Mary Boleyn and Queen Elizabeth II

Posted By on September 10, 2015

elizabeth_ii_and_mary_boleyn I’ve had a few people ask why I, as an owner of an Anne Boleyn website, have been involved in a tribute to Queen Elizabeth II on the day she became Britain’s longest reigning monarch.

Well, there are three answers to the question:

  1. I’m British and I have the greatest respect for my royal family, so wanted to pay tribute to Her Majesty’s achievement.
  2. I know that many of my followers are interested in British history and Birtish royalty.
  3. Queen Elizabeth II is descended from Mary Boleyn, sister of Anne Boleyn.

I thought you might be interested in how Queen Elizabeth II is descended from Mary Boleyn, so here is the line of descent and I hope you find it interesting:

  • Mary Boleyn (d. 1543) m. William Carey
  • Catherine Carey (c.1524-1569) m. Sir Francis Knollys
  • Lettice Knollys (1543-1634) m. Walter Devereux, 1st Earl of Essex
  • Robert Devereux, 2nd Earl of Essex (1565-1601) m. Frances Walsingham
  • Frances Devereux (1599-1674) m. William Seymour, Duke of Somerset
  • Jane Seymour (1637-1679) m. Charles Boyle, 3rd Viscount Dungarvan
  • Charles Boyle, 2nd Earl of Burlington (d. 1704) m. Juliana Noel
  • Richard Boyle, 3rd Earl of Burlington (1695-1753) m. Dorothy Savile
  • Charlotte Elizabeth Boyle (1731-1754) m. William Cavendish, 4th Duke of Devonshire
  • Dorothy Cavendish (1750-1794) m. William Cavendish-Bentinck, 3rd Duke of Portland, Prime Minister
  • Lieutenant-Colonel Lord Charles Bentinck (1780-1826) m. Anne Wellesley (Lady Abdy)
  • Reverend Charles Cavendish-Bentinck (1817-1865) m. Carolina Louis Burnaby
  • Cecilia Nina Cavendish-Bentinck (1862-1938) m. Claude Bowes-Lyon, 14th Earl of Strathmore and Kinghorne
  • Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon, Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother (1900-2002) m. King George VI
  • Queen Elizabeth II (1926- ) m. Prince Philip of Greece and Denmark, now known as Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh

Trivia: Princes William and Harry are descended from Mary Boleyn not only through Prince Charles, but also through their mother’s Spencer family ancestry.

100 thoughts on “Mary Boleyn and Queen Elizabeth II”

  1. Lucy Crossley says:

    Hi Claire,
    Thank you for the above post I knew the Queen was half English & half German ancestry but didn’t know it went back that far. Truly fascinating! I love this type of thing. I wondered what became of Mary Boleyn’s children by Henry VIII? I would love to know.

    1. Claire says:

      Hello, Lucy, it’s lovely to hear from you. Ancestry is fascinating. I personally don’t believe that Mary’s children were fathered by Henry VIII. We have not details of when their relationship took place, only that they slept together at least once, and the children were born during her marriage to William Carey. We’ll never know though!
      Lots of people today are descended from Mary because her children, Henry and Catherine, each had large families and then their children had large families too. Both were prominent figures in Elizabeth I’s reign and close to Elizabeth I.

  2. Vanessa says:

    Is it noy just amazing how Her Highness , Queen Anne ( who was so brutally murdered ) family produced Elizabeth I who brought prosperity in the turmoil her sister created ! Also the longest reigning monarch in Her Highness , Queen Elizabeth II.

  3. Kathryn Mast says:

    Thank you for sharing this information as I didn’t realize that the Queen descended from Mary Boleyn.

  4. Kyra Kramer says:

    Fun fact … Lieutenant-Colonel Lord Charles Bentinck eloped with Anne Wellesley (Lady Abdy) while she was still married. Lord Abdy divorced her, and she married Charles just in time for their first son to be legitimate. Anne was the illegitimate daughter of 1st Marquess Wellesley and his mistress, a French actress/courtesan named Hyacinthe-Gabrielle Roland. I am sure if you had told Miss Roland that one of her descendants would take the throne, she would have assumed you were mad as a march hare.

    1. Ames says:

      That’s fascinating. I didn’t know those facts. And I agree that Miss Roland would think you were mad.

  5. Starr says:

    It’s wonderful to realize that the Boleyn bloodline continues. What irony that, Queen Elizabeth I, came from Anne & that HM, Queen Elizabeth II, descended from Mary. Both Elizabeth’s being beloved monarchs, who will be remembered forever. It seems poetic, that the Boleyn bloodline has basically had the last laugh.

    1. Barb says:

      Great point Starr!!! Both Elizabeths descended from the Boleyn sisters

      1. Jean Roughley says:

        I’m also very well pleased that the Boleyn bloodline carries on and that the two great Queen Elizabeths are descended from them.

    2. Cindy L says:

      Poetic justice indeed. Fasinating!!

    3. Mindy Newell says:

      Yes, indeed. It would be fascinating if we could ask Henry VIII what he thought!

      Anne and Mary had the last laugh indeed!

    4. Rachel Tillman says:

      I completely agree with your eloquent response.

    5. Jackie says:

      I agree! I smile every time I think about it.

  6. Sue B says:

    That’s really interesting Claire.. I didn’t know that… it must be wonderful to be able to trace your family back so far. I also read recently that Sophie Countess of Wessex was distant relative of Bessie Blount. I thought that was very interesting as pale skin, blue eyes and blonde hair do seem to run in her family.

  7. Kerry says:

    I had no idea Elizabeth II was descended from Mary Boleyn. Fascinating! Thanks Claire!

  8. Barb says:

    Thankyou for the info, I never knew!!! I think she may have also been related to Henry VIII , theres a chance Catherine Carey is his daughter, I truly believe that. She is most likely also related to Queen Jane Seymour, through William Seymour, the Duke of Somerset. How amazing and awesome then, that Elizabeth II would also be related to Catherine Howard, cousin of Mary Boleyn!!!

  9. Cindy L says:

    Absolutely Fascinating!! Thank you for posting. Love to see the bloodlines and how it all truly links together in one way or another. Great post. Thank you for sharing.

  10. Gail Burkett says:

    I’ve just about finished Alison Weir’s book on Mary Boleyn. She has found compelling evidence that Katherine Carey was Henry VIII’s child. In which case she would have Plantagenet connections on both sides.

  11. Sheila says:

    This is absolutely fascinating. As a devotee of the Boleyns I’m so delighted to hear that the bloodline continues in another Elizabeth. Henry may have beheaded Anne, but Nature has had the last laugh.

  12. Jennifer says:

    I recently discovered that I, too, am descended from Mary Boleyn! What lovely company I am in 🙂

    1. Sarah Coblentz says:

      Hello distant cousin! I am descended also through Catherine Carey and Thomas West in the US. All of it is so fascinating and mind-boggling!

      1. Patricia S Wolfe says:

        I am also related to Mary Bolyn through Thomas West. Would like to correspond with you.

        1. Colleen Souza says:

          Hello Patricia and Sarah I am also related to Mary Boleyn Through Thomas West! I also found out that Matoaka Powhatan also known as Pocahontas is my 10 times great aunt. This all started with my dna test said I was related to King Richard III he is my 1st cousin 16x removed and my line also goes back to Rollo the Viking aka Robert 1st duke of Normandy Norman kings as well.

      2. Sheryl says:

        Mary Boleyn is my 13th grandmother. Henry VIII is my 13th great grandfather through Catherine Carey.

      3. Carrie Fox-Clark says:

        I’m also related through Catherine Carey and Anne West in the U.S. It truly is a small world.

      4. Dawn V Ortega says:

        Fascinating! Lady Catherine Grace (Tudor) Carey, Countess of Nottingham b.1524 is my 12th great grandmother!

        1. Heather Carey says:

          HI Dawn , DO you know it George who was an Aulderman in Nottingham in the 1800s who’s son Henry started the Carey and Sons Lace mill in Nottingham ?

          Interesting ….

          Heather Carey ( Sydney Australia

  13. Julia says:

    Wouldn’t it be amazing to be able to do a DNA test to see if there is any relationship between the Queen and Henry VIII

    1. Andrea Fannin says:

      I just read that King Henry the VIII is the great great great great great great great great great great great great uncle to Queen Elizabeth II

      1. Dianne says:

        That would make him her 12X Great Uncle. Wow!

  14. Banditqueen says:

    Interesting post, interesting that she was related via the Bowes Lyons connection. Katherine Carey is an interesting person in her own right. Reinforces the fact that she is related via an illegitimate line though if Henry Viii was her father.

    1. Linda says:

      I never this about Elizabeth II and Mary Boleyn. I also thought it to be fact that she gave Henry VIII a son.

  15. Victoria Fennell Fuller says:

    This was very interesting. Didn’t know Elizabeth II descended from Mary. Thank you.

  16. Kristina says:

    King marries for heirs to continue his dynasty – doesn’t happen very long.
    King’s sister in law marries for love and she related to the longest reining monarch.
    Karma Henry!

    1. Mindy Newell says:

      Absolutely, Kristina! 🙂

  17. Martine Nauwelaerts says:

    Very interesting, I have learnd a lot more about the Britisch Royal family.

  18. Lalla Fitzpatrick says:

    Clare, how did the line of succession continue if Mary Tudor was not the queen but the sister of a queen (who was dethroned and beheaded) and the paternity of Mary’s children has not been proven either way not to mention if Catherine was Henry’s she would have been illiginenament anyway? And isn’t the Dutchess of Camberage also a decendant of the Boylins?

    1. Claire says:

      Mary Tudor, i.e. Mary I, died childless so the crown passed to her half-sister Elizabeth I. Elizabeth I also died childless so the crown passed on to James VI of Scotland, who became James I of England, and who was descended from Margaret Tudor, Henry VIII’s sister. Mary Tudor is not the same as Mary Boleyn.

      There was a newspaper article regarding Kate Middleton being descended from the Boleyns but experts have now disproved this link.

      This article was about the Queen’s link to the Boleyns, but you can see the royal line of descent at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Descent_of_Elizabeth_II_from_William_the_Conqueror

      1. Tabitha Gage says:

        I think Lalla meant Mary Boleyn. I was wondering the same:
        How did the line of succession continue if Mary [Boleyn] was not the queen but the sister of a queen (who was dethroned and beheaded) and the paternity of Mary’s children has not been proven either way not to mention if Catherine was Henry’s she would have been [illegitimate] anyway?

        1. Claire says:

          Our present queen’s claim to the throne didn’t come from Mary Boleyn or the Careys (who had nothing to do with the line of succession), it came from her father, George VI and his royal line.
          Elizabeth II
          George VI
          George V
          Edward VII
          Queen Victoria
          Prince Edward, Duke of Kent and Strathearn, brother of George IV and William IV
          George III
          Frederick, Prince of Wales
          George II
          George I, who inherited the throne from his second cousin, Queen Anne, who died childless.
          Queen Anne was daughter of
          James II who was brother of Charles II, who was son of
          Charles I, who was son of
          James I, who inherited the throne from Elizabeth I
          and so on….

          The present royal family being related to the Boleyns has nothing to do with the succession or a claim to the throne, it’s just an interesting link.

          I hope that makes sense.

        2. Suzanne says:

          HM Queen Elizabeth II’s mother is a descendant of Mary Boleyn and married into the line of succession

      2. Sue Newman says:

        That is fascinating. I went to Hever Castle a few weeks’ ago and learnt with horror that all the Tudor and other documents in the basement were thrown out in 1968after a flood. What sacrilege. So little is known about such famous people.

  19. Angela says:

    That was truly awesome I really had no idea that they were related! Thank you for the info.

  20. ricky says:

    The present Duchess of Cambridge blood line can be traced back to Mary Boleyn also !

    1. Claire says:

      That was in the newspapers but was then disproved by experts.

  21. John says:

    Interestingly, Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon (‘Queen Mother’)was a commoner who originally wanted to marry Edward but he had no interest in her and Married Wallis Simpson after abdicating the throne. Elizabeth then went for George, his brother, and from this unusual abdication, he became King.

    1. Christine says:

      That was in the papers years later as I read it also but it’s just speculation, there’s no evidence that Elizabeth the Queen Mother wanted to marry her brother in law, the papers just said that to make people buy them, when she married George she was devoted to him and heartbroken when he died.

  22. Mindy Newell says:

    Claire, I have absolutely no problem with your interest and loyalty to Queen Elizabeth II. Yo are a British subject, after all, and obviously love the monarchy! I am surprised, however, that people on this site would have a “problem” or “question” your posting of a very historic event.

    You go, woman! I absolutely adore this site!

  23. Banditqueen says:

    It may be my imagination, but I have been looking at the portrait of Mary Boleyn and the young Elizabeth and they seem to me to look very much alike, the resemblance is uncanny.

    1. Bandit Queen…Great minds think alike…I saw the same resemblance!!!

  24. carole fleming says:

    I thought that Lettice Knollys married Robert Dudley who was also Elizabeth Tudor’s
    true love his first wife was Amy Robar who was found dead at the bottom of a stairwell
    when did Lettice Knollys marry Walter

    1. Claire says:

      Lettice was married three times: 1)Walter Devereux, 1st Earl of Essex, and father of her children Penelope, Dorothy, Robert (2nd Earl of Essex), Walter and Francis 2)Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester, father of her son Robert Dudley, who died young 3)Christopher Blount. She didn’t marry Dudley until 1578.

  25. Christine says:

    Elizabeth loved her mother Catherine Carey but hated Lettice calling her ‘the she wolf’ for ensnaring the Earl of Leicester, she banished her from court and kept Leicester with her as much as possible to annoy Lettice, then she favoured her son the Earl of Essex who turned out to be a hot head and a rebel, incidentally this would make Lettices son Elizabeth’s third cousin and Mary Boleyns great grandson.

  26. Michelle_B says:

    Hi Claire, I am intrigued about seeing a “Jane Seymour” in the family tree…is there any family connection there to the Henry’s third wife?

    1. Claire says:

      Yes, through her father she was the great-granddaughter of Edward Seymour, Queen Jane Seymour’s brother.

      1. Claire says:

        By the way, Prince William’s link to Mary Boleyn is:

        Diana, Princess of Wales
        John Spencer, 8th Earl Spencer
        Albert Spencer, 7th Earl Spencer
        Charles Spencer, 6th Earl Spencer
        Frederick Spencer, 4th Earl Spencer
        George Spencer, 2nd Earl Spencer
        Georgiana Spencer, wife of John Spencer, 1st Earl Spencer
        Anna Maria Mordaunt
        Brigadier-General Lewis Mordaunt
        Elizabeth Carey, Viscountess Mordaunt
        Thomas Carey of Sunninghill Park
        Robert Carey, 1st Earl of Monmouth
        Henry Carey, 1st Baron Hunsdon
        Mary Boleyn

        1. Cathryn Delahaye says:

          Wow! Fascinating. Princess Diana and Prince William are directly descended from the cousin, Robert Carey, who was with Elizabeth 1st when she died and rode hard and quickly to tell James v1 of Scotland that he had now become James 1st of England. Elizabeth was close to her cousin and loved him very much. This is amazing and thanks for sharing.

      2. Colleen Souza says:

        I am related to 4 of king Henry the VIII wives Anne Boylen,Catherine Howard Jane Seymour and Catherine Parr the the West line in the U.S.

  27. Elleina says:

    If I remember correctly Queen Elizabeth I was also one a Queen who in her time had the longest reign of a sovereign ruler.

    1. Elleina says:

      Sorry I meant Queen Elizabeth I was one of the longest ruling Queens in her own right at one point.

      Sorry for the typo.

  28. Leah says:

    Thank you, I came by this site by accident and I find it informative and to be honest a breath of fresh air to other sites I have stumbled upon. Keep up the good work and once again Thank You

  29. Kaxyz says:

    Mary Boleyn aka “King’s whore” banished from court by her sister Anne and father Thomas Boleyn for marrying for love.

  30. Kaxyz says:

    Thanks Claire,is it true that the Boleyn sisters(Mary & Anne) had sexual relationship with King Francis I of France?

  31. Brooke says:

    Just an interesting footnote to this lineage – especially with all the talk about Mary Boleyn’s possible “illegitimate” children with Henry VIII. I’ve heard the rumor bandied about that Robert Devereux, Earl of Essex, might possibly be fathered by Robert Dudley instead of Walter Devereux. Supposedly, Lettice and Robert were having an affair before Walter passed away. I don’t know if there is any truth to this story – I just thought it was interesting. 😉

  32. Halia says:

    Thank you everyone for your imput!! I am a direct descendant of Mary Boleyn through her daughter Catherine Carey! Having done so much of this family tree, I am related to royalty throughout Europe. Maybe someone could help me put together whether or not the Boleyn’s descended from the Sassanid and Safavid dynasties of Persia. I also share a grandparent line with King Henry viii who descended from the Safavid Ismail 1 Shah of Persia. Any help would be appreciated! !! Thanks! !

    1. Marie D says:

      Would love to see lineage connecting Henry VIII to the Shah of Persia.

  33. adnan says:

    thank you for this beautiful history information, l love english history..thank you again

  34. Tammy says:

    I think that it’s interesting that queen Elizabeth is also a descendant of Elizabeth woodville thru her granddaughter Margaret Tudor.

  35. Jude Pollen says:

    Thank you Claire
    For this fascinating article ! You take one away for the worries of our modern world

  36. Karen Griffin says:

    Claire, is it true that Henry 8th was the descendent of a Persian? Love the website, by theway!

  37. Marion says:

    My passion is reading about our history from King Harold forward. Have read of Mary Boleyn . Your knowledge is absolutely wonderful. Have found it his article very informative. Many people hanks

  38. Marion says:

    Sorry that should read “many thanks”

  39. Cetty says:

    I have been searching how Queen Elizabeth is related to me, now I know, My 20th Great Grandmother was Mary Boleyn, Thank You

  40. Wayne Burns says:

    Wow so they are my ancestors on both sides ,Lady Anne BOLEYN Shelton is my 16th great grandmother which was Anne Boleyn aunt . Just on my father’s side

  41. Wayne Burns says:

    Crazy how we are all related and I’m over here broke haha it’s life I assume.

  42. Can anyone tell me the relationship between Countess Margaret Salisbury and Henry Vlll

    1. Jen says:

      Henry’s mother Elizabeth of York was her first cousin. Elizabeth’s father was Edward IV whose brother was Duke of Clarence. Margaret was his daughter.

  43. Frances K. Biellet says:

    I saw in my family tree that we are related to Anne Boleyn but my great grandmother’s name was spelled Bolen. I’ve been told stories of our ancestry but am curious if they are true. My ancestors are from Europe. I an 2nd generation American born.

  44. Trevor M Warman says:

    Monarchy Hahaha …ya mean whores and drunks. And insestreouse basterds. There is no true blood line sitting on the thrown .

  45. Murray Jaques'Pearce says:

    There are many fascinating facts about the Boleyn family
    Lady Alice Boleyn brother of Sir Thomas Boleyn Mary & Annes Aunty is my 10th Great Grandmother
    Some in depth knowledge you may not be aware if the there are several branches
    If the Boleyn family being they gave a Frech connection
    From the Count of Boulogne from Eustace II who
    Accompanied William the Conquerer during the
    Norman Conquest if 1066

    1. Murray Jaques'Pearce says:

      I’m also related to many Of the European Royal
      Houses across Europe /Russia and parts of the Middle East
      The Viking Connection is a good start to track the Persian equation
      It will make a lot of sense and create much vision of the created
      Ragnar & Rollo & Bjorn is where you should look
      Also look at the Fulk of Jerusalem he is a ancestor of us all

    2. WOW FASCINATING DAMN WE COULD ALL BE RELATED I GUESS I SHOULD CHECK MY ANCESTRYT DEEPER BUT IT IS COSTLY THOUGH ANY IDEA IF TAKING A DNA TEST WOULD TELL YOU WHERE EXACTLY YOU ARE FROM JUST ASKING APPRECIATE SOME HELP THANK YOU IN ADVANCE M.M.L.

  46. Annie Ivey says:

    Is Mary Devereux, that married Walter William Gilliam, the daughter of Walter Devereux and Latitice Knollys? I keep seeing they had 4 then 5 and then 6, possibly 7children. . The first one listed is Mary Devereux. I am confused as to just how many children Latitce and Walter Gilliam really had.

    1. Deborah says:

      On Wikitree.com someone has a Walter Gilliam as son of: Sir Walter Devereux & Lady Mary Grey, brother of Sir Richard Devereux, who married Lady Dorothy Hastings. Richard & Dorothy were the parents of Sir Walter Devereux (husband of Lettice Knollys.) Walter & Lettice had: Penelope, Dorothy, Robert & Walter. I descend from Dorothy.

      This Wikitree family tree gives Walter Gilliam & Mary Devereux a son Richard, married to a Dorothy Herbert, but no children. But that doesn’t mean anything.

      Hope this somehow helps.

  47. wow that is facinating it seems the boleyn bloodline continues and maybe the tudors as well since even today Henry could have fathered Mary Boleyn’s children i guess will never know toodles M.M.L.

  48. OH AND BY THE WAY I’M WATCHING THE #ROYALWEDDING AND HERE IT’S 4:52 A.M.
    I’M GONNA BE ASLEEP ALL DAY AFTER THIS HAHAHAHAHAHA

  49. LAURA says:

    I was wondering how Elizabeth I is related to the present queen, Elizabeth II

    1. Colleen Souza says:

      I think she is related to Elizabeth I though king Henry VII.

  50. Emma says:

    I believe Mary Bolyne had one son by Henry VIII that he did not lay claim to! But this hasn’t come from a strong source. Just what I have read in different books over the years. I believe Mary became mistress to Henry VIII before Anne was on the scene. Mary was a close confidant of Henry’s and he sort her opinion on her sister Anne before he chased her and fell in love. This was when Mary was sent away, after giving birth to the kings only son. He obviously was still married to Katherine at this point and did not want to break his marriage to her at this point. It was only when Anne refused him and demanded he divorced his wife that he started proceedings! Anne also had a hand in the decision for the king not to claim his only son and heir, but of course if he did it would have put Anne out of favour especially as she only had a daughter.
    Please forgive me for any errors here, like I said I am only going off the history I have learnt from different books.

  51. Emma says:

    Henry was the son of her first cousin. She was executed at his command in1541

  52. Jesica Loru Koba says:

    Hi…I am Jesica and I come from Indonesia.I am very interested in the Tudor Dynasty!I thought their story were so intriguing and interesting and I am thoroughly fascinated by Anne Boleyn.So it was naturally such a jolly occasion for me to have found this page and WOW!!!What an interesting fact!I never know Elizabeth II was a descendant of Mary Boleyn.It was thrilling to know this really.I guess The Tudor line will never die

  53. val johnson says:

    I was told that my grandmother Queenie Grace Richardson who was married to A Septimus William Johnson was related to Queen Elizabeth the 1 first I would love to know for sure
    thanks
    val johnson

  54. Aly says:

    Have I read that correctly? You have Jane Seymour’s parents as William Seymour and Frances Devereux. If do that is incorrect. It’s John Seymour and Margaret Wentworth.

    1. Claire says:

      It is correct, it’s a different Jane Seymour. Queen Jane Seymour would not be in a line like this as her only child died before he could have children. The Jane Seymour who was the daughter of William and Frances was born in 1637 (you can see her dates next to her name) and she was the mother of Charles Boyle, 2nd Earl of Burlington. I hope that helps.

      1. Aly Stott says:

        Of course! Completely misread it….my mistake. Thanks for putting me straight. 🙂

        1. Claire says:

          That’s ok, they weren’t very imaginative with names!

  55. Peter Bromage says:

    I to am descendant down from Mary Boleyn. She is my 12th Great Grandmother. There is also line back to William the Conqueror.

  56. Patrick Raynes says:

    My grandpa who recently passed away, was a 15th. cousin to Queen Elizabeth 2. But, my Grandpa Howard sure lived a different life from the Queen. He was born in Kentucky in 1937 and grew up on a farm in Indiana. Just until recently when I started doing my family geology, did I realize how prominent the Howard family were in British history.

  57. Pragati says:

    This is totally weird but Elizabeth I had both Boleyn blood and Tudor blood from her mother’s and father’s side respectively. This is the exact same case with Queen Elizabeth II.

  58. Judith Benz-Fanning says:

    Hi. I was curious about Queen Elizabeth the 2nd and the Bolyne sisters. I live in America. This site is amazing. I love to read about British heritage.

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