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Thomas Howard, 3rd Duke of Norfolk

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The Duke of Norfolk
Thomas Howard, 3rd Duke of Norfolk by Hans Holbein the Younger, Royal Collection.
Lord High Treasurer
In office
4 December 1522 – 12 December 1546
MonarchHenry VIII
Preceded byThomas Howard, 2nd Duke of Norfolk
Succeeded byEdward Seymour, 1st Duke of Somerset
Personal details
Bornc. 1473
Died25 August 1554 (aged 80–81)
Kenninghall, Norfolk
Resting placeChurch of St Michael the Archangel, Framlingham, Suffolk
Spouse(s)Anne of York
(m. 1494 or 1495; died 1511)
Elizabeth Stafford
(m. 1513)
ChildrenHenry Howard, Earl of Surrey
Katherine Stanley, Countess of Derby[1]
Mary FitzRoy, Duchess of Richmond and Somerset
Thomas Howard, 1st Viscount Howard of Bindon
ReligionRoman Catholicism
Arms of Thomas Howard, 3rd Duke of Norfolk, KG: Quarterly of 4: 1: Gules, on a bend between six cross-crosslets fitchy argent an escutcheon or charged with a demi-lion rampant pierced through the mouth by an arrow within a double tressure flory counterflory of the first (Howard, with augmentation of honour); 2: Gules, three lions passant guardant in pale or armed and langued azure a label of three points argent (Plantagenet, arms of Thomas of Brotherton, 1st Earl of Norfolk); 3: Chequy or and azure (de Warenne, Earl of Surrey); 4: Gules, a lion rampant argent (Mowbray)

Thomas Howard, 3rd Duke of Norfolk, KG, PC (10 March 1473 – 25 August 1554) was a prominent English politician and nobleman of the Tudor era. He was an uncle of two of the wives of King Henry VIII, Anne Boleyn and Catherine Howard, both of whom were beheaded, and played a major role in the machinations affecting these royal marriages. After falling from favour in 1546, he was stripped of his dukedom and imprisoned in the Tower of London, avoiding execution when Henry VIII died on 28 January 1547.

He was released on the accession of the Roman Catholic Queen Mary I, whom he aided in securing the throne, thus setting the stage for tensions between his Catholic family and the Protestant royal line that would be continued by Mary's half-sister, Elizabeth I.

Early life


Thomas was the son of Sir Thomas Howard, later 2nd Duke of Norfolk (1443–1524), by his first wife, Elizabeth Tilney (died 1497), the daughter of Sir Frederick Tilney and widow of Sir Humphrey Bourchier,[2] and the grandson of John Howard, 1st Baron Howard, later 1st Duke of Norfolk. Through his great-grandmother Margaret Mowbray, Howard was a descendant of Thomas of Brotherton, 1st Earl of Norfolk, the sixth son of King Edward I of England.[3] Through his great-grandfather Sir Robert Howard, of Tendring Hall, Stoke-by-Nayland, Suffolk, Howard was descended from Richard, 1st Earl of Cornwall, the second son of King John, who had an illegitimate son, named Richard (died 1296), whose daughter, Joan of Cornwall, married Sir John Howard (d. shortly July 1331).[4] Likewise, through his ancestor Isabel d'Aubigny, wife of John Fitzalan, 3rd Lord of Clun and Oswestry, Howard was descended from Roger Bigod, the first Lord of Norfolk after the Norman conquest. In 1483, his father and grandfather were created Earl of Surrey and Duke of Norfolk respectively in reward for their loyalty to the Duke of Gloucester, who became King Richard III after usurping the throne from his nephews, the sons of Edward IV, and in 1485 the Howards fought on the side of Richard III at the Battle of Bosworth, where the 1st Duke lost his life and the Earl of Surrey was badly wounded. As the battle resulted in the accession of Henry VII Tudor, the Howards' loyalty to the losing side resulted in the forfeiture of their titles and most of their properties.[2] Nevertheless, they soon began to be rehabilitated, and in 1489 Thomas' father was restored as Earl of Surrey.

In April 1497 his mother died, and in August of that year, by papal dispensation, his father married for the second time Agnes Tilney, Thomas' mother's cousin.

Howard was an able soldier, and was often employed in military operations.[2] In 1497, he served in a campaign against the Scots under the command of his father, who knighted him on 30 September 1497.[2] He was made a Knight of the Garter after the accession of his nephew by marriage, King Henry VIII, and became the King's close companion, with lodgings at court.[2] His first wife, Anne of York, daughter of Edward IV and thereby Henry's aunt, died in November 1511,[5] and early in 1513, Howard married Elizabeth Stafford, the daughter of Edward Stafford, 3rd Duke of Buckingham and Eleanor Percy, and the granddaughter of Henry Percy, 4th Earl of Northumberland. Through his mother Catherine Woodville, Elizabeth's father was a first cousin to Howard's first wife. [6] On 4 May 1513, he was appointed Lord Admiral, a position previously held by his brother, Edward Howard, who had died on 25 April, to combat the French navy. Surrey and his sons Thomas and Edmund had hoped to lead the English expedition against France, but were left behind when the King departed for Calais at the end of June.[7] Shortly thereafter King James IV of Scotland launched an invasion into England (despite being married to Princess Margaret Tudor, sister of Henry VIII) in fulfilment of his alliance with France, and Thomas along with his brother Edmund, joined their father and the barons Dacre and Monteagle in leading the army, which despite their numerical inferiority, managed to decisively crush the Scottish forces at the Battle of Flodden, near Branxton, Northumberland, on 9 September. The Scots lost thousands of men, and James IV lost his life in the battle.

Howard augmentation of honour, awarded to Thomas Howard, 2nd Duke of Norfolk after the Battle of Flodden (1513): Or, a Scottish demi-lion rampant pierced through the mouth by an arrow within a double tressure flory-counterflory-gules, to be borne on the bend in the Howard arms
Howard's Coat of arms with "Flodden augmentation"

Creation of Earl of Surrey Act 1513
Act of Parliament
Long titleAn Act for the confirmation of letters patents made to the earl of Surry.
Citation5 Hen. 8. c. 11
(Ruffhead: c. 3)
Royal assent4 March 1514

Leading the victorious forces at Flodden gave the Howards enormous prestige both socially and at court, and the Howard coat of arms was changed in honour of the victory, incorporating the Scottish lion pierced through the mouth with an arrow [7] within a double tressure flory-counterflory-gules, an emblem of the Scottish royal arms granted by Scottish kings on rare occasions as a special mark of favour. The grant to Howard was thus a blatant heraldic insult to the kings of Scotland. On 1 February 1514, Howard's father, then Earl of Surrey, was created Duke of Norfolk (technically a new creation, but treated for all practical purposes as a recreation of the forfeited title previously held by his father), and by letters patent issued on the same day, Howard was created Earl of Surrey. Both were granted lands in support of their new dignities, although Henry, ever cautious of rivals, scattered the grants across the realm to prevent a Howard landed base in East Anglia. Over the next few years, the younger Thomas Howard served King Henry VIII in a variety of ways. In September 1514, he escorted the King's sister Mary to France for her forthcoming marriage to King Louis XII of France. In 1517, he quelled a May Day riot in London with the use of soldiers.[6][2]

Rise to power


On 10 March 1520[8] Howard was appointed Lord Deputy of Ireland. By July 1520, he entered upon the thankless task of endeavouring to keep Ireland in order. His letters contain accounts of attempts to pacify the rival factions of the Earl of Kildare and the Earl of Ormonde, and are full of demands for more money and troops.[9]

At the end of 1521 Surrey was recalled from Ireland to take command of the English fleet in naval operations against France. His ships were ill-provisioned, and his attack consisted of a series of raids near the French coast for the purpose of inflicting as much damage as possible on the French navy. Howard's ships besieged the strategic port of Brest but when he abandoned the siege, he left Vice-Admiral William FitzWilliam on station to blockade the port. The English navy patrolled the Brittany coast for the next three months, but was unable to gain a decisive victory even with their Spanish allies. In July 1522, the forces commanded by Surrey burned Morlaix, and over the next few months razed everything around Boulogne, until the winter caused the fleet to withdraw to England. The sea patrol was abandoned with little achieved.[6][10]

On 4 December 1522, Howard was made Lord Treasurer upon his father's resignation of the office, and on 21 May 1524, he succeeded his father as Duke of Norfolk.[2] His liking for war brought him into conflict with Cardinal Thomas Wolsey, who preferred diplomacy in the conduct of foreign affairs. In 1523, Wolsey had secured to the Duke of Suffolk the reversion of the office of Earl Marshal by Howard's father, and in 1525, he was replaced as Lord Admiral by Henry FitzRoy, Duke of Richmond, the King's illegitimate but acknowledged son, who a few years later became Norfolk's son-in-law. Finding himself pushed aside, Howard spent considerable time away from court between 1525 and 1527–28.[2]

In the mid-1520s, Howard's niece, Anne Boleyn, had caught the eye of King Henry VIII,[11] thereby reviving his political fortunes with his involvement in the King's attempt to annul his marriage to Catherine of Aragon. By 1529, matters of state were being increasingly handled by Norfolk, his brother-in-law Thomas Boleyn, and the Duke of Suffolk, who pressed King Henry VIII to remove Cardinal Wolsey. In October, the King sent Howard and the Duke of Suffolk to obtain the great seal from the Cardinal.

In early 1530, Anne Boleyn was promoting a marriage between her first cousin and eldest son of Norfolk, Henry Howard, Earl of Surrey and the King's daughter, Princess Mary. The Duke was enthusiastic about the match as it might give him greater political influence at court and put his family closer to the throne. Boleyn may have considered the match to be a way of neutralising the threat Mary posed to the succession of any children Anne might have by the King. But she changed her mind, fearing that the Duke could use the match to support Mary's claim to the throne as well as supporting Catherine of Aragon in the annulment proceedings which were still continuing, and thereby prevent the Church of England's break from Rome. By October 1530, Boleyn persuaded her reluctant uncle to arrange instead for Surrey to marry Frances de Vere, one of the daughters of John de Vere, 15th Earl of Oxford with his second wife, Elizabeth Trussell.[12]

In November 1530, Wolsey was arrested but while on his way from York to London the Cardinal became seriously ill and died in Leicester.[13] Howard benefited from Wolsey's fall, becoming the King's leading councillor and applying himself energetically in the King's efforts to find a way out of his marriage to Queen Catherine.

Later career

Sketch of the grave of the 2nd Duke of Norfolk, as it probably looked at Thetford Priory. After the Priory Church was closed in 1540, the 3rd Duke had his father's remains moved to Framlingham Church

Assisting the King in the annulment of his first marriage, added to his extensive loyalty and services to the Crown, brought Howard extensive rewards in the form of monastic lands in Norfolk and Suffolk, employment on diplomatic missions, and being named a knight of the French Order of St Michael in 1532 and Earl Marshal of England on 28 May 1533. In November of that same year, his daughter Mary married the Duke of Richmond, a union that was politically advantageous to Norfolk. Because as Henry VIII did not yet have a legitimate male heir and Princess Mary had been removed from the line of succession, Richmond was seen by many as a potential heir to the throne. The marriage was never consummated by order of the King due to the youth of the couple, and it was then cut short by FitzRoy's death in 1536.[14] [15]

Thomas Howard's marriage to his second wife, Lady Elizabeth Stafford, which had apparently been mutually affectionate at first, deteriorated in 1527 when he took a mistress, Elizabeth Holland (died 1547/8), whom he installed in the Howard household. Lady Elizabeth formally separated from her husband in the 1530s. She claimed that in March 1534, the Duke of Norfolk 'locked me up in a chamber, [and] took away my jewels and apparel'. Howard then moved her to Redbourn, Hertfordshire, where she lived as an actual prisoner with a meagre annual allowance of only £200. She also claimed to have been physically maltreated by Howard and his household servants.[16]

On 10 March 1536, the Earl of Surrey’s eldest son Thomas was born. On 2 May of the same year, Anne Boleyn and her brother Viscount Rochford were arrested by order of the King. They were tried in the great hall of the Tower of London. Norfolk presided over the trial as Lord High Steward. The Boleyn siblings were sentenced to death; Rochford was executed on 17 May, and Anne two days later.[2] Following his niece's fall from grace, Howard's power and influence at court waned for a time.

In July, the Duke of Richmond, Norfolk's only son-in-law, died at the age of 17 and was buried at Thetford Priory, one of the Howard properties.[17]

When the Pilgrimage of Grace broke out in Lincolnshire and the northern counties in October 1536 in response to the government-sponsored suppression of monasteries and abbeys across England, Norfolk and his eldest son, the Earl of Surrey shared command of the King's forces with the Earl of Shrewsbury. The Howards and Shrewsbury opened negotiations with the main leader of the insurgents, Robert Aske at Scawsby Leys, near Doncaster, where Aske had assembled between 30,000 and 40,000 people.[18] The 24 Articles to the King, also called "The Commons' Petition", was given to Norfolk to present to the King. The Duke promised to do so, and also promised a general pardon for the rebels, that Parliament would meet in York in a year, and another pardon, this time directed at the abbeys until the Parliament had met. Jesse Childs (a biographer of the Earl of Surrey, Norfolk's son) specifically notes that Henry VIII did not authorise Norfolk to grant remedies for the grievances. The Duke's enemies had told the King that the Howards could put down a rebellion of peasants if they wanted to, suggesting that Norfolk, being Catholic, sympathised with the Pilgrimage. Howard and Shrewsbury were outnumbered: they had between 5,000 and 7,000 men but there were more than 40,000 rebels. Upon seeing their numbers, Norfolk negotiated and made promises to avoid being massacred by insurgent forces.[18] However, the promises of both the King and Parliament were never fulfilled and in January 1537 Bigod's rebellion broke out. In response to this, forces led by Norfolk headed to the north of England, where they carried out a policy of brutal repression on behalf of the King, despite the fact that the Duke himself was a Catholic.[2]

In 1539, Norfolk, who was a conservative, was seriously challenging the reformist religious policies of the King's chief minister, Thomas Cromwell. In that year, Henry VIII sought to have Parliament put an end to diversity in religious opinion. On 5 May, the House of Lords appointed a committee to consider questions of doctrine. Although he was not a member of the committee, on 16 May, Howard presented six conservative articles of religion to Parliament for consideration. On 30 May, the Six Articles and the penalties for failure to conform to them were enacted into law, and on 28 June, received royal assent.[2]

In February 1540,[19] Norfolk tried to save Thetford Priory from closure, petitioning Henry VIII for the Priory's church to become a collegiate church on the grounds that not only Anne of York, Howard's first wife and aunt to the King, but also the monarch's illegitimate son, the Duke of Richmond, were buried there. The Dean was to be Prior William Ixworth, and the six prebendaries and eight secular canons to be the monks of the former house. The request had no effect. The same request was made to the King by other nobles, and he refused them all; at the same time however, Henry VIII ordered that the dissolution of the monasteries be briefly suspended, so that everyone who wished had time to rebury the remains of their relations.[20] Howard moved those of his own relations to the Church of St Michael the Archangel, Framlingham.[21][22] After the dissolution of the monastic church, the lands were given to the Duke.[23]

On 29 June 1539, Howard, the Duke of Suffolk and Cromwell dined with the King as guests of the Archbishop of Canterbury, Thomas Cranmer at Lambeth Palace. During a heated discussion about Cardinal Wolsey, Cromwell charged Thomas Howard with disloyalty; Howard in turn called Cromwell a liar. Their mutual hostility was now out in the open.[2] Cromwell inadvertently played into Howard's hands by taking the initiative in the King's marriage to Anne of Cleves. The King's disillusionment with Anne's physical appearance when he met her, and his desire to have the marriage annulled after the wedding had taken place, gave Howard an opportunity to bring down Cromwell.[24] On 10 June 1540 Cromwell was arrested at a Privy Council meeting on charges of high treason, and the Duke of Norfolk snatched the St George's collar (insignia of the Order of the Garter) from Cromwell's shoulders, saying: "A traitor must not wear it".[25][26] On 9 July, King Henry's marriage to Anne of Cleves was annulled.[2] By then Catherine Howard,[27] another of the Duke's nieces, had already caught the King's eye. Henry and Catherine were married at a private ceremony at Oatlands on 28 July, the same day that Cromwell was executed.[28] As a result of this marriage, for a time, Howard enjoyed political prominence and material rewards. According to Nicholas Sander, the religiously conservative Howards may have seen Catherine as a figurehead for a fight to restore Catholicism in England.[29]

Despite the fact that the King was much in love with Catherine,[30] referring to her as his "rose without a thorn", the marriage quickly came to a disastrous end. While Henry and Queen Catherine were on progress during the autumn of 1541, the religious reformer John Lassells and his sister Mary Hall told Archbishop Cranmer of the Queen's premarital sexual indiscretions.[31] On 1 November 1541 Cranmer revealed Queen Catherine's extramarital behaviour in a letter to the King, who vented his wrath on the Howard family, accusing them of concealing the Queen's misconduct.[2] Catherine was condemned by a bill of attainder and was executed on 13 February 1542. Various members of the Duke's family were punished, including his daughter Mary, his stepmother the widowed Duchess of Norfolk, and the latter's son William Howard, who was Thomas's half-brother.[32][33] Norfolk tried to detach himself from the situation by retiring to his residence at Kenninghall, from where he wrote a letter of apology to the King blaming both his niece and his stepmother for the scandal.[34] However, the French ambassador Marillac wrote on 17 January 1542, that the Duke had not only escaped punishment, but had apparently been restored to his "full former credit and authority".[2]

Howard was appointed Lieutenant-General north of the River Trent on 29 January 1541, and Captain-General in a campaign against the Scots in August 1542. In June 1543, he declared war on France in the King's name and was appointed Lieutenant-General of the army. During the campaign of May–October 1544, he besieged Montreuil, while King Henry VIII captured Boulogne, before returning home. Complaining of lack of provisions and munitions, Howard eventually raised the siege of Montreuil, and realising that Boulogne could not realistically be held by the English for long, he left it garrisoned and withdrew to Calais, for which he was severely rebuked by the King.[2]

Imprisonment and release


During the last years of the reign of Henry VIII, the Seymour family, and the King's last wife, Catherine Parr, supporters of the Reformation, were gaining greater power and influence at court while conservative Norfolk was left politically isolated. Howard attempted to form an alliance with the Seymours by marrying his widowed daughter, Mary to Thomas Seymour, 1st Baron Seymour of Sudeley,[2] but all his efforts were in vain due to the provocative behaviour of his eldest son and heir, the Earl of Surrey, who was accused of assuming the royal arms of Edward the Confessor as part of his personal heraldry.[35] On 12 December 1546 both Norfolk and his son were arrested and sent to the Tower.

In the early morning of 14 December, Howard's residence in Kenninghall was raided by Richard Southwell, John Gates and Wymond Carew, looking for evidence of Surrey’s treason. Arriving at the house, the men found the Duke's daughter, Mary, his daughter-in-law Frances, who was pregnant with their fifth child, and Norfolk's mistress, Bess Holland, alone in the home. Southwell and his companions arrived, placed men at all the doors and sent for the Duchess of Richmond and Bess Holland, 'who were only just risen', Southwell reported.[2]

The fate of Norfolk's personal property is well documented, for the inventories drawn up at the time of his arrest were annotated as goods were sold or given away.[2]

On 24 December, the elder Howard acknowledged that he had "concealed high treason, in keeping secret the false acts of my son, Henry Earl of Surrey, in using the arms of St. Edward the Confessor, which pertain only to kings", and offered his lands to the King.[36] Although the arms of their ancestor, Thomas de Mowbray, 1st Duke of Norfolk (1397 creation), show that Surrey was entitled to bear Edward the Confessor's arms, doing so was an act of pride, and provocative in the eyes of the Crown.[37]

There were also religious motives behind Surrey's fall from grace and Norfolk's imprisonment. The Duke was the premier Catholic nobleman of England and his son was also a Catholic, although he had reformist leanings. Henry VIII, possibly influenced by the Seymours, supporters of Protestantism, believed that Norfolk and Surrey were going to usurp the Crown from his son, the future Edward VI to reverse the Reformation and thus return the English Church to papal jurisdiction.[38] Norfolk's family, including his estranged wife, his daughter Mary, and his mistress, Elizabeth Holland, all gave evidence against him. His son was convicted of treason and executed on 19 January 1547,[35] and on 27 January 1547, the Howards, father and son, were attainted by statute. The dying King gave his assent to the Duke's death through royal commissioners, and it was rumoured that he would be executed on the following day. Norfolk was saved due to the King's death in the early morning of 28 January and the Council's decision not to inaugurate the new reign with bloodshed, but remained a prisoner in the Tower of London. His estates fell prey to the ruling clique in the reign of King Edward VI, for which he was later partly compensated by lands worth £1,626 a year from Queen Mary I.[2]

Duke of Norfolk's Restitution Act 1553
Act of Parliament
Long titleAn act declaring the attainder of the duke of Norfolk.
Citation1 Mar. Sess. 2. c. 13
Royal assent5 December 1553
Other legislation
Repeals/revokes38 Hen. 8. c. 1

Howard remained in the Tower throughout the reign of Edward VI, being released and pardoned along with the Bishop of Winchester Stephen Gardiner, after the accession of the Catholic Queen Mary I in July 1553. He was appointed to the Privy Council, and presided as Lord High Steward at the trial of the Duke of Northumberland on 18 August.[2] He was also restored to the office of Earl Marshal and officiated in that capacity at Mary's coronation on 1 October 1553.[39] In Mary's first parliament (October–December of that year), Howard's attainder was declared void, thereby restoring him to the dukedom and its subsidiary titles.[40] Because Norfolk's son Henry Howard was dead, the courtesy title of Earl of Surrey, which had been left vacant since the execution of Henry six years earlier, devolved upon Henry Howard's eldest son Thomas, who was now the Duke's heir-apparent.

Shortly after his release, Howard took over the care of his five grandchildren, the Earl of Surrey's children, who up to that time had been under the tutelage of John Foxe. Howard dismissed him (Foxe soon went into exile to various countries in continental Europe to escape anti-Protestant measures taken by Queen Mary). Shortly after dismissing Foxe, Howard reassigned the education of his grandson and heir Thomas, to Bishop Gardiner, now Lord Chancellor to Queen Mary.[2] Shortly afterwards, however, the Duke once again reassigned the education of his heir, and that of his other grandson Henry, this time to the Catholic priest John White who was soon elected to be Bishop of Lincoln.[2]

In late 1553, Howard arranged for a marriage between Thomas and Mary FitzAlan, one of the daughters of the Earl of Arundel, with the aim of uniting the two most prominent Catholic families in England.[40] In early 1554 the elderly Norfolk carried out his last service to the Crown by leading some of the forces which put down Wyatt's Rebellion, a group of disaffected Protestant gentlemen who opposed the Queen's projected marriage to Philip II of Spain.[41][42]

Death and burial

Tomb of Thomas Howard, 3rd Duke of Norfolk and Anne of York in the Church of St Michael the Archangel, Framlingham

The Duke died at his Kenninghall residence on 25 August 1554 after several weeks in which his health gradually declined.[2] Norfolk was buried in the Church of St Michael the Archangel, Framlingham, Suffolk, where his spectacular tomb, richly decorated with religious iconography and with heraldic lions that hold the coats of arms of both the Howard family and the House of York, because Anne of York, the Duke's first wife, was buried in the same tomb.

The religious representations on Howard's tomb are of the twelve Apostles and some of the oldest Christian saints. On the south side are St Matthew the Evangelist, St James the Great, St James the Less and St Andrew; on the west St Peter, the Prophet Aaron and St Paul; on the north St Matthias, St Jude Thaddeus, Simon the Zealot (also known as Simon the Canaanite) and St Philip; and on the east St John the Evangelist, Simeon of Jerusalem and St Thomas.[43]

Parts of the tomb are believed to be parts of the 2nd Duke's tomb, which was located at Thetford and was destroyed when the Priory was closed. The remains of two other men in the tomb are likely the first and second Dukes.[44]

The effigy of Howard is to the left of that of his first wife, rather than the usual right, due to the latter's royal lineage.[45] He was succeeded as Duke and as Earl Marshal by his grandson, Thomas Howard, 4th Duke of Norfolk.

Marriage and progeny


Thomas Howard married twice:

Henry, Mary and Thomas, children of Norfolk and Elizabeth Stafford
  • First he married the Princess Anne of York (1475–1511), the fifth daughter of King Edward IV of England and Elizabeth Woodville, and the sister-in-law of King Henry VII. Anne had previously been betrothed to the Austrian Prince Philip, son of the Archduke Maximilian of Austria, but the marriage negotiations were cancelled in 1483, after the death of Edward IV.[46][22] Thomas and the Princess were distantly related, as both were descendants of King Edward I. Howard was descended from Thomas of Brotherton, the fourth son of Edward I, while Anne was descended from King Edward II, Brotherton's half-brother. Arrangements for the marriage between the Princess and Thomas began in March 1484, shortly after she and her six sisters were reinstated at the court of their uncle, Richard III, by an agreement between the King and his sister-in-law, and mother of the girls, the Dowager Queen Elizabeth. The monarch, at that time, promised that his nieces would not be imprisoned in the Tower or any other prison and that they would be placed "in respectable places of good name and reputation", and later be married to "men of noble birth" and given dowry lands with an annual income of 200 marks each.[47][48] Shortly after the deal was sealed and the princesses arrived at court, the King began searching for suitable husbands for his nieces: for Anne he chose Thomas Howard. By choosing the son and heir of the Earl of Surrey and second-in-line to the Dukedom of Norfolk, he showed his favour to the Howard family.[49] This was a politically advantageous match on both sides. The following year, in 1485, and when Anne and Thomas were still children, Richard III and the Earl of Surrey agreed to the marriage contract,[50][49] but the King did not have time to formalize the marriage due to the invasion from Wales of the Lancastrian claimant to the throne, Henry Tudor, and then marriage negotiations were suspended following the monarch's death at the Battle of Bosworth. A few years later, Elizabeth of York, eldest sister of the Princess and now wife of the new King Henry VII, resumed negotiations for Anne to marry Thomas. The princess and her future husband had known each other since childhood as both Howard's father and grandfather served at the court of Edward IV.[51] The queen took into account the opinion of her sister and considered that the Howard family were noble enough to qualify for a high marriage, and therefore on 4 February 1495 (according to other sources in 1494[21][22]) the wedding of Anne and Thomas Howard was celebrated.[21][22][49][52] The wedding took place in Westminster Abbey,[49] and the marriage celebrations took place at the Palace of Placentia.[21][22] The royal family attended the wedding, and the king also attended a festive mass, but the dowry of 10,000 marks, assigned to Anne by her father was not received by the newlyweds.[52] By order of the queen, the couple were assigned annuity payments in the amount of £120 per year,[49] which were to be made throughout Anne's life or until the death of her mother-in-law:[53] this amount included provision for the maintenance of Anne herself, as well as her servants[54] and seven horses.[53] This pension was granted because the queen did not want to leave Anne dependent on her husband, who due to his circumstances, could not provide the princess with a comfortable existence suitable to her royal rank.[54] Since the groom's father had received only part of the family estate following the Battle of Bosworth, and this had no residence suitable for a woman of royal blood, the newlyweds received the right to use the estates located in the possessions of the Duke of York and the Marquess of Dorset, Anne's nephew and half-brother respectively.[55] In return, the queen required that in the event of the death of Howard's father the Earl of Surrey or his wife (a wealthy heiress), Anne's interests should be taken into account on an equal basis with the interests of her husband. The king allocated his new sister-in-law another £26 per year from Crown lands.[53] By Anne, he had four children, none of whom survived to adulthood.[56][57] Anne died in November 1511, being buried in the first instance in Thetford Priory, then the burial place and mausoleum of members of the Howard family. When the Priory was closed during the Reformation, her remains were moved to St Michael the Archangel's Church, Framlingham, Suffolk.

As dowager duchess, Elizabeth survived a few years after her husband's death, dying in November 1558. She was buried in the Church of St Mary-at-Lambeth, Surrey.

Fictional portrayals




Norfolk is an important character in:



Family tree



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  3. ^ Waugh 2004.
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  8. ^ Ellis, Steven (1985). Tudor Ireland. Longman. pp. 19–109.
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  21. ^ a b c d Weir 2011, p. 139.
  22. ^ a b c d e Panton 2011, p. 51.
  23. ^ "Houses of Cluniac monks: The priory of St Mary, Thetford.", A History of the County of Norfolk Volume 2. (William Page, ed.) London: Victoria County History, 1906. 363–369. British History Online. 2 September 2022
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  25. ^ Angus 2022, p. 220.
  26. ^ MacCulloch 2018, p. 525.
  27. ^ Weir 1992, pp. 413–414
  28. ^ Weir 1992, pp. 419, 428
  29. ^ Weir 2001a, pp. 432–433.
  30. ^ Weir 1992, pp. 435–436
  31. ^ Weir 1992, p. 468
  32. ^ Warnicke 2008.
  33. ^ Weir 1992, pp. 474–475; Richardson 2004, p. 237; McDermott 2008
  34. ^ Weir 1992, p. 474.
  35. ^ a b Brigden 2008.
  36. ^ Herbert of Cherbury, Edward (1649). The Life and Raigne of King Henry the Eight. pp. 562–64.
  37. ^ The Heraldic Charge Against the Earl of Surrey, Peter R. Moore, English Historical Review, Volume CXVI, pages 557 to 583, (2001).
  38. ^ Weir 2001a, pp. 434–435.
  39. ^ James Robinson Planché, Regal Records: Or, A Chronicle of the Coronations of the Queens Regnant (London, 1838), p. 6.
  40. ^ a b Graves 2008a.
  41. ^ Archer 2006.
  42. ^ Chisholm 1911, p. 743.
  43. ^ "Historical Tombs".
  44. ^ "Historical Tombs".
  45. ^ "The Howard Tombs at Framlingham: More Tales from Inside the Vaults". 18 January 2020.
  46. ^ Everett Green 1852, p. 3.
  47. ^ Ustinov 2015, pp. 214–215.
  48. ^ Horrox, Rosemary (2004). "Cecily, Viscountess Welles (1469–1507)". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (online) (online ed.). Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/4984. (Subscription or UK public library membership required.)
  49. ^ a b c d e Creighton 1891, p. 64.
  50. ^ Everett Green 1852, pp. 5.
  51. ^ Everett Green 1852, pp. 6–7.
  52. ^ a b Everett Green 1852, p. 7.
  53. ^ a b c Everett Green 1852, p. 9.
  54. ^ a b Everett Green 1852, p. 8.
  55. ^ Everett Green 1852, pp. 7–8.
  56. ^ Graves 2008; Horrox 2006
  57. ^ Some sources, for example Douglas Richardson, state that they had an only son, Thomas.
  58. ^ Wood 1846, p. 361; Harris 2002, p. 57; Richardson 2011, pp. 416–17.
  59. ^ Graves 2008
  60. ^ Knafla 2008.
  61. ^ Cokayne 1926, p. 584.





Further reading

  • Harris, Barbara (Spring 1982). "Marriage Sixteenth-Century Style: Elizabeth Stafford and the Third Duke of Norfolk". Journal of Social History. 15 (3): 371–82. doi:10.1353/jsh/15.3.371. JSTOR 3787153.
Political offices
Preceded by Lord High Admiral
Succeeded by
Preceded by Lord High Treasurer
Succeeded by
Preceded by Earl Marshal
Succeeded by
Preceded by Earl Marshal
Succeeded by
Peerage of England
Preceded by Duke of Norfolk
3rd creation
Succeeded by
Earl of Surrey
3rd creation