September 1 – Anne Boleyn is elevated to the peerage

Posted By on September 1, 2022

On this day in Tudor history, 1st September 1532, in the reign of King Henry VIII, Anne Boleyn was elevated to the peerage in a special ceremony at Windsor Castle.

The king made Anne Marquess of Pembroke.

This was a hugely significant act because he made Anne a marquess in her own right, granted the title to her and her heirs male (legitimate or not), and gave her a title associated with his father, Henry VII, and his uncle, Jasper Tudor. It also made her a rather wealthy woman, and a fitting consort for their forthcoming trip to Calais to meet with King Francis I of France.

Find out more about what happened on this day in 1532, who was there, and just what Anne Boleyn was given by King Henry VIII…

Here’s the link to the British Library’s page on the patents: http://www.bl.uk/catalogues/illuminatedmanuscripts/record.asp?MSID=4058&CollID=8&NStart=303

Transcript:

On this day in Tudor history, Sunday 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 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.

A record in Letters and Papers tells us that Anne was escorted into the king’s presence by noblemen and officers at arms. The king was accompanied by Thomas Howard, 3rd Duke of Norfolk, Anne’s uncle, and Charles Brandon, Duke of Suffolk, some other noblemen and the ambassador of France.

The Garter King-at-Arms bore Anne’s patent of creation, while Mary Howard, Anne’s cousin, bore her coronet and her mantle, which was made of crimson velvet trimmed with ermine. Anne, who had her hair hanging loose and who was described as being “dressed in a surcoat of crimson velvet, furred with ermines, with strait sleeves” was then led up to the king by the Countesses of Rutland and Derby. Anne knelt before the king and her patent, which had been given to Stephen Gardiner, Bishop of Winchester, was read out. Henry VIII then invested her as Marquess of Pembroke with the mantle and coronet, and gave her two patents, one of her creation as marquess and the other of 1000 pounds of lands. Anne thanked the king and returned to her chamber.

Chronicler Edward Hall records that after the ceremony, King Henry VIII met with the French ambassador and “a new league was concluded & sworn” between France and England. The King’s almoner, Dr Foxe, then made “an eloquent oration in Latin, in praise of peace, love and amity”. After that, the King returned to the castle for a sumptuous banquet in honour of his sweetheart, Anne Boleyn, and her new title.
Not only had Anne been made a peer in her own right, she’d been made incredibly wealthy. £1,000 is worth over £300,000 in today’s money. She had been made a fitting queen-in-waiting and consort for the forthcoming trip to Calais that the king had planned for them both. The aim of this trip was to get King Francis I of France’s support for their marriage.

I’m going to give you a link to see photos of the patents granted to Anne as Marquess of Pembroke, because they really are stunning documents. 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” – incredible!

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