Archive:Untamed Desire: Sex in Elizabethan England

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Haynes, A., Untamed Desire: Sex in Elizabethan England (Stackpole Books, 1997).

Page 16

...However, she was not without women of some influence about her. Not Mary to be sure, with whom she appears to have had few and then only cool contacts, but her temporary stepmothers and a constant companion, Blanche Parry (ap Harry). Of those who may be deemed to have influenced the royal princess when a child and young adult, Mistress Parry is perhaps unrivalled because of her length of service and unswerving loyalty. She was born in about 1508 at Newcourt, the family mansion of Bacton, Hrerefordshire, a country house of some age and parochial importance, surrounded by a deer park. She had several brothers and sisters and since girls at that time were given little formal education it is reasonable to assume she was taught at home. Her father died when she was about sixteen as did Elizabeth's; Alice Parry, her mother, remarried. When Blanche left the family home is not known, but later she recorded having seen Princess Elizabeth rocked in her cradle, and she was an official lady-in-waiting to the remarkably precocious three-year-old. So Blanche was about the court of Henry VIII when quite young, and the likeliest agent for this was her own aunt Blanche, her mother's sister [Blanche Milbourne - ABB] who had married twice. Her first husband was Sir Robert Whitney [sic, should be James Whitney, of Whitney, Esquire - ABB] and her second Sir William Herbert, an illegitimate son of the Earl of Pembroke. There was no severe social embarrassment in being born a bastard since aristocratic fathers generally made provision for them, and the blood of parents counted for much more than the social blemish in law. Lady Herbert of Troy (or Lady Troy as she became known) was herself a woman of some influence at the Henrician court. Having carried the hem of the train of Elizabeth at the christening of Prince Edward, she became chief lady of the female child's household in 1536, the year Blanche Parry was taken on as a lady in attendance.

Copyright © 2007, Adrian Benjamin Burke, Esq., and the Whitney Research Group.

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