Henry Carey KG PC
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Henry Carey KG PC (1526 - 1596)

Henry "1st Baron Hunsdon of Hunsdon" Carey KG PC
Born in Hengrave, Suffolk, Englandmap
Ancestors ancestors
Husband of — married 21 May 1545 [location unknown]
Descendants descendants
Died at age 70 in Somerset House, Strand, London, Middlesex, Englandmap
Profile last modified | Created 12 Nov 2008
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Henry Carey was nominally the son of William Carey and Mary Boleyn. After the death of his father in 1528, Henry's wardship was granted to his maternal aunt, Anne Boleyn. After her execution in 1536, his wardship probably reverted back to the King. Upon his coming of age in 1547 he received lands in Buckinghamshire, Essex, Hampshire and Wiltshire. [1]

He married Ann Morgan by license on about 15 May 1545. [2] Their children included:

  • Sir George Carey, 2nd Baron Hunsdon (1547-8 Sep 1603). He married on 29 Dec 1574 to Elizabeth, daughter of Sir John Spencer, MP for Northamptonshire, and Katherine Kitson.[3]
  • Henry Carey (d. 1581), second son, prob. unmarried, MP for Berwick and Buckingham.[1]
  • Sir John Carey, 3rd Baron Hunsdon (d. Apr 1617), married 20 December 1576 to Mary, daughter of Leonard Hyde of Throcking, Herefordshire. They were parents of Henry Carey, 1st Earl of Dover.[3]
  • Thomas (d. inf). [4]
  • Thomas, d.y. [4]
  • Nicholas [4]
  • William [4]
  • Sir Edmund Carey (ca. 1558-1637), father of a younger Sir Robert Carey [3]Edmund married three times to:
  1. Mary Crocker
  2. Elizabeth Neville
  3. Judith Humphrey.
  • Robert Carey, 1st Earl of Monmouth (1560-12 April 1639), married 20 Aug 1593 to Elizabeth, daughter of Sir Hugh Trevannion and Sybilla Morgan[3]
  • Joan
  • Katherine (ca. 1550-25 February 1603), wife to Charles Howard, 1st Earl of Nottingham.[3]
  • Philadelphia, married Thomas Scrope, 10th Baron Scrope and was mother to Emanuel Scrope, 1st Earl of Sunderland.[3]
  • Margaret, married Sir Edward Hoby, son of Thomas Hoby and Elizabeth Cooke[3]
  • Elizabeth
  • Anne
  • Eleanor
  • Matilda

He was a Member of Parliament for Buckingham in Edward VI's and Mary I's reigns. In 1558/9 he was created Lord Hunsdon shortly after Queen Elizabeth's accession to the throne and was made a Privy Counsellor and Knight of the Garter.[1] One of his most important and powerful roles was a Lord Chamberlain of the Queen's household. As such, he was the man principally charged with supervising the domestic arrangements of the Queen's court and protecting her from any armed conspiracy or coup d'etat. [5] In 1594 he and his son in law Charles Howard worked together to reform the state of London's professional theatre companies, resulting in the Chamberlain's Men acquiring the services of one William Shakespeare as a player and poet. [6]

Henry was awarded a Master of Arts degree from Cambridge University on the occasion of the Queen's visit there in 1564. [7]

He had been described as "very choleric but not malicious," and it was said by Sir Robert Naunton in his "Fragmenta Regalia" that his "custom in swearing and obscenity in speech made him seem a worse Christian than he was, and a better knight of the carpet than he could be." He was said to have "hung at Court on no man's sleve but stood on his own botome till the time of his death, having a competent estate of his own, given him by the Queen."[8]

He left a nuncupative "will", made to his son Sir George Carey, Knt in the early hours of the morning of 21 July 1596. He made reference to his wife "I being able to leave her nothing, in respect of that which so good a wife to me, and mother to you, hath deserved". It was also noted that "Her Majesty hath sent me sundry gracious promises that, in the word of a Prince, she would fully relieve my estate, which if I shall not live to enjoy, that she will confer it upon mine. And therefore doubt not she will bestow mine offices upon you."[9]

He was buried at Westminster Abbey, on the site of the altar in the chapel of St. John the Baptist, on 12th August, at the queen's expense ; and a magnificent and stately monument of alabaster and marble was erected to his memory by his son, Sir George Carey, who succeeded to the title. [8]

Relationship to the Tudors

Henry's mother, Mary Boleyn, was known to have been the mistress of King Henry VIII, possibly even after her marriage to William Carey. Henry is sometimes said to have been the King's illegitimate son, however he was never acknowledged as such during the King's lifetime or later, by Queen Elizabeth I, who treated him as a most favoured cousin.


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1386-1421, ed. J.S. Roskell, L. Clark, C. Rawcliffe., 1993 Available from Boydell and Brewer - CAREY, Henry (1526-96), of Buckingham, Bucks. and Hunsdon, Herts. HOP
  2. Marriage: "London, England, Marriage Licences, 1521-1869"
    London Marriage Licences, 1521-1869 > image 149 of 859
    Ancestry Sharing Link - Ancestry Image (accessed 4 December 2023)
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 3.6 Visitation of Hertfordshire: Cary of Aldenham Page 136
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 Visitations of the County of Devon Hathi Trust pg 154
  5. Journal: Lawrence Stone, Office under Queen Elizabeth: The Case of Lord Hunsdon and the Lord Chamberlainship in 1585
    The Historical Journal; Vol. 10, No. 2 (1967), pp. 279-285 (7 pages)
    JSTOR (accessed 5 March 2024)
  6. Journal: Roslyn L. Knutson, What's So Special about 1594?
    Shakespeare Quarterly; Vol. 61, No. 4 (Winter 2010), pp. 449-467 (19 pages)
    JSTOR (accessed 5 March 2024)
  7. Education: "Cambridge University Alumni, 1261-1900"
    Original data: Venn, J. A., comp.. Alumni Cantabrigienses. London, England: Cambridge University Press, 1922-1954
    Ancestry au Record 3997 #13196 (accessed 5 March 2024)
    Name: Henry Carey; Born: 1526; Died: July 23, 1596; More Information: M.A. 1564, on the Queen's visit. S. of William, Esquire of the body to Henry VIII, and Mary, sister of Anne Boleyn. B. 1526. M.P. for Buckingham, 1547, 1554, 1555. Knighted, 1558. Created Baron Hunsdon, 1559. K.G. 1561. Warden of the East Marches and Governor of Berwick, 1568. Performed many public services. Recorder of Cambridge, 1590. Died at Somerset House, London, July 23, 1596. Will, p1='Prerogative Court of Canterbury.';//-->P.C.C. Father of George (1560) and John (1566). (Cooper, II. 213; D.N.B.; G.E.C.).
  8. 8.0 8.1 'Brooke House: Biographical account', in Survey of London Monograph 5, Brooke House, Hackney, (London, 1904) pp. 14-25. British History Online BHO (accessed 4 March 2024)
  9. Will: "England & Wales, Prerogative Court of Canterbury Wills, 1384-1858"
    The National Archives; Kew, Surrey, England; Records of the Prerogative Court of Canterbury, Series PROB 11; Class: PROB 11; Piece: 88
    Ancestry Sharing Link - Ancestry au Record 5111 #936702 (accessed 4 December 2023)
    Will of Henrici Hunsdon, granted probate on 16 Jul 1596. Died about 1596 in Lorde Chamberlayne.

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Comments: 11

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Should the quote following "BARONY OF HUNSDON (I)" be paraphrased? If not, is the "Long Profiles in Need of Cleanup" category still needed?
posted by Debi (McGee) Hoag
Henry the VIII never acknowledged this man as his son. He did acknowledge a son by Elizabeth Blount so why not acknowledge this son.

yDNA would prove the line to the satisfaction of most people. Needs to be a Big yDNA Project.

posted by Linda (Alcott) Maples
Can we fix this profile? Henry is the son of Henry VIII.

What's the Wikitree policy about modelling illegitimate children? Do we show the legal family or the birth family? This one is pretty cut and dried surely. His dad spent the rest of his life trying to have another son, and thus this Carey-1 is almost literally personally responsible for the anglican church and arguably the later protestant migration to the new world.

Pretty amazing history. And it gets better!

His living descendants apparently include among others Rashida Jones... who would be basically perfect to play his mistress, Emilia Bassano, who was probably "William" Shakespeare. Their two children Henry and Mary are named after this Henry Carey-1's parents, Henry Tudor (VIII) and Mary Boleyn.

posted by Isaac Taylor
Rather interesting, but I feel that someone or some entity, perhaps even the current Royal Genealogical Society or Royal family needs to follow up with some descendants and their DNA to try and determine IF this individual is a Cary/Carey or Tudor. I'm open to offering my DNA for future determination. This individual as well as William Cary/Carey is one of my Ancestors.
posted by Mark Cary
Source: Richardson, Douglas. Royal Ancestry: A Study In Colonial And Medieval Families, in 5 vols. (Salt Lake City, Utah, 2013). See vol. II, 107.
  • via Liz (Noland) Shifflett)

Anne Morgan-2 ....Ann Morgan is the "daughter of Sir Thomas MORGAN, of Arkestone, co. Hereford, by Anne, daughter of Sir Robert WHITNEY, of Whitney, co. Gloucester."

Thank you!

This is interesting.

Henry Carey is my 12th great grandfather, his mother Mary Boleyn Carey is my 13th great-grandmother.

So if Henry Carey is actually King Henry Tudor's son by his mistress Mary, then Henry VIII is my 13th great-grandfather.

Otherwise, King Henry is my great-grand uncle, since he married Mary's sister, Anne Boleyn, my 13th great-grand aunt.

As it stands, Henry and Anne's daughter Elizabeth I Queen of England is my first cousin, 14 generations removed. But if King Henry fathered Henry Carey as well, then Elizabeth is also my 12th great-grand aunt.

All in the family.

Richardson (Royal Ancestry) says he and Anne had 9 sons & 3 daughters, and names 8 sons/3 daughters. I added his list of children to Anne's profile.
posted by Liz (Noland) Shifflett
text has that he married Ann Morgan "daughter of Sir Thomas MORGAN, of Arkestone, co. Hereford, by Anne, daughter of Sir Robert WHITNEY, of Whitney, co....". Richardson (Royal Ancestry, vol II, p 107 CAREY #15ii) has that Anne's mother was "Elizabeth, daughter of James Whitney, Esq."
posted by Liz (Noland) Shifflett
I can't find anything on Anne except the Wikipedia article for Henry. She isn't included at TudorPlace. Other bios don't list her, and Wikipedia gives no source. if you have access to Cokayne's Complete Peerage, that might help. I can't find the right volume online.
posted by Vic Watt
Is it possible that Anne Cary was illegitimate? She's not listed on Ann Morgan's profile here or in her wikipedia enty. I have an Anne/Anna Cary from Somerset who married a drapter. It doesn't seem to me that if she was legitimate that she would marry a draper when her sisters were marrying into the nobility.
posted by Kelly Fitzgerald
Not to be confused with any of his 3 half brothers, Henry! HA
posted by Lindsay (Stough) Tyrie

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