Helena the Red

Helena, wife to Sir William Parr, 1st Marquess of Northampton, etc. would have been the sister-in-law of Queen Katherine Parr. The couple had no children. Helena caught the eye of Northampton when she arrived as a lady to Princess Cecilia of Sweden. When the Princess left England, Helena decided to stay. She caught the eye of Northampton and the queen stepped in to help the couple by giving Helena quarters at Hampton Court Palace. The couple was married a few months before Northampton’s death; the queen attended. Helena, who was allowed to hold on to her title of “Marchioness of Northampton” would re-marry and have issue. She became one of the top ladies of Elizabeth I and was considered the highest lady at court under the queen’s cousin, Lady Margaret Douglas (grandmother of James I of England).

'The Master of the Countess of Warwick', ‘Portrait of a lady, aged 21, possibly Helena Snakenborg’, dated 1569.
‘The Master of the Countess of Warwick’, ‘Portrait of a lady, aged 21, possibly Helena Snakenborg’, dated 1569.

For more info on the Marchioness see: 16 APRIL 1635: THE DEATH of the Marchioness of Northampton

History Witch


I love red-heads.

Elin Ulfsdotter Snakenborg, Marchioness of Northampton (hell of a last name) was the Maid of Honour to Queen Elizabeth I of England. She was born in Sweden in 1548 and lived to be 86 years old. At the time of her death, she had 92 direct descendants. Wow.

One of the many titles she carried (and the one I find most interesting) was “Chief Mourner” in the funeral procession for Queen Elizabeth.

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Author: tudorqueen6

Meg McGath is the author behind the articles on tudorqueen6; she has been studying the history and genealogy of the Parr family since 2007. Now, a decade later, she is still writing about her favorite Tudor queen, Kateryn Parr. Meg studied Women's Studies with an emphasis on English Women's History at the University of Maryland. One of her goals is to end the myth that Kateryn Parr was nothing more than a nursemaid to the aging King Henry VIII. "It simply isn't true, she did so much more for the Royal Family and her country," says Meg. And, of course, to educate Tudor enthusiasts on the prestigious lineage and connections of the Parr family. "Kateryn was related to everyone at court by blood or marriage. She was a descendant of the Beaufort line of John of Gaunt, son of Edward III, and Katherine Swynford. She shared this line with two of her husbands, Lord Latimer and the King," Meg states. A book is always her end game with Parr, but Meg has yet to put all the information together and send it to a publisher. "I've been told by many, including Professors, that I am a good writer..." says Meg. "The book, would focus on the generations before the Queen and how the Parr family became courtiers and relatives of The Crown." Meg has also done extensive research on the massive jewels and tiara collection of Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II. Her Majesty's collection was built starting with Queen consort Charlotte of Mecklenberg, wife of King George III, and grandmother of Queen Victoria. Meg is now putting together a separate blog that coincides with her Tudor Wiki contributions which started in 2007.

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