When Anne Boleyn’s beloved father Sir Thomas Boleyn was born he was a particular favourite out of all of the Earl of Ormond’s grandchildren. This would place him in good stead making him recognised from a young age. However, in order to firmly place his name in nobility he married the Lady Elizabeth Howard, daughter of the Earl of Surrey and later the second Duke or Norfolk. This put the Boleyn family in good stead as the Duchy of Norfolk was one of the best titles in England and the family could lay claim to royal blood through their descent from King Edward I. The family could later then claim themselves the descent of a royal blood line when Anne Boleyn’s uncle, the third Duke of Norfolk made his claim to blood relations by marrying Anne of York, daughter of Edward IV. This then meant that Anne Boleyn’s mother Lady Elizabeth Howard was the sister of the brother-in-law of Henry VIII. Furthermore this also meant that Anne Boleyn was connected to Henry VIII through family lines at the time of her marriage.
During the early reign of King Henry VIII, Elizabeth Howard served in the court of Queen Katherine of Aragon (Henry’s first wife). Elizabeth Howard was noted as being one of the beauties of the court and according to rumour quickly attracted the attention of the young king. There were strong rumours that Elizabeth Howard’s relationship with the king was much more than platonic. This could be linked to an older version of the king seducing Anne’s sister Mary, as it was said that Mary was the spitting image of her mother.
The Rise Of Thomas Boleyn
Thomas Boleyn continued to rise throughout the reign of both King Henry VIII and his father King Henry VII. He was the best French speaker at the Tudor court and was well educated. He was also highly intelligent and ambitious. These traits he passed onto his daughter. When Henry VIII came to the throne he promoted Thomas to the position of deputy-warden of the customs of Calais making him a familiar face around court. This showed the kings confidence in Thomas Boleyn’s abilities and he continued to promote him even before the rise of his daughter. Due to being so highly recognised in the courts of both the kings he was appointed an esquire of the body to both the kings in turn as well as being created a knight of the bath at Henry VIII’s coronation.
All three of Thomas and Elizabeth’s surviving children were destined to rise at the court of Henry VIII. However, the dates and orders of the birth of these children are nowhere recorded. Thomas Boleyn later complained that his wife had given birth to a child every year in their early marriage, which suggests that a number of children died in infancy. The couple’s eldest sons, Thomas and Henry Boleyn certainly died as babies.