The Hampton Court Pedigrees: The Six Wives of Henry VIII

All of King Henry’s wives had one thing in common, they all descended from Edward I; some by his first wife Eleanor of Castile or by his second, Marguerite of France; and in some cases both! In Hampton Court Palace in King Henry VIII’s apartment there are six stained glassed windows showing his wives pedigrees from King Edward I. As some were descended multiple times or by both wives the more prominent ancestry was featured.


From Atonia Fraser’s The Wives of Henry VIII, pg 363:

The following genealogy should be seen as a reflection of the narrowness of aristocratic society in a world of small population, rather than as some unconscious desire [that King Henry VIII might have] to commit forms of incest as has been suggested. The wives of Henry VIII were not “closely” related or to King Henry himself. The exception would be of the first cousins Anne Boleyn and Catherine Howard; Henry’s 2nd and 5th wife whom shared the same grandfather, Sir Thomas Howard, 2nd Duke of Norfolk by his 1st wife Elizabeth Tilney (herself the daughter of Elizabeth Cheney by her first husband Sir Philip Tilney. Elizabeth married secondly Sir John Say. Her daughter Anne would become grandmother to Queen consort Jane Seymour, thus making Queen Anne, Queen Jane, and Queen Catherine Howard second cousins).

In actuality, King Henry was closely related to two of his wives; Katherine of Aragon and his last wife, Katherine Parr. All three shared common ancestry and the ancestor Prince John of Gaunt, 1st Duke of Lancaster. Thus, Katherine of Aragon was a 3rd cousin, once removed and 4th cousin (by Lancaster’s first two wives). Katherine’s lineage made her more eligible to the throne of England than her father-in-law, Henry VII. The lineage from both Henry VIII and Katherine of Aragon gave their daughter, Princess Mary, the stronghold that she would have needed to be Queen Regnant from birth. Her claim to the throne was undeniable, yet Henry VIII threw away her chances–when he declared Mary illegitimate and moved on to wife no. 2, Anne Boleyn.

Parr, however, had multiple links via her father and mother. Queen Katherine Parr and Henry VIII’s closest relations: 3rd cousins via Lady Maud Parr (through Sir Richard Wydeville and Joan Bedlisgate; grandparents of Queen consort Elizabeth Woodville, wife of Edward IV); and by Lord Parr — 3rd cousins, once removed (through Ralph Neville, 1st Earl of Westmorland and Lady Joan Beaufort; parents to Lady Cecily, Duchess of York, mother to Edward IV and Richard III); 4th cousins by John of Gaunt, 1st Duke of Lancaster and Katherine Swynford (grandparents to John Beaufort, 1st Earl of Somerset); 4th cousins, once removed and 5th cousins through Sir Thomas Holland, 2nd Earl of Kent and Lady Alice FitzAlan (parents of Lady Margaret, Countess of Somerset and Lady Alianore, Countess of March).

The Hampton Court Pedigrees 

The SIX pedigrees of Henry VIII’s Wives, Henry’s Apartments;
linking them all back to King Edward I of England

Katherine Of AragonQueen Katharine of Aragon 


Not for my Crown” (As Princess of Wales)


Humble and Loyal” (As queen consort)

Katharine of Arragon 1st wife of King Henry ye Eighth, her pedigree from King Edward ye First and his 1st wife Eleanor of Castile

Pedigree window of Katherine of Aragon

Pedigree window of Queen Katherine of Aragon

Katharine of Aragon was the daughter of

Ferdinand King of Spain
Ferdinand, King of Spain married Isabel of Leon
John, King of Leon married Isabel of Portugal
John, Prince of Portugal married Isabel of Braganza
John, Grand Master of Avis [de jure King of Portugal] married Philippa of Lancaster
John, Duke of Lancaster married Blanch Plantagenet
King Edward ye Third [of England] married Philippa of Hainault
King Edward ye Second [of England] married Isabel of France
King Edward ye First [of England] married 1st Eleanor of Castile
Queen Katherine's royal emblem, the Pomegranate, a symbol her mother Queen Isabel of Castile used in her own coat of arms.

Queen Katherine’s royal emblem, the Pomegranate, a symbol her mother Queen Isabel I of Castile (1474-1504) used in her own coat of arms as queen regnant from 1492.

anne_boleynQueen Anne Bullen 


The Most Happy

Anne Bullen the 2nd wife of King Henry ye Eighth, her pedigree from King Edward ye First and his second wife Margaret of France

Pedigree window of Queen Anne Boleyn.

Pedigree window of Queen Anne Boleyn.

Anne Bullen, daughter of

Thomas, Earl of Wiltshire
Thomas, Earl of Wiltshire married Elizabeth Howard
Thomas, Duke of Norfolk married Elizabeth Tylney
John, Duke of Norfolk married Katharine Molyns
Syr Robert Howard married Margaret Mowbray
Thomas, Duke of Norfolk married Elizabeth Fitzalan
John, Lord Mowbray married Elizabeth Segrave
John, Lord Segrave married Margaret of Brotherton
Thomas, Earl of Norfolk married Alice Halys
King Edward ye first [of England] married 2nd Margaret of France
Royal emblem of Anne Boleyn as queen, the falcon.

Royal emblem of Anne Boleyn as queen, the falcon.

jane_seymourQueen Jane Seymour 


Bound to Serve and Obey

Jane Seymour 3rd wife of King Henry ye Eighth, her pedigree from King Edward ye First and his 1st wife Eleanor of Castile

Pedigree window of Queen Jane Seymour

Pedigree window of Queen Jane Seymour

Jane Seymour was the daughter of

Syr John Seymour
Syr John Seymour married Margaret Wentworth
Syr Henry Wentworth married Anne Say
Syr Philip Wentworth married Mary Clifford
John, Lord Clifford married Elizabeth Percy
Henry, Lord Percy married Elizabeth Mortimer
Edmond, Earl of March married Philippa of Clarence
Lionel, Duke of Clarence married Elizabeth Burgh
King Edward ye Third [of England] married Philippa of Hainault
King Edward ye Second [of England] married Isabel of France
King Edward ye First [of England] married 1st Eleanor of Castile
Royal emblem of Queen Jane Seymour, the Phoenix.

Royal emblem of Queen Jane Seymour, the Phoenix.

p02h9h78Queen Anne of Cleve 


God Send Me Well to Keep

Anne of Cleve, 4th wife of King Henry ye Eighth, her pedigree from King Edward ye First and his 1st wife Eleanor of Castile

Pedigree window of Queen Anne of Cleves

Pedigree window of Queen Anne of Cleves

Anne of Cleve was the daughter of

 John, Duke of Cleve
John Duke of Cleve married Mary of Jüliers
John, Duke of Cleve married Maud of Hesse
John, Duke of Cleve married Elizabeth of Nevers
Adolphus of Cleves married Mary of Burgundy
John, Duke of Burgundy married Margaret of Bavaria
Philip, Duke of Burgundy married Margaret of Flanders
Lewis, Count of Flanders married Margaret of Brabant
John, Duke of Brabant married Margaret of France
John, Duke of Brabant married Margaret Plantagenet
King Edward ye first married 1st Eleanor of Castile
Anne of Cleves window emblem

Anne of Cleves Royal window emblem

otd-february-13-catherine-howard-jpgQueen Katharine Howard


No Other Will But His

Katharine Howard, 5th wife of King Henry ye Eighth, her pedigree from King Edward ye First and his 2nd wife Margaret of France

Pedigree window of Queen Katherine Howard

Pedigree window of Queen Katherine Howard

Katharine, daughter of

 Lord Edmond Howard

Lord Edmond Howard married Joyce Culpeper
Thomas, Duke of Norfolk married Elizabeth Tylney
John, Duke of Norfolk married Katharine Molyns
Syr Robert Howard married Margaret Mowbray
Thomas, Duke of Norfolk married Elizabeth Fitzalan
John, Lord Mowbray married Elizabeth Segrave
John, Lord Segrave married Margaret of Brotherton
Thomas, Earl of Norfolk married Alice Halys
King Edward ye first [of England] married 2nd Margaret of France
Katherine Howard window emblem

Katherine Howard’s Royal emblem was a Tudor Rose; there was no feature but this Fleur-de-Lis window emblem in her Pedigree

images-of-henry-viii-children-i19Queen Katherine Parr 


To be Useful in All That I Do

Katharine Parr, 6th wife of King Henry ye Eighth, her pedigree from King Edward ye First and his 1st wife Eleanor of Castile

Pedigree window of Queen Katherine Parr

Pedigree window of Queen Katherine Parr

Katharine daughter of

Syr Thomas Parr
Syr Thomas married Maud Green
Syr William Parr married Elizabeth FitzHugh
Henry, Lord FitzHugh married Alice Nevil
Richard, Earl of Salisbury married Alice Montacute
Ralph, Earl of Westmorland married Joanne Beaufort
John, Duke of Lancaster married Katharine de Roet
King Edward ye Third [of England] married Philippa of Hainault
King Edward ye Second [of England] married Isabel of France
King Edward ye First [of England] married 1st to Eleanor of Castile
Royal emblem of Queen Katherine Parr, maidenhead of the Lord Parrs of Kendal

Royal emblem of Queen Katherine Parr, maidenhead of the Lord Parrs of Kendal (taken from the de Ros Family)

Alison Weir: “New” Portrait of Katherine Parr


Catherine the Chameleon: some of the wildly different faces of Catherine Parr.
Perhaps she was just hard to capture in paint.
The image on the bottom right, previously thought to be Elizabeth I, has now been identified by Alison Weir as another portrait of Catherine. (Alex David)

I would love to know on what basis Weir has identified the “new” portrait of Katherine Parr. No other actual historian or biographer of Parr has agreed with her findings and the portrait is not officially recognized.

First off–the one on the bottom right is reported to be done by Holbein, the younger c.1542 (before the marriage of Queen Katherine in 1543). The one of the top right was done posthumously and has been officially identified by Katherine’s biographer Susan James. That portrait was done after her death (d.1548). The two on the left were done during Parr’s time as Queen. Although the two on the left look at tad different as the blogger states (David) — during studies done on the full length portrait done c.1545 show that the face, among other parts of the portrait, were altered. An x-ray study shows this below.

X-ray comparison of NPG portrait of Queen Katherine Parr by Master John compared to the queen's portrait attributed to Scrots (right).

X-ray comparison of NPG portrait of Queen Katherine Parr by Master John compared to the queen’s portrait attributed to Scrots (right). The two without altering do look very similar.

According to Art History Today’s blog (7 October 2011), “Rediscoveries & Revelations. Book Review: The Secrets of Leonardo da Vinci,” the portrait is actually that of the future Queen Elizabeth Tudor. The portrait is labeled ‘Hans Hoblein the Younger, Portrait of Elizabeth Tudor, the future Elizabeth I, Private Collection, tempera and oil on oak panel, 52 x 42 cm.’

Graeme Cameron’s last major revelation is the publication of a Holbein’s Portrait of Elizabeth the First a beguiling image of the beautiful, young English princess dating from about 1542. Despite its strong provenance, and its approval by a leading Holbein scholar, Paul Ganz in The Conoisseur in 1952, the painting has never been accepted into the artist’s oeuvre. Cameron supplies strong evidence and arguments for overturning the dis-attribution. Apart from the web of historical evidence and fact tying the work to the young Elizabeth, there is the iconography of the Judgement of Paris, reappearing again, this time on the brooch around the woman’s neck, which must relate to her virtue and beauty. (Art History Today)

Weir, who is no expert on Parr, has more than a few errors in Parr’s section of her book, “The Six Wives.” While I applaud her efforts at writing, I do not use her for a reference and neither do most scholarly authors/historians.

Weir states that the portrait is identified by the necklace the sitter is wearing; which is present in the newly identified portrait of Katherine Parr by Susan James (2009). As stated before, James’s find is posthumous. Christie’s describes it as:

“It has been suggested that the present portrait dates to circa 1590-1620, and may be a rare record of the lost depiction of the Queen by Hans Eworth, showing the Queen in costume typical of 1545-1550.”

Weir states: “actually it’s a carcanet, or choker, and it’s very distinctive, and in fact unique in Tudor portraits of this period – is identical to the one in the portrait said to be Elizabeth (above, right). It’s almost certainly the same one, and fits a description of a carcanet listed in the Queen’s inventory.” To which I ask… which inventory of Queen Katherine? The inventory listed in Janel Mueller’s compilation of Katherine Parr’s works and correspondences has no mention of the carcanet.

"A Lady called Anne Boleyn," Henry Bone Pierce, Royal Collection.

“A Lady called Anne Boleyn,” Henry Bone Pierce, Royal Collection.

The above portrait, the traditional identification of the sitter as Anne Boleyn has now been discredited and the image no longer forms part of the accepted limited iconography of Anne Boleyn. (Royal Collection Trust)

Weir goes on to compare the portrait to a newer version recorded in the Royal Collection as “Anne Boleyn.” The woman in the miniature wears the same necklace — Weir believes it to be a copy of the larger portrait. She then states:

For 300 years, it  was owned by her cousin, Sir Lionel Duckett, and his family. In 1832, it was put on sale in London with the rest of Sir George Duckett’s collection, and sold to Sir Joseph Neeld of Grittleton House near Chippenham Wiltshire. In 1851, it was described in the Grittleton catalogue as ‘the portrait of Queen Anne Boleyn’. It follows that Katherine Parr’s cousin would own a portrait of her. No doubt he was proud to display one of his kinswoman as queen.

"Lady called Anne Boleyn," Christie's Auction.

“Lady called Anne Boleyn,” Christie’s Auction.

Lot Notes for the Christie’s Auction state:

“the traditional identification of the sitter as Anne Boleyn has been questioned, first raised by Lionel Cust in 1880. It has been suggested that the identity of the sitter is possibly that of Katherine Parr (1512-1548), daughter of Sir Thomas Parr (1478-1517) and his wife Jane Fogge. She was the sixth wife of King Henry VIII and Queen of England from 1543 until her death in 1548.”

However, anyone who knows anything about Queen Katherine knows that her mother and the wife of Sir Thomas Parr was Maud Green, daughter of Joan Fogge.

Looking back into the genealogy of Queen Katherine, modern genealogy amateurs state there is apparently a connection to Lionel Duckett. It is not clear, though. I looked into it and found a RootsWeb tree that connects an Eleanor Harrington to a daughter of Sir Thomas Parr of Kendal and Alice Tunstall who apparently married a William Harrington. Looking into the sources, The Duckett line from ‘Pedigrees Recorded at the Heralds’ visitations of the counties of Cumberland and Westmorland’, does not spell out who Eleanor’s mother is. It simply says “daug. of Wm. Harrington, of Wresham, in co. Lane”. The lineage also names only two sons of Eleanor–Richard and Robert. No William Duckett is listed; father of Lionel. In the lineage listed for Harrington in the same book, the pedigree lists that William Harrington of Wreysham married to “…dau. and co-heir of … Parr”. This again, leaves us with no solid evidence. Looking into Burke’s ‘A Genealogical and Heraldic Dictionary of the Peerage and Baronetage of the United Kingdom’, the Duckett line quotes an Eleanor Harrington, ‘dau of William Harrington, who had considerable possessions both in Lancashire and the barony of Kendal’. No mother listed. As I look through Douglas Richardson’s ‘Plantagenet Ancestry’, 2nd edition, there is indeed a daughter named Eleanor as the child of Thomas and Alice. Eleanor is listed as marrying Sir Henry Agard. Another daughter, Anne, is listed as the wife of William Harrington. However, it ends there with no documentation to further the connection between Duckett and Harrington. It seems to be a big mess that has yet to be figured out.

Lionel married a Mary Leighton — if I’m not mistaken, the Leighton family was connected directly and indirectly to the Boleyn’s via Mary Boleyn’s descendants. Yes, Mary Leighton’s uncle Sir Thomas Leighton married Elizabeth Knollys (granddaughter of Mary Boleyn, sister of Queen Anne). So Weir’s whole thing about them claiming it is Anne Boleyn..[which she doesn’t agree with] would make MORE sense!

Alison Weir's website with the two portraits "she found" of Katherine Parr (2012).

Alison Weir’s website with the two portraits “she found” of Katherine Parr (2012).

Before she put this portrait out as Parr, she had another which was thought to be Lady Jane which has already been thoroughly studied and found not to be her (see “The Norris Portrait”). Weir then tried to pass it off as Parr. It’s odd how the specialist’s findings from “The Norris Portrait” were then found on her site, same portraits and all, only the info was changed around slightly to fit “her” findings (something all too familiar to Weir’s writing). The writing was all very eerily familiar to the website that had already done research on the portrait only her conclusion was that it was “indeed” Parr. As soon as she was confronted by the researcher and page owner, she took it all down and kept this “new” portrait of “Katherine Parr.”

So nice try, but until her biographers and other art specialists agree–the portrait, bottom right, is NOT a portrait of Katherine. Weir should really stick to writing and leave portraiture to the experts!



Kendal Castle and Katherine Parr

Many books and local legends of Cumbria place the birth of Queen Katherine Parr at Kendal Castle in 1512. Is this true? No.

Kendal Castle, 1739.

Kendal Castle, 1739.

It’s false of course. By the time of her birth — her father, Sir Thomas, had abandoned the castle which was falling into disrepair for the court life. Who wouldn’t want to be at the court of Henry VIII? It was THE place to be! Plus, Catherine’s mother was in attendance upon the Queen. It would appear that Catherine’s grandfather, William, was the last to reside in the Castle. Shortly after the coronation of Richard III, Parr left for Kendal to distance himself from Edward IV’s “successor.” He died a few months later and is buried in Kendal Parish Church.

No one knows where Katherine, her brother William and sister Anne were born.

In spite of long held beliefs and old stories, the future Queen Katherine was not born in Kendal Castle which, after years of neglect, was becoming ruinous and by 1572 it was derelict and left in the hands of the Steward.

More probably the children were born in the house in Blackfriars which Sir Thomas Parr had leased shortly before Katherine was born, or in one of the other properties owned by the family in the south of England.(The Stricklandgate House Trust Limited)

28 February 1552: The Burial of the Queen’s Sister

Lady Anne Herbert [Parr], Countess of Pembroke died at Baynard’s Castle on 20 February 1552; at the age of thirty-six. Lady Pembroke had out-lived her sister, the Dowager Queen Katherine (d. 5 September 1548), who had also died in the year of her thirty-sixth birthday (Katherine was born in 1512, no official date is recorded). Unlike her sister and brother, the Marquess of Northampton, Lady Pembroke left two sons and a daughter to continue her legacy. Lady Pembroke  was buried with huge pomp in Old St. Paul’s Cathedral in London next to her ancestor Prince John of Gaunt, 1st Duke of Lancaster [and his first wife, Blanche of Lancaster] on 28 February 1552.

On the 28th February was buried the noble countess of Pembroke, sister to the late Queen Katharine, wife of King Henry VIII. She died at Baynard’s Castle and was so carried into Paul’s. There were a hundred poor men and women who had mantle frieze gowns, then came the heralds; after this the corpse, and about her, eight banner rolls of arms. Then came the mourners both lords and knights and gentlemen, also the lady and gentlewomen mourners to the number of two hundred. After these were two hundred of her own and other servants in coats. She was buried by the tomb of the Duke of Lancaster. Afterwards her banners were set up over her and her arms set on divers pillars. (Diary of Henry Machin citizen of London Camden Soc vol 42)

Tomb of William, Earl of Pembroke, in St Paul's; the tomb on a tall base on which lie a man and wife, in ermine robes, heads to left; eleven columns support a double arch above and obelisk topped extensions at the sides; two cartouches at top, to the left with coat of arms and to the right with dedication by 'Ioh Herbert'; illustration to William Dugdale's 'History of St Paul's' (London, 1658 and 1716)

Tomb of William, Earl of Pembroke, in St Paul’s; the tomb on a tall base on which lie a man and wife, in ermine robes, heads to left; eleven columns support a double arch above and obelisk topped extensions at the sides; two cartouches at top, to the left with coat of arms and to the right with dedication by ‘Ioh Herbert’; illustration to William Dugdale’s ‘History of St Paul’s’ (London, 1658 and 1716)

The tomb is located between the choir and the North aisle. The tomb was by the magnificent tomb of John of Gaunt, Duke of Lancaster and Blanche of Lancaster, between the pillars of the 6th bay of the Choir. (Benham) The Pembroke tomb was a magnificent structure consisting of effigies of the earl and his Lady Pembroke lying on a sarcophagus, attended by kneeling children, and the whole covered by an elaborate canopy resting on stone shafts. (Clinch) Her memorial there read: “a most faithful wife, a woman of the greatest piety and discretion” and “Her banners were set up over her arms set on divers pillars.“ On her tomb her epitath read that she had been “very jealous of the fame of a long line of ancestors.“ Her husband, Lord Pembroke, died on 17 March 1570 and by his wishes was also buried in St. Paul’s Cathedral on 18 April 1570 next to Lady Pembroke.

Lady Pembroke figure, Wiltshire Archeological and Natural History, 1879, pg 98.

Lady Pembroke figure, Wiltshire Archeological and Natural History Magazine, 1879, pg 98.

In her honor, in the old chapel at Wilton House was preserved a stained glass window in which were painted the kneeling figures of Lord Pembroke and his two sons also that of his wife Anne Parr and her daughter (also named Anne). The glass is now removed to the new Church at Wilton and will be found in the first window to the right on entering. Lady Pembroke is represented as wearing a rich mantle covered with her armorial bearings.

Lady Pembroke and her daughter, also named Anne (Lady Talbot). Wilton Church.

Lady Pembroke and her daughter, also named Anne (Lady Talbot). Wilton Church.

The lady’s mantle bears the following quarterings

  1. Argent, two bars azure within a bordure engrailed Sable–Parr
  2. Or, three water bougets Sable–Ros of Kendal
  3. Azure, three bucks trippant Vert–Green
  4. Gules, a chevron between three cross-crosslets, and in chief a lion passant Or–Mablethorpe
  5. Azure, three chevronels braced in base, and a chief Or–Fitzhugh
  6. Vaire, a fess Gules–Marmion
  7. Or, three chevronels Gules, a chief Vaire–St. Quentin
  8. Gules, a bend between six cross-crosslets Or–Furneaux
  9. Barry of eight Argent and Gules a fleur-de-lis Sable–Stavely
  10. This last quartering now replaced by a fragment of flowered glass was no doubt that of Gernegan–barry of ten Or and Azure an eagle displayed Argent.


See also

Which Queen Katherine: The Lambeth Portrait

It has been identified as Queen Katherine Parr for centuries. Thanks to modern technology used to examine the portrait by the NPG in London, it has been concluded that the portrait is indeed that of wife no.1, Queen Katherine of Aragon.

Disputed Lambeth Palace portrait; Katherine Parr or Katherine of Aragon

Lambeth Palace portrait; now identified as Queen Katherine of Aragon, wife no. 1

The young woman in the picture is blessed with good features, an oval-shaped face with a firm jawline and a clear complexion. But it is the overall impression of intelligence and intensity that is so compelling. There is an inner strength in the face that commands attention. The woman looks confident. This is a woman full of grace and maturity. The portrait is carefully composed. She is very much the aristocratic lady, expensively dressed and already demonstrating a love of jewels and fashion that would develop over the years. Her clothing is red and gold, with the hood perfectly matching the gown. At the period of time the portrait was painted the Telegraph quotes,

Academics working on the ‘Making Art in Tudor Britain’ project had noticed the facial features and costume worn by the woman were far more similar to works depicting the first Catherine, and dated from the 1520s or 30s. (Furness)

The 1520s — Katherine’s mother was still negotiating for a marriage. In 1529, she was married to Sir Edward Borough, son of Sir Thomas, 3rd Baron Borough of Gainsborough (Lord Chamberlain to Queen Anne Boleyn). The status wouldn’t have made her that important enough to paint. However, the 3rd Barons wife, Agnes Tyrwhitt had her portrait done by Holbein. Sir Thomas, however, had to pull his connections just to get his wife, Lady Borough, painted by Holbein. (Porter pg 55) By 1533, Katherine was a widow. Her next marriage to Lord Latimer took place in 1534 and it lasted until 1543. The hood was most likely outdated by the 1530s, but Katherine had not been living at court so perhaps she did not know the current fashions. Her home from 1529-1534 was spent in the Northern part of England; Lincolnshire. After her marriage to Sir John Neville, 3rd Lord Latimer her home was Snape Castle, in North Yorkshire. Her mother and sister would have been at court. Her mother served Katherine of Aragon until her household was dissolved. Her sister, Anne, would continue to serve under Queen Anne Boleyn. The two sisters were close so perhaps Anne wrote about the current fashions at court; Katherine was to become a fashionable queen so her interest must have developed early on. Therefore it is contradictory as to what Katherine actually wore.

Lambeth Portrait of Katherine of Aragon.

Lambeth Portrait of Katherine of Aragon.

Interestingly, although the gown has fashionable slashed undersleeves and a gauzy partlet, covering the throat and chest, the coifed gable hood that the woman is wearing was a more conservative choice. Anne Boleyn supposedly made the French hood popular, but the hood had been introduced to England well before she returned from France in 1522. The French hood showed more hair, so therefore in some circles it was still considered unseemly. Jane Seymour favoured the gabled hood, though this may have been less a personal preference than a conscious decision to differentiate herself from her more flighty, disgraced predecessor. (Porter)

In Katherine Parr’s case, she had married a man whose overall outlook was conservative and it is possible that her head-wear reflected his taste. Her jewels, three ropes of pearls and a large, round gold, pearl and ruby brooch, are also a sign of wealth without ostentation. In this portrait, Katherine is very much the elegant nobleman’s wife. (Porter on the portrait being Katherine as Lady Latimer)

The two paintings will now be hung together for the first time in the National Portrait Gallery, nearly 500 years after they were painted Photo: National Portrait Gallery

The two paintings will now be hung together for the first time in the National Portrait Gallery, nearly 500 years after they were painted. Photo: National Portrait Gallery

Technical analysis of the paint and “rare” engraved frame by the NPG (National Portrait Gallery in London) are believed to show it was painted at the same time as a portrait of Henry VIII, with a similar style and scale. (Furness) (See above)

However, there is still more than a few portraits with Henry and his other wives that still use this depiction as Katherine Parr. For example, the only miniature in the Royal Collection (from Queen Victoria’s miniature collection) that depicts Queen Katherine Parr is this same depiction. Hopefully they will not change the description now as there is no other depiction of Parr and all six wives are represented.

Katherine Parr or Katherine of Aragon

‘Portrait of a lady called Katherine Parr’, by Henry Pierce Bone, 1844. Enamel; 4.8 x 3.9cm.The miniature was purchased by Queen Victoria in 1844, to add to her growing collection of portraits of sixteenth-century figures. It is still part of the Royal Collection.
The Earliest Portrait of Katherine Parr or Katherine of Aragon?

On the back of the portrait is the following inscription:

‘Katharine Parr / London Febr 1844 / Painted by Henry Pier. / Bone Enamel Painter / to Her Majesty & H.R.H. / Prince Albert &c. From / the Original in / Lambeth Palace.’

Detail of the Miniature.

Detail of the Miniature.

In early 2011, after inquiring about the portrait, I was told (by email from the Lambeth Palace Library) that this had been re-identified as Katherine of Aragon. Lambeth Palace’s site had this image as Katherine Parr; the image was uploaded in 2008. The re-identification took place in 2009, but was not officially announced or re-identified until recently.

The portrait you are inquiring about used to be referred to as the “Unknown Woman” thought to be Katherine Parr.  However, in 2009 we had the National Portrait Gallery here to look at another painting in our possession.  As we walked by the portrait a period costume expert, who so happened to be among them, took great notice in it and declared that the clothes were far too early to be Katherine Parr.  The National Portrait Gallery took it away with them to research further.  The conclusion was that it was in fact a rare survival of a Tudor portrait of Catherine of Aragon, not Katherine Parr as originally thought.  You can imagine it was rather exciting for all concerned.

Obviously they had not made the announcement official until now — due to years of research at the NPG. But as of 24 January 2013, this is now identified as Queen Katherine of Aragon. For details on the examination process and the conservation of the portrait — see links.



Family of Queen Katherine: Thomas Dacre, 2nd Lord of Gilsland

Coat of arms of the Barons of Dacre showing their heraldic charges, the Bull. European Heraldry

SIR THOMAS DACRE, 2nd Lord (Baron) Dacre of Gillesland (25 November 1467 – 24 October 1525) was the eldest son and heir of Sir Humphrey Dacre, 1st Lord Dacre and his wife, Mabel Parr (great-aunt of Queen Katherine Parr).[1]

Dacre was summoned to parliament from 17th October 1509 to 12th November 1515. This nobleman in the 9th Henry VII, served under Thomas, Earl of Surrey (later the 2nd Duke of Norfolk), at the siege of Norham Castle, and his lordship obtained great celebrity in the command of a body of horse reserve at the famous fight of Floddin in the 4th Henry VIII under the same gallant leader. He was subsequently, at different times, engaged in Scotland and he filled the important office of warden of the West Marches from the 1st year of King Henry VIII.

Naworth Castle, home to the Dacre family from 1335-1601.

Naworth Castle, also known as, or recorded in historical documents as “Naward”, is a castle in Cumbria (formally Westmorland), England near the town of Brampton. It is on the opposite side of the River Irthing to, and just within sight of, Lanercost Priory. It was the seat of the Barons Dacre. The castle is thought to have late 13th-century origins, in the form of a square keep and bailey. It was first mentioned in 1323, and in 1335 a licence to crenellate was granted to Ralph Dacre, 1st Baron Dacre (ca. 1290 – April 1339). Residential quarters were added in the early 16th century by Thomas, 2nd Lord Dacre. He built the whole of the south and east wings including the 100ft Great Hall, and what is now known as Lord William’s Tower. Unfortunately for the Dacre family, in 1560 the then Lord Dacre died, leaving a widow, three daughters and a young son called George. Thomas Howard, 4th Duke of Norfolk, Queen Elizabeth’s cousin, married the widowed Lady Dacre, and arranged to marry his three sons to her three daughters. Young George was killed in a fall from a vaulting horse and the vast Dacre estates which covered great tracts of the north of England- including 70,000 acres of the Barony of Gilsland, lands in Cumberland including Greystoke and Dacre, 20,000 acres around Morpeth and 30,000 acres in Yorkshire – now part of Castle Howard estate, all came under the control of the Howard family.The castle is currently occupied by Philip Howard, brother and heir presumptive of the 13th Earl of Carlisle.[2]

Two of the four two metre-high Dacre Heraldic Beasts (a bull and a gryphon), which used to stand in the hall of Naworth Castle in Cumbria, now the seat of the Howard family, the Earls of Carlisle, from whom they were recently purchased. They date from 1519-21.

Marriage and issue

He married c. 1488 to Elizabeth, suo jure 6th Baroness Greystock, daughter and heiress of Sir Robert de Greystoke by Lady Elizabeth Grey, daughter of Edmund Grey, 1st Earl of Kent [descendant of Lady Elizabeth of Lancaster, daughter of John of Gaunt and Blanche of Lancaster] and Lady Katherine Percy [descendant of Edward III’s granddaughter, Lady Joan Beaufort and also his son, Lionel of Antwerp]. Elizabeth was the granddaughter and sole heiress of Ralph de Greystock, 5th Baron Greystock KG [descendant of Edward III by his granddaughter, Lady Joan Beaufort’s, first marriage to Lord Ferrers].[1]

They had eight children:

  1. William Dacre, 3rd Baron Dacre of Gilsland, who married Lady Elizabeth Talbot, 5th daughter of George Talbot, 4th Earl of Shrewsbury and Lady Anne  Hastings.[1]
  2. Hon. Mary Dacre who married Francis, 5th Earl of Shrewsbury, brother of the above Lady Elizabeth Talbot. Had issue.[1]
  3. Hon. Anne Dacre, wife of Christopher Conyers, 2nd Baron Conyers. Had issue.[1]
  4. Hon. Mabel Dacre who married Henry Scrope, 7th Baron Scrope of Bolton. Had issue which included their son, John, 8th Baron. The 7th Lord Scrope would enter into marriage negotiations with Lady Maud Parr for the hand of his eldest son and heir, Henry. If everything had gone according to plan, Katherine would have married her 2nd cousin [twice removed, closest relation out of several shared ancestors]. Luckily for Katherine the marriage was rejected as Henry died a few years later. His brother John succeeded their father in the barony.[1]
  5. Hon. Jane Dacre, wife of Lord Tailboys.[1]
  6. Hon. Philippa Dacre, most likely named after her paternal grandmother, Lady Philippa Neville.[1]
  7. Hon. Humphrey Dacre.[1]
  8. Hon. Jane Dacre, of the second name.[1]

His lordship died on 24 October 1525 due to a fall from his horse.[1] He had his wife, who had died in August of 1516, were buried in Lanercost Priory, Cumberland, England.[1] He  was succeeded by his elder son William.


  1. Douglas Richardson. Magna Carta Ancestry: A Study in Colonial and Medieval Families, 2nd Edition, 2011. pg 16-18.
  2. Naworth Castle History

Family of Queen Katherine Parr: Sir John Neville, 3rd Lord Latimer

Coat of Arms of the Neville Barons Latimer of Snape.

Sir John Neville, 3rd Baron Latimer of Snape Castle (17 November 1493–2 March 1543) was an English nobleman of the House of Neville. Latimer was Katherine Parr’s second husband and Latimer’s third and final wife. His family was one of the oldest and most powerful families of the North. They had a long standing tradition of military service and a reputation for seeking power at the cost of the loyalty to the crown as shown by Sir Richard Neville, 16th Earl of Warwick [Warwick, the Kingmaker], John’s 1st cousin, twice removed.[2]

Latimer’s branch of the Neville family was in line for the Earldom of Warwick; his great-grandmother, Lady Elizabeth Beauchamp was a daughter of the 13th Earl of Warwick by his first wife. The 13th Earl’s heir was his only son, Henry, by his second marriage Lady Isabel le Despenser [granddaughter of Edmund of Langley, 1st Duke of York]; he was created Duke of Warwick. Warwick married to the future “Warwick, the Kingmaker’s” sister, Lady Cecily Neville. The Duke’s only child and heir by Cecily was a daughter, Lady Anne, who became Countess in her own right. After her early death the Earldom and inheritance became an issue.[see note 1] Due to the affiliation, Lord Latimer dealt with quite a bit of sibling rivalry. Legal actions were taken by his younger brothers and Latimer, at the time of his marriage to Katherine in 1534, was having financial difficulties. He lived chiefly at Snape Castle, Yorkshire, but sometimes at Wyke in Worcestershire.

Born about 17 November 1493,[1] he was eldest son of Sir Richard Neville, 2nd Baron Latimer by Anne, daughter of Sir Humphrey Stafford. His grandfather and heir to the Barony, Sir Henry, had been involved in the War of the Roses and in 1469 was killed at the battle of Edgecote fighting for Henry VI [the last Lancastrian king]. The fortunes of this branch of Nevilles were saved by Neville’s sympathetic granduncle, Cardinal Thomas Bourchier [uncle of Neville’s paternal grandmother Joan], who procured the wardship of the 2nd Baron and preserved his inheritance.

He came to court where he was one of the gentlemen-pensioners. Neville doesn’t really enter into history until 1513 when he accompanied Henry VIII to Northern France and was knighted after the taking of Tournai. He had taken part in about 1517 in the investigation of the case of the Holy Maid of Leominster. He was knight of the shire (MP) for Yorkshire in 1529 which was a step in progress even if he owed it to his father. The representation of the county was somewhat of a family affair as his fellow knight was Sir Marmaduke Constable, whom Neville took precedence over most likely due to his noble inheritance. He was not a member of the Commons for long as his father died before the end of 1530 and he had livery of his lands and succeeded to the House of Lords as the 3rd Baron on 17 March 1531.

Tomb of Queen Katherine at Sudeley features the her family arms impaled with that of her four husbands [Latimer & Parr]. Copyright Meg McGath

Tomb of Queen Katherine at Sudeley features the her family arms impaled with that of her four husbands [Latimer & Parr]. © Meg McGath [2012]

In the summer of 1534, Latimer married the widowed Lady Borough, Katherine Parr. At age 40, Lord Latimer was twice Katherine’s age. Latimer was a 2nd cousin to Katherine’s paternal grandmother, Elizabeth [at the time of Latimer’s birth, she had become Lady Vaux after re-marrying]. The match was credited to several family members which included Katherine’s uncle, Sir William, who had taken over as a father figure when her father died in 1517. From the beginning of the marriage, Katherine tried to be a good wife. Her affection for her husband would grow deep enough to cherish a remembrance of him, his New Testament with his name inscribed inside, which she kept until her death. Katherine would also prove to be a good step-mother to her step-children; a trait which she would again show after her marriage to the King. Her “teenage” step-son, John, proved to be difficult. There is some indication that Margaret, his sister, was the couple’s favorite. Never the less, Katherine would continue a relationship with the two after her marriage to King Henry, bringing Margaret to court as her maid-in-waiting and securing a position for John’s wife, Lucy, the new Lady Latimer in her household.[10]

The Pilgrimage of Grace

Latimer was a supporter of the old religion and bitterly opposed the king’s divorce and remarriage and it’s religious ramifications. In 1536, within two weeks of the riot in Louth, a mob appeared before the Latimer’s home threatening violence if Lord Latimer did not join their cause. Katherine watched as her husband was dragged away by the rebels. As prisoner of the rebels, conflicting stories of which side Latimer was truly on began to reach Cromwell and the King in London. The rebellion in Yorkshire put him in a terrible dilemma. If he was found guilty of any kind of treason his estates would be forfeited leaving Katherine and her step-children penniless. The King himself, wrote to the Duke of Norfolk pressing him to make sure Latimer would ‘condemn that villain Aske and submit [himself] to our clemency’.[11] Latimer was more than happy to comply. Both Katherine’s brother, William Parr and uncle, William Parr, 1st Baron Parr of Horton fought with the Duke of Norfolk and the Duke of Suffolk against the rebellion. Katherine’s brother, Sir William Parr, who had been in the service of the Duke of Richmond [natural son of King Henry VIII and Elizabeth Blount], blocked the Great North Road at Stamford, with a large force of armed men, they were in the way of anyone coming up from London. The only substantial Lincolnshire landowner that the King could depend on was his friend and brother-in-law, the Duke of Suffolk.It is to most likely to Katherine’s credit that Lord Latimer survived; both her brother and uncle probably intervened at one point and saved Lord Latimer’s life.[10] Never the less, Latimer represented the insurgents at the conferences with the royal leaders in November 1536, and helped to secure amnesty.[12]

Ruins of Snape Castle.

In January 1537, Katherine and her step-children were held hostage at Snape Castle during the uprising of the North; the “Bigod Rebellion” which was lead by Sir Francis Bigod of Settrington. The rebels ransacked the house and sent word to Lord Latimer, who was returning from London, that if he did not return immediately they would kill his family. When Lord Latimer returned to the castle he somehow talked the rebels into releasing his family and leaving, but the aftermath to follow with Lord Latimer would prove to be taxing on the whole family.[10] It is probable that Katherine made sure that her husband did not join the uprising.[12]

The family would later move south after the executions of the rebels which pleased Cromwell and the King. Although now charges were found, Latimer’s reputation which reflected upon Katherine, was tarnished for the rest of his life. He spent the last seven years of his life blackmailed by Cromwell. Latimer was called away frequently to do the biding of Cromwell and the King and be present during Parliament from 1537-42. With Cromwell’s fall in 1540, the Latimer’s reclaimed some dignity and as Lord Latimer attended Parliament in 1542 he and Katherine spent time in London that winter. The atmosphere of the court was much different from the rural and parochial estates. It was at court that Katherine could find the latest trends, not only in religious matters, but in frivolous matters such as fashion and jewellery which she loved.[10]

By the winter of 1542, Lord Latimer’s health had broken down after a grueling life of what some would call ‘political madness’. Katherine spent the winter of 1542-1543 nursing her husband. John Neville, Lord Latimer, died in 1543. In Lord Latimer’s will, Katherine was named guardian of his daughter, Margaret, and was put in charge of Lord Latimer’s affairs which were to be given over to his daughter at the age of her majority. Latimer left Katherine Stowe Manor, Wyke [or Wike] Manor, and other properties. He also bequeathed money for supporting his daughter and in the case that his daughter did not marry within five years, Katherine, was to take £30 per annum out of the income to support her step-daughter. Katherine was left a rich widow faced with the possibility of having to return north after Lord Latimer’s death.[10]

Wyke Manor in Wick, Worcestershire. [Wikipedia]

Wyke Manor in Wick, Worcestershire. [Wikipedia]

He died on 2 March 1543 in London, and was buried in St. Paul’s Cathedral. In Weever’s Monuments, ed 1631, page 371, he says in speaking of old St Paul’s,

“Here in a monument broken all a pieces lieth entombed the body of John Nevill Lord Latimer whose widow Katherine Parr daughter of Sir Thomas Parre of Kendal and sister to William Lord Parre Marquesse of Northampton was the sixth and last wife to King Henry the Eight. He died in the year 1542 [incorrect date].”[9]


Latimer married three times:

1. By 1520,[3] Dorothy de Vere (d. 7 February 1527), the daughter of Sir George de Vere and Margaret Stafford. Dorothy was the sister and co-heiress of John de Vere, 14th Earl of Oxford. She is buried in Wells, North Yorkshire in St. Michael’s; which is next to Snape Castle. The couple had two children:

  • John Neville, 4th Baron Latimer (1520[4]-1577), married Lady Lucy, daughter of Henry Somerset, 2nd Earl of Worcester and Anne Browne [daughter of Sir Anthony Browne and Lady Lucy, herself a daughter of John Neville, 1st Marquess of Montagu]  by whom he left four daughters and co-heiresses, of whom Dorothy married Thomas Cecil, 1st Earl of Exeter.[2] On his death, the Barony of Latimer fell into abeyance between his four daughters and co-heirs, and so remained until 1913, when Francis Burdett Thomas Coutts-Nevill was summoned to Parliament by writ, dated 11 February 1913.[5][6] Latimer was buried near Snape Castle in St. Michael’s Church, Wells, within Nevilles’ Chapel.[7]
Effigy and tomb of the 4th Lord Latimer in Nevilles' Chapel, Wells, North Yorkshire Well Village Website © Well Parish Council 2011

Effigy and tomb of the 4th Lord Latimer in Nevilles’ Chapel, Wells, North Yorkshire Well Village Website © Well Parish Council 2011

  • Hon. Margaret Neville (1525[7]-1546), was betrothed to her cousin Ralph Bigod in 1534, before the Bigod Rebellion. Ralph was the son of the rebel Sir Francis Bigod. The betrothal was broken most likely to the Rebellion. She died at age twenty-one, unwed, and d.s.p. [no children].[2]

2. On 20 June 1528, he obtained a marriage license to Elizabeth Musgrave (d. 1530), daughter of Sir Edward Musgrave of Hartley and Joan Warde, by whom he had no issue.[1][2] Elizabeth was in fact a cousin to Katherine Parr sharing Sir Thomas Tunstall and Isabel Harrington [3rd cousins, twice removed]; the 3rd Lord FitzHugh and Elizabeth Grey [4th cousins]; and both Sir Ralph Neville, 1st Earl of Westmorland and Lady Joan Beaufort — Elizabeth descended from Westmorland’s children, Sir Ralph [4th cousin, once removed] and Hon. Philippa [4th cousin], by his first wife, Lady Margaret Stafford, who married his stepmother’s (Lady Joan Beaufort) daughter, Hon. Mary Ferrers, the daughter from Lady Joan’s first marriage to of Robert, Lord Ferrers [4th cousin, once removed]. These last three connections to Westmorland, Lady Joan Beaufort, and Lady Margaret Stafford also made Elizabeth a cousin of her husband Lord Latimer.
3. In Summer 1534, Katherine, daughter of Sir Thomas Parr of Kendal and widow of Sir Edward Borough (d. circa April 1533), son of Thomas Burgh, 1st Baron Burgh.[2]


By his father, Latimer descended from King Edward III of England twice. Latimer’s grandparents were Sir Henry Neville, heir to the barony of Latimer and Earldom of Warwick, and the Hon. Joan Bourchier. Henry Neville was the heir and eldest son of Sir George, 1st Baron Latimer of Snape and Lady Elizabeth Beauchamp [through whom the Latimer’s claimed the Earldom of Warwick; Elizabeth was a daughter of the 13th Earl of Warwick by his first wife Hon. Elizabeth Berkeley, both descendants of Edward I]. George was a younger son of Sir Ralph Neville, 1st Earl of Westmorland and his second wife, Lady Joan Beaufort. Lady Joan was the legitimized daughter of Prince John of Gaunt, 1st Duke of Lancaster [son of Edward III and father of Henry IV of England] by his mistress, later wife, Katherine Roet.

Joan Bourchier was a granddaughter of Sir William, 1st Count of Eu and Lady Anne of Gloucester, daughter of Prince Thomas of Woodstock [youngest son of Edward III] and his wife, Lady Eleanor de Bohun [descendant of Edward I and Henry III]. This connection to the Bourchier family made Latimer a cousin of the Earls of Bath, Lords Dacre of the South, the Lady Margaret Bryan [governess of the King’s children], Lady Anne Bourchier [husband of Katherine Parr’s brother William Parr], and even the Duchess of Somerset Anne Stanhope. Perhaps the connection to the Bourchier’s, specifically Anne, wife of Sir William Parr, brought Katherine and Latimer together. Credit is usually given to Parr’s uncle also named Sir William and her cousin Bishop Cuthbert Tunstall.

Ancestry of John Neville, 3rd Lord Latimer; Queen Katherine and Latimer shared Lady Joan Beaufort and Sir Ralph, 1st Earl of Westmorland as common ancestors.


  1. The earldom passed to the 13th Earl’s male heir, Henry, from his second marriage to Lady Isabel le Despenser [a granddaughter of Edmund of Langley, 1st Duke of York]. Henry married Lady Cecily, a sister of the future Lord Warwick [Richard Neville] in 1436. At the same ceremony, Henry’s sister Lady Anne was married to Richard Neville, son of the 5th Earl of Salisbury. After the marriage, Henry was created Duke of Warwick in 1445. The couple had one child, a daughter Lady Anne, who inherited as suo jure 15th Countess of Warwick after the death of her father in 1446 [women could not inherit Dukedoms]. Lady Anne died young (d.1449). The title went to her her paternal aunt Lady Anne Beauchamp [whom she was most likely named after]. The title was passed to her husband, Richard Neville, who was also the maternal uncle of the last Countess. For the full story, see “Warwick Inheritance” on Lady Cecily’s page. The Warwick inheritance would be the subject of another feud after the death of Lord Warwick between his two daughters, Lady Isabel, Duchess of Clarence, and Lady Anne, Duchess of Gloucester and future queen of England. The title was bestowed upon Lady Isabel’s husband, George, Duke of Clarence (brother of King Edward IV and Richard III) and would go to his son, Edward, 17th Earl of Warwick, the last male Plantagenet.


  1. History of Parliament: a biographical dictionary of Members of the House of Commons, ed. Stephen Bindoff ‘Neville, Sir John I (1493-1543), of Snape, Yorks.,‘ 1982.
  2. Linda Porter. Katherine, the Queen. Macmillan, 2010.
  3. Cokayne, and others, The Complete Peerage, volume VII, page 483.
  4. Linda Porter. Katherine, the Queen, Macmillian, 2010. pg 65. *At the time of his father’s marriage to Katherine Parr in 1543, Neville was 14 yrs old.
  5. Charles Mosley, editor, Burke’s Peerage, Baronetage & Knightage, 107th edition, 3 volumes (Wilmington, Delaware, U.S.A.: Burke’s Peerage (Genealogical Books) Ltd, 2003), volume 1, page 1363.
  6. G.E. Cokayne; with Vicary Gibbs, H.A. Doubleday, Geoffrey H. White, Duncan Warrand and Lord Howard de Walden, editors, The Complete Peerage of England, Scotland, Ireland, Great Britain and the United Kingdom, Extant, Extinct or Dormant, new ed., 13 volumes in 14 (1910-1959; reprint in 6 volumes, Gloucester, U.K.: Alan Sutton Publishing, 2000), volume VII, page 484.
  7. History of Village of Well, North Yorkshire, St. Michael’s
  8. Linda Porter. Katherine, the Queen, MacMillian, 2010. pg 66. *At the time of her father’s marriage to Catherine Parr in 1543, Margaret was aged 9.
  9. Richard Simpson. Some Accounts of the Monuments in Hackney Church, Billing and Sons, 1881; Chapter: Lady Latimer.
  10. Susan E. James. Catherine Parr: Henry VIII’s Last Love. The History Press, 2009 US Edition. pg 61-73.
  11. Letters and Papers, Foreign & Domestic of the Reign of Henry VIII, II, no. 1174.
  12. Sir Sidney Lee. Dictionary of the National Biography, Vol XL, Smith, Elder and Co., 1894. pg 269.


History of Parliament: Neville, Sir John I (1493-1543), of Snape, Yorks.

Katherine Parr: Vellutello’s Edition of Petrarch Works

Katherine Parr’s copy of Vellutello’s edition of Petrarch’s works (1544).

Katherine Parr: Vellutello’s Edition of Petrarch Works © The British Library Board

Thanks to the British Library, in this photo we can see the BEAUTIFUL purple velvet and detail of Katherine’s personal copy of Vellutello’s Edition of Petrarch Words. Most photos on the net show the book as a bluish green back round.

This volume of Petrarch’s works, with an exposition by Alessandro Vellutello, was first published in Venice. The book is bound in purple velvet and embroidered with gold and silver thread and coloured silks. The coat of arms topped with the royal crown may have been embroidered by Katherine. The book appears to have been bound after the death of Henry VIII (in January 1547) and before Katherine’s marriage to Sir Thomas Seymour (in May of the same year). Had it been bound whilst Henry was still alive, it would be expected that the supporters (the creatures flanking the coat of arms) would be the lion and the greyhound. As there is no reference to Seymour, it seems it was made sometime in the short space of Katherine’s widowhood.

Vellutello's edition of Petrarch's works. Close up of arms.

Vellutello’s edition of Petrarch’s works. Close up of arms.

The British Library site states that the coat of arms are that of Katherine Parr, but my recent review of the coat of arms reveals perhaps that it is the arms of Katherine’s brother, Sir William Parr, 1st Marquess of Northampton and Earl of Essex. The coat of arms and quartertings are the same for the most part when compared to his stall plates from Windsor Chapel that were taken down and broken during the reign of Mary I and are now featured in the British Museum in London.
Garter stall plate of William Parr, 1st Marquess of Northampton, 1552. The plate was in St. George's Chapel, Windsor Castle, among other Garter plates, but upon the ascension of Queen Mary, Parr was stripped of his titles. His stall plate was taken down and broken apart.

Garter stall plate of William Parr, 1st Marquess of Northampton, 1552. The plate was in St. George’s Chapel, Windsor Castle, among other Garter plates, but upon the ascension of Queen Mary, Parr was stripped of his titles. His stall plate was taken down and broken apart.

It was subsequently owned by the Fitzhugh family (whose emblem of the creature breathing flames and gorged with a coronet, is depicted on the left). The creature on the right – a wyvern argent also gorged with a coronet – belongs to the Parr family.

The book went on public display in 2009 for the Henry VIII: Man and Monarch exhibit at the British Library. The event was to mark the 500th anniversary of Henry VIII’s accession.

Copy of Il Petrarcha con l’espositione d’A. Vellutello; con le figure a i triomphi et con piu cose utili in varii luoghi aggiunte (1544) owned by Katherine Parr, Henry VIII’s sixth wife. British Library, C.27.e.19.
Shelfmark: c27e19
Held By: BL [British Library]
Country: England
Period: 16c
Cover Material: Velvet
Decorative Technique: Embroidered
Style: Armorial
Edges: Gilt and gauffered
BookBinder Owner: Parr, Katharine, Queen Consort of Henry VIII (1512-1548)
Author: Petrarch
Title: aIl Petrarcha con l:espositione d:A. Vellutello
Place of Publication: Venice.
Date of Publication: 1544.
Notes: Rebacked by BM/BL bindery. Edges gilt, gauffered and painted in red. Arms of Queen Katherine Parr of England.

The Queen’s Sister: Lady Anne Herbert, Countess of Pembroke

Anne Parr, Lady Pembroke from Wilton Parish Church

Lady Anne Herbert [Parr], Countess of Pembroke, Baroness Herbert of Cardiff (15 June 1515 – 20 February 1552) was a noblewoman and the younger sister of Queen Katherine Parr, the sixth and last wife of King Henry VIII.

Anne is one of the few Tudor women to boast the fact that she was a lady-in-waiting to each of Henry’s six wives. Anne had an older brother, Sir William Parr, who among other creations, became Earl of Essex and 1st Marquess of Northampton. William was an influential man during the late reign of Henry VIII and that of Edward VI. Northampton was known as “the King’s uncle.” Northampton would also go on to become a loyal friend and ally of Queen Elizabeth I. Anne’s husband, Lord Pembroke, was also one of the most influential men during the reign of Edward VI and was rewarded with the title of 1st Earl of Pembroke.

Anne Parr was born on 15 June 1515 to Sir Thomas Parr of Kendal and Dame Maud Green, co-heiress of Sir Thomas Green, Lord of Greens Norton. She was the youngest surviving child of five; having an older sister Katherine, later Queen of England and Ireland, her brother William, and two other siblings. The first baby born to Anne’s mother was a boy. He died shortly after and Maud did not have another child until the birth of Katherine in 1512. In 1517, when she was two years old, her father died of the sweating sickness leaving her mother a widow, pregnant at twenty-five, and with the grave responsibility of guarding the inheritance of the Parr children.[3] It is not certain what happened to Maud’s baby but it did not survive.

Maud, Lady Parr was a maid-of-honour and good friend to Queen consort Katherine of Aragon. She was also apparently head of the Royal school at court where Anne was educated alongside her sister Katherine and other daughters of the nobility. Anne would have been taught French, Latin, philosophy, theology, and the Classics. Lady Parr had already taught her children to read and write when they were small. Anne herself later said that her education at home was based on the approach used in the family of Sir Thomas More where the boys and girls were educated together; as was the case with the Parr’s until her brother left home in 1525 to join the household of Henry Fitzroy, Duke of Richmond; the recognized natural son of King Henry by his mistress Elizabeth Blount, a lady-in-waiting to the Queen.[3]

The Six Queens

At court

Sometime in 1528, Lady Parr secured her 13 year-old daughter, Anne, a post at Court as maid-of-honour to Queen Katherine of Aragon. Anne was then made a ward of King Henry. When Anne Boleyn was crowned queen in 1533, Anne Parr continued in the same capacity as maid-of-honour. She quickly succumbed to the spell of Queen Anne’s charismatic personality and following the Queen’s example, she became an ardent supporter of the New Faith.[5] After Anne Boleyn’s fall from power and subsequent execution, Anne remained at Court in the service of the new queen, Jane Seymour. She was one of the few present at the baptism of Prince Edward on 15 October 1537 and was part of the funeral cortege of Jane Seymour.[3] Some sources state that Anne carried the train of the Lady Elizabeth at Prince Edward’s baptism, while others believe it was Lady Herbert ‘of Troye’, wife of her future husband’s paternal half-uncle, Sir William Herbert, son of the 1st Earl of Pembroke of the eighth creation.

When King Henry took as his fourth wife Anne of Cleves, Anne returned to her role as maid-of-honour, which she remained in when Queen Anne was supplanted by Katherine Howard. Following Queen Katherine’s arrest for adultery, Anne Parr was entrusted with the Queen’s jewels.[6]


Sir William Herbert, 1st Earl of Pembroke

In February 1538, Anne married Sir William Herbert (c.1501-17 March 1570), Esquire of the King’s Body. Herbert was the son of Sir Richard Herbert of Ewyas, the illegitimate son of William Herbert, 1st Earl of Pembroke [of the before mentioned]. It is without a doubt that Anne met her husband at court. It is not known whether or not the marriage was a love match or not, but it is interesting to note that both Anne and her sister Katherine had been attracted to dashing men of action who were slightly disreputable.[3] The Herbert’s, due to King Henry’s newly found infatuation for Anne’s sister Katherine, appeared to be in the King’s favour; as for the next few years Anne and her husband received a succession of Royal grants which included the Abbey of Wilton in Wiltshire (pulled down and built over for Wilton House in the 1540s), Remesbury (north Wiltshire), and Cardiff Castle. They also used Baynard’s Castle as their London residence.

Anne had three children by her husband: Henry, who succeeded his father; Edward Herbert; and Anne Herbert.[7]

The Queen’s sister

King Henry VIII and Queen Katherine

Anne was a witness to the wedding ceremony performed at Hampton Court Palace on 12 July 1543, when King Henry married her sister Katherine, the Dowager Lady Latimer.

In June 1544, the Queen lent her sister her manor, Hanworth for the lying-in for her second child. It was there that Anne gave birth to another son, Edward (his elder brother was named Henry, was this a coincidence?). The Queen sent regular messengers to Hanworth to inquire on the health of her sister. For the christening, the queen provided a large delegation (five yeo-men, two grooms, and Henry Webbe) from her household to attend. Letters continued well into July between the two sisters while Anne remained at Hanworth. After the birth, Anne visited Lady Hertford, who had also just given birth, at Syon House near Richmond.[19]

In August 1544, the queen paid for a barge to bring Anne by river from Syon House (home to the Hertford’s) to Westminster. The queen’s involvement in the birth and christening of her nephew would eventually lead her to take him in as part of her household after the death of King Henry.[19]

In September 1544, William Herbert was knighted on the battlefield at the Siege of Boulogne during the King’s campaign against the French. Anne, now Lady Herbert, was her sister’s principal lady-in-waiting and the sisters were close. Anne was also part of the circle of Protestants who surrounded the new Queen. In 1546, fellow Protestant Anne Askew was arrested for heresy. Those who opposed the Queen tried to gain a confession from Askew that the Queen, her sister, and the other women were Protestants. Queen Katherine and some of her closest friends had previously shown favour to the arrested woman. Bishop Stephen Gardiner, Thomas Wriothesley, and Sir Richard Rich were involved in torturing Anne Askew and interrogating her about her supposed connections to the ladies at court who were suspected to be Protestants. Askew was asked particularly about the Queen, her sister Lady Herbert, the Duchess of Suffolk [Katherine Willoughby], Lady Hertford [Anne Stanhope, wife of Edward, later Lord Protector], and the Countess of Sussex [Anne Calthorpe].

The warrant for the arrest of Queen Katherine from “The Tudors”

Gardiner and Wriothesley obtained the King’s permission to arrest and question the Queen about her religious beliefs.[3] Luckily Katherine intercepted the warrant and/or was warned by the King’s doctor that she was to be arrested and questioned. Katherine visited the King in his bedchamber and adroitly managed to persuade the King that her interest in the new religion had been undertaken solely as a means to provide stimulating conversation to distract the King from the pain caused by his ulcerous leg. Henry was appeased, and before the arrests were due to take place, he was reconciled to Katherine. Wriothesley, who had not been informed of the reconciliation, came for the queen while the King was with her. The King burst into an angry fit calling Wriothesley names such as “Knave”, etc. Katherine had escaped the wrath of the King and on 28 January 1547, the King died leaving Katherine the Dowager Queen.

After Henry VIII’s death, when the queen dowager’s household was at Chelsea, both Anne and her son Edward were part of the household there. The Dowager queen, as always, was keen to have her family close to her. Anne’s husband, William Herbert was appointed as one of the guardians to the new king, Edward VI. Katherine shortly afterward married Thomas Seymour, Lord of Sudeley, Lord High Admiral of England, who was an uncle of King Edward. In September 1548, following the birth of a daughter, Lady Mary Seymour [named after the queen’s step-daughter], Katherine Parr died of puerperal fever.

Arms of Sir William Herbert, 1st Earl of Pembroke (10th creation)

Arms of Sir William Herbert, 1st Earl of Pembroke (10th creation)

Later life

Drawing by Holbein thought to be Anne Parr

On 10 October 1551, Anne’s husband was raised to the peerage as Baron Herbert of Cardiff and Earl of Pembroke on 11 October 1551. He received the disgraced Duke of Somerset’s Wiltshire estates, including Ramsbury and a newly built mansion at Bedwin Broil, and much woodland on the borders of the New Forest in 1553. The relationship between the Herbert’s and Edward Seymour had been one of friendship until Seymour fell from favour.[3] Herbert was also granted, one Sir Thomas Arundel’s attainder, Wardour Castle and park, and obtained some property belonging to the see of Winchester. The Wardour property subsequently reverted to the Arundel family by exchange and purchase, but Pembroke’s increase of wealth exceeded that of any of his colleagues.[8]

Anne died on 20 February 1552 at Baynard’s Castle in London.[17] At the time of her death, Anne was one of Lady Mary Tudor’s [the future Queen Mary I] ladies.

William married as his second wife Lady Anne Talbot, daughter of George Talbot, 4th Earl of Shrewsbury and Elizabeth Walden, but the marriage produced no children.

Anne was buried with huge pomp in St. Paul’s Cathedral in London next to her ancestor John of Gaunt, 1st Duke of Lancaster on 28 February 1552. Her husband died on 17 March 1570 and by his wishes was also buried in St. Paul’s Cathedral. Her memorial there reads: “a most faithful wife, a woman of the greatest piety and discretion” and “Her banners were set up over her arms set on divers pillars.[17] Pembroke obviously loved his wife for when he wrote his will, despite being married again, he wanted nothing more than to be buried “near the place where Anne my late wife doth lie buried” in St. Paul’s.[17]

Monument of William Herbert, Earl of Pembroke, in old St Paul's Cathedral, City of London, 1656. Artist: Wenceslaus Hollar.  the tomb on a tall base on which lie a man and wife, in ermine robes, heads to left; eleven columns support a double arch above and obelisk topped extensions at the sides; two cartouches at top, to the left with coat of arms and to the right with dedication by 'Ioh Herbert'.

Monument of William Herbert, 1st Earl of Pembroke and his first wife Lady Anne (Parr), in old St Paul’s Cathedral, City of London, 1656. Artist: Wenceslaus Hollar. the tomb on a tall base on which lie a man and wife, in ermine robes, heads to left; eleven columns support a double arch above and obelisk topped extensions at the sides; two cartouches at top, to the left with coat of arms and to the right with dedication by ‘Ioh Herbert’.[21]


Lord and Lady Pembroke had three children:

Henry Herbert, 2nd Earl of Pembroke

  1. Henry Herbert, later 2nd Earl of Pembroke (c.1539-1601), who married three times:
  • On 25 May 1553,[22] he married Lady Katherine Grey (1540-1568), granddaughter of Mary Tudor, Dowager Queen of France. On the same day, her sister Lady Jane married Lord Guildford Dudley. The two couples were married at Durham House in London. After the wedding, Katherine went to live with her husband at Baynard’s Castle on the Thames.[18] When Lord Herbert’s sister-in-law, Jane, failed to ascend to the throne of England due to a lack of popular support, the Earl of Pembroke sought to distance himself from the Grey family. Pembroke separated his son from Katherine and sought the annulment of the marriage.[18] With this smart move, Pembroke secured Queen Mary’s favour and the marriage was annulled in 1554.
  • His second wife was Lady Catherine Talbot (c.1552-1575) [a favorite of Queen Elizabeth], daughter of George Talbot, 6th Earl of Shrewsbury and Lady Gertrude Manners. Catherine was the sister of Lord Francis Talbot who married his younger sister, Lady Anne.
  • His third wife was Mary Sidney, daughter of Sir Henry Sidney and Lady Mary Dudley, daughter of the executed John Dudley, Duke of Northumberland. By her, the couple had children including William [3rd Earl] and Philip [4th Earl], both of whom would accede to the Earldom of Pembroke.

2. Sir Edward Herbert (June 1544-1595), married Mary Stanley, by whom he had issue including William Herbert, 1st Baron Powis. Their descendants would become Marquess’s and then later Earls of Powis which is still in existence to this day.[9] According to Susan James, biographer of Katherine Parr, the queen was invested in Edward’s birth and christening. She took in young Edward as a toddler about the time of her marriage to Seymour. They are also supposedly ancestors to Sarah Ferguson, Duchess of York through their granddaughter, Hon. Catherine Herbert, Lady Palmer. The paternity of Lady Palmer’s granddaughter, Lady Anne, is questioned as her mother was Lady Barbara Villiers, mistress to King Charles II of Great Britain. At the time of Lady Anne Palmer’s birth Barbara was married to Roger Palmer, 1st Earl of Castlemaine, but the King recognized Anne as his and she adopted the name “Fitzroy.”

3. Lady Anne Herbert (1550-1592), married Francis, Lord Talbot, son of George Talbot, 6th Earl of Shrewsbury and Lady Gertrude Manners. There is no known issue from this marriage.[8]


The arms of the 2nd Earl of Pembroke

William Herbert’s career started after a recommendation from King Francis I of France. He shortly became esquire of the body to King Henry VIII. Two years later he was granted arms. The year before Katherine Parr married the king, grants and advancement started for Herbert and his wife. The first grants dated March and April, 1542, include the site of the late monastery, the manor of Washerne adjoining also the manors of Chalke. These were given to “William Herbert, Esquire and Anne his wife for the term of their lives with certain reserved rents to King Henry VIII.“[20] When Edward VI re-granted the manors to the family, it was explicitly “to the aforenamed Earl, by the name of Sir William Herbert, knight, and the Lady Anne his wife and the heirs male of their bodies between them lawfully begotten.“[17] Anne had been the joint creator of this extraordinary enterprise.[17] Lady Anne had brought legitimacy to the Herberts. Anne also gave the family grace and courage.

A stained glass window in Wilton Church shows Anne kneeling before a prayer book or Bible; there is no evidence of religious imagery. In a long armorial mantle are embroidered the many quarterings of the arms of her distinguished ancestry [see below]. It was the Parr-inheritance which gave the Herbert family any legitimate claim to ancient nobility; and she knew it. On her tomb in St. Paul’s her epitath reads that she had been “very jealous of the fame of a long line of ancestors.“[17]

Stained glass window of the Pembroke’s in Wilton Parish Church

Through her sons, Anne Parr has many descendants, including the Earls of Pembroke, Earls of Montgomery, and the Earls of Carnarvon.[8]

Philip Herbert, 4th Earl of Pembroke with his family by Anthony van Dyck. Notice the coat of arms above them which continue to incorporate Anne’s lineage. The painting is on display in Wilton House.

Several of the homes of her descendants have been used in movies and major television shows. In 2005, Wilton House substituted for “Pemberley”, home to Mr. Darcy in “Pride & Prejudice” (starring Keira Knightley and Matthew MacFayden). The impressive portrait by Van Dyke, of the 4th Earl of Pembroke [grandson of the 1st Earl and Lady Anne] and his family, was most likely painted at their home in London, Durham House. It is the largest canvas which upon Van Dyke has ever painted, measuring 17×11 feet. A great deal of care went into transferring the painting to their estate in Wilton once the double cube room was finished being renovated by Inigo Jones.[23]

Wilton House Pride and Prejudice (2005) Pemberley_periodpieces_blogspot

Pride and Prejudice” (2005). The painting can be seen during Lizzie’s visit to “Pemberley”. [Photo courtesy of Period Pieces]

The popular BBC/PBS series “Downton Abbey” is filmed at Highclere Castle in Hampshire where Anne’s descendants, the Earls of Carnarvon, have been seated since 1793. In 1684, the castle came into the possession of the Herbert’s through the marriage of Margaret Sawyer of Highclere to the 8th Earl of Pembroke; their second son Robert inherited the castle but died without issue. Robert’s nephew and heir, Henry Herbert, inherited the castle in 1769. Henry was created 1st Earl of Carnarvon in 1793 by King George III.

Saloon of Highclere Castle which features the coat of arms of the lineage of the Carnarvon branch of the Herbert family, from the 1st Earl of Pembroke; the first one on the left is that of William, 1st Earl of Pembroke and Anne Parr.

Titles and Styles

  • Mistress Anne Parr
  • Lady Anne Herbert, Lady Herbert of Cardiff
  • Lady Anne Herbert, Countess of Pembroke
  • References:

    1. ^ Note: Katherine Parr’s biographer, Susan E. James is of the opinion that the subject of this Holbein drawing is Anne Parr
    2. ^ Besant, Sir Walter (1903), The Thames, London: A. & C. Black, pp. 84–7
    3. ^ a b c d e f Linda Porter. Katherine the Queen. Macmillan, 2010.
    4. ^ Anthony Martienssen “Queen Katherine Parr”, page 21
    5. ^ Martienssen, pages 64-5
    6. ^ Martienssen, page 137
    7. ^ Martienssen, page 137
    8. ^ a b c Dictionary of National Biography. Vol XXVI. Sidney Lee, Ed. London: Smith, Elder, & Co., 1891. 220-223.
    9. ^ George Edward Cokayne, The Complete Peerage of England, Scotland, Ireland, Great Britain, and the United Kingdom, Vol. X, p. 643.
    10. ^ “thePeerage”. Retrieved 2010-04-09
    11. ^ Douglas Richardson, Plantagenet Ancestry, p. 565.
    12. ^ “thePeerage”. Retrieved 2010-04-09
    13. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k The Lineage and Ancestry of H.R.H. Prince Charles, Prince of Wales, by Gerald Paget, Vol. I, p. 95.
    14. ^ The Family Chronicle of Richard Fogge, Archaelogica Cantiana, Vol 5, 1863.
    15. ^ E.W. Allen. The Antiquary, Volume 3. 1873. (Google eBook)
    16. ^ “thePeerage”. Retrieved 2010-04-09
    17. Anthony Nicolson, Quarrel with the King: The Story of an English Family on the High Road to Civil War, Harper Collins, 3 November 2009. pg 63-4. (Google eBook)
    18. Chapman, Hester, Two Tudor Portraits: Henry Howard, Earl of Surrey and Lady Katherine Grey, Jonathan Cape 1960. pg 165; 166-167; 169.
    19. Susan James. “Catherine Parr: Henry VIII’s Last Love,”The History Press, 2009. pg 275-76.
    20. Sir Nevile Rodwell Wilkinson. ”Wilton House Guide: A Handbook for Visitors,” Chiswick Press, 1908. pg 80.
    21. Tomb of William Herbert,” Heritage Images.
    22. Leanda de Lisle says “The date is almost always given as the 21st but this is drawn from Commendone writing after the event. It was booked to take place on a Thursday (see Albert Feuillerat, Documents Relating to the Revels at Court, p 306) and when I calculated the day from other known dates – e.g. Jane’s entry to the Tower – it confirmed my suspicion that it was the 25th.” p 328 in Notes of “The Sisters Who Would be Queen”, by Leanda de Lisle.
    23. Pembroke, Sidney Charles. A Catalogue of the Paintings & Drawings in the Collection at Wilton House, Salisbury, 
      Wiltshire. London: Phaidon, 1968.

    Researched by Meg McGath

    © 4 March 2011