Tag Archives: Lord Chamberlain

On this day in 1580 – William Herbert was born

William Herbert, 3rd Earl of Pembroke, was born on 8th April 1580 to Henry Herbert and his third wife Mary Sidney.

Herbert had a very lively relationship history in his teens he was betrothed to Bridget de Vere, granddaughter of William Cecil. The annuity could not be agreed and so the couple never married. He moved on to Mary Fitton and got her pregnant. Herbert refused to marry Mary and as a result was sent to the Fleet prison. The child was still born and Herbert petitioned Sir Robert Cecil to be released. Herbert was freed but barred from the court. Herbert eventually married Lady Mary Talbot in 1604.

Herbert became the Chancellor of the University of Oxford and went on to found the Pembroke College at Oxford. Although barred from court for a short time he became the constable of St Briavels n 1608 and then in 1615 served as Lord Chamberlain to the Queen.

Herbert’s most lasting memory comes from William Shakespeare. Herbert was a patron of Shakespeare and is considered to be one of the candidates for Shakespeare’s ‘Fair Youth’ that Shakespeare urged to marry. Shakespeare dedicated his sonnets to Mr W.H. Many argue that this is Herbert although another candidate for the dedications was Henry Wriothesley, 3rd Earl of Southampton. When Shakespeare’s first folio was published in 1623 it came with the dedication to the “incomparable pair of brethren” of William Herbert and his brother Philip.

Herbert was a keen supporter of the arts and along with Shakespeare he was also patron for the likes of Ben Johnson, John Donne and George Herbert.

Herbert died on 10th April 1630 and was buried in Salisbury Cathedral.

William Herbert

On this day in 1526 – Henry Carey, Baron Hundson, born

Henry Carey was born on 4th March 1526 to William Carey and Mary Boleyn.

His father died when he was just two years old. With the death her husband Mary found herself in financial difficulty. As Mary’s husband was a close courtier of Henry VIII and herself the King’s former mistress she wrote to the King for help. Henry did what he could and ensured that Mary received financial support from her father and helped further by granting her sister, Anne, wardship of her son Henry. Anne was chosen as she was in a position of financial security that she could help her struggling sister. Anne provided her nephew with the best education with him studying under Nicholas Bourbon, a renowned French poet and a fellow reformer. Anne was beheaded when Carey was only 10 years old.

Henry Carey received many royal appointments during adulthood. It began at the age of 21, in 1547, when he became a Member of Parliament for Buckinghamshire a role he repeated in 1554. Carey was highly honoured when his cousin, Elizabeth, ascended the throne. Elizabeth treated her Boleyn relatives well with Carey’s sister, Catherine, as one of Elizabeth’s closest ladies-in-waiting.

In 1558 Elizabeth created Carey Baron Hundson and he was granted properties in Herfordshire as well as Kent. In 1560 she appointed Carey to the role of Master of the Queen’s Hawks followed a year later by his induction to the Knights of the Garter.

In 1564 Elizabeth appointed Carey Captain of the Gentlemen Pensioners, which essentially meant that the four years that he spent in this role he was the Queen’s personal bodyguard. A role that helped his next appointment in 1568, when he was appointed Governor of Berwick-upon-Tweed in Northumberland. The role of Governor was not an easy one as less than a year in the position the nobles in the North were preparing to rise up against the crown. In February 1560 Carey defeated Lord Dacre, an event that helped bring an end to the rebellion.

As reward for his success Carey was awarded more prestigious positions on 31st July 1574 he became the Keeper of Somerset House, London, Elizabeth’s former residence. In 1577 he became a member of the Privy Council, advising Elizabeth on the politics and running of the country.

In 1585 Carey was granted the role of Lord Chamberlain of the Household, the most senior office in the Royal household. Whilst in this role he became the patron of the Lord Chamberlain’s Men, the acting company that was the home of William Shakespeare.

Henry Carey died at Somerset House on 23rd July 1596 and was buried in Westminster Abbey on the 12th August. Upon his death he left his family with debt that was acquired at the expense of serving the Queen. Due to this and the love she showed her relatives Elizabeth covered the costs of Carey’s funeral and granted his widow a one off payment along with a yearly pension from her Exchequer along with the keepership of Somerset House for the remainder of her life.

Henry Carey had a life having honours bestowed upon him by his cousin. His life has always been highly talked about from the moment he was born with constant rumours that his father was not William Carey but in fact Henry VIII’s illegitimate son with Mary Boleyn. It is known that Mary was the King’s mistress before he married her sister; Henry had to get a papal dispensation to marry Anne due to his previous relationship with Mary. Historians continue to argue for each side about the paternity of the Carey children. What do you think? Is Henry and his sister Catherine the children of Henry VIII or are they the children of a loving marriage between Mary and her husband William? Comment below with your thoughts.

Henry Carey

On this day in 1547 – George Carey, 2nd Baron Hunsdon, was born

George Carey was born on 26th February 1547 to Henry Carey, 1st Baron Hunsdon, and Anne Morgan. Henry Carey was the son of Mary Boleyn and if court rumour was to be believed the illegitimate child of Henry VIII. Regardless of whether this is true or not George Carey was the cousin of Elizabeth I.

In 1560 George Carey entered Trinity College, Cambridge. Carey later went on to have a successful military career fighting in the Northern Rebellion in 1569. The Northern Rebellion saw an unsuccessful attempt by Catholic lords to depose Queen Elizabeth I and replace her with Mary, Queen of Scots who they believed was the rightful heir to the English throne. Carey was praised for issuing and winning a challenge he issued to Lord Fleming, commander of Dunbar Castle, in single combat. As a result Carey was knighted for his bravery by Earl of Sussex.

Following his military career Carey made the move into politics and became a Member of Parliament for several terms and for different counties. He served for Hertfordshire in 1571 and Hampshire in 11584, 1586, 1588 and 1592. During his time as an MP Carey’s father died, in 1596, and George inherited the title of 2nd Baron Hunsdon and in 1597 he was also appointed Lord Chamberlain of the Royal Household, again following in his father’s footsteps.

Outside of Carey’s political career in his role as Lord Chamberlain he was a patron of the Lord Chamberlain’s Men, a theatre company that included the likes of Richard Burbage and William Shakespeare.

In 1597 Carey was invested as a Knight of the Garter, a prestigious event that was marked with, what is believed to be the first performance of Shakespeare’s ‘Merry Wives of Windsor’.

Carey spent 20 years of his life as governor of the Isle of Wight and during his time there he took command of the island’s defences during the Spanish Armarda.

George_Carey_by_Nicholas_Hilliard_1601

Carey died on 9th September 1603 from veneral disease and mercury poisoning. He was buried in Westminster Abbey in the Carey vault in the chapel of St John the Baptist.