Elizabeth Howard
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'Queen of England'
Queen consort of England (more...)
Tenure February 1591- 15 May 1608
Coronation 17 June 1591
Predecessor Catherine Michelle of Spain
Successor Magdalene Sibylle of Prussia
Spouse John Paulet, 2nd Marquess of Winchester

m. 1571

Alexander I of England
m. January 1591

Issue Anne Sophia, Queen of Aquitaine

Robert, Duke of Buckingham

House House of Howard (by birth)

House of Tudor (by marriage)

Father Thomas Howard, 4th Duke of Norfolk
Mother Ruth Rottmundin
Born 19 August 1556
Bungay Castle, Norfolk
Died 15 May 1608 (aged 52)
Hampton Court Palace, England
Burial Henry VII's Chapel, Westminster Abbey
Religion Anglican
 Elizabeth Howard (19 August 1556 - 15 May 1608) was an English noblewoman and the eldest child of Lady Ruth Howard and Thomas Howard, 4th Duke of Norfolk. Her second marriage made her Queen of England as the spouse of Alexander I of England.

Early Life

Elizabeth Howard was born on 19 August 1556, the eldest child of Ruth Rottmundin and Thomas Howard. Her mother and father were both influential courtiers and were often away, causing her to be raised by servants. She was joined by a sister, Rebecca, three years later. Her mother was determined to make her daughters education equal to that of royal children, and as honorary members of the royal family she and her sister came to court in 1561 to be raised alongside the Princesses Jane, Anne, and Constance. When she was 13, she offically became a lady-in-waiting to Jane. When she was 10 years old Queen Isabella asked her to deliever wine to Marie de Meluen, the king's mistress. She did as she was told and the French woman was later found dead. At the age of 15 she was forced into an arranged marriage with the 61 year old John Paulet, 2nd Marquess of Winchester.

First Marriage

She married John Paulet in 1571. The bride was barely 15, the groom 61 and still the heir to his father. She was said to have cried both before and after the ceremony. Her younger sisters Rebecca and Margaret both married men closer to their ages and reputedly had love matches. For this reason, Elizabeth grew to resent her father for marrying her to a much older man, and she and her husband quarreled frequently. She stayed at court, now a lady-in-waiting to Princess Constance, as much as possible to avoid her husband. The marriage remained unconsumated due to her husband's impotence. While at court, she formed a close friendship with the Prince of Wales and almost tarnished her reputation. The French ambassador wrote, "The Lady Elisabeth is quite beautiful, a fact not to be missed by the Prince of Wales. It seems that the two have a relationship that easily mirrors that of husband and wife. He is betrothed to the Spanish Infanta and she is married, such shame to befall the both of them." Their friendship remained chaste, however, and she became a lady-in-waiting to Catherine Michelle when the Infanta arrived in England. In 1576, after five years of marriage, John Paulet died, leaving Elizabeth Howard a 20 year old widow.

Second Marriage

In 1590, Edward VI died and Alexander I succeeded the throne. Elizabeth Howard had recently quarreled with the new king over his mistress Anne Veldon. He was determined to divorce his wife and marry the young woman and Elizabeth disapproved. She was not fond of Catherine Michelle, the Spanish-born queen was extremely arrogant, but she noted her failing health and urged him to wait until she died to marry the mistress. He refused and Elizabeth left court to join the Dowager queen and her mother at Richmond Palace. She discovered the plot to overthrow the king and returned to inform him. He refused to believe that his mother was involved and banished Elizabeth from court. She then resided in Bungay Castle while the plot unfolded. When her warning proved to be true, Alexander sent for her to return to court. She returned to court and found that Anne Veldon had died suddenly. She suspected Catherine Michelle or the Dowager Queen Isabella of poisoning her, but she did not press her suspicion after a physican declared it was tuberculosis. Catherine Michelle soon succumbed to her long standing illness, leaving five young children. Alexander soon asked her to marry him, which surprised her, but she agreed. The were married at the end of April of 1591, although it was clear that she was already pregnant. In November of that year she delivered their first child, a daughter, Anne Sophia. The following year, she delievered a son, Robert. The Queen Mother approved of the marriage and retired to Richmond Palace. Alexander was very faithful to her and she took care of her step children dutifully as she had been their governess prior to her marriage.


In 1608, she was complaining of chest pains. She was said to have been vomiting and often suffered from cold sweats. In May of that year the queen was found dead in her rooms. Only months later, Alexander I died as well and was succeeded by his eldest son from his first marriage.


  1. Anne Sophia. Married Francis, King of Aquitaine; had issue
  2. Robert, Duke of Buckingham. Married Eleonora Gonzaga; had issue


  1. 1556 -1571Lady Elizabeth Howard
  2. 1571-1576: Marchioness Winchester
  3. 1576 - 1590: Dowager Marchioness Winchester
  4. 1590-1608 : Her Majesty, The Queen Elizabeth

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