Margaret Wotton, Marchioness of Dorset

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Margaret Wotton
Marchioness of Dorset
Margaret Wotton.jpg
Portrait of Margaret Wotton, Marchioness of Dorset, by Hans Holbein the Younger
Spouse(s) William Medley
Thomas Grey, 2nd Marquess of Dorset

Issue

George Medley
Lady Elizabeth Grey
Lady Katherine Grey
Lady Anne Grey
Henry Grey, 1st Duke of Suffolk
Lord John Grey
Lord Thomas Grey
Leonard Grey
Lady Mary Grey
Father Sir Robert Wotton
Mother Anne Belknap
Born 1487
Boughton Malherbe, Kent, England
Died 1541
England

Margaret Wotton, Marchioness of Dorset (1487–1541) was the second wife of Thomas Grey, 2nd Marquess of Dorset, and the mother of his children, including Henry Grey, 1st Duke of Suffolk, with whom she engaged in many quarrels during his minority over money and his allowance. Her lack of generosity to Henry shocked her peers as unmotherly, and inappropriate behaviour toward a high-ranking nobleman, relative[1] of King Henry VIII of England. In 1534, she felt compelled to answer to the charges that she was an "unnatural mother".[2]

On 10 September 1533, she stood as one of the godmothers of Princess Elizabeth, who would later rule as Queen Elizabeth I of England.

She was the subject of two portraits by Hans Holbein the Younger.

One of her many grandchildren was Lady Jane Grey.

Family[edit]

Margaret was born in 1487, the daughter of Sir Robert Wotton of Boughton Malherbe, Kent, and Anne Belknap, daughter of Henry Belknap esquire,[3] and sister of Sir Edward Belknap,[citation needed] Two of her brothers held important positions in the government. Sir Edward Wotton was Treasurer of Calais, and Nicholas Wotton was a diplomat who arranged the marriage of Henry VIII to Anne of Cleves in 1539.

Marriages and issue[edit]

In 1505, Margaret married her first husband, William Medley, esquire, by whom she had one son, George (died 1562). In 1509, sometime after the death of her husband in February of that year, she married as his second wife, Thomas Grey, 2nd Marquess of Dorset, the eldest son of Thomas Grey, 1st Marquess of Dorset by Cecily Bonville, Baroness Harington and Bonville. She was styled Marchioness of Dorset upon her marriage.

By her second husband she had four sons and four daughters:[4]

Margaret and her husband were part of the group who accompanied Henry VIII's sister, Princess Mary, to France in the autumn of 1514, for the latter's wedding to King Louis XII of France.

In October 1530, her husband died and she was given custody of all his property during their eldest son, Henry's minority.[7]

On 10 September 1533 at Greenwich Palace, Margaret stood as one of the two godmothers of Princess Elizabeth, daughter of Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn, who would later rule as Queen Elizabeth I of England.[8] Three months earlier, on 1 June, Margaret had ridden in Anne Boleyn's coronation procession from the Tower of London to Westminster Abbey.

She was the subject of two portraits by Hans Holbein the Younger.

A sketch of Margaret Wotton, Marchioness of Dorset, by Hans Holbein the Younger, c.1532–1535

Quarrels with her son[edit]

Margaret first began a long series of quarrels with her son, who had succeeded to the Marquisate of Dorset in 1530, when he was forced to pay a fine of £4000 for breach of contract after he had renounced his bethrothal to Katherine Fitzalan, daughter of the Earl of Arundel. As a result, she tried to restrict his allowance throughout his minority which caused much consternation from her peers, who labelled her actions "unmotherly", and inappropriate behaviour towards a nobleman closely related to the King.[9] Margaret only agreed to Henry's marriage with Lady Frances Brandon, niece of the King, on the condition that her father, Charles Brandon, 1st Duke of Suffolk would support the couple until her son reached his majority.

In 1534, she felt compelled to answer charges that she was "an unnatural mother". As a result, she offered to contribute to her son's advancement "as my small power is and shall be".[10]

Several years later when he came of age, Henry brought his quarrel with his mother before the Kings' Council, where she belatedly admitted that her son's allowance was not "meet or sufficient to maintain his estate", and she offered to increase it. Henry was not appeased, therefore she moved out of the Grey family seat at Bradgate House; however, Henry would not let her remove her personal property, so she wrote a letter to Thomas Cromwell, pleading with him to order her son to release her goods.[11]

Margaret died in 1541 at the age of 54.

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ half 1st cousin once-removed
  2. ^ Harris, Barbara Jean. English Aristocratic Women 1450 – 1550: Marriage and Family; Property and Careers. p.115. Google Books. Retrieved 4 January 2011
  3. ^ Richardson II 2011, p. 304.
  4. ^ Richardson II 2011, p. 307.
  5. ^ De Lisle states that she predeceased her husband by 18 months.
  6. ^ Richardson I 2011, p. 44; Richardson II 2011, pp. 234, 307, 311; De Lisle 2008, pp. xvii, 59, 162, 192.
  7. ^ Barbara Jean Harris, English Aristocratic Women 1450–1550: Marriage and Family; Property and Careers, p.115, Google Books, retrieved 21-11-09
  8. ^ Lucy Aikin, Memoirs of the Court of Queen Elizabeth, Volume 1, p.9, retrieved 21-11-09
  9. ^ Harris, p.115
  10. ^ Harris, p.115
  11. ^ Harris, p.116

References[edit]

  • De Lisle, Leanda (2008). The Sisters Who Would Be Queen; The Tragedy of Mary, Katherine & Lady Jane Grey. London: HarperPress. 
  • Richardson, Douglas (2011). Everingham, Kimball G., ed. Magna Carta Ancestry: A Study in Colonial and Medieval Families I (2nd ed.). Salt Lake City. ISBN 1449966373. 
  • Richardson, Douglas (2011). Everingham, Kimball G., ed. Magna Carta Ancestry: A Study in Colonial and Medieval Families II (2nd ed.). Salt Lake City. ISBN 1449966381.