Today in 1532 Anne Boleyn was granted her own title by Henry VIII and created the Marquess of Pembroke, the first time a female had been made a peer in her own right. Henry did this to give Anne some status on the European stage prior to a planned meeting with Francis I of France. Henry’s “Great Matter” was still dragging on so he’d been unable to make Anne his wife. The last time Anne had met Francis she was Katherine of Aragon’s maid of honour but she now needed a status of her own which reflected the fact she was England’s intended Queen.
The ceremony was held at Windsor castle. Anne was taken into Henry’s presence by the Garter King-at-Arms and was accompanied by the Countesses of Rutland and Derby and her cousin, Mary Howard, who carried the crimson velvet mantle and gold coronet of a Marquess. Anne, dressed in ermine-trimmed crimson velvet, wore her hair loosely around her shoulders and was adjourned with jewels. She must have looked every inch the Queen, just as Henry would have intended.
Anne knelt in front of Henry, who had the Dukes of Norfolk and Suffolk at his side, while Stephen Gardiner read out the patent which bestowed the title of Marquess of Pembroke to her. Henry then crowned her with the gold coronet, laid the velvet mantle on her and handed her the patent of nobility. She was also given a patent granting her lands worth £1000 a year.
After the ceremony Henry went to St George’s Chapel for a high mass conducted by Gardiner. Henry and a representative for Francis I swore to the terms of an Anglo-French treaty, then Edward Fox preached a sermon and announced that the two would meet in Calais. The service ended with a hymn of praise before everyone returned to Windsor Castle for a huge banquet in Anne’s honour.