Catherine and Henry Carey: Children of Mary Boleyn


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.[1] 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.[2] Read on for my arguments and a summary of the ‘evidence’.

Arguments for the parentage of the Carey children

Catherine Carey by Steven Van Der Meulen 1562.
Catherine Carey by Steven Van Der Meulen 1562.

Catherine was born around 1524. Henry was born around 1525/6. Philippa Jones has these dates reversed, with Catherine in 1526 and Henry the elder, born in 1524.[3] However, I don’t believe Jones is correct, as there is more evidence for Catherine being the elder. Continue reading “Catherine and Henry Carey: Children of Mary Boleyn”

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