Dear America Wiki
Dear America Wiki

"I sleep in the alcove bed in the cottage kitchen. No servant brings my clothes in the morning, or brushes my hair, but I would not go back to that pampering. I feel stronger every day now. I can fetch water from the well and help with washing clothes and sweeping floors. This morning I saw hares dancing, as they always do in the spring, and had a moment of wonderful happiness."
—Beatrice Townhill[3]

Beatrice Valjean (née Townhill; born 12 June 1526) was a lady-in-waiting to three of King Henry VIII's wives, namely Anne of Cleves, Katherine Howard, and Katherine Parr. She was informally adopted by Elinor Valjean and Eva De Puebla after the death of her parents. Beatrice officially became a part of the family when she married Eva's son, William Valjean.


Early life[]

Beatrice was born on 12 June 1526.[2] According to her caretaker Agnes, Beatrice's parents met at a joust and were married soon after that. Her mother came from a wealthy family, while her father was a commoner. Beatrice grew up in Greenwich in a house that her father rented from his in-laws, Gertrude and John Bedingfield. Her father was a royal huntsman to King Henry VIII. Beatrice's mother became ill shortly after her birth and she saw little of her over the years.

1536 – 1548[]

In 1536, Beatrice became friends with Eva De Puebla and her daughter Elinor Valjean, whom rented a cottage nearby with their family. For her tenth birthday, Beatrice's father introduced her to King Henry and Queen Jane Seymour. Her best friend, Catherine "Kitty" Carey, gave her a diary that day. Eva and Elinor later lent their diaries to her, from which she learned about Henry's first two wives, Catherine of Aragon and Anne Boleyn. Beatrice started to think about becoming a court lady, which was also Kitty's dream. The following year, Jane passed away suddenly after giving birth to Prince Edward. After her twelfth birthday, Beatrice began helping Kitty at court frequently.

In February 1539, Beatrice and her parents all caught smallpox. Her parents both died, which left her an orphan. Eva and Elinor talked to her aunt and uncle, Gertrude and John Bedingfield, whom allowed Beatrice to stay in their care. Beatrice was later able to obtain employment in the court's kitchens with Eva's son William Valjean. In 1540, Henry married Anne of Cleves and Kitty obtained a lady-in-waiting position for Beatrice. The position was relatively brief since Henry divorced Anne. Beatrice went on to serve his new wife Katherine Howard, whom was around the same age as her. In late 1541, Beatrice and Will were engaged. The pair waited until after Katherine's execution for adultery to ask the King's permission to wed.

Beatrice and Will married on Easter in 1542. Her aunt and uncle offered her the tenancy of her old home, which she accepted. Elinor, Eva, and their family came to live with them. Beatrice returned to court when Henry married Katherine Parr. On 13 March 1544, she gave birth to a daughter, named Joanna after Will's father. King Henry passed away in January 1547. On 9 October 1547, Beatrice gave birth to her second child, Rodrigo, named for Eva's uncle. Afterwards, Beatrice and Will moved to Chelsea to serve Katherine and her new husband, Thomas Seymour. Beatrice stayed until Katherine's death in August 1548. Afterwards, Beatrice was so effected by her death that she decided to leave behind court life forever.

Personality and traits[]

Beatrice had a love of learning, though she sometimes grew tired of lessons when she was younger. She enjoyed attending Katherine Parr's lessons for Elizabeth and Lady Jane Grey. Beatrice was taught French and Latin at a young age, and later learned Spanish from her friend, Eva. After being scarred by smallpox, Beatrice's self-esteem dropped. For example, she felt she was too ugly to be a lady-in-waiting though her friends all insisted the scars were not terrible. Beatrice slowly gained back her confidence as she grew up.

Family tree[]

The Valjean-Freeman Family Tree
(including De Puebla and Townhill relatives)
Rodrigo De Puebla
(d. 1509)
Bianca De Puebla
Gonsalvo De Puebla
Don De Puebla
(d. 1498)
Anna De Puebla
Miguel De Puebla
Eva De Puebla
(b. 1486)
Michel Valjean
(d. 1528)
Mr Townhill
(d. 1539)
Mrs Townhill
(d. 1539)
Rosanna Valjean
(b. 1510)
Diego Luiz
de Frontera
Elinor Valjean
(b. 1514)
Tom Freeman
Daniel Valjean
(b. 1518)
Alice Valjean
William Valjean
(b. 1521)
Beatrice Townhill
(b. 1526)
John de Frontera
(b. 1530)
Michael Freeman
(b. 1532)
Maria Freeman
(b. 1534)
Isabella Freeman
(b. 1537)
Joanna Valjean
(b. 1544)
Rodrigo Valjean
(b. 1547)

Behind the scenes[]



See also[]

My Story characters
Main characters

Nebka | Hatshepsut "Asha" | Claudia | Bran | Tor Scaldbane | Jenkin Lloyd | Eva De Puebla
Elinor Valjean | Lady Jane Grey | Matilda "Tilly" Middleton | Catherine "Kitty" Lumsden | Thomas Hobbs
Remember "Mem" Whipple | Thomas Adamson | Alice Paynton | Susannah Makepeace | Ignatius Sancho
Euphemia Grant | Mary Wade | Elizabeth "Lizzie" Harvey | Isabelle | James Grant | Mary Prince | Bob Jenkins
Dick Maybury | Eliza Helsted | Phyllis McCormack | Lily Hicks | Michael Pope | Hanuman Singh | Clotee Henley
Will Reed | Edith Lorrimer | Jabulani | Sophia Duleep Singh | Florence Finch | Flora Bonnington | Dollie Baxter
Margaret Anne Brady | Jack Fairfax | Daphne "Daffy" Rowntree | Billy Stevens | Noor Inayat Khan
Eleanor Rhys Davies | Rebecca "Becky" Mortkowicz | Harry Woods | Princess Margaret | Sophie Ridel
Peter Rogers | Kitty Langley | Edith "Edie" Benson | Tim Jackson | Andrew "Andy" Pope | Paul Lelaud
Violet Debuchy

Supporting characters

Henry VII | Henry VIII | Catherine of Aragon | Anne Boleyn | Jane Seymour | Anne of Cleves
Catherine Howard | Catherine Parr | Edward VI | Mary I | Elizabeth II

Lists of characters by book

Pyramid of Secrets | Princess of Egypt | Pompeii | Roman Invasion | Viking Blood | Agincourt | My Tudor Queen
Anne Boleyn and Me | Lady Jane Grey | Bloody Tower | The Queen's Spies | Armada | Mayflower | Civil War
The Great Plague | Highway Girl | Ignatius Sancho | The '45 Rising | No Way Back | Transported
The Fall of the Blade | Trafalgar | Mary Prince | Waterloo | Dodger! | Mill Girl | The Hunger | The Crystal Palace
Crimea | Indian Mutiny | Slave Girl | The Sweep's Boy | Victorian Workhouse | Zulu War | Princess Sophia Duleep Singh
Factory Girl | Twentieth-Century Girl | Suffragette | Titanic | The Trenches | Flying Ace | Road to War
Noor-un-Nissa Inayat Khan | Berlin Olympics | Nowhere to Run | The Storm to Come | Battle of Britain
Wartime Princess | Sophie's Secret War | U-Boat Hunter | War Nurse | Blitz | Desert Danger | D-Day
Spy Smuggler | Codename Céline | London Stories

My Royal Story characters

Cleopatra VII | Beatrice Townhill | Elizabeth I | Mary, Queen of Scots | Marie Antoinette | Victoria | Anastasia

Lists of My Royal Story characters by book

Cleopatra | Henry VIII's Wives | Elizabeth | Mary, Queen of Scots | Marie Antoinette | Victoria | Anastasia

My True Story characters

Dora Thewlis | John "Jack" Cornwell | Joe Read | Susan | Vera

Lists of My True Story characters by book

Give Us the Vote! | Standing Alone | Hero at Dunkirk | What If They Find Us?