Sunday, August 31, 2008

Question from Leilani - Elizabeth's family identifications

Did Queen Elizabeth consider herself a Boleyn as much as a Tudor? Is there any record of her talking about or asking about her Mother?

[Ed note - The Boleyns part of this question have been discussed a lot, but I thought it might be interesting to discuss how Elizabeth showed her Tudor heritage in comparison. Previous discussions on Elizabeth and her mother can be found at the link below, which also has links to some other related threads.]


  1. I read that she considered herself a Boleyn as much as a Tudor because while she was on the throne, she paid considerable attention to her Boleyn kin, also Knolleys, Careys, and Howards.

  2. Elizabeth was very conscious of her Boleyn relatives. She surrounded herself with them and four generations of female Carey/Knollys's served in her court. There was no way she could have not been reminded daily.

    However, it was in her best royal interests to emphasize her Tudor heritage. If you go through the links Lara has provided you will see that GarethR has pointed out that there was a statue of Anne Boleyn in the tableau depicting Elizabeth's heritage in her coronation procession. And then there is the famous ring with a portrait of her mother inside.

    My personal belief is that much of the historiography has shoved much of Elizabeth's relationship with her mother under the rug. Probably because there is little archival support for a relationship between a 3 year old and her mother the queen from 450 years ago. Three years with one person not yet old enough to write letters or a diary makes it very hard to be certain of anything between them.

    In the imaginary world inside my head that deviates from all sense of academic discipline, I create personalities for the Tudors based on speculation and conjecture. In that world, I think Elizabeth admired her mother's grit and independence of spirit but kept it mostly to herself.

  3. Elizabeth constantly brought forward her resemblance to her father. In her case, she meant Henry VIII. She gloried in her hair, her mannerisms, and her will which she assured others came from her mighty heritage.

    During her coronation procession, historians tell us that a bystander in the crowd shouted "Remember King Harry". Elizabeth took great pleasure in that statement.

    "Bloody" Mary was also heard making a remark about Elizabeth looking like her father. However, Mary was referring to Mark Smeaton. This unforunate musician was executed along with the other 'paramours' of Anne Boleyn.



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