Family of Queen Katherine: Anne of York, Lady Howard

Anne of York from the Canterbury window of her mother and sisters.

Anne of York from the Canterbury window of her mother and sisters.

Anne of York, Princess of England, Lady Howard (2 November 1475[1] – 23 November 1511[2]) was the fourth surviving daughter of King Edward IV of England and his queen consort Elizabeth Woodville.[1]

Up until early 2013, the wife of the eventual 3rd Duke of Norfolk, Princess Anne of York (daughter of Edward IV), was labeled incorrectly on Wikipedia as “Countess of Surrey.”

Early life

She was born in the Palace of Westminster, London. She was a younger sister of Elizabeth of York (queen consort to King Henry VII), Mary of York, Cecily of York, King Edward V, Margaret of York, and Richard of Shrewsbury, 1st Duke of York.[1] She was also an older sister of George Plantagenet, Duke of Bedford, Catherine of York and Bridget of York.

On 5 August 1480, King Edward IV signed a treaty agreement with Maximilian, Archduke of Austria (later Holy Roman Emperor).[1] According to its terms, Princess Anne was supposed to marry his eldest son Philip the Handsome (the future Duke of Burgundy and husband to Queen Juana of Castile, sister of Katherine of Aragon).[1]

Maximilian was the eldest son of Frederick III, Holy Roman Emperor and would eventually become Emperor himself in 1493. His wife and mother to Archduke Philip was Mary of Burgundy, suo jure Duchess of Burgundy who became Duchess in 1477 after the death of her father, Charles. By her paternal grandmother, Isabel of Portugal, the Duchess was a great-granddaughter of Philippa of Lancaster, daughter of Prince John of Gaunt, 1st Duke of Lancaster (son of Edward III of England) and his first wife, Blanche of Lancaster. Both relations made Maximilian a valuable ally for Edward IV. The marriage would also place Anne at the court of her aunt, Margaret of York, the Dowager Duchess of Burgundy. Having a family member of the same house (York) at court would have been a comfort and helpful; especially since Margaret was the a previous Duchess. However, the marriage treaty was repudiated after Edward’s death and was never concluded.[1]


Portrait of Thomas Howard, 3rd Duke of Norfolk by Han Holbein, the Younger c. 1539-40. Royal Collection, Windsor.

Portrait of Thomas Howard as the 3rd Duke of Norfolk by Han Holbein, the Younger c. 1539-40. Royal Collection, Windsor.

As a sign of closeness between King Richard III (Anne’s uncle) and the Howard family, Princess Anne was betrothed to Thomas Howard in 1484.[1] After the overthrow of Richard III, Howard renewed his martial claim to Princess Anne and planned to marry her anyway.[1] At this time, Princess Anne was attending her sister, Elizabeth of York, who had become queen consort of King Henry VII as a lady-in-waiting.[1] The marriage of Elizabeth of York to Henry of Richmond (Tudor) ended the War of the Roses as both York and Lancaster finally came together. Elizabeth, as the eldest daughter of Edward IV, was technically the “rightful heir” to the throne of England after the death of Richard III. Her younger brothers, King Edward V and Richard of Shrewsbury, had disappeared in The Tower of London. However, being a woman was a problem. No queen would rule England in her own right until Queen Mary in 1553; a granddaughter of Elizabeth of York by her son King Henry VIII.

On 4 February 1495, Anne was married to Thomas Howard (later 3rd Duke of Norfolk) at Westminster Abbey.[1][2] Howard was the eldest son and heir of Sir Thomas Howard, 1st Earl of Surrey (later 2nd Duke of Norfolk) by his first wife, Elizabeth Tilney (the widow of Sir Humphrey Bourchier).[1][2]

Their only son known with certainty was Thomas Howard (dates unknown, but Wiki [with no source] states c. 1496 – 1508).[1][2] Richardson only states one child, Thomas, no others. The Dictionary of National Biography states however that the couple had four children who all died young.[1]

Later life and legacy

Anne of York, Lady Howard.

Anne of York, Lady Howard.

In 1486, at the lavish christening of her nephew Prince Arthur Tudor of Wales the first Tudor prince, she carried the chrisom. And in 1489, at the christening of her niece, Princess Margaret Tudor, later Queen of Scots, she again carried the chrisom during the ceremony.

On the death of her brother-in-law, King Henry VII Tudor, her nephew became king as King Henry VIII on 21 April 1509.

In 1510, King Henry VIII granted Anne and her heirs the various properties as compensation for the lands claimed in right of her great-grandmother, Lady Anne (Mortimer), Countess of Cambridge, wife of Richard, 3rd Earl of Cambridge.[1] These properties included the Castle and Manor of Wingfield and several other prominent properties.[1]

Anne died on 23 November 1511 probably from consumption and was buried at Thetford Priory.[2] After the Reformation, she was relocated, along with other Howards, to the large aisle chancel of the Church of St Michael the Archangel, Framlingham.[2]

Lord Howard, as a childless widower, later married a very reluctant Lady Elizabeth Stafford around Easter 1513. Lady Elizabeth was a daughter of Edward Stafford, 3rd Duke of Buckingham and Lady Eleanor Percy by whom he had surviving issue including the infamous Lord Henry Howard, Earl of Surrey.

Wikipedia Title Issue (2013)

2nd to 4th Duke of Norfolk by European Heraldry (1483 creation).

2nd to 4th Duke of Norfolk by European Heraldry (1483 creation).

Sir John Howard (great-grandfather of Queen Anne Boleyn and Queen Katherine Howard) was a supporter of Richard, Duke of Gloucester. Howard was created Duke of Norfolk and given his half of the Mowbray estates after Richard III’s coronation on 28 June 1483. Howard was the maternal grandson of Lord Thomas Mowbray, 1st Duke of Norfolk by his daughter Lady Margaret Howard (Mowbray). The dukedom of Norfolk had been inherited by the Mowbray family for several generations. The title would descend from the 1st Mowbray Duke of Norfolk’s eldest son, Lord John Mowbray, 2nd Duke of Norfolk [not an ancestor to the Howard Dukes of Norfolk]. The title would hold in the Mowbray family until the death of the Mowbray 2nd Duke of Norfolk’s great-great-granddaughter, Lady Anne Mowbray, suo jure 8th Countess of Norfolk (d.1481); who died without issue. Upon her death, her heirs normally would have been her cousins Sir William, Viscount Berkeley (descendant of the 2nd Duke’s sister, Lady Isabel Mowbray) and John, Lord Howard (descendant of the 2nd Duke’s other sister, Lady Margaret Mowbray), but by an act of Parliament in January 1483 the rights were given to the 8th Countess’s husband, Prince Richard of Shrewsbury [one of the Princes in The Tower], with reversion to his descendants, and, failing that, to the descendants of his father Edward IV.[3] Looking at this, it’s rather interesting to point out that with the disappearance of the Prince in the Tower [most likely death], the Howard family advanced. This may explain the Howards attachment to the Lord Protector (Richard, Duke of Gloucester, later King) who was the uncle of Edward V and the other Prince in the Tower who held the Mowbray estates and title they would be given.

Sir John Howard, son of Lady Margaret Mowbray, would become the 1st Duke of Norfolk of the Howard family.[1] After John Howard’s elevation to Duke, his son, Thomas, was created Earl of Surrey on 28 June 1483.[2] The titles were forfeited and attained after the Battle of Bosworth field (22 August 1485). The “2nd Duke” (grandfather to Queen Anne Boleyn and Queen Katherine Howard) was restored as Earl of Surrey in 1489; and was created (or restored as) Duke of Norfolk in 1514 (2nd Duke of the Howard creation), and resigned the Earldom of Surrey to his son (also named Thomas) on the same day. This Thomas Howard (later 3rd Duke of Norfolk) married to Princess Anne of York, daughter of King Edward IV on 4 February 1495. The couple had been betrothed since 1484 when the Howard family rose in favor with King Richard. Even after the death of King Richard, Howard went on to marry Anne. At the time of their marriage, Howard, however, had no titles and wasn’t even knighted (knt. 1497) which was very unusual for a marriage to a Princess. As Princess of England, Anne had been previously contracted to marry Philip “the handsome”, future Duke of Burgundy (a proper marriage for a Princess in that period of time). On the death of her father in 1483, the marriage however, never took place.[see note 1] Therefore, Anne who died in 1511, was never Countess of Surrey, but technically Lady Anne Howard (more informal: Anne of York, Lady Howard).[1]

Parr Relations

For those of you wondering how on earth Anne of York relates to Queen Katherine Parr — she does; by both parents.

  • Sir Thomas Parr, Lord Parr of Kendal’s closest connection was a 2nd cousin.
  • Lady Maud Parr (Green) was a 2nd cousin of Anne of York.


  1. Sidney Lee. “Dictionary of national biography: Howard, Anne,” Volume XXVIII: From HOWARD to INGLETHORP, Macmillan, Smith, Elder & Co. in New York, London, 1891. pg 64-67. Open Library
  2. Douglas Richardson. Plantagenet Ancestry: A Study In Colonial And Medieval Families, 2nd Edition, 2011. pg 273-78.
  3. Charles Ross. “Edward IV,” (second ed.) New Haven: Yale University Press. 1997.
  4. European Heraldry. “House of Howard.”


  1. Philip of Burgundy would go on to marry Queen Juana I of Castile, daughter of Queen Isabel I of Castile. Queen Juana was sister to Katherine of Aragon, wife to Lady Howard’s nephews by her sister Queen consort Elizabeth of York; Arthur, Prince of Wales (thus Princess of Wales from 1501-1502) and queen consort to King Henry VIII (previously Duke of York) (thus Queen consort of England from 1509-1533).

Researched by Meg McGath
© 15 APRIL 2013


9 thoughts on “Family of Queen Katherine: Anne of York, Lady Howard

  1. Pingback: A Tudor Year – Day 35 – 4th February – The History Cupboard

    • Royals and nobility kept it close. Incestuous wasn’t even a thing back then. They obtained Papal Dispensations to marry. When you get into the Habsburg dynasty after Isabel and Ferdinand, their lineage was SO close that their line basically died out with a seriously deformed and handicapped King. They had no idea. These close relations were kept up until maybe the turn of the 1900s. Look at the children of Queen Victoria who married her first cousin, Albert. Thanks for the comment!

  2. I know a lot of children from noble families were destined for the Church from a very young age but it was still sad. As for Henry the Eight, he had a life in religion. He made himself Supreme Head of the Church of England. Katheryn Parr almost died because of religion. Poor lady. But she didn’t die on the block. She managed to survive Henry the Eight which was a great accomplishment. I have always wondered happened to her baby girl, the Lady Mary Seymour. I know that she was in the household of the Dowager Duchess of Suffolk for a time for Katherine Willoughby had been a very good friend to Katheryn Parr.

  3. It is good that Anne of York did not wed Philip of Flanders for he was a monster. Edward the Fourth was suppose to marry Isabella of Castile. It is sad that Edward the Fourth died when he did. If he only had hung for just ten more years, things would have been so much better for his kids all of them and for Anthony Woodville, Lord Rivers and for Lord Hastings who should never have been executed. Richard the Third was a horrible man. People make a big thing that Elizabeth Woodville cut a deal with him. They do not remember that she had hung on for a very long time. She and her girls were in Santuary for months. She could not for see the future. She had five marriageable daughters, well four because the Princess Bridget was going to become a nun. Poor child having that decided so young for her. She was only three when her father died.

    • Anne of York didn’t have a say in her marriage anyway. That was for her father to decide and he chose a diplomatic marriage which daughters like Anne were used for. When her father died, I’m sure Richard’s moves left a mark on the Princesses. And Richard was thinking of what would be good for him and his newly crowned wife. Their son was now heir to the throne. I’m surprised he didn’t use one of the York girls to solidify the throne for the House of York. Having his son marry a York Princess, I guess, would demean his status as Richard declared them illegitimate. Would have helped though–perhaps Tudor wouldn’t have invaded if there was a child with the lineage his son and a York Princess had. Queen Anne’s lineage was extremely important in keeping Richard on the throne. So if he had a grandchild–it would have been extremely rare that anyone would rise up against him. But hence, Tudor got his chance once Richard lost his wife and child. He did the right thing in marrying Elizabeth. If only Richard had seen his own child betrothed to a York girl.
      Henry VIII was destined for a life in religion. When his brother died, that changed–it wasn’t unusual for a child from a large family to be given over to the Church. Lots of noble families did that.

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