Anne of Brittany

Anne of Brittany was the last sovereign duchess of Brittany, who tried, but failed, to maintain her duchy’s independence. 

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  • On This Day 16th January 1585

    On 16th January 1585 Edward Fiennes de Clinton, Earl of Lincoln, died. His name is not widely recognised today, but he was an important member of the Tudor Court. His career was largely in the burgeoning navy – seeing action against the French and Scots in the 1540s, particularly naval support for the Battle of Pinkie. He was appointed Lord High Admiral under both Edward VI and Elizabeth I – the hiatus under Mary suggests he was an evangelical Protestant. Perhaps most interesting was his marital career. His first wife was Elizabeth (Bessie) Blount who had born Henry VIII his only acknowledged illegitimate child. He and Elizabeth had three children, and he had a further six by his second wife, Ursula Stourton. His third wife was Elizabeth FitzGerald, daughter of 9th Earl of Kildare, and forever immortalised as the Earl of Surrey’s ‘Fair Geraldine’. She was a close friend of Elizabeth I.

    Picture is of Edward Fiennes de Clinton as a young man, by Holbein

  • On This Day 15th January 1569

    On 15th January 1569 Katherine Carey, Lady Knollys, died. She had been ailing for some time, and her husband, Sir Francis, was desperately upset that he had not been able to be with her. Instead, he was at Bolton Castle, guarding Mary, Queen of Scots. Lady Knollys was born in 1524. Her mother, Mary Boleyn, at some time was the mistress of Henry VIII, and there has been speculation that Katherine was his daughter. Since no-one knows exactly when Mary was Henry’s mistress, nor for how long, it can be no more than a theory. Legally, her father was Sir William Carey. As was customary, Katherine was married young, aged 15 or 16. Her husband was around 13 years older, but they were happy together, and had twelve children who survived infancy. Katherine and her husband were evangelical Protestants, so they left England when Mary I reintroduced Catholicism, and went to Geneva. On their return at the accession of Katherine’s cousin, Elizabeth I, she was appointed a Lady of the Bedchamber. Elizabeth was extremely fond of her, and very upset when she died.

    Picture is Katherine Carey, Lady Knollys, by Steven van de Meulen

  • On This Day 14th January 1526

    On 14th January 1526, François I of France and Emperor Charles V signed the Treaty of Madrid. François claimed later it was done under duress, and, in fact, he had little choice. His forces had been completely defeated by Charles at the Battle of Pavia, and François himself captured. In summary, the terms of the Treaty were that François would cede his claim to the Duchy of Milan, and to the Burgundian territories which had been denied to Charles’ grandmother, Mary of Burgundy, because French law would not recognise female succession. Francois was obliged to offer up his two sons as hostages, and agree to marry Charles’s sister, Eleonor, the widowed Queen of Portugal. As soon as he was safe in France, François repudiated the treaty.

    Picture is François I by Jean Clouet

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