Sunday, May 03, 2009

Question from luvprue1 - Elizabeth's investigations into her parent's marriage

Is was once stated that early years of Elizabeth’s reign she did some investigation into her parent’s marriage to find out rather , or not it was valid. Is that true? Does anyone know what she found out?


Nasim said...

Elizabeth asked her archbishop of Canterbury, Matthew Parker, to find the necessary paperwork to prove the validity of the marriage. According to Retha Warnicke:

“That Elizabeth wished to establish the validity of her parent’s union, if not to refute the charges against her mother, there is no doubt, for she asked Parker, her archbishop of Canterbury, to look for a papal bull, which he found in 1572, that had permitted their marriage.” (The Rise and Fall of Anne Boleyn, pp. 238-239).

I have yet to find more info on the full content of the bull although here Warnicke is implying that it had a case for the validity of the Boleyn marriage. I would be interested to find out more about it.

Unlike her sister, Mary, Elizabeth did not reverse her parent’s annulment and thus decree that her parents had been lawfully married and she was legitimate. So the findings seem to have not been endorsed for such ends. Maybe Elizabeth set out with the notion of proving her parent’s marriage and then changed her mind, etc? Admittedly I doubt this as going out to prove her parent’s marriage, regardless of the benefits – namely that she would be decreed legitimate – would have also prompted much controversy. Would Elizabeth have wanted to revive the old tensions that accompanied the breakdown of Henry VIII’s first marriage and the manner in which he approach his second? Elizabeth must have known that her mother was a controversial figure and I think this is seen in the manner which she did make references to her mother as they were often subtle (perhaps seen in showing favour to Henry Norris’s son?). From the minimal evidence I have found on this subject so far I tend to think that the decision to look into her parent’s marriage was a somewhat private matter – so maybe a private confirmation. Evidently Elizabeth did make references to her mother before Parker came back with the findings – we know, for example, that her mother was represented in her coronation procession. So I think Elizabeth had a certain (and somewhat favourable) view of her mother prior to obtaining the required bull. So was the subsequent investigation to settle private concerns?

Diane said...

I think it must have been to answer her own questions and concerns. With all the participants being dead, at long last she could discover the facts about her mother without someone else's opinion, vituperation or self-interest getting in the way. I've always hoped that Cranmer and Parker, who knew Anne well, told Elizabeth the truth about her mother at some point.