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The Ladies on the Mowbray Cover

The lady on the left of The Mowbray Legacy cover is Lady Anne Mowbray’s mother, Elizabeth Talbot, widow of the last Mowbray Duke of Norfolk.

Duchess Elizabeth seems to have been an attractive woman both in appearance and personality, but nevertheless it is often claimed that this stained glass in Long Melford Church, Suffolk was the inspiration for John Tenniel’s Ugly Duchess drawings in Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, although Grotesque Old Woman by Quentin Massys (Matsys) in the National Gallery would seem to be a more likely candidate.

(Please note that the pictures centre and right above do not appear in The Mowbray Legacy.)

The lady on the right hand side of the cover is Elizabeth Tilney, Countess of Surrey, whose husband became the second Howard Duke of Norfolk in 1514 (the Howards were heirs of Lady Anne Mowbray). Elizabeth Tilney, who died in 1497, was the grandmother of both Anne Boleyn and Katherine Howard. Within a few months of her death, her widower married her young cousin Agnes Tilney, who at about 20 was much less than half his age.  It was Agnes, Dowager Duchess of Norfolk  who was imprisoned in the Tower in 1541/2 for her involvement in the misdemeanours of her step-granddaughter, Queen Katherine Howard.

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