more and more attention as the pretended Queen of England. So confusing but yet so interesting!

  5. I think this was one of Anne’s happiest days. I imagine her with her hair let down, her red dress and a big smile to everyone who thought she wouldn’t go far in her life. I think this day was the beggining of a lot of happy days who led to the tragic ending…
    some questions:
    The first is about Mary Howard and Anne’s other two assistants: As the lady Marques’ ladies, did they have to wear a special dress (like an uniform) or were they allowed todress as they wanted?
    Why were these ladies chosen to stay by Anne during the ceremony instead of other who were more close to Boleyn (Margeret Wyatt, Mary Boleyn, Jane Parker or Anne’s mother)? Personal reasons or convenience? I think the second reason in closer to the truth, what about you?
    As the “unofficial queen”, did Anne wear “queenly jewelry”?

  6. Maybe Henry thought by making her a royal giving her the title of Marquis,that people would exsept her more as there soon to be new Queen.The people and the church were pretty ticked off at Henry and Anne replacing Queen Kate.So maybe it was a detour a way to slowly ease her to the crown,this made her more exseptable.

    1. It was not any title Henry gave Anne, but it was closely linked in the Tudor family, just like in the case of his illegitimate son.

      Henry VII was born in Pembroke and his father Edmund Tudor was Earl of Pembroke, a title he inherited and with whom he was known (although Edward IV naturally did not acknowledge it) before he won the crown, whereas his mother, Margaret Beaufort, was Countess of Richmond.

  7. as it would have been a new title ann took the masculine as head. any children would difference her arms.

    the writer’s freedom of the city of London is masculine in that not to suggest her a woman of the streets. the same with an achievement given as the masculine head. whereas a woman is usually teemed up to her husband.

  8. Anne must have felt really proud on this day and it must have seemed that all her fortunes where being made. These noble making ceremonies were really something to behold. The King puts on his posh robes and crown, the lord or lady is escorted by two nobles who put on their robes and may be attended by other nobles as well and the King is often flanked by the highest in the land; in this case the Dukes of Suffolk and Norfolk who obviously put on their coronets and robes. I believe that when he was done Suffolk made sure he had a posher robe than that ordered by Surrey who was to become Norfolk on the same day. And of course there are the drums and trumputs and the heralds and the patent is read out. The entire court must have turned out. What a sight indeed!

    It is of course as noted above a very rare thing for a woman to be granted a noble title in her own right. Some did exist and could be passed from one sex to another but it was normal to add and tailes male; meaning to the son and not the female line. In case you do not know Duchess Catherine Brandon 4th Duchess of Suffolk was also 12th Marquessa of Willoughby in her own right. The title still passes down to the eldest child no matter what sex they are. A rare honour.

    Please also note from the sources: the Duke of Norfolk and Duke of Suffolk flanked the King to receive the Lady Anne into the nobility and not Suffolk and her father and brother as in the Tudors. Her father and brother would not have been high enough in rank no matter what the King did to favour them.

    Cheers for now

    1. It reads like a dress-rehearsal of the coronation the following year.
      I read, I think in Eric Ives, that after the ceremony Anne and Henry retired to their closet to pray together. He did not mention the banquet as far as I can recollect, but having a banquet would seem the usual thing to do.

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