Monday, November 26, 2007

Question from Monica - Women Henry VIII was attracted to after Kathryn Howard

After Katherine Howard's arrest, it was rumoured that Henry was attracted to three women: Elizabeth Brooke, the ex-wife of Thomas Wyatt; Lord Lisle's stepdaughter [probably Anne Basset] and
'the daughter of Madame Albart, the niece of the Grand Esquire, Master Anthony Browne'
(Chapuys to Charles V; CSP, Spanish, 1538-42, no. 230).
Anyone know who this refers to? And is he saying that the woman is the niece or the daughter of the niece of Anthony Browne? I know that Anthony Browne came from a large family, especially as the Fitzwilliams were his half-siblings. Chapuys often write names wrongly, but I don't know who Madame Albart might mean. Please help!


  1. Yes, Chapuys (and indeed all of the foreign ambassadors) had great difficulty rendering English names in their correspondence. He also confused relationships all too often. As I read the phrase, he is referring to the daughter of Anthony Browne's niece, i.e., Browne's grand-niece. But none of Anthony Browne's nieces had daughters old enough to merit even Henry's attention. And the only name that I find in the entire family that has a phonetic sound even remotely similar to "Albart" might (if you close your ears and mumble) be Mabel, Browne's own daughter. Hope this helps! Good luck.

  2. Thanks a lot for your help on both questions. I have read Anne Basset described as a relative of Anthony Browne's, though I don't know how closely they were related. So Chapuys may simply have become confused, and the rumours about Browne's niece/grandniece and Lord Lisle's stepdaughter may be about the same woman - Anne Basset. Her mother was called Honor, which does sound like Albart. I was hoping to find out about a new woman who held his interest, but never mind. It was good to run it by an informed opinion.

  3. I suspect you are correct and that Chapuys was referring to Anne Bassett, daughter of Honor/"Albart."

  4. Anne Basset's entry in "Wives and Daughters" by Kathy Lynn Emerson mentions that Chapuys thought she would be Henry's next wife and there were rumors of Henry's interest in her.

    For what it's worth!

  5. Don`t forget about Catherine parr.
    Henry may have been attracted to Elizabeth brook and Anne bassett but he did not marry either of them did he.
    Chapuys was wrong about that.

  6. "Madame Dalbert" could be a very weird mixup of name and family position on Chapuys' part. Anthony Browne had a niece Lucy, the wife of John Neville; John's youngish stepmother was Catherine Parr, Lady Latimer. So perhaps Chapuys was referring to Catherine Parr, although I don't know where he got "Dalbert" from. Chapuys' letter is dated to the latest 1542and Latimer may not have died until 1543 (my sources conflict, they say either 1542 or early 1543). If 1542, that would appear to disqualify Catherine Parr, but Latimer was sick and expected to die for some time beforehand ... perhaps Henry decided to indicate interest in the lady before she became a widow.

  7. Hmm, did some more research and Lucy and John Neville the younger were not married til 1545. They might have been betrothed, though. The father and son had the same names, which could have confused Chapuys; perhaps he heard that Anthony Browne's niece was marrying (the next) Lord Latimer, and assumed Catherine Parr (admittedly youthful for her age) was the niece.


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