Monday, June 15, 2009

Question from Elizabethan - Revocation of Anne's title of Marquess of Pembroke

Hi everyone, I was wondering if anybody knows if Anne Boleyn's title of Marquess of Pembroke was revoked at the same time as her marriage was annulled and she lost her status as Queen, or was she technichally still Marquess/Marchioness when she was executed? Thanks for any help you can give.

[Comments closed on this post in August 2018 because it started randomly getting a whole lot of attempted spam comments on it!]


Foose said...

The Encyclopedia Britannica (11th edition) says that "It is doubted by authorities on peerage whether the title merged in the royal dignity on the marriage of the marchioness [sic] to the king, or became extinct on her death in 1536."

I've also seen a statement that Boleyn's title was destroyed by her attainder.

However, these were all from older sources, from around 1906-1910. I haven't seen anything more recent, but I'm sure it must have been discussed.

Luv said...

According to David Loades's Henry VIII and his queens. When Anne went to the block May 19 she was no longer Queen,and she was no longer "Marquies of Pembroke."Anne's honours had been stripped away along with her reputation.

PhD Historian said...

It is a standing element of English customary law that attainder of treason automatically results in the forefeiture of all titles and honors. Therefore, Anne Boleyn's secondary (to that of Queen of England) title as Marquess of Pembroke was voided upon her attainder, and her heirs were barred from inheriting the title at her death. Thus at the time of her death, Anne Boleyn was no longer a marquess.

The question raised by Foose regarding the Pembroke title being absorbed into the Crown's own styles and titles is an intriguing one. Though I am not an authority on the peerage, it would seem to me that it would have remained an independent title. Anne was created Marquess of Pembroke in her own right and not as a result of her marriage to Henry. I would interpret that as evidence that the title was hers alone, independent of her marital relationship. Other women did hold titles of nobility in their own right without those titles being assumed by a husband, so I see no reason why Henry would have absorbed Anne's title.

PhD Historian said...

Additional thoughts on the Pembroke title:

The earldom of Pembroke had been held by Edward V at the time of his accession, and therefore the title merged into the royal dignity when he succeeded his father, Edward IV, in April 1483.

At Edward's deposition by Richard III on grounds of illegitimacy later in 1483, the title fell into abeyance (deposition, like attainder, voids all titles and honors).

Henry VIII then recalled the Pembroke title from abeyance when he granted it to Anne in the form of a marquisate. Absent letters patent to the contrary, Henry did not himself become marquis of Pembroke upon marrying Anne. Instead, the title remainder hers as a separate and pre-existing honor (in my opinion).

Upon Anne's attainder, the marquisate of Pembroke became extinct.

In 1551, when John Dudley was gathering allies, he persuaded Edward VI to call the earldom of Pembroke out of abeyance (whence it had been since the death of Edward V) and to bestow it upon William Herbert, a descendant in an illegitmnate line of a previous 15th-century earl of Pembroke. The Herberts continue to hold the title to the present day.

So, in my opinion, the title "earl of Pembroke" was part of the royal dignity only during the brief reign of Edward V (1483), while that of "marquis of Pembroke" remains extinct. But I would love to hear from other fans of the peerage on this issue!

Foose said...

Didn't Jasper Tudor have the title at one point, granted to him by Henry VI, but only as an earldom?

Do you think Henry VIII thought of it as a "family" title? ... much as he bestowed the "Dukedom" of Richmond on his illegitimate son Fitzroy (his grandfather had been Earl of Richmond), he bestowed Pembroke on Anne Boleyn. He probably had grander titles or more valuable lands at his disposal. If marriage had fallen through, her heirs (the patent did not specify legitimacy) would inherit Pembroke, a "Tudor" title. (I don't know what he would have picked for a third illegitimate child ...)

Also, I think the Hastings family held it at one point. John Hastings, Earl of Pembroke, married a Plantagenet princess. I am not sure if the Hastings family that interacts with the Tudors (the Earls of Huntingdon) are the same as the Hastings in the 14th century, but if they were, I'm surprised they didn't make more of an effort to get it back.

Lara said...

One small correction/addition - Jasper Tudor was restored to the earldom of Pembroke in December 1485 and when he died in 1495 it went back into abeyance since he left no heirs.

I've always found it interesting that Henry chose a "family" title to give Anne. Of course he had already given his father's old title of Richmond to Henry Fitzroy, which was an interesting move too.

Lara said...

Ha! I think Foose and I were on the same wavelength! Your comment was in while I was typing up mine!

Foose said...

Lara, very bizarre! But perhaps the Tudor hivemind thinks as one.

I wonder if Henry VII might have wanted to call his younger son by another title than Duke of York, since from a Lancastrian point of view it was the Duke of York that started all the trouble. He might have preferred to promote his own dynasty by using Richmond or Pembroke, or the old titles of Clarence or Bedford (I think Jasper wound up with Bedford) and Lancaster. But perhaps it was the price of peace with the Yorkists. Still, it's funny how thenceforth it became the automatic title for most monarchs' second son, since it didn't have that distinction before Edward IV.

Also, I'm surprised Anne didn't get a duchy. It would seem to me that if she didn't marry Henry VIII, but had a child by him, she would have wanted to make sure that child was at least equal to Fitzroy, in case it came to a fight.

Lara said...

Yes, Jasper received the Bedford title in 1485 along with the restoration of Pembroke. I wrote December 1485 in my previous post, but I might have been mixing that up with the month he died in... I'll have to double-check in Thomas' thesis, but I'm thinking now that the titles were done around the time of Henry VII's coronation (October 1485).

I never really thought about how Henry VII might have felt about using the Duke of York title, but that is interesting to consider. It is kind of ironic, now that I think about it, that Henry VII was followed to the throne by a Duke of York. :)

PhD Historian said...

Lara, thank you for that addition/correction. I did indeed overlook Jasper Tudor's restoration to the earldom of Pembroke during the period between 1485 and 1495.

But I do not think I would call the Pembroke honor a "Tudor family title." Prior to Jasper Tudor receiving the title in the 1450s, it had been held by other families for over 300 years, including the de Clares, the Marshals, the de Valences, the Hastings (through female descent from the de Valences), the Plantagenets, and even a de la Pole. The earldom of Pembroke was held by a Tudor for only about 30 years of its approximately 390-year history prior to Anne Boleyn. It was a "Tudor family title" only in the very limited sense that it had been held most recently by a Tudor.

Foose, I suspect that Henry did not make Anne a duchess (or duke) because that rank was still relatively rare in the English peerage and usually reserved for persons of royal blood. Edward III created the first five English dukedoms for his own sons early in the 14th century. Even the first duke of Norfolk, Thomas de Mowbray, was a descendant of Edward I. The Tudor-era Howard dukes of Norfolk actually acquired the title through the female line from Thomas de Mowbray.

The Stafford dukes of Buckingham were descendants of Edward III's son, Thomas, Duke of Gloucester.

The only non-royal pre-Tudor dukedom that I can think of is that of Suffolk, first held by the de la Poles prior to their intermarriage with the Plantagenets in the late 1450s. There are probably other non-royal pre-Tudor dukedoms, but they were very rare.

And even within Henry VIII's lifetime, dukedoms were generally reserved for persons of royal blood, the one notable exception being Charles Brandon's creation as duke of Suffolk in 1514. Thanks to the efforts of Henry VII and Henry VIII to eliminate potential claimants to the throne, the only dukedoms extant at the time of Anne's creation as marquess of Pembroke were those of Norfolk, Suffolk, and Richmond (with Somerset).

Since Anne was a person with virtually no significant claims to royal blood and a person of no accomplishment (non-royal dukes usually earned the honor through military service) ... and a female to boot ... elevating her to a dukedom would potentially have alienated the others among the nobility, since it would have placed her above everyone except Richmond, Norfolk, and Suffolk. At least as a marquess there were more persons with greater precendence than herself. "Duke Anne" would likely have been more than many could bear.

Tudorrose said...

I would have thought at the time of Anne Boleyn's execution not only would have her queenship have ended but also i think she would have lost her title as Marchioness of Pembroke.Even though this title was given to her by the king before she had married him and it was her tile in her own right.what would have the title of Marchioness of Pembroke been to her when her marriage to the king was made void and her days as queen over?
It wouldnt have been any use to her then would it have.I personally think her execution brought an end to it all.

Anonymous said...

Regarding the Duke of York, wasn't Henry viii's mother, Elizabeth of York? I can't see it bothering him giving his son the title Duke of York. After all it could be argued that Henry's rightful claim to the throne came from his mum while his legal claim to the throne came from his father.

Unknown said...

When Ann was given the title of pembroke, it was bestowed to her offspring, as well. With her daughter's coronation, did Elizabeth regain the title, as bestowed, since she was restored in succession eventually?

Lara said...

In 1551 it was given back to the Herbert family, who had it during the Wars of the Roses (alternating with Jasper Tudor, depending on who was in power at the time). Herbert descendants still hold the title today.

Unknown said...

Gwyn, No Elizabeth did not regain the title after she was restored to the succession. Refer to the patent of creation for the title "...and her male heirs of the body". Elizabeth was female and thus excluded from succession to the title. Normally there would have been a previso included "lawfully begotten" meaning male children born in wedlock. This was ofcourse excluded as at that stage Henry was in all likelihood already in a sexual relationship and may have sired children with her. The entire court noted the absence of the normal previso and knew the reason why. He also did not know how long his impending annulment would drag on and wanted any potential offsping Anne had with him in the meantime to have a chance of inheriting the title. Anne's title was lost at the point of her attainder. When she was beheaded she was but Anne Boleyn, a commoner.

Unknown said...

You are quite probably right. For example Charles is Prince of Wales yet he still holds other titles in his own right such as Duke of Rothersay in Scotland. Many bibles hold multiple titles independently from each other. The same would have been true for Anne. Of course having been condemned for treason, all of her titles would have been stripped.