Monday, March 14, 2011

Question from Anonymous - Anne Boleyn encouraging action against Henry VIII's sister Mary

Mary Rose Tudor apparently didn't approve of Anne Boleyn. Did Anne ever encourage Henry to take action against her, as she did with Princess Mary Tudor his daughter?

And I read that Mary Rose's husband was a cousin of Anne's, through the Mowbrays, I think. Is this true?


History Chick said...

I don't know for sure but I don't think Anne would have had a strong enough motive to do that Mary Rose. While Mary Rose may not have approved of Anne, she was not a threat to the position of Anne's children like Princess Mary (the future Mary I) was. Mary may have been Henry's daughter but he understood that for political reasons, he needed to disinherit her and force her to acknowledge Anne as his wife and Elizabeth as heir. There would not have been a strong reason to do so with Mary Rose - plus, she died the same year Elizabeth was born so the issue of acknowledging Elizabeth as heir was moot. Also, didn't Mary Rose spend most of her time away from court after marrying Charles Brandon (and prior to that, she was in France)?

I don't know about the cousin relation but the best place I know of to view the royal family tree is:

Luv said...

Mary Rose Tudor (aka The French Queen/Henry VIII sister) was a threat to Anne Boleyn's Children's position. At the time, she had a son. Therefore,Mary's children were next in line to the throne if Henry VIII had no sons, the throne would have went to Mary and Charles son,Henry Brandon. However , he died not long after his mother. However, it's likely that if Henry's daughter Mary died, and Henry VIII died while Henry Brandon was alive,and before Henry VII divorcing/beheading Anne. There might have been a serious fight for the throne. With the people divided between Henry Brandon,and Elizabeth.

History Chick said...

I'm not so sure Henry Brandon was first in line for the throne before Mary I. Women could inherit the throne and the daughter of a king could/would come before the nephew of a king. Plus, Henry had another sister Margaret, who was older than Mary Rose and she had a son (James V of Scotland) older than Henry Brandon. Though he was the King of Scotland, James would have had a stronger claim to the English throne than Henry Brandon because his mother was older than Brandon's mother. At least, that has been my understanding of the succession of the throne.

Regardless, the point is, I don't know of any evidence of Anne encouraging Henry to treat Mary Rose as badly as he did his daughter Mary.

Foose said...

Mary's second husband Charles Brandon is "sort of" related to Anne, through the Mowbrays. I have to correct a serious mistake I made in my response to the question on William Brandon (Feb 25, 2011). I stated that Brandon had a Mowbray grandmother.

This is incorrect. Actually, William Brandon (Charles Brandon's father) had a Goushall grandmother (also spelled Goushill and Gousell). Elizabeth Goushill was in turn the daughter of Elizabeth FitzAlan (also called Elizabeth Arundel and Elizabeth Mowbray - which is where I made my mistake), whose third and final husband was Goushill.

Elizabeth FitzAlan's second husband was Thomas Mowbray, Duke of Norfolk. One of her daughters by that marriage, Margaret Mowbray, married Robert Howard, and after the male line of her family became extinct transmitted her claim to the Norfolk duchy to her son John Howard.

To summarize, it appears that Elizabeth Goushill (great-grandmother of Charles Brandon) was the half-sister of Margaret Mowbray (great-great-grandmother of Anne Boleyn).

Charles Brandon and Anne Boleyn also shared a couple of relationships by marriage through the Heveninghams. Charles' mother was a Bruyn, whose sister Alice married a Heveningham; their son George Heveningham was probably a cousin of the Heveningham who married Anne's cousin Mary Shelton. S.J. Gunn's (author of Charles Brandon,) pedigree also shows George had a sister Anne who married into the Heydons - the family Anne Boleyn's great-aunt (another Anne Boleyn) married into.

However, not all the genealogical tables and information I looked at agree on children, number and sequence of marriages, birth order, etc. I couldn't find any information on how George Heveningham was linked to the larger Heveningham family, and the various Elizabeths' alternate names and two or three marriages confuse the issue.

Per William Brandon, although he was not a Mowbray relation, he and his father were definitely associated with the Mowbrays as clients, agents and supporters (Michael Hicks describes Sir William Brandon, Charles' grandfather, as the Mowbray Duke of Norfolk's alter ego).

Marilyn R said...

I have been working on the Mowbrays for 10 years and, like Foose, the Elizabeth Fitzalan (Mowbray by marriage) connection is the only family link I have found with the Brandons. George Bush and FD Roosevelt also descend from her daughter Elizabeth Goushill.

Elizabeth Fitzalan married Sir Robert Goushill, a social inferior who had been in the Mowbray family's service for years, after Thomas Mowbray, Duke of Norfolk died in exile in Venice in 1399. She paid an enormous fine, equivalent to hundreds of thousands of pounds today, for not having first secured the approval of the Crown, and one has to wonder if they had already been close for some time. Goushill died at the Battle of Shrewsbury in 1403, leaving her with the two small daughters, Elizabeth and Joan. There is a photo of their tomb in Hoveringham Church at

Elizabeth Fitzalan's first husband was a son of the earl of Salisbury and was accidentally killed by his own father in a joust. Both she and Thomas Mowbray were 16 when they married - it was a second marriage for him as well. Elizabeth married her fourth husband Sir Gerard Useflete in 1414, and outlived him, dying in 1425.

I briefly mentioned the Brandons in my 2004 book 'The Mowbray Legacy',

The 4th Duke of Norfolk was very much under the influence of William Brandon, a retainer who made his name and fortune in his service. Brandon married Elizabeth Fitzalan’s granddaughter Elizabeth Wingfield, daughter of Elizabeth Goushill and Sir Robert Wingfield, and his family would eventually become Dukes of Suffolk.

In June 1469 Elizabeth Wingfield’s brother, Thomas, wrote to his friends the Pastons that Edward IV had warned Brandon that if John Mowbray broke the law over Caister Castle he would hold him, Brandon, responsible because he knew that Mowbray was under his thumb. Obviously things were getting out of hand and the King could not allow his laws to be flouted so openly. Edward IV was an impressive figure of a man about six-feet-four in height, so his outstanding physical presence and blunt words should have acted as a stern warning to someone of William Brandon’s then relatively humble status. According to Thomas Wingfield the King said,

“Brandon, though thou can beguile the Duke of Norfolk, and bring him abow (under) the thumb as thou lyst (like)…thou shalt not do me so, for I understand thy false dealing well enough.”

I know I have gone off the beaten track a bit here, but, as always, if anybody has any Mowbray info to share I would love to hear from you.

Foose said...

Marilyn R, I should have looked at your book first! Your researches are very thorough.

I did not find any mention of Elizabeth FitzAlan's fourth husband when I was rooting around, so thank you for noting it.

Gareth Russell said...

Mary Tudor was never known as "Mary Rose" in her lifetime - that's a later romantic addition. However, to answer your question, although there's been much speculation of a rivalry between the women, we really only have a few comments on Mary's feelings towards Anne. Apparently she was close to her former sister-in-law, Katherine of Aragon, and she also resented the idea of being forced to cede precedence at Court functions to Anne, once she became queen. However, this is mostly speculative as there are only a few mentions of Mary remaining away from court during the final years of Katherine's queenship and that may have been for health reasons as much as anything else (she died a month after Anne Boleyn's coronation.) However, there are absolutely no recorded references of Anne talking about Mary and we have absolutely no idea what (if anything) she felt about her. As has been pointed out, given Mary's marriage to Brandon, it's difficult to see how she could have viewed the Suffolks' children as a threat to her own. Firstly, Mary was dead by the time Anne became a mother and secondly because the real threat was either Mary Tudor Junior (Anne's stepdaughter) or King James V of Scotland. Finally, Anne had no reason to assume in 1533 that she wouldn't one day be the mother of a son. Unfortunately, we really have no reason to believe that Anne reciprocated the feud, since we just don't know what she thought of her husband's youngest sister.

Anonymous said...

There IS evidence which shows that Mary Tudor disliked Anne Boleyn. In terms of the succession, James V of Scotland did by rights have the best claim over Mary's son Henry Brandon since his mother Margaret Tudor was the eldest sister of Henry VIII. However James V was Scottish Henry Brandon was English and when the latter died in 1534 even the Spanish Ambassador Chapuys noted that James V's title would be more "advanced" since although (in Chapuy's words) Brandon Jnr "was born of the youngest sister he would have made a rival for the Scotch King."

Mary disliked Anne for the pure reason that Anne as queen would take precedence over her, a former queen of three months. Anne had been her maid of honour and Mary was close to Katherine of Aragon. In 1531 it was reported that Mary had used "approbious words" against Anne which caused a fight between the servants of Suffolk and Norfolk.

** posted by Starkey jnr **