Anne and George Boleyn, Children of Elizabeth Howard
George Boleyn died with four other men, collateral damage in Henry VIII's desire to remarry a more malleable wife, and to gain the son he valued above all else. George Boleyn's wife, Jane Parker Boleyn was beheaded with Anne and George Boleyn's cousin, Katherine Howard, the fourth wife of Henry VIII. There are records that indicate that she did not want to marry Henry, but felt she had no choice. That should give us pause to wonder if any of the women who ended up being mistresses and concubines of Kings and the sons of Kings or men of power felt they had no choice as well. How do you say, "No," to a King who could pose a threat to your family as well as yourself? Katherine Howard had already seen the fate of other women who failed to give Henry VIII a son and heir. I personally believe that Katherine Howard had the affair in an effort to save herself and her family from a despot who was obsessed and had begun to manifest the madness that was in the bloodline of Charles "the Mad." Katherine Howard knew, as did Anne Boleyn, that the only thing that could save their lives was giving birth to a male child. Henry VIII, at an estimated 400 pounds, morbidly obese and with festering sores, was not "up" to the task...and, yes, the pun is intended. Katherine Howard needed a son to save her life, in desperation, not desire, she turned to someone who offered the only possible solution to her plight. Thomas Culpepper risked his life, possibly to save hers.
Henry Howard, Earl of Surrey, Poet Extraordinary
Katherine Howard, Unwilling Queen
Katherine Howard, Anne Boleyn's First Cousin
It has always seemed more than odd that Henry VIII would marry two young women so closely related to each other, and have another first cousin, Mary Boleyn, as his mistress. Most of us do not believe in coincidence of this degree. According to the social mores of the time, Henry VIII became Katherine Howard's first cousin by marriage once he had married Anne Boleyn. Henry had become brother to Catherine of Aragon when his brother, Arthur married her. Hence, Henry VIII had to get a Papal Dispensation to marry his brother's widow from the Pope.. Additionally, Catherine had to swear that her marriage to Arthur was not consummated, thus allowing the Pope to annul the first marriage. Arthur required no such dispensation before marrying Catherine of Aragon. Later, the fickle Henry would use that relationship with his brother (formerly husband to Catherine) as cause to declare her daughter, Mary, a bastard.
We are told, from many primary sources, that Anne Boleyn, while very pretty, was not a "diamond of the first water." And, yet, Henry was obsessed with her being the mother of his son. Henry did not love her on her own merits, otherwise he would not have had her and her family executed, yet he wooed and tried to marry her while Anne, herself, procrastinated. Once Anne failed to give Henry his precious male heir, she was useless to him. Perhaps, she was a reminder that he, Henry, only had the Beaufort bloodline of John of Gaunt and his mistress, Kathryn Swynford, while Anne Boleyn and her family, including her Uncle, Thomas Howard, the Duke of Norfolk., carried the legitimate bloodline of the Lancastrians, descended from Eleanor Lancaster from the marriage of John of Gaunt to his beloved wife, Blanche of Lancaster. Lancastrians who had fought and died for the House of York. John Howard died fighting for Richard III at Bosworth Field. Henry Tudor was, supposedly, the last surviving descendent of John of Gaunt left standing. Apparently, a Lancastrian, fought for Richard III, King of England.
Anne Boleyn: Superior Bloodline to Henry VIII?
Is this the face of George Boleyn? You decide...
King Richard III's best friend, John Howard, Duke of Oxford
John Howard is remembered as Richard III's staunch supporter. When Richard III heard his friend had been killed at the Battle of Bosworth, he is said to have been demoralized. And, yet, John Howard's bloodline is that of a Lancastrian, fighting on the Yorkist side of the final battle of the Wars of the Roses. The Howards fought on the Yorkist side all through the bloody civil war between the opposing House of Lancaster bloodlines and that of the House of York. Following the law of primogeniture as explained in an earlier article, Richard III was the undeniable heir to the British Royal throne, despite speculation to the contrary.
The image below is, of course, Richard III, placing his Coronation Ring on his left ring-finger, in a gesture to emphasize his being married to his kingdom. It also shows his blue eyes and darkened blonde hair. "Richard III earliest surviving portrait" by Unknown artist; uploaded to wikipedia by Silverwhistle - Richard III Society website via English Wikipedia. Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons - http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Richard_III_earliest_surviving_portrait.jpg
Did Henry VIII Seek to Incorporate the Boleyn-Howard Lancastrian Bloodline in his Offspring?
As discussed in earlier articles on this site, the non-match of Richard III's Y chromosome is irrelevant in regards to his being the rightful heir. The House of York claimed the Right of Succession in the direct line, albeit female, of Edward III's second surviving son, Lionel of Antwerp, not through the lesser claim of the fourth son of Edward III, Edmund of Langley. Whether Richard had the paternal Y chromosome is of no consequence. The mitochondrial DNA match is the only one that matters. William I of Normandy bloodline came down through the mitochondrial line, through Matilda, Empress of England, mother of Henry II.
The Howard-Boleyn family carried the mitochondrial DNA of Eleanor of Lancaster, a direct descendent of William the Conqueror. Who was Geoffrey Plantagenet that would give his genes some degree of importance? Geoffrey was merely the Count of Anjou, in modern terms, he would be deemed a sperm donor for Henry I Beauclerc's only surviving child, a daughter, Matilda. Again, the mitochondrial, female, line of descent that passed on the all-important genes of William the Conqueror. The Plantagenet name only assumed importance when it was associated with the kings descended from William I, first Norman King of England. Its (the Plantagenet name) value is superfluous, since Henry II, son of Henry I, and Matilda Aetheling, Scotland, the Royal Bloodline has been carried down in a female line, from that point of time to the present.
So, let's look at the facts so far...
Howard Family Beheadings and Imprisonment
Thomas Howard 2nd Duke of Norfolk family
- Thomas Howard, 3rd Duke of Norfolk imprisoned in the Tower of London, sentenced to beheading, outlived Henry VIII, released after several years by Mary I Tudor, Queen of England
- Edmund Howard-Father of Katherine Howard, Queen of England, beheaded.
- Elizabeth Howard-married Thomas Boleyn two of their children beheaded.
- Lord Thomas Howard-Died in the Tower of London 1537
- Henry Howard, Earl of Surrey, poet, beheaded Tower of London 1547
- Mary Howard married Henry Fitzroy, illegitimate son of Henry VIII
- Mary Boleyn "mistress" of Henry VIII
- Anne Boleyn wife of Henry VIII Tower of London beheaded 1536
- George Boleyn Tower of London beheaded 1536
- Edward Stafford, Duke of Buckingham, beheaded Tower of London 1521 (Stafford took exception to Henry VIII sleeping with his sister) Stafford was Thomas Howard 3rd Duke of Norfolk's father-in-law
- Jane Boleyn wife of George Boleyn Tower of London beheaded 1542
- Catherine Howard wife of Henry VIII Tower of London beheaded 1542
- Rhys ap Gruffydd, husband of Katherine Howard, daughter of Thomas and Agnes Howard. Beheaded in 1531.
- Thomas Culpepper, cousin of Catherine Howard, beheaded.
The Lancastrian Duke Who Fought for Richard III and Died Fighting Beside Him at Bosworth Field
John Howard, Duke of Norfolk, was the Great, Great, Grandson of Eleanor Lancaster. That made John Howard the Great, Great, Great, Great, Great, Great grandson of Henry II, son of Matilda, and Matilda's consort, Geoffrey Plantagenet.
Henry VIII;s father Henry Tudor, was descended from Margaret Beaufort who claimed descent from John of Gaunt and his mistress, Kathryn Swynford. (The children of that union were later legitimatized by the Pope.) That made Henry VIII Tudor the Great, Great, Great, Great, Great, Great, Great, Great, Great, Great, Great grandson of Matilda, only surviving child and heir of Henry I.
That makes Henry Howard, Thomas Howard, son of Thomas Howard, Duke of Norfolk, Anne Boleyn, George Boleyn, Katherine Howard and so on the Great, Great, Great, Great, Great, Great, Great, Great grandson of Matilda, on the Lancastrian side. And, what reminded Henry VIII of that fact, every time he saw them? The genetically inherited "drooping eye" that was in the bloodline of William I, something that would announce their superior bloodline, not just to Henry, but to the world. Their claim, through the Lancastrian bloodline, was superior to that of Henry VIII who was more distanced from Matilda and Geoffrey Plantagenet. Yet, the Howards fought for Richard III, at the Battle of Bosworth.
John Howard, Duke of Norfolk, Loyal Companion to Richard III, King of England
Henry Howard, Earl of Surry, Last Victim of Henry VIII Tudor
This is just a theory, a product of my eclectic brain that gathers tiny pieces of information, while on automatic pilot, and, when all of the pieces fit, it presents me with the completed puzzle. The last piece to fit the whole picture seems to prove the theory beyond a doubt.
This painting of Henry Howard, Earl of Surrey, accused of treason because of a painting, along with his father, Thomas Howard, Duke of Norfolk, both sentenced to be beheaded at Tower Hill, both imprisoned in the Tower of London, Thomas Howard, Duke of Norfolk, father, surviving his son only because Henry VIII died before his execution could be carried out. The reason for the charges of treason? Look carefully at the painting... Henry Howard was displaying the Coat of Arms belonging to the Plantagenet bloodline. A Coat of Arms that Henry VIII used, a Coat of Arms, like the "drooping eyelid" that silently announced to the world, "I am of the Royal bloodline."
Henry Howard, Earl of Surry Died on Tower Hill
Banditqueen on November 10, 2018:
John Howard was Duke of Norfolk not Duke of Oxford.
There is no evidence that Katherine Howard was forced into or reluctant to marry Henry Viii. Henry courted her and offered her power, prestige and wealth and Katherine accepted her duty. She was not a fool and she had the best of both worlds.
Henry Viii did not want to execute the entire Howard family. He wanted to know who knew the truth about his wife and her past. They were arrested and interrogated and tried for misprison of treason. They were imprisoned and after months relessed. There is no evidence that he wanted them executed. No, he was not mad, his wife had been entertaining a lover in her rooms and intended to go further with him. Read Gareth Russell and Josephine Wilkinson and David Loades.
Setank Setunk on May 02, 2017:
I thought Robert Ford killed Thomas Howard? LOL. Just a little history joke.
Madness could explain away much of Henry's behavior but I believe he was mentally competent. Insecurity was probably his greatest motivation as King. As a quasi legitimate heir to the throne ( I would say illegitimate), Henry was driven by an all consuming need to establish a Line.
tudorqueen6 on October 05, 2016:
The info claiming that the Boleyns and Howards descend from John of Gaunt is incorrect. John of Gaunt and Blanche of Lancaster did not have a daughter named Eleanor. I believe you are referring to Eleanor of Lancaster, daughter of Henry, 3rd Earl of Lancaster. There is no "royal" Lancastrian blood in those families. You also incorrectly state that Henry Tudor was the last standing descendant of John of Gaunt. Henry was the heir to his mother, Margaret Beaufort, who was the heir to the Beaufort line. Henry Tudor married the York Princess Elizabeth, therefore, Henry VIII didn't just descend from the Beauforts--he had several ties to the dominant claim of the House of York through his mother, Elizabeth. There are quite a few things incorrect here. Also, there are no sources except Wikipedia! The portrait of "Katherine Howard" has obviously been photoshopped. That portrait is no longer labeled Katherine Howard. It is now generally accepted as Elizabeth Seymour, sister of Queen Jane!
zoetropo on June 12, 2016:
The Howards are also Fitz-Alans, a branch of the Stewarts by several marriages in different generations. Might help explain their continued Roman Catholicism to this very day. Actually how did they survive being prominently RC all this time?