Thursday, October 01, 2009

Question from Jennie - Elizabeth I's burial place

why wasnt elizabeth 1st not buried with her mother anne boleyn?


Laura said...

Anne Boleyn didn't have a proper burial. She, like so many others (George Boleyn, Katherine Howard, etc..), was buried at the Tower, where the Chapel of St. Peter ad Vincula currently stands. Elizabeth, being an anointed and reigning Queen, was laid to rest with all the ceremony due her station. Even if they had known exactly where Anne's remains lay, they hardly would have buried Elizabeth in an unmarked grave at the Tower.

tudor fanatic said...

Laura's response just about covers it. Burial in the Tower was only for those who died there. Besides, I doubt Elizabeth would have wanted any grave in the Tower, unmarked or otherwise. After all, her mother and uncle had been killed there and Elizabeth herself had been imprisoned there for the majority of her sister's reign. I'm sure the Tower would have had many bad associations for Elizabeth.

Kathy said...

I agree with most of what Laura and tudor fanatic say, but just want to add that St. Peter ad Vincula is also the resting place of various Yeomen Warders who have been buried there over hundreds of years, whether they actually died there or not. At least that is what the current Yeoman Warders say when they are conducting tours there.

There are only a few women who are buried there, and the administration of the Tower say they identified the remains of Anne Boleyn, Catherine Howard, and Jane Grey during an investigation back in Victorian times and have moved them to a burial under the wall that was put up in Victorian times. (I know this has been discussed in a previous thread but don't have a link to it at the moment.)

In any case, Elizabeth I seems to have been fond of her Boleyn relatives, but does not seem to have had much interest in her mother. If she had, she would possibly have had her disinterred from St. Peter ad Vincula and reburied in Westminster Abbey as James I did with Mary, Queen of Scots. But she didn't.

Overall, I think Elizabeth I really didn't want to remember her mother and, having had a horror of the Tower of London because of being imprisoned there, never gave a thought to being buried there herself.

kb said...

I would like to comment on the idea that Elizabeth 'really didn't want to remember her mother'.

During Elizabeth's coronation procession, Anne Boleyn was included in the Tudor family tree right next to her father Henry VIII displayed in the street.

There is also the ring with pictures inside of Elizabeth and her mother. See the link to the image on this site:

Elizabeth's affection for her Boleyn cousins stemmed from some sense of duty, obligation, or possibly a sense of affection for her long dead mother. She, and most of the court, referred to them as her closest kin.

There were many situations when Elizabeth's political power could have been called into question by a too public identification with a woman condemned as a traitor.

It also served her interests in many other situations to rely on her Boleyn kin and leverage that kinship relationship to her benefit.

Burial in the Tower is a separate issue. It would have been inappropriate to bury a ruling monarch in a state funeral in the Tower when she could be buried with pomp in Westminster. Sharing a grave, humble at best, with her mother who was convicted of treason (regardless of the truth of the accusations) would not have served her interests, the state's interests or even James's interests. He had to come to the throne as the acknowledged heir of a legitimate ruler.

We will probably never know if she discussed her mother with her kin, or Dudley, or Cecil, or any of her other long acquaintances or friends. I think, however, that while it is very dangerous (historically) to assume something for which there is no evidence, I also think the lack of available evidence does not necessarily mean that something didn't once exist.

If you could follow that tortuous sentence...

I have found evidence for several things once supposed to have no archival support. This is not because I am an amazing research - far from it - but rather that I was looking for things other historians did not care about.

Evidence of Elizabeth's feelings, or remembrances, of her mother may one day be discovered. Unfortunately, I suspect many interesting documents that might have shed light on this issue may have been destroyed or lost through the ages, especially the early Victorian era, because of the assumption that female correspondence was not considered a valuable component of the nation's history.

Happily, there are several archival sources waiting to be interpreted, cataloged - or even found.

TudorRose said...

Elizabeth I would not have been buried next to her mother firstly because the chapel in which her mother Anne boleyn was buried was a burial ground for condenmed royal and noble heretics.Elizabeth secondly was not a traitor or a heretic in any way so I would have highly doubted that on Queen Elizabeth's death the state would have buried her somewhere such as the chapel of St Peter ad vincula.It just would not have happened.Elizabeth may have been seen as a heretic by her catholic opponents and enemies but thus did not do anything heretical in her life in which to be condenmed for.I know that during her catholic half sisters Mary's reign she had her younger half sibling the princess Elizabeth inprisioned at the Tower for the majority of her reign but I higly doubt that if Mary had lived any longer would have persecuted her half sister and had her condenmed to die.Elizabeth was buried at the abbey of Westminster.Westminster Abbey as it is known was the burial place for royalty past and present.The abbey also has distantly royal persons buried.Members who were distantly royal but with a noble rank also reside here.

Lara said...

Tudorrose - I hope to not come across as too rude here, but I don't have the time to keep correcting the incomplete, over-generalized or incorrect information in your comments and I don't want to have to keep relying on other people to do so. I'm going to start rejecting your comments if you don't start trying to put more effort in to improving their accuracy. I don't like to have to say this in "public" on the blog, but since I don't have any other way of contacting you I'm afraid you've left me no other choice. I don't want to discourage your interest in Tudor history, but I also don't want a bunch of incorrect comments here that people will stumble across in the future.

As to your actual comment, while I agree with you that it would not have been an appropriate place to bury Elizabeth, your comments on who is buried in the Chapel is an over-generalization.

Anonymous said...

I think that Elizabeth's imprisonment in the Tower during Mary I's reign traumitized her;it is a fact that she thanked God every day for years afterward that He gave her the strength to survive that time. Burial in the Tower would therefore have been a horrific fate in Elizabeth's opinion. Anne had been dead nearly seventy years by the time her daughter died, and hers was an unmarked grave;it would have been extremely difficult to identify her remains. This rules out the option of moving Anne and giving her a proper burial in Westminster Abbey. Moreover, I don't think the public would have stood for this, despite Anne being the bearer of thier beloved Virgin Queen. Elizabeth only publicly spoke of her mother twice in her lifetime that I can recall, and while I'm sure that she revered the memory of Anne Boleyn (or whatever she had as mementos, she was so young at the time of her execution, Elizabeth probably had no remembrance of her mother), she never thought of melting into dust next to her. Of course, this is my opinion, and I could be 100% wrong.
Jolie Moira Jessalyn Dawson