Children: Catherine Carey, Countess of Nottingham 1547-1602 /George Carey, 2nd Baron Hunsdon 1547-1603 / John Carey, 3rd Baron Hunsdon ?-1617 / Henry Carey / Thomas Carey / William Carey / Thomas Carey / Edmund Carey c.1558-1637 / Robert Carey, 1st Earl of Monmouth 1560-1639 / Margaret Hoby c.1567-1605 / Philadelphia Scrope, Baroness Scrope of Bolton c.1552-1627
Parents: Mary Boleyn c.1499-1543 & William Carey c.1500-1528
Siblings: Catherine Knollys c.1524-1569
Noble Connections: Henry’s mother, Mary Boleyn, was the mistress of Henry VIII. His aunt, Anne Boleyn, became the second wife of Henry VIII, and his cousin, Elizabeth I became queen. His grandfather was Thomas Boleyn, Earl of Wiltshire and Ormond and his great-uncle was Thomas Howard, 3rd Duke of Norfolk.
Controversy: It has been suggested that Henry Carey and his sister, Catherine, were actually the children of Henry VIII by his mistress, Mary Boleyn. This has never been proven and Henry never acknowledged either of them. It is now generally accepted that Henry was likely the son of William Carey, while Catherine is the one of the siblings more likely to have been the king’s, but we’ll probably never know. For a breakdown of the arguments see my previous blog post here.
Works of Fiction:
P.F. Chisholm – ‘A Famine of Horses’ (2016)
Portrayals on Screen:
Kelly Hart – ‘The Mistresses of Henry VIII’ (2009)
Philippa Jones – ‘The Other Tudors: Henry VIII’s Mistresses and Bastards’ (2009)
Amy Licence – ‘The Six Wives and Many Mistresses of Henry VIII’ (2014)
Alison Weir – ‘Mary Boleyn: The Great and Infamous Whore’ (2011)
Josephine Wilkinson – ‘Mary Boleyn: The True Story of Henry VIII’s Favourite Mistress’ (2010)
The wonderful Claire Miles (aka Hisdoryan) has done a series on royal mistresses, and rates them all according to various criteria like power, beauty, longevity, and scandal. Ratings for Mary Boleyn from Hisdoryan’s blog as below:
One thing Mary Boleyn did not have was power. If it wasn’t for rise of her sister Anne, she would probably have become another footnote in history.
Of course there’s lots written about Anne Boleyn and her striking appearance – but the little that is written about Mary suggests she was the prettier of the two sisters by the standards of the time. However, there is some debate amongst historians about what she actually looked like. Some say she fitted the curvy, blonde-haired, blue-eyed ideals of beauty of the time. Others examine the one surviving portrait of her and say she was a brunette!
Mary and Henry’s relationship lasted for approximately three years. That may not seem like long in the scheme of things, but it was longer that some of Henry’s marriages!
We must also remember that Mary packed giving birth to two children into these three years too. And these children were both possible illegitimate offspring of Henry. She may not have been in Henry’s bed long, but she was certainly busy!
Mary Boleyn probably didn’t know the meaning of the word scandal – unlike her sister…
Overall Mistress Rating **
Poor Mary. Another woman that was a candidate for the footnotes of history – all because she conformed to the womanly ideals of the time in terms of subservience to men, and didn’t go about shouting about her affair and trying to make the most of it.
Children: Mary Stalker c.1541-1593 / Henry Knollys c.1542-1582 / Lettice, Countess of Essex and Leicester 1543-1634 / William, 1st Earl of Banbury c.1544-1632 / Edward Knollys 1546-1580 / Robert Knollys 1547-1626 / Richard Knollys 1548-1596 / Elizabeth Leighton 1549-c.1605 / Thomas Knollys d.1596 / Francis Knollys c.1552-1643 / Anne West 1555-1608 / Catherine Fitzgerald 1559-1620 / Margaret Knollys (unknown) / Dudley Knollys 1562 Continue reading “Spotlight: Catherine Carey, Lady Knollys”
Catherine and Henry Carey were the children of Mary Boleyn. Their parentage is questioned, as their father could be one of two men; either Mary Boleyn’s husband, William Carey, or her lover, King Henry VIII of England. This post will examine the evidence for each side, and look at the futures of the pair. Neither Henry nor Catherine were acknowledged by Henry VIII, unlike Henry Fitzroy, Henry VIII’s son by Bessie Blount. However, Mary Boleyn was already married, unlike Bessie Blount. If Mary was sleeping with both the King and her husband, then she herself may have been unsure of their paternity. Leanda de Lisle claims that there was no evidence at all to suggest that either of Mary Boleyn’s children were fathered by Henry VIII. Read on for my arguments and a summary of the ‘evidence’.