Blanche Herbert, LADY TROY
Lady Mistress to the Tudor children, the future
King Edward VI and Queen Elizabeth I
Blanche Herbert, known as Lady Troy, was the Lady Mistress of Elizabeth (the future Queen Elizabeth I) and Edward (the future King Edward VI), the children of King Henry VIII. It was Lady Troy who gave them a stable and happy childhood. She may also have been important in helping to form the children's religious ideas and beliefs as her family had residual Lollard connections. Lady Troy is mentioned in 'Blanche Parry & Queen Elizabeth I', a book with superb pictures of Elizabeth I and Blanche Parry's life (innovative calendar-format). This is sold on amazon.co.uk to raise funds for the church where Lady Troy became godmother to her niece, Blanche Parry, at her Christening in 1507/1508. The new evidence for both ladies, with full references, is in 'Mistress Blanche, Queen Elizabeth I's Confidante'. This is a summary:
Blanche Milborne, was one of eleven surviving daughters of Simon Milborne and his wife Jane (Baskerville). Her oldest sister, Alice, married Henry Myles, and were Blanche Parry's parents. In 1493/4 Blanche (in Welsh Blaens) Milborne married James Whitney of Whitney and Pen-cwm. Her dowry was the manor of Icomb in Gloucestershire, later inherited by their elder son (ancestor of the Whitney family in the USA). James Whitney died in 1500, leaving Blanche with three small children: 6 year old Robert, James and Elizabeth. In 1545 Anne Morgan (of Arkstone, Herefordshire), one of this Elizabeth's daughters, married Princess Elizabeth's cousin (or possible half-brother) Henry Carey, later Lord Hunsdon. Anne's grandmother, Blanche, who had seen her two elder sons die, was still at Court on the occasion of her grand–daughter's marriage.
Blanche Whitney was not a widow for very long as she soon married, as his second wife, William Herbert of Troy Parva, a son of the 1st Earl of Pembroke by one of his mistresses. Blanche seems to have been some years younger than William. She was attractive and, from a practical point of view, she was likely to produce an heir for William as she already had small children. As the bard, Lewys Morgannwg, asserts that she joined her husband in welcoming King Henry VII, his queen and earls at the palace of Troy (Troy House south-east of Monmouth) in August 1502, Blanche's re–marriage must date between July 1500 and August 1502. In 1516, when her husband was knighted, Blanche became Lady Troy. Although English, Blanche Herbert was bilingual for she lived in a Welsh cultural environment, with Welsh spoken not only to servants but also within the family, and close contact was maintained with Henry Myles and her sister's family. The Herberts had two sons, Charles and Thomas.
Sir William Herbert, described by Lewys Morgannwg as an outstanding knight, died in 1524. In his Will he directed his executors to build a marble tomb with an effigy of himself between those of his first wife Margery and his second wife Blanche, who outlived him. Blanche was well provided with manors, lands and tenements for her lifetime and their son Charles needed Blanche's consent to make a jointure of other properties, indicating that William obviously admired his wife's good sense. He added the pious hope that I trust that Blanche will keep herself sole. Blanche's opinion is not recorded though, in fact, she did not marry again. Sir William asked his patron Henry Somerset knight, Lord Herbert, then heir to the Earl of Worcester, to be a good lord to my wife and children. As Lewys Morgannwg said that Blanche Herbert had been a governess when she was young, she may have fulfilled this rôle for some of Henry Somerset's
©Ruth E. Richardson 2012