William Carey (courtier) - Paternity of The Carey Children

Paternity of The Carey Children

It has long been rumored that one or both of Mary Boleyn's children were fathered by Henry VIII. Some writers, such as Alison Weir, question whether Henry Carey (Mary's son) was fathered by the King. While others such as, Dr. G.W. Bernard (author of The King's Reformation) and Joanna Denny (author of Anne Boleyn: A New Life of England's Tragic Queen and Katherine Howard: A Tudor Conspiracy) argue that he may have been.

Many have noticed that Catherine Carey and her daughter Lettice both bear a close resemblance to Henry VIII and Elizabeth I. If Catherine was indeed born in June 1524, then this would point to her being fathered by Henry VIII since Mary Boleyn's affair with him appears to have begun around 1522 and ended in the early summer of 1525, which also makes Henry Carey to have been conceived just before the end of the affair, not to mention he received the name Henry. One witness did note that Mary's son bore a resemblance to Henry VIII, but the witness in question was John Hales, vicar of Isleworth, who some ten years after the child was born remarked that he had met a 'young Master Carey,' who some monks believed was the king's son. There is no other contemporary evidence that Henry Carey was the king’s biological son and a close reading of the Letters and Papers (a collection of surviving documents from the period) clearly pinpoint Henry's birth in March 1526 - although the affair is believed to have ended by the time Henry Carey was born.

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