Anne Boleyn’s Spending on Elizabeth

Posted By on May 12, 2013

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 http://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?view=image;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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