Name: Elizabeth Howard
Died: 3 April 1538 (Aged 57 – 58)
Mother: Elizabeth Tilney
Father: Thomas Howard, 2nd Duke of Norfolk
Elizabeth Howard, is one of the most infamous mother’s in British History and one who is barely acknowledged for her role in the rise, formation and consolidation of power of Anne Boleyn and the Boleyn faction.
Her family managed to survive the fall of their patron Richard III and Elizabeth entered the court as a young child conveying how she had grown up in this world of courtly love and intense pride. Her family had long been well established amongst the upper echelons of the Tudor society and were well known amongst court, making Elizabeth a somewhat Tudor celebrity. It was here that Elizabeth met her love and married the young courtier Thomas Boleyn, probably around 1498. The marriage produced many children, but only three survived to childhood, Anne, Mary and George. It was said that these two married for love and not political or social advances.
Throughout this time, Elizabeth was lady-in-waiting to Elizabeth of York and the newly crowned Catherine of Aragon, who some years later her family brought down in order to let Anne achieve her Queenly status. This shows how Elizabeth did truly know the inner workings of the Queen’s Chamber and the court, evidently showing she must of helped Anne in her succession to Queen, thus showing why I admire her as she was instrumental in the make-up of Anne Boleyn. Yes although Anne spent many years at the French Court her mother must of played a vital part in her daughters success. I say must and maybe as little information is available on Elizabeth Howard and I feel she has not been given suitable acknowledgement in the rise of Anne Boleyn from modern historians. She was with Anne when she viewed Hampton Court; she remained in her daughter’s household throughout her time as Queen Consort, and was involved in the banishment of Mary after she married below her status. She was with Anne during her pregnancy, and as we know, Anne called her only child Elizabeth, probably after her Mother who had been with her from the start and Henry’s mother. Anne would not have named her child the same name if her Mother was not important to her.
Many current day films and books fail to represent her action and presence in the rise of Anne, with only Anne of the Thousand Day’s showing her presence at all. The award winning series The Tudors fails to even show her during Anne’s reign. Yes, Thomas Boleyn was evidently instrumental in Anne’s and the family’s success, but Elizabeth was truly the mother, and as she was born of a family of status I’m sure her opinion was not overlooked, making her such a remarkable and worthy character.