Anne Boleyn’s Spending on Elizabeth

May12,2013 #Elizabeth I

Anne-and-Elizabeth-anne-boleyn-8687407-1600-896_800x448As today is Mother’s Day in some countries – Happy Mother’s Day! – I thought you might be interested in the following snippets of information. The following accounts are evidence of Anne Boleyn’s spending on her daughter, Elizabeth in 1535 and 1536:

The “Account of materials furnished for the use of Anne Boleyn and Princess Elizabeth 1535-36”1 by William Loke, Anne’s mercer, included the following items for Elizabeth:

  • white sarsenet to line an orange velvet gown
  • black velvet for a partlet
  • black satin for a partlet
  • russet velvet
  • black buckram
  • crimson, purple, white, yellow sarsenet
  • yellow velvet to edge a yellow kirtle
  • white damask for a kirtle
  • white velvet for edging the kirtle
  • russet damask for a bed cover
  • black satin for a muffler and taffeta for the lining
  • embroidered purple satin sleeves
  • green velvet for edging a green satin kirtle
  • black velvet for mufflers

“The Queen’s reckoning, beginning in December 1535. Hen. VIII.” in Letters and Papers2 gives more of the Queen’s expenses, including the following items for Elizabeth:

  • Boat-hire from Greenwich to London and back to take measure of caps for my lady Princess, and again to fetch the Princess’s purple satin cap to mend it.
  • A purple satin cap, laid with a rich caul of gold, the work being roundelles of damask gold, made for my lady Princess.
  • “A pair of pyrwykes” for my lady Princess, delivered to my lady mistress.
  • 2¼ yds. crimson satin, at 15s., an ell of “tuke” and crimson fringe for the Princess’s cradle head.
  • 2 fine pieces of “nydle rybande” to roll her Grace’s hair withal.
  • A white satin cap laid with a rich caul of gold for the Princess, 4l., and another of crimson satin.
  • A fringe of Venice gold and silver for the little bed.
  • A cap of taffeta covered with a caul of damask gold for the Princess.

Anne doted on little Elizabeth and wanted her to look like the heir to the throne she was.

People often ask me how much time Anne actually spent with Elizabeth. Well, we know the following:

  • That Anne visited Elizabeth at Hatfield in Spring 1534.3
  • That Elizabeth was moved to Eltham, just 5 miles from Greenwich, at the end of March 1534 and that her parents visited her there a few weeks later.4
  • That she was at court with her parents for five weeks in the first quarter of 1535.5
  • That she was at court at Christmas 1535 and was still there at the end of January 1536 when news reached the court of Catherine of Aragon’s death – Henry paraded his daughter around in celebration.
  • That she was a court the end of April 1536, shortly before Anne’s fall- Alexander Alesius described Anne holding Elizabeth in her arms while she appealed to her husband:
    “Never shall I forget the sorrow I felt when I saw the most serene Queen, your most religious mother, carrying you, still a little baby, in her arms, and entreating the most serene King your father in Greenwich Palace, from the open window of which he was looking into the courtyard when she brought you to him. I did not perfectly understand what had been going on, but the faces and gestures of the speakers plainly showed the King was angry, although he could conceal his anger wonderfully well.”6
    Starkey discounts this, saying that Elizabeth was most probably at Hunsdon.
  • That Anne kept in touch with Elizabeth’s nurse, Lady Bryan.

Obviously they had a short time together, seeing as Anne was executed in May 1536 when her daughter was only 2 years and 8 moths old. You can read more about Anne the mother in my article Anne Boleyn the Mother.

Notes and Sources

  1. “Account of materials furnished for the use of Anne Boleyn and Princess Elizabeth 1535-36” by William Loke. This can be read at;size=100;id=nnc1.cu04147324;page=root;seq=3;num=1
  2. LP x. 913
  3. LP vii. 296, x. 913
  4. LP vii. 509
  5. LP vi. 1486, viii.440
  6. Calendar of State Papers Foreign, Elizabeth, Volume 1 – 1558-1559, note 1303

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7 thoughts on “Anne Boleyn’s Spending on Elizabeth”
    1. Sandy,I too love the picture,I remember Q’Anne getting arrested in the movie,that to was so sad!! Kind Regards Baroness

  1. Love the pic as well! I am quite interested in costume and I think I am going to look up some of those fabrics to get a mental picture of a sweet red-haired two year-old in all her finery. There are rich costume details in Henry’s expenses for Anne as well – sometimes I can even spy the references in historical novels. “Brief Gaudy Hour” mentions Anne’s black satin nightgown (more of a dressing gown) trimmed with fur. The Holbein sketch in the Royal Collection shows her wearing this.

    1. Not just “Brief Gaudy Hour” either — that black nightgown has turned up in a LOT of novels (I wrote a blog entry about it a month or two back). It sounds like Elizabeth was beautifully, not to mention vividly, dressed (no pink, I notice — maybe even then it wasn’t popular on redheads :)).

  2. It is sad that just about a year after Anne’s execution, Lady Bryan was writing to Cromwell saying that Elizabeth had grown out of her clothes and she needed money to get more. I once read (I can’t remember where) that this may have caused Elizabeth to spend on really lavish costumes once she was Queen.

  3. I’ve always thought the inventory of items Anne ordered for her child and the fact she wanted to nurse her baby regardless of the tradition of wet nurses for the children of the court nobility, says a lot about the love Anne felt for her child. She obviously wanted a much closer relationship with her but traditions of the times demanded the Queen keep her distance from her own child. What an awful tradition; these women had to give up so much in order to be ready to give their husbands as many children as they were capable of and not breast feeding children insured they would be ready that much sooner for another pregnancy. I would imagine Anne spent more than one night, alone while Henry played elsewhere, crying for her child; it’s not wonder she would often lash out at people. She had reason to be unhappy; separated from her child, her husband’s infidelity, and the people not supporting her. Her stresses must have been very high. she was a strong woman, highly educated for her time, and really had no outlet to use her intelligence that much, except for charities. I’ve often wondered if she believed that after marriage she would be a real partner with Henry, helping him make decisions only to find out that once he gained the prize, he no longer cherished it. So many unanswered questions and so many roads that could have been traveled.

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