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"Anne regards me as her jester and entertainer, a singer and player who can dispel bad moods and bring amusement–but I had not imagined being in the service of a peevish, moody woman who wants nothing but to become Henry's queen."
—Elinor Valjean[3]

Elinor Freeman (née Valjean; born February 20, 1514) was the daughter of Eva De Puebla and Michel Valjean. She became a Lady of Court when she reached age thirteen. Elinor worked as a lady-in-waiting to Catherine of Aragon, before being transferred to Anne Boleyn's household. She married Tom Freeman in 1531.

Biography

Early life

Elinor was born February 20, 1514[2] as the second child of Eva De Puebla and Michel Valjean. She had a older sister, Rosanna, and two younger brothers, Daniel and William. Elinor was of Spanish and French descent.

1525 – 1536

Elinor worked with her sister and mother in Queen Catherine of Aragon's household, before becoming an official Lady of Court in 1527 at the age of thirteen. The following year, she was ordered to become a lady-in-waiting to Anne Boleyn. Boleyn had caught the interest of King Henry VIII, but refused to become his mistress. Anne was sent away to Hever, while a trial was held in Westminster for Henry to annul his marriage to Catherine. At Hever, Elinor met a local blacksmith, named Tom Freeman.

In 1530, Elinor moved with Anne's household to Whitehall Palace. She was also joined by Tom, who had since been hired as Anne's personal blacksmith. Later that year, Tom proposed to Elinor and they married the following month on January 12, 1531. The court left Queen Catherine behind that summer, and Elinor was once again separated from her mother and sister. On June 26, 1532, Elinor gave birth to her first child, Michael Freeman, who was named after her father.

The following year, Henry finally annulled his marriage to Catherine and married Anne, who was subsequently crowned Queen. Elinor's brothers came to live with her, when many of Catherine's servants were dismissed that winter. In late March 1534, Elinor gave birth to a daughter, Maria Freeman, named after Maria de Salinas. Two years later, Elinor witnessed the downfall of Anne Boleyn, who was accused of adultery and beheaded. Shortly after Anne's execution, Elinor left court with her family to live a normal life in the countryside.

Personality and traits

During her childhood, Elinor wished she had been born a boy and dreamed of becoming a court jester like her father. Elinor was especially talented with music and dancing, which she had inherited from her father. She was also terrible at embroidery work, but eventually learned to sew a straight line.

Behind the scenes

Appearances

References

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