Margaret Wotton, Marchioness of Dorset

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Margaret Wotton
Marchioness of Dorset
Hans Holbein the Younger - Margaret, Marchioness of Dorset RL 12209.jpg
Sketch of Margaret by Hans Holbein the Younger
Born1485 (1485)
Boughton Malherbe, Kent
Died6 October 1535(1535-10-06) (aged 49–50)
England
Spouse(s)William Medley
Thomas Grey, 2nd Marquess of Dorset
IssueGeorge Medley
Lady Elizabeth Grey
Lady Katherine Grey
Lady Anne Grey
Henry Grey, 1st Duke of Suffolk
Lord John Grey
Lord Thomas Grey
Leonard Grey
Lady Mary Grey
FatherSir Robert Wotton
MotherAnne Belknap

Margaret Wotton, Marchioness of Dorset (1485 6 October 1535) was the second wife of Thomas Grey, 2nd Marquess of Dorset, and the mother of his children, including Henry Grey, 1st Duke of Suffolk, with whom she engaged in many quarrels during his minority over money and his allowance. Her lack of generosity to Henry shocked her peers as unmotherly, and inappropriate behaviour toward a high-ranking nobleman, relative [1] of King Henry VIII of England. In 1534, she was compelled to answer to the charges that she was an "unnatural mother". [2]

Contents

On 10 September 1533, she stood as one of the godmothers of the future Queen Elizabeth I of England.

She was the subject of two portraits by Hans Holbein the Younger.

One of her many grandchildren was Lady Jane Grey.

Family

Margaret was born in 1485, the daughter of Sir Robert Wotton of Boughton Malherbe, Kent, and Anne Belknap, daughter of Henry Belknap esquire, [3] and sister of Sir Edward Belknap, [ citation needed ] Two of her brothers held important positions in the government. Sir Edward Wotton was Treasurer of Calais, and Nicholas Wotton was a diplomat who arranged the marriage of Henry VIII to Anne of Cleves in 1539.

Marriages and issue

In 1505, Margaret married her first husband, William Medley, esquire, by whom she had one son, George (died 1562). In 1509, sometime after the death of her husband in February of that year, she married as his second wife, Thomas Grey, 2nd Marquess of Dorset, the eldest son of Thomas Grey, 1st Marquess of Dorset by Cecily Bonville, Baroness Harington and Bonville. She was styled Marchioness of Dorset upon her marriage.

By her second husband she had four sons and four daughters: [4]

Margaret and her husband were part of the group who accompanied Henry VIII's sister, Princess Mary, to France in the autumn of 1514, for the latter's wedding to King Louis XII of France.

In October 1530, her husband died and she was given custody of all his property during their eldest son, Henry's minority. [9]

On 10 September 1533 at Greenwich Palace, Margaret stood as one of the two godmothers of Princess Elizabeth, daughter of Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn, who would later rule as Queen Elizabeth I of England. [10] Three months earlier, on 1 June, Margaret had ridden in Anne Boleyn's coronation procession from the Tower of London to Westminster Abbey.

She was the subject of two portraits by Hans Holbein the Younger.

Portrait of Margaret Wotton, Marchioness of Dorset, after Hans Holbein the Younger Hans Holbein the Younger (after) - Margaret, Marchioness of Dorset (Anglesey Abbey).jpg
Portrait of Margaret Wotton, Marchioness of Dorset, after Hans Holbein the Younger

Quarrels with her son

Margaret first began a long series of quarrels with her son, who had succeeded to the Marquessate of Dorset in 1530, when he was forced to pay a fine of £4000 for breach of contract after he had renounced his betrothal to Katherine Fitzalan, daughter of the Earl of Arundel. As a result, she tried to restrict his allowance throughout his minority which caused much consternation from her peers, who labelled her actions "unmotherly", and inappropriate behaviour towards a nobleman closely related to the King. [11] Margaret only agreed to Henry's marriage with Lady Frances Brandon, niece of the King, on the condition that her father, Charles Brandon, 1st Duke of Suffolk would support the couple until her son reached his majority.

In 1534, she felt compelled to answer charges that she was "an unnatural mother". As a result, she offered to contribute to her son's advancement "as my small power is and shall be". [12]

Several years later when he came of age, Henry brought his quarrel with his mother before the Kings' Council, where she belatedly admitted that her son's allowance was not "meet or sufficient to maintain his estate", and she offered to increase it. Henry was not appeased, therefore she moved out of the Grey family seat at Bradgate House; however, Henry would not let her remove her personal property, so she wrote a letter to Thomas Cromwell, pleading with him to order her son to release her goods. [13]

Margaret died on 6 Oct 1535 at the age of 50.

Notes

  1. half 1st cousin once-removed
  2. Harris, Barbara Jean. English Aristocratic Women 1450 – 1550: Marriage and Family; Property and Careers. p.115. Google Books. Retrieved 4 January 2011
  3. Richardson II 2011, p. 304.
  4. Richardson II 2011, p. 307.
  5. De Lisle states that she predeceased her husband by 18 months.
  6. Richardson I 2011 , p. 44; Richardson II 2011 , pp. 234, 307, 311; De Lisle 2008 , pp. xvii, 59, 162, 192.
  7. Collin's Peerage of England, published 1812: ... a tomb in the chapel of the mansion house at Pirgo in Essex; on which was a knight kneeling with four sons, his lady kneeling with four daughters, and many coats and quarterings; and bearing on the verge this inscription: "Here under lyeth buried the lorde John ... Grey, Knyght (fourth son of) the lorde Thomas Grey mar ..... ques Dorcet, who dyed the xix daye of November 1564; and dame Mary his wyfe, daughter of Sir Anthony Browne, Knyght of the Garter, m(aster)r of the horse, and con'seler to Kynge Henry ye VIII. Dame Mary dyed....".
  8. 1 2 "Person Page". thepeerage.com. Retrieved 30 November 2020.
  9. Barbara Jean Harris, English Aristocratic Women 1450–1550: Marriage and Family; Property and Careers, p.115, Google Books. Retrieved 21-11-09
  10. Lucy Aikin, Memoirs of the Court of Queen Elizabeth, Volume 1, p.9. Retrieved 21-11-09
  11. Harris, p.115
  12. Harris, p.115
  13. Harris, p.116

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