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

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:


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.

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