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Tudor Minute August 1: Anne made Marquess of Pembroke


Today in 1532 Henry VIII made Anne Boleyn Marquess of Pembroke. It was the first hereditary peerage title granted to a woman.

The then extinct title of Earl of Pembroke had been very significant for the House of Tudor. It was held by Henry VIII's grand-uncle, Jasper Tudor, and it referred to the birthplace of King Henry VII. Henry VIII decided to raise his secret lover to the dignity of a marquess prior to finally marrying her and he chose to grant her the Marquessate of Pembroke.

On Sunday, 1 September 1532, Anne Boleyn was granted the Marquessate of Pembroke and land, mostly in Wales, worth over ₤1,000. The investiture ceremony was performed by Henry VIII himself in Windsor Castle. The ceremony was an elaborate affair, witnessed by the highest ranking peers and clergy in the kingdom, including Thomas Boleyn, 1st Earl of Wiltshire and Thomas Howard, 3rd Duke of Norfolk, Anne's father and uncle respectively; Charles Brandon, 1st Duke of Suffolk (Henry's brother-in-law); Edward Lee, Archbishop of York; John Stokesley, Bishop of London; and Stephen Gardiner, Bishop of Winchester. The French ambassador was also present. The Bishop of Winchester read the patent of creation while Anne knelt before the King who then invested her with the coronet, the robe of estate and the charters of creation and of the lands.

The sixteenth-century spelling of her title was often Marquesse or Marquess of Pembroke, sometimes Lady marquesse; a feminine, like Duchess, of the relatively rare title Marquys

That’s your Tudor Minute for today. Remember you can dive deeper into life in 16th century England through the Renaissance English History Podcast at englandcast.com.