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About Elizabeth Fiennes-Clinton
Lady Elizabeth FitzGerald, Countess of Lincoln (1527 – March 1590), also known as The Fair Geraldine, was an Irish noblewoman and a member of the celebrated FitzGerald dynasty. She became the second wife of Sir Anthony Browne and later the third wife of English admiral Edward Clinton, 1st Earl of Lincoln. She was the inspiration for The Geraldine, a sonnet written by Henry Howard, Earl of Surrey.
Queen Elizabeth I of England, whom Elizabeth served as a lady-in-waiting, was her close friend.
Lady Elizabeth was born in Maynooth, County Kildare, Leinster, Ireland, a daughter of Gerald "Gearóid Óg" FitzGerald, 9th Earl of Kildare, Lord Deputy of Ireland, and his second wife, Elizabeth Grey. Her half-brother was Thomas "Silken Thomas" FitzGerald. Her paternal grandparents were Gerald Garret Mor FitzGerald, 8th Earl of Kildare and Alison FitzEustace, and her maternal grandparents were Thomas Grey, 1st Marquis of Dorset and Cecily Bonville. Her maternal great-grandmother was Queen consort Elizabeth Woodville.
Lady Elizabeth was brought up at the Court of King Henry VIII as a companion to the infant Princess Elizabeth. She first arrived with her mother and one of her sisters in October 1533. In 1534, her father, who was imprisoned in the Tower of London on corruption charges, died on 12 December. In 1537, at the age of ten, she became immortalised by the poet Henry Howard, Earl of Surrey as "The Fair Geraldine" in his sonnet The Geraldine. The poet was said to have been captivated by her childish beauty, and composed it while he was briefly imprisoned for striking a courtier. There is no truth to the rumour that they were lovers as she was only ten years old at the time. Surrey's biographer, Jessie Childs suggests that Surrey's purpose in writing the sonnet was to improve her opportunities of making a good marriage by praising not only her noble ancestry, but also her beauty and virtues.
Her younger brothers were raised alongside Prince Edward, who later became King Edward VI. She was sent to the household of Princess Mary at Hunsdon following the execution of her half-brother "Silken Thomas" and her five uncles for treason. Her eldest brother Gerald, the 11th Earl of Kildare, had gone on the run in Ireland. In Donegal, Gerald, along with other powerful Irish clans, who were related to the FitzGeralds by marriage, formed the Geraldine League. When that federation was defeated in Monaghan, he sought refuge on the Continent. He returned to England in the reign of Edward VI, where he was welcomed at Court and his confiscated lands returned to him.
In 1543, at the age of sixteen, Elizabeth married Sir Anthony Browne KG, following the death of his first wife Alice Gage. Elizabeth became stepmother to Browne's eight children, which included Anthony Browne, 1st Viscount Montagu, Mary Browne, and Mabel Browne who would later marry Elizabeth's brother Gerald FitzGerald, 11th Earl of Kildare also known as "The Wizard Earl".
The Brownes were staunchly Roman Catholic.
On 6 May 1548, Sir Anthony died, leaving Elizabeth a widow at the age of twenty-one. She had two children by Sir Anthony, but they both died young. On 1 October 1552 she married her second husband, Lord High Admiral Edward Clinton at Sempringham, Kesteven, Lincolnshire. She was his third wife. Clinton was Lord-Lieutenant of Lincolnshire and Nottinghamshire. He was also a Privy Counsellor. He was created 1st Earl of Lincoln in 1572 and served as Ambassador to France.
Elizabeth was a close intimate of Queen Elizabeth I of England. She had been a companion to Elizabeth Tudor when the latter was a baby; their friendship was later renewed in the household of the widowed Queen consort Catherine Parr and her fourth husband Thomas Seymour, where Elizabeth went to live following Sir Anthony's death. They reportedly got on well together in the brief period they both resided at Chelsea Manor.
In 1553, she and her second husband supported the plot to place Lady Jane Grey upon the throne in lieu of Princess Mary; Lady Jane also had been a member of Catherine Parr's household, so it is possible that Elizabeth had developed a fondness for the young girl, which may have prompted her to back Jane's claim. When the plot failed, Elizabeth and her husband managed to regain the trust of Mary, who subsequently became queen. Shortly after the ascension of Mary's half-sister Elizabeth Tudor to the throne following Mary's death in 1558, Elizabeth FitzGerald was at court as one of the Queen's ladies-in-waiting. Elizabeth was one of those who, in 1561, had tried to warn Lady Catherine Grey to confess her clandestine marriage to Edward Seymour, 1st Earl of Hertford to the Queen before the latter discovered the truth from other people. That same year, Elizabeth fell briefly into disfavour with the Queen and was accused of "frailty" and "forgetfulness of duty". These charges were made by the Archbishop of Canterbury Matthew Parker who also declared that she should be "chastised in Bridewell" for her "offences".Tudor historian David Starkey concludes that Archbishop Parker considered Elizabeth to have been a "strumpet".
Elizabeth afterwards regained her former favour with the Queen.
Several years later, in 1569, Elizabeth exercised her husband's rights as Lord High Admiral to seize a ship which had been illegally taken by Martin Frobisher. Frobisher was arrested for piracy and she was allowed to keep both the ship and its cargo.
On an unknown date in March 1590, Elizabeth FitzGerald died at Lincoln Chapel. She is buried in St. George's Chapel, Windsor Castle. She had no children by her last husband.
By her father's first marriage to Elizabeth Zouche (died 6 October 1517), Elizabeth's half-siblings included:
- Lord Thomas FitzGerald, 10th Earl of Kildare, also known as "Silken Thomas" (1513- 3 February 1537). Married Frances Fortescue. He was hanged, drawn, and quartered, along with his five uncles at Tyburn for treason and rebellion.
- Lady Mary FitzGerald (died c.1596), married Brian Mac Cathaoir O'Connor, King of Uì Failghe, by whom she had nine sons and two daughters.
- Lady Catherine FitzGerald, married Jenico Preston, 3rd Viscount Gormanston, by whom she had eight children.
- Lady Alice FitzGerald (1508- May 1540), married James Fleming, 9th Baron Slane.
By her father's second marriage to her mother Elizabeth Grey (c. 1497-after 1548), Elizabeth's siblings included:
- Lord Gerald FitzGerald, 11th Earl of Kildare, known as "The Wizard Earl" (25 February 1525 – 16 November 1585). Married 28 May 1554, Mabel Browne. They had five children. Mabel was Elizabeth's stepdaughter by her first marriage to Sir Anthony Browne.
- Lord Edward FitzGerald (born 1528). Married Agnes Leigh. They had two sons, including Gerald FitzGerald, 14th Earl of Kildare.
- Lady Margaret Fitzgerald. Deaf and dumb; unmarried; chief mourner at her sister Elizabeth's funeral.
- Lady Cecily FitzGerald
Elizabeth's portrait was painted in 1560 by Steven van der Meulen. It is currently on display at Agecroft Hall, in Richmond, VA. Another portrait, which can be viewed in the National Gallery of Ireland, was painted in about 1575 by an unknown artist.
She is a minor character in Anya Seton's historical romance Green Darkness, which was partially set in mid-16th century England.
She is a minor character in the historical novel The Autobiography of Henry VIII by Margaret George
She was also the subject of Karen Harper's historical fiction novel "The Irish Princess" (2011).
Elizabeth is a character in the fourth and final season of The Tudors and is played by Irish actress Gemma-Leah Devereux. She is depicted as a lady-in-waiting to Catherine Howard.
- Elizabeth FitzGerald1,2,3,4
- F, #48602, b. circa 1528, d. March 1590
- Father Gerald FitzGerald, 9th Earl of Kildare1,2,3,4 b. 1487, d. 13 Dec 1534
- Mother Elizabeth Grey1,2,3,4 d. a 14 Jul 1540
- Elizabeth FitzGerald was born circa 1528 at Maynooth, Kildare, Ireland.1 She married Sir Anthony Browne, Master of the Horse, Ambassador to France, son of Sir Anthony Browne, Governor of Queenborough, Lieutenant of Calais and Lucy Neville, in 1542; They had 2 sons (Edward; & Thomas).5,2,3,4 A settlement for the marriage Elizabeth FitzGerald and Sir Edward Clinton, 1st Earl of Lincoln, 16th Lord Clinton, Lord High Admiral of England was made on 1 October 1552 at Sempringham, Lincolnshire, England; Post-nuptial settlement.6,2,3,4 Elizabeth FitzGerald died in March 1590; Buried in St. George's Chapel, Windsor, Berkshire.1,5,2,3,4
- Family 1 Sir Anthony Browne, Master of the Horse, Ambassador to France b. 29 Jun 1500, d. 6 May 1548
- Family 2 Sir Edward Clinton, 1st Earl of Lincoln, 16th Lord Clinton, Lord High Admiral of England b. 1512, d. 16 Jan 1585
- 1.[S11568] The Complete Peerage of England, Scotland, Ireland, Great Britain, and the United Kingdom, by George Edward Cokayne, Vol. VII, p. 692-693.
- 2.[S16] Douglas Richardson, Magna Carta Ancestry, 2nd Edition, Vol. III, p. 226-227.
- 3.[S6] Douglas Richardson, Plantagenet Ancestry: 2nd Edition, Vol. I, p. 180-182.
- 4.[S4] Douglas Richardson, Royal Ancestry, Vol. V, p. 133-135.
- 5.[S5] Douglas Richardson, Plantagenet Ancestry, p. 63.
- 6.[S11568] The Complete Peerage of England, Scotland, Ireland, Great Britain, and the United Kingdom, by George Edward Cokayne, Vol. VII, p. 692.
- From: http://our-royal-titled-noble-and-commoner-ancestors.com/p1617.htm#i48602
- Lady Elizabeth FitzGerald1
- F, #28841, b. 1528, d. March 1589/90
- Last Edited=29 Apr 2011
- Lady Elizabeth FitzGerald was born in 1528. She was the daughter of Gerald FitzGerald, 9th Earl of Kildare and Lady Elizabeth Grey.3 She married, firstly, Sir Anthony Browne, son of Sir Anthony Browne and Lady Lucy Neville, in 1543.3 She married, secondly, Edward Clinton, 1st Earl of Lincoln, son of Sir Thomas Clinton, 8th Lord Clinton and Joan Poynings, circa 1 October 1552.1 She died in March 1589/90, without issue.1 She was buried at St. George's Chapel, Windsor Castle, Windsor, Berkshire, England.
- Lady Elizabeth FitzGerald also went by the nick-name of 'the Fair Geraldine'.3 From 1543, her married name became Browne. From circa 1 October 1552, her married name became Clinton. As a result of her marriage, Lady Elizabeth FitzGerald was styled as Countess of Lincoln on 4 May 1572.
- 1.[S37] BP2003 volume 1, page 824. See link for full details for this source. Hereinafter cited as. [S37]
- 2.[S3409] Caroline Maubois, "re: Penancoet Family," e-mail message to Darryl Roger Lundy, 2 December 2008. Hereinafter cited as "re: Penancoet Family."
- 3.[S37] BP2003. [S37]
- From: http://www.thepeerage.com/p2885.htm#i28841
- BROWNE, Sir Anthony (c.1500-48), of Battle Abbey and Cowdray Park, Suss.
- b. c.1500, 1st s. of Sir Anthony Browne by Lucy, da. and coh. of John Neville, Marquess of Montagu; half-bro. of William Fitzwilliam, Earl of Southampton. m. (1) by 1528, Alice, da. of Sir John Gage of Firle, Suss., 7s. inc. Anthony I 3da.; (2) 1542, Elizabeth, da. of Gerald Fitzgerald, 9th Earl of Kildare, 2s.; 1s. 1da. illegit. suc. fa. 1506. Kntd. 1 July 1522; KG nom. 23 Apr., inst. 19 May 1540.3
- From: http://www.historyofparliamentonline.org/volume/1509-1558/member/browne-sir-anthony-1500-48
- Elizabeth FITZGERALD (C. Lincoln) ("Fair Geraldine")
- Born: 1528, Maynooth, Kildare, Leinster, Ireland
- Died: Mar 1589, Lincoln Chapel
- Buried: St. George'S Chapel, Windsor, Berkshire, England
- Notes: See her Biography.
- Father: Gerald 'Gearóig óg' FITZGERALD (9° E. Kildare)
- Mother: Elizabeth GREY (C. Kildare)
- Married 1: Anthony BROWNE (Sir Knight) AFT 1540
- Married 2: Edward CLINTON FIENNES (1° E. Lincoln) 1 Oct 1552, Sempringham, Kesteven, Lincolnshire, England
- From: http://www.tudorplace.com.ar/FITZGERALD1.htm#Elizabeth FITZGERALD (C. Lincoln) ("Fair Geraldine")
- Elizabeth Fitzgerald was the daughter of Gerald Fitzgerald, 9th E. of Kildare and Elizabeth Grey, she was born in Maynooth, Kildare, Leinster, Ireland. After her father’s death while a prisoner in the Tower of London, Elizabeth was raised at the English court. She and a sister came to England with their mother in Oct 1533. In 1537, the same year her half brother "Silken Thomas" and her five FitzGerald uncles were executed at Tyburn for treason and rebellion, she was sent to Mary Tudor’s household at Hunsdon. Her younger brothers were raised alongside Prince Edward. Her eldest brother Gerald, the 11th Earl of Kildare, had gone on the run in Ireland. In Donegal, Gerald, along with other powerful Irish clans, who were related to the FitzGeralds by marriage, formed the Geraldine League. When that federation was defeated in Monaghan, he sought refuge on the Continent. He returned to England in the reign of Edward VI, where he was welcomed at Court and his confiscated lands returned to him.
- Shortly after that, when she was ten or eleven, she was the subject of a poem by Henry Howard, Earl of Surrey. Surrey’s biographer, Jessie Childs (Henry VIII’s Last Victim) suggests that his intent was to improve her chances of making a good marriage by praising not only her noble heritage but her beauty and virtues. In the poem she is called “the Lady Geraldine” and subsequent generations invented all sorts of romantic tales about her. .... etc.
- The truth was, she was an impoverished noblewoman dependent upon the Tudors. Other sources date the poem in Nov 1541 and say Elizabeth was a maid of honor to Catherine Howard at the time, but there is no evidence to support this. She may, however, have been at court while Catherine was Queen.
- There is an apocryphal story that Surrey, at a tournament at Florence, defied all the world to show such beauty as hers, and that he visited the celebrated alchemist, Cornelius Agrippa, who revealed to him in a magic mirror the object of his affections. Scott, in his Lay of the Last Minstrel, recounts the tale in five stanzas, of which the following is one: .... etc.
- In Dec 1542, at the age of sixteen, she became the second wife of Sir Anthony Browne, Henry VIII’s Master of Horse, following the death of his first wife Alice Gage. Browne was a wealthy and influential man. Later his daughter, Mabel, married Elizabeth’s brother, Gerald, 11th Earl of Kildare.
- After Sir Anthony’s death, the widowed Lady Browne was part of the household at Chelsea Manor shared by Catherine Parr, the Queen Dowager, by then married to Lord Admiral Thomas Seymour, and Elizabeth Tudor. Later, when Princess Elizabeth was being questioned about her relationship with the Lord Admiral, her custodian, Sir Robert Tyrwhitt, remembered that Lady Browne had gotten along well with the Princess and sent for her to spy on the girl. Lady Browne was not successful as a spy, perhaps by intent, and later became a close friend of Elizabeth Tudor’s when she became Queen. On Oct 1,1552, Lady Browne remarried, taking as her second husband Edward Clinton, Lord Clinton, who had succeeded Seymour as Lord Admiral. In 1553, both of them were involved in the plot to put Lady Jane Grey on the throne instead of Mary Tudor, but Elizabeth was able to regain Queen Mary’s trust. She may have been part of Elizabeth Tudor's household at Hatfield in 1557-8. She definitely provided a place, a few days before Mary’s death, for the Count of Feria to meet with the Princess.
- Lady Clinton was at court as a lady in waiting from the beginning of Elizabeth’s reign. In 1561, she was among those who tried to warn Lady Catherine Grey to confess her secret marriage to the Queen before she found out from someone else. Later that same year, Lady Clinton was in some sort of trouble with the Queen herself and accused of “frailty” and “forgetfulness of her duty”. It is not clear what occasioned such criticism, but since the charges were made by Archbishop Parker, who also declared she should be “chastised in Bridewell” for her offense, David Starkey concludes that Parker thought she was a strumpet.
- She gave a miniature of herself to Elizabeth Brooke, Marchioness of Northampton, which was willed back to her on Lady Northampton's death in 1565.
- In 1569, records show that she exercised the Lord Admiral’s right to seize a ship that had been illegally taken by Martin Frobisher. Frobisher was arrested for piracy; Lady Clinton kept the ship and its cargo. In 1572, Clinton was created Earl of Lincoln, making Elizabeth a countess. She had two children by Browne, both of whom died young, and no children by Clinton. She is buried in St. George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle with her second husband.
- Biography: Oxford DNB entry under "Clinton, Elizabeth Fiennes de." Portrait: by Steven van der Meulen, 1560; a second portrait , is in the National Gallery of Ireland in Dublin.
- From: http://www.tudorplace.com.ar/Bios/ElizabethFitzgerald(CLincoln).htm