Died: 20 Feb 1551/2
Buried: 28 Feb 1551, St. Paul Cathedral, London, Middlesex, England
Father: Thomas PARR of Kendal (Sir)
Mother: Maud GREEN
Married: William HERBERT (1° E. Pembroke)
1. Henry HERBERT (2º E. Pembroke)
2. Edward HERBERT (Sir)
3. Anne HERBERT
Anne Parr was born around 1514 to Sir Thomas Parr and his wife, Maud Green. She was the youngest child of Thomas and Maud; her older siblings, Catherine and William were born around 1512 and 1513, respectively.
Sir Thomas died of the sweating sickness in 1517, leaving Maud, only twenty-two years old, to fend for her three very young children. Maud decided to not remarry, so that she might retain her wealth left to her from her husband, and decided to devote her attention to her children. Maud Parr was a lady in waiting to Catalina of Aragon.
As the Parr children came of age, their mother made designs for them to marry well. William was the first, when he married Anne Bourchier in 1526. Anne was placed in Catalina of Aragon's household two years later as a lady-in-waiting. Anne's sister, Catherine, was married off to Baron Borough in 1529. That same year, their mother, Maud, died, and Anne became a ward of King Henry VIII.
After Henry's divorce from Catalina of Aragon and subsequent marriage to Anne Boleyn, the teenage Anne Parr remained in the King's household as a lady-in-waiting to the new Queen. Anne Parr remained as a lady-in-waiting to each of Henry VIII's wives, and is one of the few people to have been lady-in-waiting to all six.
By 1537, as 'Mrs Parr', Anne had become one of Jane Seymour's maidens. She was barely sixteen, sweet and, thanks to her mother's foresight, eminently marriageable. As we have seen, her father had left her a substantial marriage portion, to which her mother's will added 400 marks in plate and a third share of her jewels. The whole fortune, Lady Parr had directed, was to be securely chested up 'in coffers locked with divers locks, whereof every one of them my executors and my ... daughter Anne to have every of them a key'. 'And there', Lady Parr's will continued, 'it to remain till it ought to be delivered unto her' on her marriage.
She should not be confused with Lady Herbert of Troy, Blanche Milborne, who carried Elizabeth Tudor's train at the christening of Prince Edward, or Mrs. Fitzherbert, who was chief chamberer to Queen Jane and rode in her funeral cortege in 1537. Anne Parr was also in the cortege, but she was not yet Mrs. Herbert. Anne was still unmarried at the time of Jane's funeral in Oct and she may have remained so for another year or more. The marriage, everyone thought, would not be long delayed and there were repeated rumours of its imminence in the summer of 1537. 'I think Mrs Parr shall shortly fall [into marriage', John Hussee reported to Lady Lisle in Jun. 'Men thinketh Mrs Parr shall shortly marry', he wrote again in Aug. In early 1538, Anne married William Herbert.
The Herberts appeared to be in the King's favour, as for the next few years Anne and her husband received a succession of Royal grants which included the Abbey of Wilton in Wiltshire, and lands in the West Country. When King Henry took as his fourth wife Anne of Cleves, Anne returned to her role as maid-of-honour.
As Lady Herbert, she was keeper of the Queen’s jewels to Catherine Howard, although she left court briefly to give birth to her first child, Henry, in 1540. She was back at court in time to attend the disgraced Queen at Syon House and in the Tower. When her sister Catherine became Henry VIII’s sixth Queen in 1543, Anne returned to court. John Dudley, who was now Lord Admiral and Viscount Lisle, wrote to William Parr from Greenwich on 20 Jun: 'but that my Lady Latimer, your sister, and Mrs Herbert be both here at Court with my Lady Mary's Grace and my Lady Elizabeth'.
On the 12 Jul,
the ceremony took place in the Queen's Privy Closet at Hampton Court. This was
the more private of the Queen's two oratories. Similarly, the wedding itself was
a quiet, almost private affair. But it was by no means a hole-in-corner one. The
celebrant was Stephen Gardiner, Bishop of
Winchester. And the congregation, which numbered about twenty, was
made up of the Gentlemen of the
King's Privy Chamber, as
well as close family members of the bride and groom. Both
Henry's daughters, Mary
and Elizabeth, were present,
as was Lady Margaret Douglas,
his niece. Catherine's
family was represented only by her sister and brother-in-law, Anne and William
Herbert. But the three aristocratic ladies who were then closest to
her - Catherine, Duchess of Suffolk,
Anne, Countess of Hertford,
and Jane, Viscountess Lisle
-were also present.
The Countess of Rutland
took advantage of her husband's death to retire from the Court and she was replaced as the dominant force
in the Queen's Household by Catherine's sister, Anne Herbert, who became Chief Lady of the Queen's Privy Chamber. Catherine's other leading attendants were the new-comers, Lady
Lane and Lady
Tyrwhitt, both were related to Parr family.
Anne, along with Catherine Willoughby and Anne Stanhope were part of the Queen Catherine's inner circle, and they were all Protestants. After Anne Askew, a Protestant was arrested, those who opposed Queen Catherine tried to gain a confession from Askew that the Queen, her sister, and the other women were Protestants. Askew refused to name any names, even under the pain of torture; still, warrants for the arrest of the Parr sisters and the other two were sent out. Gardiner and his new ally Wriothesley got Henry's agreement to a coup against the Queen. Her leading women, Ladies Herbert, Lane and Tyrwhitt, would be arrested; their illegal books seized as evidence; and the Queen herself sent 'by barge' to the Tower. The Queen, however, warned of what awaited him, apologized to Henry. Quickly reconciled, and when Wriothesley arrived with forty yeomen of the guard at his back and an arrest warrant from the Queen in her pocket, was greeted with a barrage of real abuse and sent packing with his tail between his legs.
Anne and her husband used Baynard’s Castle as their London residence. For the birth of her second son Edward, Anne's sister loaned her the manor of Hanworth in Middlesex for her lying in. After the birth, Anne visited Lady Hertford, who had also just given birth, at Syon House near Richmond. In Aug, the Queen sent a barge to bring Anne by river from Syon to Westminster. A girl was the hird child of William and Anne, named Anne. After Henry VIII's death, when the Queen dowager's household was at Chelsea, both Anne and her son Edward were part of the household there. At the time of her death, Anne Parr was one of Princess Mary’s ladies.
In 1551, William Herbert was created Earl of Pembroke. Anne died quite unexpectedly at Baynard's Castle and was buried in St. Paul's Cathedral next to the tomb of John of Gaunt. Her memorial there reads: "a most faithful wife, a woman of the greatest piety and discretion".
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