Thursday, January 03, 2008

Question from Leigh - Bond between Anne Boleyn and her daughter

Hi there,

I'm interested to know about the 'bond' (if there was such a thing) between Anne Boleyn and her daughter, Elizabeth. Did Anne love her daughter? Or did she resent her for not being born a boy? Was there ever any evidence of a maternal bond between the two?

Many thanks!

24 comments:

PhD Historian said...

The question is somewhat anachronistic in that it assumes that people in the sixteenth century behaved exactly the same as people do today. But that is not the case, as historians of the family and society have shown. It is a false start to try to find modern parental attitudes in a past era.
But to answer your question directly: Did Anne love her daughter [Elizabeth]? We don't know with certainty WHAT Anne felt toward her. Their relationship was a distant one, literally, because Elizabeth was placed in a separate household at Hatfield House, outside of London, shortly after birth. Anne did not raise her own daughter. Anne visited Elizabeth only infrequently in the months remaining before her own death. But this was customary behavior for English queens and their children (Katherine of Aragon was a notable exception, following Spanish custom instead of English). The children of most wealthy, noble, and royal parents were rasied by servants, seldom by the parents themselves. Neither did Anne leave any written record of her feelings toward her daughter. Nor is there any evidence of the extent of any "maternal bond" (a modern term unknown in the 1530s) between Anne and Elizabeth.
Did Anne resent Elizabeth for not being born a boy? Again, there is no specific evidence to say either way. Was she frustrated? Probably, since her husband placed massive importance on a male child. But we cannot reliably conclude that Anne "resented" Elizabeth's female-ness.

monica said...

Elizabeth does not seem to have mentioned her mother once she was a monarch, but is known to have worn a necklace with Anne's initials on.

TudorRose said...

Before Elizabeth was born a letter had been written by Anne and in the letter she writes the word prince rather than the word princess because a prince had been what was expected.
After the birth an extra s had been put into the letter so no one was confused over the gender of the baby.
Once Elizabeth was born the king Henry refused to go to the christening.
Elizabeth was then taken away to a separate household and looked after by tutors and nurses.
As far as I know and from what I know regarding Anne's Maternal feelings and love for her daughter is when Elizabeth was born and then on Anne arranged and had clothes sent to her.
Even though Elizabeth grew up not really knowing her mother and not mentioning her throughout her life.
Although Elizabeth carried a locket ring with a picture of her mother Anne one side and Herself the other.she carried this ring with her all her life.

PhD Historian said...

Parents did not attend the christenings of their own children in sixteenth-century England. Women were forbidden to do so on religious grounds, and social custom dictated that fathers not attend either. It is therefore incorrect to say that Henry "refused" to attend Elizabeth's christening. In fact, it would have been a striking violation of social custom had he actually attended. See David Cressy, "Birth, Marriage, and Death: Ritual, Religion, and the Life Cycle in Tudor and Stuart England" (Oxford University Press, 1997). Yes, Elizabeth was raised in a separate household. So was Henry's much-treasured son Edward. This was accepted practice for Tudor royalty during the period and not evidence of the presence or absence of any emotional bond. Yes, Anne had clothing sent to her daughter. It was her duty to do so. The sending of clothing cannot be interpreted as evidence for or against "maternal feelings" or "love." For my own education, I'd be very interested to know the source of the story regarding Elizabeth's carrying a locket ring with her mother's photo in it. This sounds like another of the many fanciful myths and legends that have grown up around Elizabeth Tudor.

Caz said...

'...carrying a locket ring with her mother's _photo_ in it.'

hmm? LOL

PhD Historian said...

A cultural anachronism on my part, n'est pas? Should have said "portrait."

Foose said...

Anne was very insistent that her daughter have every mark of rank, which can be seen as an expression of affection, but also an effort to reinforce her own position.

Also, it appears, although it should be thoroughly investigated, that Anne placed Boleyn relations in key positions around her daughter - the ones that come to mind are Lady Shelton, Catherine Champernowne (Ashley), Blanche Parry (related to the Careys), possibly Richard Sandys, rather than Howard connections (numerous, and of higher status than the Boleyn affinity, so you'd think she would have preferred them, as she did for Elizabeth's christening when the Duchess of Norfolk was made a godmother). Even Lady Margaret Bryan, a natural choice because she'd previously been Mary's governess, was related to the Boleyns through her husband. Possibly Anne felt that Elizabeth's interests and personal safety would be more likely to be protected by the Boleyn side than the Howards.

What is interesting is that Henry did not disturb some of these arrangements after Anne was executed. You'd think that he'd be suspicious that the Boleyn relations would give Elizabeth an alternative view of Anne Boleyn than the "official history."

Nicole said...

I had only just recently heard of the locket ring as well. I was researching Tudor and Elizabethan jewelry. Here is a link to a picture of the locket ring at the National Maritime Museum:

http://www.royal.gov.uk/output/Page2090.asp

And here is the inside of the ring (if it doesn't take you right to it, it is the second picture):

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/in_depth/photo_gallery/2973697.stm

Anonymous said...

Yes that is true about the ring, I saw it in the 'Elizabeth I' exhibition at the Maritime Museum Exhibtion in Greenwich.

I found this page because I had just watched 'Anne of a thousand days' and remembered the ring. It was incredibly touching and I was trying to find some more information about her attitude to Anne. The ring seems to suggest that at least privately she had feelings for her mother. It's interesting that the portrait was in a locket type ring so the portrait of her mother was hidden from public view but was still with her, in some ways that seems to reflect her overall attitude to her mother. I would be really interested to here any more on this.

Anonymous said...

Anne Boleyn had strong feelings for Elizabeth, i was just reading this book called Anne Boleyn and Me by Alison Price it's a girls diary of when she was a lady in waiting to Anne and it says "Anne Boleyn although frustrated and worried that Elizabeth was a boy loved her devotedally and wanted to breast feed her herself but of course this is not aloud"

zerowhite said...

Should have done it on the quiet?

zerowhite said...

"Not aloud"? Should have done it on the quiet, then.

Jodie said...

I do think that Anne Boleyn had feelings for Elizabeth. Novels such as 'The Other Boleyn Girl', by Philippa Gregory, who is usually excellent with research suggested that although Anne was disappointed with Elizabeth not being a boy, she still loved her, because she was her child, and that was just how it worked, whatever time period we're talking about. And also at that time, Henry and Anne were still optimistic of their chances for a boy to follow, just as a boy had followed a girl in the incidence of Anne's sister, Mary. But I believe that even when Anne began to realise after her miscarriages that her chances were slipping away, she loved Elizabeth for being the only child that had stayed with her through it all. And, there is no evidence to suggest that Henry as well, did not love Elizabeth. In fact, there is evidence to the country, for did he not include her in his line of succession? Surely then he must have loved her or at the least cared for her, or he could simply have disinherited her. She was merely last in line because that was how it worked, boys first, then girls going by age, and so Elizabeth being the youngest out of the two girls and below Edward, was third. I think Elizabeth was loved by both her parents.

pregnancy said...

I think Anne Boleyn was pass her great on Elizabeth... she was an interested queen for me ever!

Evelyn said...

monica:
wow, I thought the necklace was a myth! there is a childrens book on it now.

Evelyn said...

Oh, by the way, ''Doomed queen anne''
bye carolyn meyer is a great book!

Anonymous said...

I think Anne did love elizabeth as any mother would do.

Anonymous said...

Anne boleyn said to ELizabeth that she loved her. Herny, however did not!

NotTellingYouMyName said...

I would say that Anne did love Elizabeth because she put members of the Boleyn family around her, maybe in the hope that they would protect her. Royal children would have been major targets for murder and robbery.

Anonymous said...

I believe that Anne, although disappointed it was a girl, loved Elizabeth very much. And clearly Elizabeth had private thoughts about Anne (had her portrait in her ring, etc.) but when Elizabeth became queen, she did not make her parents' marriage valid, like her older sister Mary. So I'm not really sure what the precise feelings were, other then they loved each other.

Anonymous said...

It was said that Anne tried to refuse a wet nurse and bring up Elizabeth herself in "Elizabeth by Alison Wier"

Anonymous said...

Elizabeth may have had much love for her mother, however, she probably could only speculate as to which story of Anne Boleyn was true much like we do today. After all, chances are she didn't remember much other than glimpses at best of her mother since at the time of her mother's death she was only two years of age. Elizabeth was a brilliant woman. She seemed to be the kind of person who didn't comment on things she didn't know were truthful by her own experience. People had enough cause to mock her already since she was "only a woman". I believe Elizabeth didn't comment on her mother's fate and didn't make her mother and father's marriage official because she didn't want to give people the chance to speculate any more than they were. Drawing attention to a matter many people were already whispering about would have just fed the fire. She knew well enough not to air her dirty laundry. She had far too much grace and dignity for that sort of thing. She may have felt that her crown could have been in jeopardy or that her private feelings being on display made her seem weak. Also, she was queen and that was the important part. She may have felt that it didn't matter how she got there. Plus, who wants the legacy of their parents to surpass their own legacy? This was her time and she probably wanted to leave her own mark on the world, much like with the matter of her refusal to marry.
As far as Anne having love for Elizabeth, I would say that she probably felt some sort of affection for her new little one, but producing a girl when expected to produce a boy would have been hard. The miscarriages would have added frustration but, as was said before, perhaps a feeling of appreciation for Elizabeth was formed after only Elizabeth survived. I have always wondered about Anne's thoughts in the tower. I wonder if Elizabeth was a comfort to her or cause for more anxiety. Anne couldn't have known for sure what would happen to her daughter once Anne knew of her own imminent execution. I can only imagine all of her parting worries and her disappointment at what became of her. The letter Anne wrote from London Tower to Henry (found in possession of Thomas Cromwell some time later) adds clarity to her parting thoughts and since she appeals to Henry on behalf of Elizabeth, nowadays we see that as love. It may have been desperation, love, or duty that prompted Anne to mention Elizabeth in her letter. She may have had deep feelings of love for her daughter, but emotions were not something very well documented at that time. Especially among nobility or royalty.

Anonymous said...

Im writing about your saying that it was a myth That Elizabeth carried a ring with portraits of herself and her mum ive seen photos of it and they say that other portaits of anne were made from it you can see it on google images im not sure what elizabeth felt about anne but i hope she didnt hate her

Anonymous said...

Plates 7 and 8 in Eric Ives' biog of Anne are pics of the actual ring. It's certainly not a myth !