Anne Russell, Countess of Bedford

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Anne Russell (Carr), Countess of Bedford

Birthdate: (68)
Birthplace: Tower of London, Stepney, Middlesex, England
Death: May 10, 1684 (68)
Woburn, Bedfordshire, England
Place of Burial: Chenies, Buckinghamshire, England
Immediate Family:

Daughter of Robert Carr, 1st and last Earl of Somerset and Frances Carr, Countess of Somerset.
Wife of William Russell, 1st Duke of Bedford
Mother of William Russell, Lord Russell; Lord Edward Russell; Lady Diana Russell; Lady Margaret Russell; John Russell and 3 others

Managed by: Henn Sarv
Last Updated:

About Anne Russell, Countess of Bedford

Anne Carr, Countess of Bedford

Anne Carr, Countess of Bedford (9 December 1615[1] – 10 May 1684) was a wealthy English noblewoman, and the wife of William Russell, 5th Earl of Bedford, a peer and soldier during the English Civil War, who after her death was created Duke of Bedford. Her mother was the notorious Frances Howard who was an accomplice to murder. In about 1638, Anne was the subject of at least two portraits by Flemish painter Anthony van Dyck.

Lady Anne was born in the Tower of London on 9 December 1615, the only child and heir of Robert Carr, 1st Earl of Somerset and Frances Howard, a member of the noble Howard family. Anne was baptised on 16 December 1615 at St Martin's Church, Ludgate.[2] At the time of her birth, her parents were imprisoned on charges of having participated in the fatal poisoning of Sir Thomas Overbury in 1613. They were both sentenced to death, but later spared execution. Her mother admitted to her complicity in the crime but her father maintained his innocence. The family remained in the Tower until January 1622 when King James I pardoned the Earl and Countess of Somerset.

Anne was described as having been virtuous and one of the three beauties of the royal court.[3] Her beauty caught the eye of William Russell, the son and heir of Francis Russell, 4th Earl of Bedford and Catherine Brydges. Remembering the notorious scandal caused by Anne's parents; in particular, the infamous reputation of her mother, as well as the ignominy of her own birth in the Tower of London during the Somersets' imprisonment, William's father staunchly opposed the match, warning his son to be "upon his guard against the dangerous beauty of Anne Carr".[4] A passionate attachment sprang up between William and Anne[5] and the former refused to yield to his father's wishes in the matter. King Charles I, who favoured the marriage, eventually persuaded the earl to give his consent to the match;[6] thus on 11 July 1637 at St. Benet's Church, Paul's Wharf, London, William Russell and Anne Carr were married. She brought him a fortune of £12,000,[7][8] and the London property on which stood Southampton House, which became Bedford House and was developed later in the century as Bloomsbury Square.[9]

In about 1638, the celebrated Flemish artist, Anthony van Dyck painted at least two portraits of Anne.

When William succeeded as the 5th Earl of Bedford on 9 May 1641 upon the death of his father, Anne was thereafter styled as Countess of Bedford. She was never the Duchess of Bedford as William was not created a duke until ten years following her death.

The couple resided at Woburn Abbey in Bedfordshire, and their marriage was said to have been happy.[10]

Together William and Anne had seven children, six of whom lived into adulthood:

  • Lord James Russell (died 22 June 1712), married Elizabeth Lloyd, by whom he had issue.
  • Francis Russell, Lord Russell (1638- 14 January 1678), died unmarried
  • William Russell, Lord Russell (29 September 1639 – 21 July 1683), married Lady Rachel Wriothesley daughter of Thomas Wriothesley, 4th Earl of Southampton, by whom he had issue. He was executed for treason.
  • Lady Margaret Russell, married her cousin Edward Russell, 1st Earl of Orford grandson of Francis Russell, 4th Earl of Bedford
  • John Russell, died in infancy
  • Lord Edward Russell (c.1642- 1714), married Frances Williams
  • Lady Diana Russell (c.1652- 13 December 1701), married firstly, Greville Verney, 9th Baron Willoughby de Broke, by whom she had issue; she married secondly, William Alington, 3rd Baron Alington of Killard, by whom she had issue.

Anne died on 10 May 1684 at Woburn Abbey. Her death occurred a year after her son, William became one of the conspirators in the Rye House Plot; he was later arrested and beheaded on 21 July 1683 for treason against the King (Charles II) and the Duke of York (later James II). It was believed at the time that her death was brought about by the shock she received at the execution of William; from that moment onwards, her health had visibly declined and she never recovered.[11] She was buried in the Bedford Chapel at Chenies parish church, Buckinghamshire on 16 May.

A splendid white marble monument to Anne and her husband occupies the west wall of the chapel. She is represented beside her husband in classical drapery on a high pedestal, seated in an attitude intended to express grief.[12]



  • Lady Anne Carr1
  • F, #11407, b. 9 December 1615, d. 10 May 1684
  • Last Edited=19 May 2011
  • Consanguinity Index=0.0%
  • Lady Anne Carr was born on 9 December 1615 at Tower of London, The City, London, England.3 She was the daughter of Robert Carr, 1st and last Earl of Somerset and Lady Frances Howard.1,3 She was baptised on 16 December 1615 at St. Martins, Ludgate, England.3 She married William Russell, 1st Duke of Bedford, son of Francis Russell, 4th Earl of Bedford and Hon. Catharine Brydges, on 11 July 1637 at St. Benet's, Paul's Wharf, London, England, bringing him a fortune of £12,000.3 She died on 10 May 1684 at age 68 at Woburn, Bedfordshire, England.3 She was buried on 16 May 1684 at Chenies, Buckinghamshire, England.3
  • Her married name became Russell. As a result of her marriage, Lady Anne Carr was styled as Countess of Bedford on 9 May 1641.
  • Children of Lady Anne Carr and William Russell, 1st Duke of Bedford
    • Lady Diana Russell+1 d. 13 Dec 1701
    • Lady Margaret Russell4
    • John Russell4
    • Francis Russell, Lord Russell3 b. 1638, d. 14 Jan 1677/78
    • Rt. Hon. William Russell, Lord Russell+3 b. 29 Sep 1639, d. 21 Jul 1683
    • Lord James Russell+4 b. a 1640, d. 22 Jun 1712
    • Lord Edward Russell4 b. a 1641, d. 1714
  • Citations
  • [S6] G.E. Cokayne; with Vicary Gibbs, H.A. Doubleday, Geoffrey H. White, Duncan Warrand and Lord Howard de Walden, editors, The Complete Peerage of England, Scotland, Ireland, Great Britain and the United Kingdom, Extant, Extinct or Dormant, new ed., 13 volumes in 14 (1910-1959; reprint in 6 volumes, Gloucester, U.K.: Alan Sutton Publishing, 2000), volume I, page 108. Hereinafter cited as The Complete Peerage.
  • [S3409] Caroline Maubois, "re: Penancoet Family," e-mail message to Darryl Roger Lundy, 2 December 2008. Hereinafter cited as "re: Penancoet Family."
  • [S6] Cokayne, and others, The Complete Peerage, volume II, page 80.
  • [S37] BP2003 volume 1, page 319. See link for full details for this source. Hereinafter cited as. [S37]
  • From:


  • Frances HOWARD (C. Essex/C. Somerset)
  • Born: 31 May 1589/90
  • Died: 23 Aug 1632, Chiswick, Chiswick, England, England
  • Buried: 27 Aug 1632, Saffron, Walden, Essex, England
  • Notes: See her Biography.
  • Father: Thomas HOWARD (1° E. Suffolk)
  • Mother: Catherine KNYVETT (C. Suffolk)
  • Married 1: Robert DEVEREUX (3º E. Essex) 5 Jan 1605 Divorce 1613
  • Married 2: Robert CARR (1º E. Somerset) (b. ABT 1587 - d. 17 Jul 1645, London - bur. St. Paul's Covent Garden) (son of Sir Thomas Kerr of Ferniehurst and Janet Scott) 26 Dec 1613, Chapel Royal, Whitehall Palace, London
  • Children:
    • 1. Anne (Elizabeth) CARR (D. Bedford) (b. 9 Dec 1615, London - d. 10 May 1684 Woburn - bur. Chenies) (m. William Russell, 1° D. Bedford)
  • From: HOWARD (C. Essex/C. Somerset)


  • William RUSSELL (1° D. Bedford)
  • Born: Aug 1616
  • Died: 7 Sep 1700, Bedford House, London, England
  • Buried: Chenies
  • Father: Francis RUSSELL (4° E. Bedford)
  • Mother: Catherine BRYDGES (C. Bedford)
  • Married: Anne (Elizabeth) CARR (D. Bedford) (dau. of Robert Carr, 1° E. Somerset and Frances Howard, C. Essex/C. Somerset) 11 Jul 1637, St.Benet's Church, London
  • Children:
    • 1. Francis RUSSELL (B. Russell) (b. 1638 - d. 14 Jan 1678)
    • 2. William RUSSELL (B. Russell) (b. 29 Sep 1639 - d. 21 Jul 1683, Lincoln Inn Field (beheaded) (m. Rachel Wriothesley 31 Jul 1669 Titchfield, Hants)
    • 3. James RUSSELL
    • 4. Diana RUSSELL
    • 5. Margaret RUSSELL (b. 31 Aug 1656 - bur. 29 Jan 1702, Chenies) (m. Edward Russell, 1° E. Orford, 12 Nov 1691, Woburn)
  • From: RUSSELL (1° D. Bedford)


  • Robert Carr
  • Birth: 1587
  • Death: 1645
  • Favourite courtier of James I until being eclipsed by the Duke of Buckingham. He became Earl of Somerset in 1613. In the same year he married Frances Howard, the Countess of Essex. Three years later, Carr and his wife fell from grace when the murder of Sir Thomas Overbury was revealed to have been arranged by them. They were sentenced to death and spent six years in prison before retiring into obscurity. A daughter of this marriage, Anne Carr, married into the Russell family (Dukes of Bedford), and Robert died living in the Russell-built Covent Garden.
  • Family links:
  • Spouse:
  • Frances Howard (1591 - 1632)*
  • Burial: St Paul Churchyard, Covent Garden, London Borough of Camden, Greater London, England
  • Plot: unmarked
  • Find A Grave Memorial# 14867247
  • From:


  • Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900, Volume 09
  • Carr, Robert (d.1645) by Samuel Rawson Gardiner
  • CARR, ROBERT, Earl of Somerset (d. 1645), or Ker, according to the Scottish spelling, was a younger son of Sir Thomas Ker of Ferniehurst, by his second wife, Janet, sister of Sir Walter Scott of Buccleugh. .... etc.
  • When Rochester began his courtship of Lady Essex, he had given his confidence to Sir Thomas Overbury, a man of intelligence and refinement. At first Overbury assisted Rochester in ‘the composition of his love-letters’ (Winwood, Memorials, iii. 478), but afterwards, perhaps when he had discovered that his patron contemplated marriage instead of an intrigue with a lady whose relations were the leaders of the Spanish party in England, Overbury threw all his influence into the opposite scale, and exposed himself to the fatal anger of Lady Essex.
  • .... etc.
  • At the time, at all events, no one guessed at the existence of this tragedy. Rochester was created Earl of Somerset on 3 Nov. 1613 (Patent Rolls, James I, Part 5, No. 20, misdated in Nicolas, Hist. Peerage), and on 23 Dec. he received a commission as treasurer of Scotland (Paper Register of the Great Seal, Book I, No. 214, communicated by T. Dickson, esq., chief of the historical department of the Register House, Edinburgh), and on 26 Dec. he was married in state to the murderess. Courtiers vied in making costly presents to the pair.
  • .... etc.
  • The inferior instruments, the warders, were tried and executed, and in the ordinary course of things the trial of Somerset and his wife would have followed soon. It was, however, postponed, apparently in order that investigation might be made into Somerset's relations with the Spanish ambassador, and also perhaps because Lady Somerset gave birth at this time to a daughter, who afterwards became the mother of Lord Russell.
  • .... etc.
  • In 1630 Somerset once more came before public notice, as being prosecuted in the Star-chamber, together with other more important personages, for having, in the preceding year, passed on to the Earl of Clare a paper written long before by Sir Robert Dudley, recommending James to establish arbitrary government. On 29 May he and the others implicated were told that, in consequence of the birth of the king's son, who was afterwards Charles II, the proceedings would be dropped (State Trials, iii. 396). After this Somerset remained in obscurity till his death, which took place in July 1645.
  • [Gardiner's History of England, 1603–42, and the authorities quoted in the text.]
  • From:,_Robert_(d.1645)_(DNB00)


Anne was not a Duchess since her husband became a Duke after she died



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Anne Russell, Countess of Bedford's Timeline

December 9, 1615
Tower of London, Stepney, Middlesex, England
December 16, 1615
St. Martin Ludgate, London, Middlesex, England
Age 22
September 29, 1639
Age 23
Chenies, Buckinghamshire, England
Age 25
April 9, 1652
Age 36
Age 36
London, Greater London, England, United Kingdom
Age 40
May 10, 1684
Age 68
Woburn, Bedfordshire, England