Margaret (Madge) Shelton

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Margaret (Madge) Shelton (likely died before 1555) was the sister of Mary Shelton, and may have been a mistress of Henry VIII of England.


Both Margaret and Mary were daughters of Sir John Shelton and his wife Anne, the sister of Thomas Boleyn, 1st Earl of Wiltshire, the father of King Henry VIII's second Queen consort, Anne Boleyn. Margaret and Mary were thus first cousins of the Queen.[1] Margaret was the youngest of Sir John Shelton's daughters. She was an attendant of her cousin, Queen Anne Boleyn, and was present when she made her first appearance as queen on Easter Eve, 12 April 1533.[2]

King's mistress[edit]

One of the Shelton sisters is believed to have been King Henry's mistress for a six-month period beginning in February 1535, according to statements about mistresses made by the Imperial ambassador, Eustace Chapuys, who referred to Mistress Shelton.[3][4] According to biographer Antonia Fraser, this was Margaret Shelton.[5][6] Chapuys was always at court when in England, more frequently so than most contemporaneous writers. Hugh Latimer identified Madge Shelton as the woman attendant on Anne when she miscarried within hours of Queen Katherine of Aragon's death. Madge was the "concubine's" closest companion in waiting owing to her familial ties, yet would be dismissed at the end.[7] Recent research has suggested that it was Mary who was rumoured to be Henry's mistress, and was rumoured to have been selected to become his fourth wife. Supposedly, the confusion of earlier historians arose from the label "Marg Shelton", in which the "y" resembled a "g", a common confusion in sixteenth-century writing.

See also[edit]



  1. ^ Richardson 2004, p. 179; Weir 1991, p. 277.
  2. ^ Weir, Henry VIII, p.335
  3. ^ Kelly Hart, The Mistresses of Henry VIII, The History Press, 2009
  4. ^ CSP Spanish, V, pt.2, p.126
  5. ^ Weir 1991, p. 277.
  6. ^ Antonia Fraser The Six Wives of Henry VIII
  7. ^ Spanish Calendar of Letters, Despatches and State Papers relating to Negotiations between England and Spain; Weir, p.15
  • Richardson, Douglas (2004). Plantagenet Ancestry: A Study in Colonial and Medieval Families, ed. Kimball G. Everingham. Baltimore, Maryland: Genealogical Publishing Company Inc. Retrieved 17 March 2011. 
  • Weir, Alison (1991). The Six Wives of Henry VIII. New York: Grove Weidenfeld. 
  • Weir, Alison (2001). Henry VIII: King and Court. London. ISBN 0-224-06022-8. 
  • Weir, Alison (2009). The Lady in the Tower: The Fall of Anne Boleyn. London. ISBN 978-0-224-06319-7. 
  • Herman, Peter C., ed. (1994). Rethinking the Henrician Era: Essays on Early Tudor Texts and Contexts. University of Illinois Press. pp. 40–77. 
  • Hart, Kelly (2009). The Mistresses of Henry VIII. Stroud, Gloucestershire: The History Press. pp. 120–128. ISBN 978 0 7524 4835 0.