Anne de Mowbray was born on 10 December 1472 at Framlingham Castle as the only surviving child of John de Mowbray, 4th Duke of Norfolk and Lady Elizabeth Talbot. Anne’s father died suddenly when Anne was just three years old, and Anne became of the greatest heiresses of the time. Though she could not inherit her father’s dukedom, she did become the 8th Countess of Norfolk, Baroness Mowbray and Baroness Segrave.
Little Anne became a ward of King Edward IV, as was usual, and it was the King who managed her extensive estates. To keep her riches close to the crown, Anne was married to King Edward IV’s son Richard, who had been created Duke of Norfolk in 1477. On 15 January 1478, Anne and Richard – both still children – were married at St Stephen’s Chapel in Westminster. It is assumed that the new Duchess of Norfolk became a part of Elizabeth Woodville’s household because it is recorded that she died at the royal manor of Greenwich in November 1481. Her father-in-law had arranged that if Anne was to die without issue, her lands and titles would remain with her husband.
King Edward IV spent £215 16s 10d on her burial, and she was transported by barge in state to Westminster. She was buried in the Chapel dedicated to St Erasmus in Westminster Abbey, which was unfortunately demolished in 1502 for King Henry VII’s mausoleum. Her body was moved to the Abbey of the Minoresses without Aldgate, which was probably meant to be temporary. Her young husband would become one of the Princes in the Tower.
The story of this royal child bride resurfaced in 1964 when workmen found the vaulted chamber where her coffin had been placed. The discovery was initially thought to be a Roman burial, and the coffin was moved to the London Museum. A special room was set up to examine the coffin, and Anne’s remains were found to be wrapped in linen. Her remains were extensively examined over the following months. On 31 May 1965, Anne laid-in-state in the Jerusalem Chamber in Westminster Abbey where she was to be reburied.1