Thursday, January 03, 2008

Question from Leigh - Bond between Anne Boleyn and her daughter

Hi there,

I'm interested to know about the 'bond' (if there was such a thing) between Anne Boleyn and her daughter, Elizabeth. Did Anne love her daughter? Or did she resent her for not being born a boy? Was there ever any evidence of a maternal bond between the two?

Many thanks!


Anonymous PhD Historian said...

The question is somewhat anachronistic in that it assumes that people in the sixteenth century behaved exactly the same as people do today. But that is not the case, as historians of the family and society have shown. It is a false start to try to find modern parental attitudes in a past era.
But to answer your question directly: Did Anne love her daughter [Elizabeth]? We don't know with certainty WHAT Anne felt toward her. Their relationship was a distant one, literally, because Elizabeth was placed in a separate household at Hatfield House, outside of London, shortly after birth. Anne did not raise her own daughter. Anne visited Elizabeth only infrequently in the months remaining before her own death. But this was customary behavior for English queens and their children (Katherine of Aragon was a notable exception, following Spanish custom instead of English). The children of most wealthy, noble, and royal parents were rasied by servants, seldom by the parents themselves. Neither did Anne leave any written record of her feelings toward her daughter. Nor is there any evidence of the extent of any "maternal bond" (a modern term unknown in the 1530s) between Anne and Elizabeth.
Did Anne resent Elizabeth for not being born a boy? Again, there is no specific evidence to say either way. Was she frustrated? Probably, since her husband placed massive importance on a male child. But we cannot reliably conclude that Anne "resented" Elizabeth's female-ness.

January 03, 2008 10:57 PM  
Anonymous monica said...

Elizabeth does not seem to have mentioned her mother once she was a monarch, but is known to have worn a necklace with Anne's initials on.

January 05, 2008 7:13 AM  
Anonymous TudorRose said...

Before Elizabeth was born a letter had been written by Anne and in the letter she writes the word prince rather than the word princess because a prince had been what was expected.
After the birth an extra s had been put into the letter so no one was confused over the gender of the baby.
Once Elizabeth was born the king Henry refused to go to the christening.
Elizabeth was then taken away to a separate household and looked after by tutors and nurses.
As far as I know and from what I know regarding Anne's Maternal feelings and love for her daughter is when Elizabeth was born and then on Anne arranged and had clothes sent to her.
Even though Elizabeth grew up not really knowing her mother and not mentioning her throughout her life.
Although Elizabeth carried a locket ring with a picture of her mother Anne one side and Herself the other.she carried this ring with her all her life.

January 11, 2008 8:46 AM  
Anonymous PhD Historian said...

Parents did not attend the christenings of their own children in sixteenth-century England. Women were forbidden to do so on religious grounds, and social custom dictated that fathers not attend either. It is therefore incorrect to say that Henry "refused" to attend Elizabeth's christening. In fact, it would have been a striking violation of social custom had he actually attended. See David Cressy, "Birth, Marriage, and Death: Ritual, Religion, and the Life Cycle in Tudor and Stuart England" (Oxford University Press, 1997). Yes, Elizabeth was raised in a separate household. So was Henry's much-treasured son Edward. This was accepted practice for Tudor royalty during the period and not evidence of the presence or absence of any emotional bond. Yes, Anne had clothing sent to her daughter. It was her duty to do so. The sending of clothing cannot be interpreted as evidence for or against "maternal feelings" or "love." For my own education, I'd be very interested to know the source of the story regarding Elizabeth's carrying a locket ring with her mother's photo in it. This sounds like another of the many fanciful myths and legends that have grown up around Elizabeth Tudor.

January 12, 2008 2:48 AM  
Anonymous Caz said...

'...carrying a locket ring with her mother's _photo_ in it.'

hmm? LOL

January 16, 2008 3:34 PM  
Anonymous PhD Historian said...

A cultural anachronism on my part, n'est pas? Should have said "portrait."

January 17, 2008 2:14 PM  
Blogger Foose said...

Anne was very insistent that her daughter have every mark of rank, which can be seen as an expression of affection, but also an effort to reinforce her own position.

Also, it appears, although it should be thoroughly investigated, that Anne placed Boleyn relations in key positions around her daughter - the ones that come to mind are Lady Shelton, Catherine Champernowne (Ashley), Blanche Parry (related to the Careys), possibly Richard Sandys, rather than Howard connections (numerous, and of higher status than the Boleyn affinity, so you'd think she would have preferred them, as she did for Elizabeth's christening when the Duchess of Norfolk was made a godmother). Even Lady Margaret Bryan, a natural choice because she'd previously been Mary's governess, was related to the Boleyns through her husband. Possibly Anne felt that Elizabeth's interests and personal safety would be more likely to be protected by the Boleyn side than the Howards.

What is interesting is that Henry did not disturb some of these arrangements after Anne was executed. You'd think that he'd be suspicious that the Boleyn relations would give Elizabeth an alternative view of Anne Boleyn than the "official history."

January 19, 2008 9:46 PM  
Anonymous Nicole said...

I had only just recently heard of the locket ring as well. I was researching Tudor and Elizabethan jewelry. Here is a link to a picture of the locket ring at the National Maritime Museum:

And here is the inside of the ring (if it doesn't take you right to it, it is the second picture):

May 27, 2008 10:54 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes that is true about the ring, I saw it in the 'Elizabeth I' exhibition at the Maritime Museum Exhibtion in Greenwich.

I found this page because I had just watched 'Anne of a thousand days' and remembered the ring. It was incredibly touching and I was trying to find some more information about her attitude to Anne. The ring seems to suggest that at least privately she had feelings for her mother. It's interesting that the portrait was in a locket type ring so the portrait of her mother was hidden from public view but was still with her, in some ways that seems to reflect her overall attitude to her mother. I would be really interested to here any more on this.

June 15, 2008 11:29 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anne Boleyn had strong feelings for Elizabeth, i was just reading this book called Anne Boleyn and Me by Alison Price it's a girls diary of when she was a lady in waiting to Anne and it says "Anne Boleyn although frustrated and worried that Elizabeth was a boy loved her devotedally and wanted to breast feed her herself but of course this is not aloud"

December 28, 2008 4:35 AM  
Blogger zerowhite said...

Should have done it on the quiet?

January 04, 2009 1:04 PM  
Anonymous zerowhite said...

"Not aloud"? Should have done it on the quiet, then.

January 04, 2009 1:08 PM  
Anonymous Jodie said...

I do think that Anne Boleyn had feelings for Elizabeth. Novels such as 'The Other Boleyn Girl', by Philippa Gregory, who is usually excellent with research suggested that although Anne was disappointed with Elizabeth not being a boy, she still loved her, because she was her child, and that was just how it worked, whatever time period we're talking about. And also at that time, Henry and Anne were still optimistic of their chances for a boy to follow, just as a boy had followed a girl in the incidence of Anne's sister, Mary. But I believe that even when Anne began to realise after her miscarriages that her chances were slipping away, she loved Elizabeth for being the only child that had stayed with her through it all. And, there is no evidence to suggest that Henry as well, did not love Elizabeth. In fact, there is evidence to the country, for did he not include her in his line of succession? Surely then he must have loved her or at the least cared for her, or he could simply have disinherited her. She was merely last in line because that was how it worked, boys first, then girls going by age, and so Elizabeth being the youngest out of the two girls and below Edward, was third. I think Elizabeth was loved by both her parents.

January 25, 2009 2:39 PM  
Anonymous pregnancy said...

I think Anne Boleyn was pass her great on Elizabeth... she was an interested queen for me ever!

June 09, 2009 5:11 AM  
Blogger Evelyn said...

wow, I thought the necklace was a myth! there is a childrens book on it now.

January 19, 2010 3:34 AM  
Blogger Evelyn said...

Oh, by the way, ''Doomed queen anne''
bye carolyn meyer is a great book!

January 19, 2010 3:38 AM  

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