September 7 – The birth of Queen Elizabeth I, daughter of Anne Boleyn and Henry VIII

Posted By on September 7, 2022

On this day in Tudor history, 7th September 1533, Queen Anne Boleyn, second wife of King Henry VIII, gave birth to a healthy baby girl at Greenwich Palace.

This daughter would, of course, grow up to be Queen Elizabeth I, the Virgin Queen, Gloriana, Good Queen Bess, a queen who would rule England for over 44 years until her death in 1603.

Find out more about Elizabeth I’s birth, the reactions and celebrations…

I’m celebrating Elizabeth’s birth with Day 1 of my online event “Elizabeth I: The Life of Gloriana, the Virgin Queen”. There are still a few hours to go until today’s live event at 10pm London/ 5pm New York time, so do consider joining in. Click here.

You can find out more about Elizabeth I and her reign in this 60-second history video:

Transcript:

On this day in Tudor history, 7th September 1533, at around three o’clock in the afternoon, Queen Anne Boleyn, second wife of King Henry VIII, gave birth to a healthy baby girl at Greenwich Palace.

Although the birth of a daughter instead of the predicted prince must have been a disappointment initially, both her parents delighted in their daughter. Of course, nobody could have known that this little girl, who was baptised “Elizabeth”, would one day rule over England for over forty-four years and would go down in history as the Virgin Queen, Gloriana, and Good Queen Bess, the iconic Elizabeth I.

Chronicler Edward Hall recorded Elizabeth’s birth:
“The. vii. day of September being Sunday, between three and four of the Clock at afternoon, the Queen was delivered of a fair Lady, which day the Duke of Norfolk came home to the christening. & for the Queen’s good deliverance, Te deum was song incontinently, & great preparation was made for the christening […]”

Charles Wriothesley records in his chronicle:
“Memorandum, the viith day of September, 1533, being Sunday, Queen Anne was brought to bed of a fair daughter at three of the clock in the afternoon; and the morrow after, being the day of the Nativity of Our Lady, Te Deum was sung solemnly at St Paul’s, the Mayor being present with the head crafts of the City of London.”

Eustace Chapuys, the imperial ambassador, also records Elizabeth’s birth in a letter to Emperor Charles V:
“On Sunday last, on the eve of Lady Day, about 3 o’clock in the afternoon, the Queen’s mistress was delivered of a girl, to the great disappointment and sorrow of the King, of the Lady herself, and of others of her party, and to the great shame and confusion of physicians, astrologers, wizards, and witches, all of whom affirmed that it would be a boy. The people in general have rejoiced at the discomfiture of those who attach faith to such divinations, and who, whatever face they may put on the present occasion, are nevertheless exceedingly affected and ashamed.
The Lord Mayor and aldermen of this city, the heads of guilds, and other citizens of note have been invited to the christening, as well as the two French ambassadors. The new-born is to be christened at Greenwich. The godmothers will be the mother-in-law to the duke of Norfolk and the marchioness of Exeter; the archbishop of Canterbury to hold the child at the font, and the bishop of London to christen her. She is to be called Mary as the Princess: which title, as I have been informed from various quarters, will be taken away from its true and legitimate owner, and given to this spurious daughter of the King. If so we shall soon hear.”

There is no evidence of “the great disappointment and sorrow” mentioned by Chapuys, however. The celebratory jousts planned for the birth of the expected prince WERE cancelled, but it was traditional for the celebrations for the birth of a princess to be low-key and jousts had also been cancelled at Mary’s birth in 1516. A herald proclaimed the good news, Te Deums were sung and the royal couple got on with planning Elizabeth’s lavish christening. Anne Boleyn had given birth to a healthy baby, there was much to celebrate for Anne had proved that she could carry a healthy baby to term, so the couple must have assumed that a prince would follow. Of course, this would not happen.

Elizabeth was left without a mother when Anne was executed in May 1536 and her father moved on to wife number 3, Jane Seymour.

1 thought on “September 7 – The birth of Queen Elizabeth I, daughter of Anne Boleyn and Henry VIII”

  1. Christine says:

    Many happy returns Queen Elizabeth, of course Anne and Henry had hoped for a boy, but childbirth was so dangerous that for mother and child to survive the ordeal was a blessing at least, Chapyus who hated the queen and only ever referred to her as the lady’ or ‘concubine liked to put a damper on everything, and he wrote of how devastated both king and queen were, he also wrote of how the queens coronation had been a meagre affair, when in fact it had been a most magnificent display of pomp and pageantry, from what we know Anne’s labour had been straightforward with no cause for alarm, and we do not know how long she was in labour for, but Elizabeth was a lusty baby and Anne could rest as her baby was bathed and wrapped in her swaddling robes, Anne was given wine to drink whilst she congratulated herself on having borne the king a healthy daughter, but this was the point at which her biographer Eric Ives states made her vulnerable to her enemies, motherhood was new to her and Elizabeth was proof she could carry to full term but even so, Henry V111 had not broken with Rome risked civil war and war with Spain, all for another daughter, he must have been really disappointed though he dared not show this to his queen, as ever he must have gone to his private chapel and asked god why he had not granted his devoted servant a son, the sad reality with Henry’s first two wives were that they were both fertile, there is no argument about that, but most of Katherine’s pregnancies ended in miscarriage or a stillbirth, and Anne had at least two miscarriage’s that we know of, so much hope was invested in his second queen but in the end, she fared no better than Katherine, the claim by the imperial ambassador that the new baby was to be named Mary was possibly just scandal mongering, but apart from a wish to slight the kings eldest daughter, and humiliate Katherine I doubt even Anne would have wanted her little princess to have the same name as her half sister, Elizabeth was a good name a royal name, and that of both her own dear mother and of the kings dead one, Elizabeth Of York, this little red face bundle as she lay sleeping in her lavishly carved cot, no one would ever have predicted would grow up to rule a most successful England for over four decades and give her name to an age, she would have an oversea‘s colony named after her and today, four hundred and eighty nine years after her death, when people hear the name Elizabeth 1st conjures up an image of a strange bejewelled icon with red hair and huge ruffs, seen as almost god like by her adoring subjects, her mystical image is still prevalent today in her many portraits housed in art galleries and museum‘s around the world, her father had moved heaven and earth to bring her into the world and her sex was a disappointment, but also proved to her parents that Anne was physically able to bear children, her glory days were far in the future, for now this tiny tot slept peacefully the sleep of the innocent.

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