1 September 1532 – Henry VIII gives Anne Boleyn an important title

Posted By on September 1, 2017

On this day in history, 1st September 1532, in a special ceremony at Windsor Castle, King Henry VIII elevated his sweetheart, Anne Boleyn, daughter of the Earl of Wiltshire and Ormonde, to the title of Marquess (or Marquis) of Pembroke.

This was hugely significant because the title was given to Anne in her own right and it was granted to Anne and her heirs male, whether legitimate or not. The title was also a new one and had been created by the king for the woman he was determined would soon be his wife. Of course, Pembroke was the birthplace of the king’s father, Henry VII, the founder of the Tudor dynasty, and the king’s great uncle, Jasper Tudor, had been Earl of Pembroke, so there was significance there too.

The title came with lands worth over £1,000 (over £300,000 in today’s money) per year, so Anne Boleyn was now a wealthy peer in her own right, a fitting queen-in-waiting and consort for the forthcoming trip Henry VIII had planned for them to Calais to meet King Francis I of France.

You can read more about the ceremony and also the lands granted to Anne in my article from last year – click here – but I wanted to share with you these images of the patents granted to Anne as Marquess of Pembroke because the document is stunning. It is from the Harleain Manuscripts (Harley MS 303) in the British Library and the British Library describes the document as being written in Latin in a Gothic script decorated with a large “historiated initial ‘H'(enricus) enclosing the imperial falcon of Anne Boleyn against a background of the royal colours” and “followed by display script in gold”. It goes on to say that “The parchment, silk, and gold of the document cost 18 shillings, equivalent to a month’s wages for a craftsman” – wow!

You can click on the images to see larger versions.

Details of Anne Boleyn’s badge from the letters patent

The badge that Anne Boleyn used from this time and until her death in May 1536 was that of a crowned white falcon holding a sceptre and standing on a tree stump from which came red and white roses – click here to read more about Anne Boleyn’s badge and its symbolism.

Image Details

  • Image 1 and 3 – Detail of a historiated initial ‘H'(enricus) enclosing the imperial falcon of Anne Boleyn against a background of the royal colours, Harley 303 f. 1 Imperial falcon, British Library, public domain.
  • Image 2 – Patents granted to Anne Boleyn as Marquess of Pembroke, Harley 303 f. 1, British Library, public domain. See http://www.bl.uk/catalogues/illuminatedmanuscripts/record.asp?MSID=4058&CollID=8&NStart=303 for more information on the document.

17 thoughts on “1 September 1532 – Henry VIII gives Anne Boleyn an important title”

  1. Maryann C Pitman says:

    There is an interesting change in Henry over time. KOA was a princess, a consort the equal of any Queen in Europe. When he decided to marry Anne, he ennobled her family, and then Anne herself, to raise her status. By the time of Anne’s execution, he seems to have stopped caring much about such matters. Of course, his chances of acquiring a bride of KOA’s status was out of the question by 1538, but he seems to have been moved more by other concerns, and after AOC, he never really seems to have considered another foreign bride. I believe he was deeply uncomfortable with marrying a stranger, which is not surprising. What is surprising is that he had very modern ideas about marriage in his way. He sought a companion and lover, and this is very modern. His sisters did this as well. They were a unique lot, and one has to wonder how they came to feel that this was what marriage should be. Was it their parents? Or were they simply very spoiled royals who wanted it all?

    1. Christine says:

      That is true, out of all the kings in history Henry alone married his mistress, and yes both his sisters married for love alone, both Margaret and Mary were married to the prospective sovereigns of France and Scotland, according to their parents wishes, but after they married for love and to be honest, I don’t blame them, we are lucky that we can choose our own partners but it must have been awful for a young girl or young man to be forced to marry someone many years older or younger because duty and custom demanded it, no wonder Kings took mistresses, King Charles married Catherine of Braganza who was said to be plain and gauche and he adored his mistresses notably Barbara Palmer and Nell Gwynn, who were both alluring women, he like Henry had no legitimate heir but he never sought to put Catherine from him, and his mistresses certainly never expected him to, so Anne and Henry are unique, as for Henry and his sisters being spoiled well, high born people were treated according to their status so what we think of as spoiled today was just how it was then, they had the best of everything because they were royal, like today’s royals from birth they have the best of everything, from the best food and wine to the best cars to drive in, the best seat at the theatre, servants to fawn over them, yesterday we remembered another member of the royal family who died tragically young and like Anne Boleyn, will never be forgotten.

      1. Ronda Haskins says:

        The Ottoman Sultan Süleyman the Magnificent freed Roxelana, a slave from Eastern Europe, who became his concubine, so that he could marry her legally. She was the Hurrem Sultan (harem sultan) and was one of the most powerful leaders in the history of the Ottoman Empire. She was born about the same time as Anne Boleyn — no one knows their exact birthdates — but outlived Anne about 25 years. So Henry is probably the only Christian king in history to marry his mistress.

  2. Banditqueen says:

    This is indeed a symbolic Machioness of Pembroke as it is by default of his father becoming King now a royal title, which Henry had a personal investment in as it belonged to his father and uncle. Henry’s mother was Countess of Richmond and Salisbury, his other connection as his father’s own title and honour of Richmond was in his gift. As Earl of Richmond, Henry Tudor carried the name which our Henry bestowed upon his illegitimate son, Henry Fitzroy, a fact that had caused some comment at the time. Now in preparation for her elevation to Queen Consort Anne was given a noble title in her own right and that of her legally begotten heirs with a considerable income. Anne and her family had now all received noble titles with the Earldom of Wiltshire and Ormond going to her father some years earlier. Now Anne was elevated in the prescence of the two premier Dukes (although Suffolk had no pedigree) with her uncle of Norfolk also being present. The King and tge two Dukes were in the robes and coronet of course and Anne entered in her scarlet dress but not robed. Her title was then read out on parchment roll and as she knelt she was robed and then crowned and then left to be presented with the King. She was attended by other peers who were hereditary peers. It was a stunning announcement of intent and Anne must have felt very smug. The significance of her new title would not have been lost on the audience. Today if a commoner marries into the establishment or royal family they are granted a peerage, possibly one of the vacant titles or a new one, even though most of them have a better pedigree than the House of Windsor, in order to raise them and their spouses status officially. By commoner the official usually means someone not automatically born into the current royal family or peerage. It always ranckles with me when they call people like Kate Middleton or even the late Diana a commoner, when you can trace her family back further than the Queens, but then I am not a paid announcer. Even William had to be given a new title as he didn’t have one to share with his new spouse, in addition to his status as Prince. So now Anne was noble and her title was rare as she received it in her own right and for her heirs without tail male. She was on a par with her other nobles and I bet it stuck in their claw as it was also a step to making her Queen.

    1. Esther says:

      I wonder if Margaret Pole had the same problems with the other nobles after Henry made her Countess of Salisbury in her own right.

      1. Banditqueen says:

        Interesting question, but maybe not as Margaret Pole was the daughter of George, Duke of Clarence. I don’t think it was that Anne gained a title in her own right which raised eyebrows, but that she was being ennobled in order to replace a popular Catholic Queen and the Boleyn family had a swift rise. Margaret Pole was seen as being from the old stock, even though her father had been removed by his brother, King Edward iv as a “traitor, the family were still recognised as old P!antagenet stock. It was rare for a female to be given a title, but it did happen and I guess some of the grumpy old male nobles may have had a hard time accepting female claims to be one of them, a bit like old stuffy academic professors from the old all male universities a century ago when women changed those establishments. Here came Anne Boleyn, a knights daughter, but also the niece of the Duke of Norfolk, so not too shabby in her own heritage, to replace the daughter of two Catholic heroic monarchs who had a better claim to the English crown than her husband and who was beloved. Katherine of Aragon was going to be a hard act to follow and was generally good friends with most of the old families and the very people who witnessed this event. Margaret Pole was her close friend and had adapted to fit her own political and loyalty to the new regime, something very difficult for this grand lady as she had seen her own brother beheaded by Henry Vii for helping Perkin Warbeck escape from the Tower, something possibly set up. Being a woman rising in power by having a title in her own right may have been something the establishment didn’t like, especially as being made Countess of Salisbury marked Margaret as the sister of a traitor out for favour. The same element would be part of any resentment felt towards Anne, although everyone had no choice but to put up and shut up. Anne was a lady who was well suited to be the new Queen in many senses as she did have a pedigree going back via the Duke of Norfolk and she was very well educated, had style and she had grace and charm. It would be a difficult transition for any lady not raised from birth to be a Queen Consort, especially with the present Queen refusing to go and insistent on their royal titles. Henry was trying to send a message that this is the lady I love and will marry and she is more than good enough and you lot will accept her as equal and then as your Queen. I am certain female peers were generally accepted but had some difficulty at first being obeyed in a man’s autocratic world.

    2. Christine says:

      Yes Kate Middleton on both her parents side has royal lineage and Diana was a member of the aristocracy certainly no commoner, her ancestor being the bastard child of James 11, she has a lot of royal blood in her veins going back to Charlemagne, she was also the fourth cousin of Sir Winstin Churchill whose real name was Spencer – Churchill, they claimed descent from the early Le Despencers that troublesome family who had been shown such favouritism by the hapless Edward 11, whose love for a member of their clan, Hugh Le Despencer brought rebellion to the land and ended in his ghastly death on the scaffold, however geanologists refute this claim, Anne Boleyn herself had noble and Royal lineage from her mother going back to Edward 1st, she certainly although the daughter of a mere knight had blue blood in her and as mentions had all the acquisitions expected of a queen, gracious and cultured sadly it was her uncontrollable temper that ruined her other attributes and her disregard of her enemies, what happened to her tilted Marchioness Of Pembroke, surely it would have been inherited by her daughter Queen Elizabeth, she died a traitor therefore her title would have been declared void under the act of attainder, but surely Elizabeth herself could have claimed it herself after ascending the throne? That bit I don’t understand, I can see Mary and Edward her siblings not bothering to have the attainder reversed and bestowing it on Elizabeth when they were the monarch, Mary especially as she hated Anne Boleyn and possibly Edward was not bothered about that having heard the scandalous story of his fathers second queen, but iv often wondered as titles when bestowed went to their kin, maybe somebody can enlighten me?

      1. Banditqueen says:

        Yes, I was wondering what happened to her title. The normal thing would be for a vacant title to go back to the crown and then reassignment made to a distant relative or some other favourite, but you are right, Anne suffered a “traitors” fate which would mean her lands and goods and title went back to the crown. Oh, wait, the Title Earl of Pembroke went back to the Herberts of Raglan and there is an Earl, or was an Earl, in the late 20th century. Yes, I have just looked it up and the current one is the 18th Earl and he inherited it in 2003. Charles Herbert, Earl of Somerset and Worcester was married to one Elizabeth Browne who is said to have given evidence against Anne Boleyn. Via an illegitimate son of William Herbert who served Henry Vii, a new creation was passed back to the Herbert family in 1551 in the shape of Henry Herbert and then another William Herbert as the new Earls and down to the present day. The Herberts of course had been given the title in lieu of their original service to the House of York and William ap Thomas, the first builder of Raglan held the Marches for the King and his son became the first Herbert Earl as he was given custody of a certain Henry Tudor, then a child. In the new creation in 1551 the Earl had also married Anne Parr, sister of Queen Katherine Parr so maybe another good reason to resettle the vacant title back to the Herbert family, where it remains. If anyone is confused, that’s fine, so am I and as I repeated all that from memory I apologise if any Herberts have become confused also.

        We know Anne was innocent but the title was obviously the crowns to dispose of and to the Herbert family it reverted yet again. The title has been held by the Marshall family and De Valance and others in the Middle Ages before Edmund Tudor was Earl and then the Herbert clan and then of course, Anne. Normally, Elizabeth would have inherited the title, but her unfortunate and undeserved fate made that impossible. To his credit, the Second new Earl made Raglan rather grand, but he wasn’t a man to upset as the mathematician, Robert Ricarde found when he tried to take him to court.

        1. Banditqueen says:

          P.S Edmund Tudor was Earl of Richmond as was Henry Vii who self styled the title as his mother was Countess of both Richmond and Pembroke.

          Jasper Tudor was actually made Earl of Pembroke as the second brother by Henry vi and the title was confiscated by Edward iv and given to William Herbert and then his son.

        2. Christine says:

          It certainly is confusing isn’t it, I know a lot of titles went extinct when the last male heir died childless without any male relatives eg, cousins or uncles, I remember the Marshall family in particular was it William the one they called ‘the Marshall’ who curried such favour under Henry 11 and his queen, he was Earl Of Pembroke I’m sure, it certainly is a grand title and it’s fascinating when you discover which personage held which title and so on, have a great weekend, lovely weather here for the moment….

  3. Laura says:

    Were Edmund and Jasper Tudors brothers? Owen Tudor was their father I don’t who the mother was?

    1. Christine says:

      Yes they were the children of Owen Tudor and Catherine of Valois, one time queen consort of England and widow of Henry V.

  4. Laura says:

    I see. Thank you. So were Catherine of Valois and Owen Tudor married? It is interesting how the Tudor branch comes in. I suppose the Plantagenet’s and Tudors were somehow related? I don’t know that far back.

    1. Christine says:

      There’s no documentation relating to their marriage but their grandson Henry V11 always maintained they were married, possibly because it strengthened their claim to the throne, Catherine was a young widow when she fell for the dashing Owen who worked in the royal household and they had a clandestine affair, I don’t think they were related to the Plantagenets however.

      1. Banditqueen says:

        An Act of Parliament was passed to stop a Queen Dowager remarrying without the consent of council, regency, or King, which was aimed at preventing Catherine de Valois marrying her lover Edmund Beaufort, which was at the behest of the English Regent for her son, Henry vi, Humphrey, Duke of Gloucester. Basically Catherine would not be able to marry for at least ten years when her son was 16, as he was six at this time. Catherine gave up on her plans but she had met Owen Tudor via his service to Edmund Beaufort and he became her steward or something like that, as the translation in the source is vague. Catherine and Owen had a relationship and it is believed today that they were married secretly to defy the Council. Henry Vii certainly believed his grandparents were married and their four children can technically be seen as evidence of marriage. The marriage is a hot topic because all official evidence is missing, but a number of people claiming to have knowledge of their marriage popped up from time to time. Canon law said you only needed to agree to be husband and wife and consummate the union for it to be valid, you don’t even need a priest, church or witness. Catherine and Owen went to live in his home on Anglesey, which is in private hands but has their crest above the door. The old church has Tudor tombs from the 14th century.

        Some further evidence of a marriage may be the fact that Owen at least twice was imprisoned, once during the marriage and once afterwards. After Catherine’s death he definitely went to prison and paid a fine, in connection with their relationship. Soon afterwards, he was welcomed by his children’s half brother, the young Henry Vi, who was making some of his own decisions and his two eldest sons were made Earls of Richmond (Edmund) and Pembroke (Jasper) by Henry. Owen was a big asset to the House of Lancaster during the latter wars as was Jasper. Edmund was married to Margaret Beaufort, a descendant of John of Gaunt, via his third wife, but in fact all of the royal kids were illegitimate until made legitimate after his marriage to Katherine de Rote by the Pope. Margaret was two generations on and legitimate and it was she who gave Henry Tudor his slim claim to the throne. In relationship to Henry vi, he was his step or half nephew, I think. No Own Tudor had no relationship to the Plantagenets but the Valois had some blood relationship, some sort of cousins, which is why they were all mad. Catherine was the daughter of Charles the Mad of France. The Tudors or Tydder claim to fame is their close Welsh Royal blood and relationship with Owen Glendwyr and claim to be descending from an ancient Celtic Prince, Cadwallador. Modern debates about the timing of the marriage of Owen Tudor and Catherine de Valois have raised questions about the parentage of Edmund Tudor. G L Harriss and John Ashdown Hill have questioned if Edmund Beaufort was the real father as their may have been an overlap in the two men in Catherine’s life but we don’t know if she had sexual relations with Beaufort or if she named her first child for him because he was his godparent. The author of the new biography on the Beaufort family doubts this claim as does Terry Bretherton, who has written biographies on Owen, Jasper and Henry Tudor. Had Edmund Beaufort really been Edmund Tudors father and not Owen, then Margaret married her uncle and the family preoccupation with incest started early. There is no evidence that Owen had any doubts over his eldest presumed son or that it was a major concern. It was remarked on that Edmund may have been Queen Catherine’s lover, but no later consequences followed. Edmund died before his son Henry was born and Margaret was only thirteen when she had him. She appears to have not been able to have any more children. Margaret Beaufort is believed to have insisted that her granddaughter, Princess Margaret wait a year or two before going to live with and formally marry her husband, the King of Scots. Jasper was important in the cause of his young nephew, fighting with Owen and Margaret of Anjou and later taking Henry to Brittany and supporting him at Bosworth. I believe that Catherine and Owen Tudor were married and that he probably was the father of Edmund and Jasper as well as their two younger children, particularly as they lived as one family for a number of years and because there is nothing to contradict it.

        1. Christine says:

          Could be after all, illegetimacy was a stigma and Catherine I doubt would not have wanted her children to be born bastards.

        2. Banditqueen says:

          Yes, illegitimate children couldn’t legally inherit property or titles, although they could be gifted land or a title via a different method and the Church made provision for the children of parents who later found their marriage was not lawful. If both or one made a genuine mistake and both parties married in good faith then discovered the error later, the marriage was null and void, but any children were given special protection and said to be legitimate. The rules of course didn’t apply to Henry Viii as he changed them. The good faith issue always arises in debate often but it would only have applied to his marriage to our Katherine and Henry if he had left the Church in charge. Instead it was defaulted to Henry and Parliament and they changed the laws and situations to suit his present needs. Illegitimate children were a curse and a blessing, but well Royal and noble families had connections which allowed them to change the rules. John of Gaunt and his wife were able to have his legitimate son, Henry iv ask the Pope to make the Beaufort kids legitimate because they had power and the Pope gave favours to powerful people. If Catherine de Valois and Owen Tudor were not married, even after her death, her significance may allow for her children to be made so and a few witnesses could be found to say they were married. Any child she was carrying at the time of her wedding, secret or not, belonging to Edmund Beaufort or Owen Tudor, would automatically be both legitimate and presumed to be that of her husband, unless he said otherwise. She certainly wouldn’t want any stigma on her children, as their heritage would be in question. The one thing which always amazed me from the Medieval world was their vast legal minefields, obsession for judicial paperwork and rules. It was their passtime and they had a complex society based upon it. It proves they were far from simple or primitive and they knew how to manipulate legal complexity to a degree only a real expert can work out, which only very highly trained Medieval scholars have any idea of what they intended. Even the ordinary person was actively litigious, they had to be, in order to even co exist with their neighbours.

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