Elizabeth Holland

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Elizabeth Holland (died 1547/8), commonly known as Bess Holland, was the mistress of Thomas Howard, 3rd Duke of Norfolk and maid-of-honour to his niece, Anne Boleyn, the second wife of Henry VIII of England. The daughter of the Duke's secretary, she worked for eight years as a laundress in the household of Norfolk's wife, Elizabeth Stafford, Duchess of Norfolk.[1]

The fall of Norfolk[edit]

Despite a relationship of fifteen years duration, when the Duke and his son, Henry Howard, Earl of Surrey, were arrested, Elizabeth Holland gave information which helped seal their fates.[2] Surrey was the 'last victim of Henry VIII', being executed on the eve of the King's own death. Norfolk's execution was suspended by the King's death. He was kept in the Tower throughout the minority of King Edward VI, and was released in 1553, during the reign of Queen Mary, whose Catholic beliefs were similar to his.

In 1547, after the Duke had been arrested, Elizabeth Holland married Henry Reppes and died in childbirth.[3]


  1. ^ Michael A. R. Graves, ‘Howard, Thomas, third duke of Norfolk (1473–1554)’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, Sept 2004; online edn, Jan 2008 accessed 21 Aug 2009
  2. ^ Hart
  3. ^ Oxford DNB, Howard, Thomas, third duke of Norfolk (1473–1554), magnate and soldier, by Michael A. R. Graves

Further reading[edit]

  • House of Treason: the Rise and Fall of a Tudor Dynasty by Robert Hutchinson, 2009
  • A Tudor Tragedy: Thomas Howard, Duke of Norfolk by Neville Williams, 1989
  • The Ebbs and Flows of Fortune: Life of Thomas Howard, the Duke of Norfolk by David M. Head, 1995
  • Henry VIII's Last Victim: The Life and Times... by Jessie Childs, 2008