Did Elizabeth ever mention Anne Boleyn?

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David Starkey says that she did not but Alison Weir states that Elizabeth mentioned her mother twice, but "neither of them particularly revealing". She did, however, keep a miniature of her mother in a locket ring (The Chequers Ring) along with a miniature of herself and she was close to her cousins the Careys. We have to remember that Elizabeth was only 2 years and 8 months when he mother was executed and so probably could not remember her.

18 Responses to “Did Elizabeth ever mention Anne Boleyn?”

  1. Matterhorn says:

    It’s striking and rather incredible that Elizabeth idolized her father, when he had her mother killed. How was this possible? Do you think it had something to do with her being too young to really remember her mother? I imagine it would have been much harder for her to love Henry if she had been close to Anne.

    Good luck with this new site. I decided to sign on with my other, second blog’s URL so if you like you’re welcome to visit it, too.

  2. Tonja says:

    You need to remember, Queen Elizabeth was a very small child when she lost her mother. She would have very few if any memories of her.

    And, being raised by King Henry’s staff, of course all she was EVER going to hear about her mother was what an evil, adulterous, incestuous witch she was.

    No one in the court or as part of Henry’s staff was going to ever tell Elizabeth anything otherwise (THE TRUTH) about her mother.

    After all, they liked their heads just fine where they were-on their necks !

  3. Claire says:

    Hi Tonja,
    Yes, Elizabeth was only 2 years and 8 months when her mother died plus she only stayed with Anne for the first 3 months of her life and then was removed to her own household. It is highly likely that she would not have remembered her mother at all. As a queen though, she did surround herself with Boleyn relatives so I’m sure she could have grilled them for information about her mother, I hope she did.

  4. Aurora says:

    Tonja hit the nail right on the head.

    Elizabeth has no memories of her mother (she was much too young to remember anything at all). And anything that she DID hear would be very negative towards her mother. All Elizabeth had was her father, so I think she realized very early on that I should just love what I have, because that’s all I can have.

  5. Ana says:

    I think you have to get away from the modern way of thinking on this. For 16thC aristocrats parents were not love objects. In fact children and parents would barely know each other. Kids were sent away at a young age, and younger kids were cared for by nurses. Mother-love such as it was was provided by servants, not by the mother, and fathers were even more distant. Probably Eliz venerated her father because he was her king, and also represented her own claim to kingship. By asserting her connection to him she was strengthening her legitimacy. It would have been a public, political admiration, not necessarily in any way connected to her private feelings.

  6. Leslie says:

    I think Elizabeth had a love/hate feeling for HenryVIII. While she most likely would not have had much of a relationship due to the times and position she was in, she still was able to observe Henry VIII and was bound to have heard numerous things – good and bad – about her mother as she got older. With this in mind, I think, in her heart, she was afraid of marriage – and the unexpected changes that could happen in a marriage, as well as a person. She was an extremely strong person, due to her life experiences, so why even take the risk of marriage? It is this strength and independence, as well as her -probably unconscience – fear of marriage, that kept her from ever marrying. My opinion.

  7. Leah says:

    Hi… am facinated to found this page about my dear Elizabeth… An i have one cuestion why the name of Elizabeth in traduction to spanish is Isabel??
    Regards for all!

  8. Claire says:

    I don’t know, Leah, I guess it’s the same for Juan and John, Enrique and Henry, and how the English anglicised Catherine of Aragon’s real name, Cataline, and called her Catherine. It’s all very weird!. I never understand why place names are different e.g. London is Londres in Spanish, Sevilla is Seville in English, Firenze is Florence in English, it’s all very strange!

  9. Tyler L says:

    I agree, she did not have any memories of her mother. Being raised, Elizabeth was often humiliated about her mother. “The whore” and other names, known as first woman his majesty has executed. I feel she carried the fact of her mother being murdered with her throughout her life.

  10. rox says:

    I have to disagree, I think she remembered, I also think children are smarter than adults. Even to this day children know when not to bring up subjects. If you were a child knowing your mother’s head was chopped off. Would you open your mouth? When you are called a bastard? I think she was very smart. She had to be.

  11. Kat says:

    i think this article is very interesting, it says that Anne was in the coronation of Elizabeth, not alive of course but … just read
    http://onthetudortrail.com/Blog/anne-boleyn/anne-boleyn-and-elizabeth-is-coronation/

  12. I think Elizabeth probably held much resentment toward her father, & she was also, no doubt, afraid of him. She would be right in her fear of him, as he was the King, & I don’t think he would have let anything, even his own child, put him down, to any degree. It had to have been very difficult for her, having to be stoic and bow to him, on every level.

  13. BanditQueen says:

    N-one can be sure if Elizabeth actually remembered her mother, Anne,or not. We cannot get inside the head of another person, and we know that she only saw her mother from time to time. Elizabeth was not yet three when her mother was killed. I do believe that she must have had some brief and fleeting memories of her mother and may have been helped to recall by devoted friends of her mother who served her later in life. It is doubtful that Henry would have spoken much, if ever about Anne, let alone about how much she reminded him of her, especially through her eyes. Anne is a bit of a mystery in some areas of her life, especially anything that she may have written, so we do not even know if she even wrote to her tiny daughter. I am certain that Anne had genuine affection for Elizabeth, but what memories they shared is hard to say. All I do know is that I have memories from when I was two onwards. They are actually not of my mother, because my relationship with my mother was not a close one or a happy one, they are of my father. They are vivid and they are fresh. I think it is possible that if Anne spent any time with her daughter that she had some memories of her.

    I do not believe that she would never have spoken of her or even have asked questions about her. I have heard the story of the locket a few times that she had a locket with a tiny miniature of her mother inside of it. Her stronger bonds would have been of her father who seems to have grown fond of Elizabeth as she became older. They shared a love of books, of music, of ships and of dance and learning. He is said to have referred to her over and over again as MY Elizabeth. I am certain that he did not share anything about Anne with his daughter, but as for Elizabeth never mentioning her mother, just where do so called historians who were not there, come up with such rubbish that deny her any feelings for her mother?

  14. Charlie Elizabeth Hayden says:

    After reading the comments on this thread, I thought I’d add my two cents in seeing as I have a similar childhood background to that of Elizabeth’s. It’s not exactly similar but when it comes to the type of emotional trauma Elizabeth must have experienced, my childhood gives me some insight into what Elizabeth’s feelings towards her mother might have been.

    When I was three years old, my parents had a volatile fight concerning me which lead to my father losing custody of me because my mother claimed that he beat the crap out of her. That night was the last time I would see my father for sixteen years. Because my mother suffers from the mood disorder, bipolar or more commonly known, manic/depression and was diagnosed and untreated, she had convinced herself by the end of the night when she came to collect me, that my father had beaten the crap out of her when that was neither the case. Within those sixteen years, the only things I was ever told about my father was that he beat my mother up, was a drug addict, and thathe never loved me… Any time I would bring the subject of my father up and ask questions, things would get really ugly.

    While not as violent as Henry VIII’s having Anne beheaded and the impact it must have had upon Elizabeth in regards to how her mother would be described and presented to her from that day on, my parental issues can be considered similar in a way if you thought about it.

    So using the impact that the fight between my parents had upon me, I can only guess how Elizabeth must have felt when it came to Anne and Henry based upon my own feelings.

    Someone mentioned the possibility that Elizabeth would have remembered Anne and others argued that she was too young to have been able to remember Anne. I have to argue in favor of Elizabeth remembering Anne. I have memories as far back as from when I was two. I am about to turn twenty-eight and those memories are still as vivid in my mind as they were twenty-six years ago. Those memories center around my father. In fact, my only memories from that age are of him. I remember the apartment he lived in, a rather ugly fabric pattern from a pair of curtains, the kiddie table I would sit at as he fixed breakfast for me and of falling asleep in his arms, feeling the safest and most secure I have ever felt in my entire life and of being loved. I have no doubt that Elizabeth could have maintained memories of Anne when you consider that it is recorded that Anne was a very dedicated mother.

    Because of the memories I had of my father, I struggled with which truth to believe in, the stories my mother told me or the contrasting memories that I had. As a teenager, it only got worse as I wavered between anger at the father who wasn’t there while I suffered through a few other traumatic experiences and the craving for the father I desperately wanted to take me away.

    We now know that Elizabeth held her mother very close to her heart. Elizabeth’s feelings for her mother and craving for Anne’s presence and for some knowledge of her mother that wasn’t what Anne had been accused of had to have been central to Elizabeth’s heart and there is no doubt that Anne’s fate had left a lasting imprint on Elizabeth as she feared that she too could have shared Anne’s fate. I have no doubt that it was Anne’s fate that made Elizabeth fear marriage and seeing Kathrine Howard suffer a similar fate served only to reinforce the trauma of her mother’s death. I have no doubt that Elizabeth had intimacy issues when it came to the subject of love and commitment issues in the case of marriage. Robert Dudley was the love of her life, and while they were scandalously close, she still kept him at arms length until the day he died. When in negotiations with possible marriage suitors, she had formed a bond with a few. The Duke of Anjou for example, She is reported for admitting to seeing a union between them being a happy one, but she prolonged in making a commitment to the match as with all the others and ended up finding a convenient excuse to keep herself from making a commitment to this match, citing political reasons.

    Having a slew of abandonment issues/intimacy issues/ commitment issues, I can understand Elizabeth’s perspective on the matter of love and marriage. Love and marriage are simply too dangerous and will only serve to make us vulnerable after years of carefully protecting ourselves from the consequences we know are bound to befall us if we let down our walls. Using logic and reason, it isn’t very hard to excuse away our issues with very convincing concerns and belief systems that we would present to the world.

    So in all, it is not difficult to figure that Elizabeth had been deeply affected by her mother’s execution in a number of lasting ways. If you had a traumatizing childhood events similar to Elizabeth’s or my own,then it is very easy to Gauss how Elizabeth may have been affected by Anne’s fall.

    But I have to disagree with those who speculated that she had resented her father for Anne’s death. I have no doubt in my mind that Elizabeth loved and worshiped her father. As an adult, and especially as queen, she proudly declared herself the daughter of Henry VIII and credited him with her having the strength to rule and to survive. She prided herself with being the daughter Henry VIII and no one, save for the king, Mary, Edward and her stepmothers were above her in rank and if anyone dared to overstep their social bounds when addressing her, she did not hesitate to put them in their place. I believe that she sometimes even considered what her father wold have done when deciding on state matters. I do not doubt that Elizabeth held a strong bond with her father.

    If you were to argue that she resented or even hated her father for what happened to her mother, then perhaps yo should extend that argument over to Mary as well. Mary suffered greatly when Henry VIII cast Kathrine aside for Anne and practically abandoned Mary, relegating her to that of a bastard and servant in her infant half sister’s household were she was treated harshly by Elizabeth’s governess and Anne herself. Henry tore her away from her beloved mother, forbidding any kind of communication and even threatened to have her executed if she did not sign the same oath that Sir. Thomas Moore refused to sign and was beheaded for doing so. Mary suffered tremendously until Jane Seymour managed to reconcile Mary with her father. However, as much as Mary suffered, she did not blame Henry for her suffering as she rightly should have. Instead, she shifted the entire blame onto Anne Boleyn. I would wager that Elizabeth pt the full blame for her mother’s death solely upon Cromwell’s shoulders in the same manner.

  15. Christine says:

    I also have a long memory going back to two as we had a collie dog who my parents told me died when I was that age and I remember her distinctly, I also remember sitting in the pram and playing with the plastic elephants so there is a strong possibility that Elizabeth remembered her mother, and if she did I think it’s lovely as she would have carried her image all the days of her life, in an age when people went to the block for the flimsiest misdemeanour I’m sure Anne’s shame didn’t bother Elizabeth much, J Neale one of our earlier historians said the scaffold didn’t matter much as it was a sign of nobility to have your head lopped of, unlike being dragged all the way to Tyburn and suffering an ignoble death, we will never know her true feelings regarding her parents falling out, but we do know she worshipped her father and all her life she wore a ring containing an image of Anne Boleyn never taking it of, so we do know that she loved her for being the woman who gave birth to her, which is as it should be.

  16. Dorothy J. says:

    Just want to mention that Anne Boleyn was not a good stepmother to King Henry’s oldest daughter Mary and this may have accounted for Mary’s brutality with Protestants during her reign as Queen. Anne kept Mary socially isolated not allowing visitors to see her and also (with Henry) did not allow Mary to see her mother, Catherine (Henry’s first wife). I don’t doubt that Mary was disrespectful to Anne, but you cannot blame her since Anne helped ruin her mother’s life. I simply cannot have any sympathy for Anne Boleyn whatsoever and I think it is wrong to try to paint her in any kind of good light. Thank you!

  17. Fan of Elizabeth I says:

    Hi all
    I love reading these threads about queen Elizabeth I and her mother queen Anne B. I just would like to add something to what I think how Elizabeth remembered or not remembered to her mother. If one of your parents die when you are too young to remember or you don’t know them you will grow up fantasising about that parent. I lost my dad when I was 2. I have no recollections about him what so ever but as I got older I longed to know more about his personality or his likes and his thinking. I am sure Elizabeth felt the same. That is why she wore the ring with her mother’s picture in it. She wanted somehow to be close to Anne. And also that is why she surrounded herself with the Careys. No matter what she heard as a child about Anne Boleyn blood is blood. It can’t be taken away. I feel really sorry for them both. I can’t imagine how frightened Anne must have been for her daughter’s safety before her execution. I look up to Elizabeth I for being so strong through her life and showing courage. No matter what position you are in if there are no family around you you feel lonely. It’s good to know she had some true friends throughout her life.

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