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Royalty
Index

Queens of Kings of England


Anne Boleyn,

or Bullen, queen of Henry VIII., was daughter of Sir Thomas Bullen (afterwards earl of Wiltshire), and was born in 1507. After a residence of some years at the French court, she became maid of honour to Catherine, queen of Henry VIII., and soon attracted the admiration of the king. In 1532 she was made marchioness of Pembroke, and in the following year married to Henry and crowned queen. In 1536 charges of conjugal infidelity were brought against her, on which she was tried and beheaded, May 19, 1536. Anne Boleyn was a promoter of the Reformation, and the king's determination to marry her was the occasion of the final separation of England from the Catholic church. She was the mother of Queen Elizabeth. Of her elder sister, Mary Boleyn, little is at present known except that the king had an intrigue with her before he married Anne; that she consequently played indirectly an important part in the divorce negotiations, and was twice married, first to William Carey, and afterwards (1535) to Sir William Stafford.

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Anne, of Cleves,

daughter of John, third duke of Cleves, became in 1540, at the age of 25, the wife of Henry VIII, of England, who fell in love with Holbein's portrait of her, but was disenchanted at first sight, and in a few months divorced her, She was of a dull, apathetic nature, contented herself with a pension, and died in England, 1557.

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Catherine of Aragon,

Queen of Henry VIII., was the daughter of Ferdinand and Isabella of Castile, and was born in 1483. In her 18th year she was married to Arthur, prince of Wales, eldest son of Henry VII. The young prince dying in a few months after his marriage, Henry's mercenary dread of losing the rich dowry of Catherine induced him to marry her to her brother-in-law, afterwards Henry VIII. The vast religious changes to which the dissolution of this marriage gave occasion belong rather to history than to biography. Suffice it, therefore, to say, that after years of anxiety and spirited resistance she was divorced. But though she was no longer called queen at court, her attendants at Kimbolton Castle, where she took up her residence, were never allowed to address her otherwise than as a queen, as she protested to the last that the divorce was unjust and illegal. Just before her death she wrote a pathetic letter to Henry in favour of Mary, their daughter, and he is said to have shed tears as he perused it. She possessed considerable literary ability, but some devotional pieces, which have been attributed to her pen, were the production of queen Catherine Parr. Died at Kimbolton, Jan. 1, 1536.

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Catherine Parr,

Queen of Henry VIII., was eldest daughter of Sir Thomas Parr, of Kendal, in Westmoreland. She was married early in life to Edward Burghe; and, surviving him, she was next married to John Neville, Lord Latimer. Her second husband, too, she survived; and, in 1543, was raised to the throne by King Henry VIII., being his sixth and last wife. Her attachment to the reformed religion gave deep offence to the still powerful popish party. Gardiner, Wriothesley, and others accused her to the king of heresy and treason, and so far wrought upon him that he signed a warrant for her committal to the Tower. But with her usual tact and good sense she did away at once with the king's suspicions; and when Wriothesley, attended by some guards, called to convey her to the Tower, he found her in high favour, and was sent from the presence of the king with knave, fool, beast, and the like gentle terms. Catherine retained her ascendancy over the king and at his death he left her £4000 in addition to her jointure, 'for her great love obedience chasteness of life, and wisdom.' She afterwards married Sir Thomas Seymour, uncle of Edward VI., but they lived by no means happily together; and when she died, though in childbed, it was currently reported that she was poisoned. Her letters, some of which have been printed, as well as some devotional treatises showed that she had considerable literary talent. Died, 1548.


Lady Elizabeth Grey,

Queen of Edward IV. was born circa 1437. She was the daughter of Jacquetta, duchess dowager of Bedford, by her second husband, Richard Woodville, afterwards Earl Rivers. She married Sir John Grey of Groby, a warm partizan of the Red Rose, who was killed at the battle of St. Albans in 1455. The youthful widow afterwards made personal suit to Edward IV. for the restoration of her husband's lands, and the king made proposals to her which she firmly rejected. She was soon after privately married to him; the marriage not being avowed till September, 1464. This alliance was offensive to the great Earl of Warwick, and the rapid elevation of the queen's relatives to places, and honours excited the resentment of the nobles and contributed to the temporary exclusion of Edward from the throne. In the following reigns several of her kindred were executed, she was driven to take sanctuary at Westminster, and was at last confined by Henry VII. in the convent at Bermondsey, where she died in 1492. She was the mother of two sons by Sir John Grey, and of three sons and seven daughters by Edward IV. The eldest son was Edward V., and one daughter, Elizabeth, was married to Henry VII.

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Henrietta Maria,

of France, Queen of England, was born at Paris in 1609. She was the daughter of Henry IV. and Mary de Medicis, and married the Prince of Wales, afterwards Charles I., in 1625. She was a beautiful and high-spirited woman, but her levity and her attachment to the Romish church made her very unpopular in England, and the suspicion that her influence led the King to take some of his most offensive measures made her more so. To escape impeachment she went abroad for a time, and returned with a supply of money and ammunition; but in 1644 she finally withdrew to France, only revisiting England for a short time at the restoration of her son Charles II, and dying at the convent of Chaillot in 1669. Her funeral oration was pronounced by Bossuet. Her 'Correspondence' with Charles I. has been published.

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Margaret of Anjou,

Queen of Henry VI. of England, was the daughter of René d'Anjou, King of Naples. She was born about 1425, and was married to Henry VI. in 1445, the marriage being negotiated by the Earl of Suffolk. It was offensive to the Duke of Gloucester, one of the young king's guardians, and unpopular because it was accompanied by the giving up of the English possessions in France. The king falling into a state of imbecility, the real power was in Margaret's hands, and to tell her story fully would be to give in great part the history of the civil war which soon broke out between the rival houses of York and Lancaster. Intrepid in the field, she signalized herself by heading her troops in several battles; and if she had not been the occasion of her husband's misfortunes, by putting to death the Duke of Gloucester, his uncle, her name would have been immortalized for the fortitude, activity, and policy with which she supported the rights of her husband and son. The fatal defeat at Tewkesbury, in 1471, however, put an end to all her enterprises; she with the king being taken prisoner, and Prince Edward, their only son, being killed. Margaret was ransomed by Louis XI. in 1475, for 50,000 crowns, and died in Anjou, 1482.

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Matilda,

wife of William the Conqueror, was the daughter of Baldwin V., Count of Flanders (a descendant of King Alfred the Great), and of Adela, Princess of France (daughter of Robert II., "the Pious", and sister of Henry I., King of France). Matilda was married to William while Duke of Normandy, in 1054, crowned Queen of England in 1068, and died in 1083. Of her eleven children, the best known are Robert, who became Duke of Normandy, William Rufus, and Henry Beauclerc, both of whom succeeded to the English crown. She had great influence with her husband, and brought about a reconciliation between him and his son Robert, who had taken up arms against him. To her is attributed the celebrated tapestry, preserved at Bayeux, representing the chief incidents in the Norman Conquest of England.

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The above information was gleaned from
various sources and then put together
by Colin Hinson 1996.


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