Saturday, September 3, 2011

The Christening of Frances Brandon

Author Susan Higginbotham reports on the lavish christening of the niece of Henry VIII, the future mother of Lady Jane Grey.
The queen and princess, of course, were Catherine of Aragon and Princess Mary. The princess, born on February 16, 1516, was not much older than her new goddaughter. But who was the mysterious “Lady Boleyn”?  Walter Richardson suggests that she was Anne Boleyn–not the future queen, who was at the French court, but her aunt, the wife of Edward Boleyn. Others, like Retha Warnicke, have suggested that she was Elizabeth Boleyn, the future queen’s mother; Eric Ives, Anne Boleyn’s biographer, does not discuss the matter, but in an endnote cites the ceremony as an example of Elizabeth Boleyn’s presence at court.  A seating chart for a great banquet at Greenwich held on July 7, 1517, names Lady Elizabeth Boleyn and Elizabeth Grey (and the expectant mother herself) among the prominent guests; Elizabeth Boleyn, then, might have been readily at hand to dispatch to the christening when news arrived of Frances’s birth. (Read entire post.)