Ethelreda (Audrey) TUDOR

Born: ABT 1525

Died: Apr 1559

Father: HENRY VIII TUDOR (King of England)

Mother: Joan DINGLEY

Married: John HARRINGTON of Kelston 1547


1. Hester HARRINGTON (d. AFT 1568)

The birth of Ethelreda, also called Audrey and Esther, born in the late 1520's, is controversial and often questioned. Those who argue that she was illegitimate daughter of Henry VIII says that Henry´s tailor, John Malte (d. 1547), was persuaded to recognize Ethelreda as his illegitimate daughter. His mother, Joan Dingley or Dyngley was a royal laundress, and therefore a lowborn woman to secure up her daughter's endorsement by the King. Joan Dingley apparently took no part in the life of her daughter and she married a man named Dobson at some point after birth. As for John Malte, he received a sizeable grant of land from the King in 1541, including the manors of Watchenfeld and Offyngton in Berkshire, and another, with Ethelreda, in 1546. Malte's will is dated 10 Sep 1546 and was proved 7 Jun 1547. In it he calls EthelredaAwdrey Malte, my bastard daughter, begotten on the body of Joane Dingley, now wife of one Dobson”. Malte’s will left £20 “to Joan Dyngley, otherwise Joane Dobson”.

At some point between Sep 1546 and 11 Nov 1547, Ethelreda married John Harington of Stepney. At that time he was in the service of Thomas Seymour, Lord Seymour of Sudeley. Ethelreda and John had one child, a daughter they named Hester. In 1554, Ethelreda was one of Elizabeth Tudor’s attendants during the princess's incarceration in the Tower of London. John was a prisoner in the Tower during this time as well, obstensibly for delivering a letter to Elizabeth but primarily because he was strongly suspected of having committed treason by helping to plan Wyatt's rebellion.

A letter that John wrote from the Tower to Chancellor Stephen Gardiner which said "... My wife is [Elizabeth's] servant, and does but rejoice in this our misery, when we look with whom we are held in bondage". However Ethelreda, John's first wife, was still alive during 1554, and like Isabella was a lady in waiting to Elizabeth. John Harrington's letter to Gardiner is refering to Ethelreda, not Isabella.

Ethelreda was still living in Oct 1555, when she settled Kelston on her husband. It is unknown how Ethelreda may have felt about her husband's infatuation for Isabella. Her death occurred before 1 Apr 1559. Harrington inherited all the lands Henry VIII had granted her.

to Bios Page to Family Page
to Peerage Page to Home Page