Gloriana, The Virgin Queen
Elizabeth the 1st, one of the greatest monarchs in English history should never have come to the throne.
She was the second daughter to King Henry VIII, the first and only child to his second wife Anne Boleyn.
Anne Boleyn married King Henry VIII in 1533, and Elizabeth was born at Greenwich Palace in September of the same year.
Her sex was a huge disappointment to her parents, although her mother remained devoted to her. Anne Boleyn was executed by Henry when Elizabeth was not yet 3 years old.
Henry had been expecting a boy, and was devastated that he didn’t have the heir he had desperately wanted.
If only he knew that the daughter he declared illegitimate grew up to be a formidable Queen, reigning over England for 45 years.
She had the 9th longest reign in British history.
The Boleyn family seemed to have originated in Norfolk , with the early known Boleyn’s residing in Salle, a village about 10 miles from Norwich.
It is also said that the Boleyn’s descended from the Counts of Boulogne.
The Boleyn family began to rise to prominence in the 15th century through Geoffrey Boleyn, Anne’s Great Grandfather. Geoffrey was a successful merchant, was knighted by King Henry VI and became Mayor of London in ca. 1457.
He was eventually wealthy enough to purchase Blickling Hall in Norfolk, and Hever Castle in Kent, both to become homes to Anne.
Geoffrey’s son William, Anne’s grandfather was also successful, he was created a Knight of the Bath by King Richard III, and became the High
Sheriff of Kent in 1489 and High Sheriff of Norfolk and Suffolk in 1500.
Thomas Boleyn was Geoffrey’s son and heir and inherited his properties.
Thomas Boleyn was a diplomat in the court of Henry VII, and escorted Margaret Tudor to her marriage to James IV of Scotland in 1509.
Whilst Anne Boleyn was in favour with Henry VIII, his position rose and he had many titles bestowed upon him including being elevated to the peerage as Viscount Rochford, and was created the Earl of Whiltshire.
Anne Boleyn’s family resided at Blickling Hall between 1499 and 1505.
It is thought that Anne was most probably born at Blickling, but there is debate about this, right down to the year of her birth.
The family later moved to Hever Castle in Kent.
The Boleyns and Norwich Cathedral
Anne Boleyn’s great grandmother Anne Hoo (married Geoffrey Boleyn) and her grandfather William are both laid to rest in Norwich Cathedral.
Anne Hoo’s monument is still there, although it is without its original brass. Her son William was laid to rest close to her, and the Boleyn Chantry chapel is on the south side near the High Altar.
You can view the Boleyn coat of Arms here.
Queen Elizabeth 1’s Visit to Norwich Cathedral
In 1578, Queen Elizabeth 1 visited Norwich and the cathedral. A seat was designed for her usage, and a set of stairs were placed to the left of the High altar. It is said that she asked to sit facing her Boleyn relatives which I find incredibly touching seeing that she never acknowledged her mother in public.