Happy Mother’s Day!
Posted By Claire on March 11, 2018
Happy Mother’s Day, or Mothering Sunday to give it its proper name, to those in countries celebrating today! I hope you have a special day.
Here are some articles and resources from the archives which I hope you will find of interest:
- Anne Boleyn, Mother of Elizabeth I
- Did Anne Boleyn have a stepmother?
- Thomas and Elizabeth Boleyn video
2 thoughts on “Happy Mother’s Day!”
Happy Mother’s Day Claire and to all the other mums out there, love the picture above of Anne with her daughter the baby Elizabeth, taken from the film ‘Anne Of The Thousand Days’, I have just finished watching the video and found it very moving as it was of course about the unhappy parents of Anne Boleyn and George, who lost their children most tragically, it is a worthy tribute to all parents who in the years since have lost their children either through sickness murder, accidental deaths victims of war and those also who have suffered the grief of a miscarriage a still born and cot deaths, also my heart goes out to those who cannot have children and who have tried unsuccessfully to have them, often spending thousands of pounds on IVF, my mum has been dead these ten years this April and I bought her flowers in blue which was her favourite colour, by the law of nature parents should not have to bury their children but it does happen and sadly quite frequently, teenagers who after celebrating their exam results go out in their cars after drinking and drive much too fast, often killing if not themselves injuring or killing other drivers, those youngsters who in clubs try the latest drug and end up in a hospital bed after suffering an overdose, those who drink too much and collapse intoxicated in the street, ( usually in Manchester and Liverpool) some of them die through alcohol blood poisoning, all these deaths are so senseless and are easily avoided, the grief their parents go through we cannot imagine, for Elizabeth and Thomas Boleyn they could do nothing but just wait in sheer horror as the dreadful events unfolded before their eyes in May 1536, quite possibly they did write urgent letters to Cromwell pleading him to ask the King to show mercy, but they must have known their cause was a lost one, Cromwell was Annes enemy and as such an enemy of all the Boleyn’s, whilst in the Tower Anne and George were not allowed any visitors either or maybe her family found it too harrowing to see them, Mary seemed to distance herself from her siblings maybe fearing the Kings wrath would descend on her and her family, she was enjoying a peaceful existence in the country with her husband and children, all alone with no one to help them they must have just prayed for justice, the fact that Thomas did not really approve of his youngest daughters involvement with the King in the first place shows that he was maybe with hindsight unsure of how it would all end, he knew the King to be a fickle man who could be brutal to those he was displeased with, and he knew that Anne never docile was the sort to not take things lying down either, perhaps he had an inkling that all would not end well and he was not really pleased with Mary when she became his mistress either, some years before his eye lighted on Anne, as Claire says in the video there is no evidence that Thomas was a pimp who readily pushed his girls under the Kings nose in fact he seems to have been a cautious wary man, as those who served the King learnt how to be, through long experience he had seen what happened to those who fell from favour, his mistresse’s were cast of when he tired of them and quite possibly he did not want that to happen to his daughters, Mary was rewarded with marriage to William Carey a nobleman related to the King so no problem there, but Thomas could also have been a moral man of high standards who did not approve of Marys behaviour, maybe his wife did not either, certainly Mary as she herself wrote quite heart breakiingly years later that no one set much store by her, when Anne become involved with Henry Thomas and Elizabeth could have seen the same pattern emerging, ‘here we go again’ but Anne was different and said no to him, her parents must have been aghast for no one said no to the King, Thomas may have exasperatedly tried to advise her on her actions but Anne set her sights on being queen, after Henry had made it clear that his feelings towards Anne were genuine and no mild fancy, they would have supported them all the way, indeed what choice did they have, Henry was the King and they were in service to him, Thomas did not want to lose his position at court by being difficult, after both their children’s deaths within days of each other they must have been inconsolable with grief and wondered had it all been worth it, the brief rise to glory which resulted in the deaths of their children and the fall of their house, their own deaths which soon hastened those of Anne and George were no doubt caused by the devastation, Elizabeth had been in poor health and no doubt lost the will to live, they had Mary and their grandchildren but possibly did not see them very much, Thomas was soon back at court but this time as the father of a disgraced queen and he too died just a few years later, although Henry V111 had always been fond of Thomas after his ex queen was dead it is not hard to imagine he may have found his presence there somewhat uncomfortable.
Mothering Sunday is an interesting but slightly miss conception. It is actually dedicated to Our Lady as the Mother of God and has always been celebrated as such. It was, however, a feast with a wider meaning, dedicated to all women as mothers and potential mothers and as the givers of life and love and virtue to children. Motherhood in Medieval and Tudor times was something all women and girls were encouraged to aspire to after marriage and the Virgin Mary was the perfect role model of a mother and sacrifice was also seen as a virtue in the sense of a mother will sacrifice everything for her children and of Christ’s sacrifice on the cross, where the prophecy came true that Mary’s heart would be pieced. The celebrations are traditionally mid Lent Sunday to mark the point half way through the season which sees the preparation for Easter, which is both a time of prayer and sorrows on Good Friday and glory and celebration on Easter Sunday.
The day was marked by a temporary relaxation of the strict fasting laws and a feast was held. All of the men in the village had to make food and serve all of the women who were spoiled and waited on them and they gave them gifts and then played music and games. Everyone went to Mass of course before all this and mothers were especially blessed and prayed for. In later times we have also called this Mid Lent or Simnel Sunday because Simnel cakes were made, from many different recipes. Today we have evolved this into just Mothering Sunday, especially in those countries who no longer honour the Virgin Mary, through separate feast days, but we still honour our mothers and may pray for them at Mass or Church or other religious service and the idea of giving cards or gifts or spending time with our mothers and taking them out on special meals or trips and so on. It is still good to think of the role of the Mother and to ensure we give something back for their hard work as it is I believe the hardest vocation in the world. Today the date has changed and some countries celebrate in May or June, but for most we still keep to the traditional day in Lent.
However you are celebrating today or yesterday thanks to all the mothers and grandmothers and let us have good thoughts for families of all shapes and sizes as today there are many variations and for children to be safe and loved. Happy Mothering Sunday.