On This Day 17th October 1596
On 17th October 1596, Lady Anne Percy, nee Somerset, Countess of Northumberland died. Like the vast majority of Tudor nobles, she was related to the royal family. Her grandfather, Charles Somerset, Earl of Worcester, was a second cousin of Henry VII, and much favoured both by Henry VII and Henry VIII. Her mother, Elizabeth Browne, was a Lady-in-waiting to Anne Boleyn, and it is possible that something said by Elizabeth gave ammunition to Thomas Cromwell for an accusation against the Queen.
Lady Anne was married to Thomas Percy, Earl of Northumberland, on 22nd June 1558. The Percies had been restored to their ancient honours by Queen Mary, and remained staunch Catholics. In 1569, Lady Anne was one of the prime instigators of the Rising of the Northern Earls, against Elizabeth, being described as ‘stouter (more committed) than her husband’, and apparently riding amongst the troops, despite being pregnant. Following the failure of the rebellion, her husband was executed, and she escaped to Flanders where she lived on a pension from Philip II of Spain.
Picture is Alnwick Castle, the Northumberland home of the Percy family © Tudor Times Ltd