Marquess of Pembroke

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Marquess of Pembroke
Creation date1 September 1532
MonarchHenry VIII of England
PeeragePeerage of England
First holderAnne Boleyn
Last holderAnne Boleyn
Remainder tothe 1st Marquess's heirs male of the body (whether legitimate or illegitimate)
Extinction datedisputed between 28 May 1533, 15 May 1536 and 19 May 1536 (see the text)

Marquess of Pembroke was a title in the Peerage of England created by King Henry VIII for his future spouse Anne Boleyn. It was the first hereditary peerage granted to a woman.


The then extinct title of Earl of Pembroke had been very significant for the House of Tudor, it was held by Henry VIII's grand-uncle, Jasper Tudor, and it referred to the birthplace of King Henry VII. Henry VIII decided to raise his lover to the dignity of a marquess prior to finally marrying her and he chose to grant her the Marquessate of Pembroke.[1]


On Sunday, 1 September 1532, Anne Boleyn was granted the Marquessate of Pembroke and land, mostly in Wales, worth over £1,000; the investiture ceremony was performed by Henry VIII himself in Windsor Castle. The ceremony was an elaborate affair, witnessed by the highest ranking peers and clergy in the kingdom, including Thomas Boleyn, 1st Earl of Wiltshire and Thomas Howard, 3rd Duke of Norfolk, Anne's father and uncle respectively; Charles Brandon, 1st Duke of Suffolk (Henry's brother-in-law); Edward Lee, Archbishop of York; John Stokesley, Bishop of London; and Stephen Gardiner, Bishop of Winchester; the French ambassador was also present. The Bishop of Winchester read the patent of creation while Anne knelt before the King who then invested her with the coronet, the robe of estate and the charters of creation and of the lands.[2][3]

The sixteenth-century spelling of her title was often marquesse or marquess, sometimes lady marquesse; a feminine, like duchess, of the relatively rare title marquys.[4]


The marquessate was granted to Anne and her heirs male, but the patent did not include the usual provision that the said heirs male had to be of legitimate birth, thus enabling the title to pass to any illegitimate son Anne might have had; the attending peers did not fail to notice this unusual omission.[2][3][5]

End of the Marquessate[edit]

It is not clear how the Marquessate of Pembroke ceased to exist. There are three possibilities:

  • It may have merged with the Crown on the marriage of the Marquess to the King on 28 May 1533.[6]
  • It may have been forfeited on 15 May 1536, when Anne was declared guilty of high treason.[6]
  • It may have become extinct on Anne's death, without male heirs, on 19 May 1536.[6]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Loades, David (2006). Elizabeth I: A Life. Continuum International Publishing Group. ISBN 1-85285-520-7.
  2. ^ a b Warnicke, Retha (1991). The rise and fall of Anne Boleyn: family politics at the court of Henry VIII. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-521-40677-3.
  3. ^ a b Chapman, Hester (1974). The challenge of Anne Boleyn. Coward, McCann & Geoghegan. |access-date= requires |url= (help)
  4. ^ OED "Marquis" sense 3.; compare the quotation under "Marchioness": Cum‥Domina Anna, tunc Marchionissa Penbrochiæ, nunc vero Regina. See also Complete Peerage Vol. V, App. H
  5. ^ Bruce, Marie Louise (1972). Anne Boleyn. Coward, McCann & Geoghegan. |access-date= requires |url= (help)
  6. ^ a b c The Encyclopædia Britannica: a dictionary of arts, sciences, literature and general. Encyclopædia Britannica. 1911. |access-date= requires |url= (help)