08 March 2015

Today's Princess: Anne Morgan

By Henry Bone via Wikimedia Commons
If you have ever read or seen The Other Boleyn Girl, then you know that King Henry VIII had a son with Anne Boleyn's older sister Mary. Actually, this is historical fiction and it is debated whether Mary's son, named Henry Carey was the son of the king or of her husband. One thing is certain: even if he was not Queen Elizabeth I's half-brother, he was definitely her first cousin. So, it is not surprising that we should find his family among her close courtiers and ladies.

Henry married Anne Morgan (c. 1529-1607) when she was about 16. Of Welsh descent, she hailed from Herefordshire. About a dozen years later, Carey was raised to the peerage, and Anne became the Baroness Hunsdon. Anne was made a lady of Queen Elizabeth's bedchamber and Carey was appointed to her personal bodyguard.

Their family seemed to have thrived under these conditions. They had a total of 12 children, seven of whom survived to adulthood. Their daughters all married into the peerage and one of their sons was created a peer himself.

Despite the many honors Elizabeth heaped upon Carey, including a generous annual pension, Carey died penniless in 1596. On his deathbed, The Queen offered to give him the Boleyn family title of Earl of Wiltshire, but he refused it. Instead, she paid for his funeral and continued paying a pension to Anne. Together with her oldest son, Anne erected an elaborate family monument in Westminster Abbey, where she was buried next to her husband about ten years later, having survived through four Tudor monarchs (five if you count Lady Jane) and well into the reign of the first Stuart king. A feat in itself for many Tudor courtiers.

For more about Anne:
A Historical Novelist's Confession by P.F. Chisholm on Reading the Past
Henry Carey, Lord Hunsdon & Family on Westminster Abbey

Historical fiction featuring Anne:


  1. Hi, I am doing a book on their oldest daughter Catherine Carey (Howard) and I would love to know if, Anne Morgan had any brothers or sisters? Thank you so much is advance! If you could reply that would be a big help! :)

  2. Thank you for reading! I did a little bit of geneology research on your question and could not find anything conclusive. It appears that she may have had a sister named Sybilla and a brother named Thomas (like her father) but it may just be wishful thinking on the part of amateur geneologists trying to link to a famous name. Records of this time period are notoriously elusive. More than 70,000 people claim relationship to Anne Morgan on Ancestry.com! This is entirely possible but the likelihood that they are all correct is not high. I am not finding solid records to confirm this sibling relationship.