Friday, March 15, 2013

#Tudor Troubles: The Jewel of #King #HenryVIII's Eyes

Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn
Oil on Canvas
By Arthur Hopkins
Public Domain

March 13

Tudor Troubles
The Boleyn Girls and King Henry VIII

I find it so benefiting that we returned to our  Tudor Troubles series today. Today is Jewel Day in the United States. To celebrate this little known holiday all you have to do is give someone a piece of jewelry. 

Anne Boleyn spent two years in seclusion at her childhood home of Hever Castle only to return to King Henry VIII's court in 1525. Anne had no reason to suspect she would capture the English king's attentions. Her sister, Mary, had been the king's mistress since 1520. Mary Boleyn had joined the English courts in the service of Queen Catherine of Aragon around the same time William Carey came to serve his distant cousin, King Henry VIII, as a gentlemen of the king's Privy Chamber. William was the second son of  Sir Thomas Carey (1455–1500)  and his wife, Margaret Spencer. His grandfather,  Sir William Carey of Cockingham, Devon, had fought for the Lancasters in the War of the Roses and had been beheaded in the after the Battle of Tewkesbury in 1471. William's mother was the cousin to King Henry's VIII's paternal grandmother. His position as one of King Henry's gentlemen of the Privy Chamber meant that he had access to the king on a daily basis. King Henry VIII was known to do much of his transactions through his personal attendants. 

King Henry VIII had enjoyed an affair with Elizabeth Blout until she gave birth to their son, Henry Fitzroy, in June of 1519. It is not certain when Mary caught the king's attentions. He had been present in the wedding party at her wedding to William Carey on February 4, 1520. William had become one of the king's favorite courtiers soon after he had arrived to court. The two cousins shared common interests in athletics and William has proven himself to the king as a fine jouster in the Field of Gold Tournament in 1520. 

Despite the marriage, King Henry VIII and Mary began an romantic relationship that proved beneficial to the Boleyn family and William Carey throughout the early 1520's. King Henry VIII elevated her father's, Thomas Boleyn, status by granting him the title of viscount and gifted him with several land holdings. William Carey received a stewardship, two keeperships, an annuity, manors in two counties and several small offices. 

Mary gave birth to her first child, Catherine Carey, in 1523. She would given birth to a son, Henry Carey, on March 4, 1526. Anne Boleyn had arrived to court while Mary was pregnant with Henry Carey. King Henry VIII had noticed Anne sometime after she returned to court. By the summer of 1525, the English king ended his affair with Mary with the determination to woo her sister. Rumors has spread throughout the court that Mary's children were the king's son and daughter. There is some evidence to prove that Mary's children were fathered by King Henry.  You can read more about this at

Despite the overwhelming evidence proving Henry and Catherine's heritage,  King Henry VIII never acknowledged them possibly because he had set his eyes on Anne Boleyn and was determined to replace Mary with her sister. 


  1. Hmm - the picture seems rather generous to Henry. I thought he was already well on his way to the obesity of his later life by the time he married Anne. Or am I wrong?

    Interesting background story - and we think that modern families are complicated!

    1. Hi Margaret!
      I don't know about the obesity. I think that was later on in his life but I'm not certain.

      It is all very interesting. Catherine Howard and Anne Boleyn were cousins as well. That means King Henry VIII sleep with the sisters and their cousin.