matron of honour

Elizabeth Darrell (maid-of-honour)

Elizabeth Darrell was the long-term mistress and muse of Sir Thomas Wyatt. They had at least one child, Francis. Wyatt was married to Elizabeth Brooke, Lady Wyatt who had committed adultery, resulting in their separation. She was later rumoured to have been involved with Henry VIII.

Early Years

Elizabeth Darrell (sometimes spelt Darrall) was the daughter of Sir Edward Darrell of Littlecote, Wiltshire and his wife Anne. Sir Edward was Chamberlain to Catherine of Aragon. Elizabeth was a servant of the Marchioness of Dorset and then afterward, on an unknown date, she became Maid of Honour to Queen Catherine. Possibly out of loyalty to Catherine or due to her dislike of Anne Boleyn, Elizabeth refused to take the Oath of Supremacy. When Catherine of Aragon died in January 1536, she left Elizabeth a gift of £200 for her future marriage.

Thomas Wyatt

Around the year 1537, Elizabeth became the mistress of the poet and cousin of the late queen Anne Boleyn, Sir Thomas Wyatt (1503 – 11 October 1542). He was legally married to Elizabeth Brooke, the mother of his children Thomas and Anne, but they were separated and she was living in adultery with another man. Elizabeth bore Sir Thomas three sons, Henry (who died in early infancy), Francis (born in 1540 and took the surname of Darrell), and Edward, who was later executed for his part in the Wyatt's Rebellion of 1554, led by his legitimate half-brother, Sir Thomas Wyatt, the younger. Sir Thomas left Elizabeth properties in Dorset. She also received the manor of Tarrant, given to her by her lover's son, Sir Thomas. Some historians have speculated that she became the mistress of Sir Thomas Wyatt, the younger, after his father's death in 1542 and that he was actually the real father of Elizabeth's youngest son, Edward. Elizabeth went on to marry Robert Stroude in 1554.


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