April 19, 2011

Tudor Q&A: Mary Seymour

Is there a possibility that Mary Seymour (daughter of Catherine Parr) lived? Could it have been for her own protection that it was said she died at age of 2 years. It is very strange that her death was not recorded as she was the daughter of a Queen.


  1. Hi Elizabeth! It would be a bit surprising if Mary Seymour’s death was not recorded. However, it most likely was recorded and the (probably) Parish records are lost. Though she was the daughter of a Queen of England, Catherine Parr was not royal by birth, thus Mary did not hold the same rank or importance as Elizabeth or Mary, daughters of Henry VIII and his Queens. She was an orphan after her father was tried and executed for treason. She was taken into the household of Catherine Willoughby, a close friend of Catherine Parr’s. Mary had no fortune after the deaths of her parents (as her father’s property was taken by the crown when he was arrested). Thus, there would have been little interests in marriage between her and other noblemen as there would be no monetary (or really political) gain from it.

    It was not uncommon for children to die young in Tudor England. That is most likely what happened to Mary. It is also not surprising that there is little record on her. The records are even a bit hairy on Katherine of Aragon and Anne Boleyn’s children who were either still born or died young.

    I feel that if her parents had lived and she had died while they were still alive, there might be more records, but since she was a destitute orphan in the household of another, I’m not surprised there is little mention of her. If she had lived, there certainly would have been as she would have most likely ended up in the households of either Mary or Elizabeth.

  2. An interesting question is what would have happened to Mary if she had lived–I agree with ET that her value in the marriage market was negligible because of the act of attainder confiscating her father’s possessions. But she was the daughter of a Dowager Queen, and that must have counted for something. I can definitely see her in Mary or Elizabeth’s households, although I imagine her presence would have brought up a lot of painful memories for Elizabeth.

  3. I agree. I’m sure she would have married well because of who her mother was, and I’m sure Mary/Elizabeth would have come up with some type of dowry for her as she was the daughter of their step-mother.

  4. Their is proof that she died young as their is a poim on Wikipedia. Look for it I try ed to post it on my coment but it won't let me


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