Elizabeth was brought up in the Court of King Henry VIII as a child companion to the infant Princess Elizabeth (Queen Elizabeth I, daughter of Henry and Anne.) She was five years old when she arrived with her mother and one of her sisters.
At the age of ten, she was immortalized by the poet Henry Howard, Earl of Surrey. He wrote a sonnet “The Geraldine” for her, as he was said to have been captivated by her childlike beauty (kind of creepy if you ask me.) He also wrote about “the Fair Geraldine” whilst he was in prison for beating a courtesan (a nice name for a prostitute… ahem, even creepier.)
Some suggest that this devotion was not creepy, but a means to improve her chances of making a good marriage. Whatever. You be the judge…
From Tuscan’ came my lady’s worthy race;
Fair Florence was some time their ancient seat;
The western isle, whose pleasant shore doth face
Wild Camber’s cliffs, did give her lively heat:
Fostered she was with milk of Irish breast;
Her sire an earl; her dame of princes’ blood:
From tender years, in Britain she doth rest
With king’s child, where she tasteth costly food.
Hunsdon did first present her to my een:
Bright is her hue, and Geraldine she hight:
Hampton me taught to wish her first for mine:
And Windsor, alas, doth chase me from her sight.
Her beauty of kind, her virtues from above;
Happy is he that can obtain her love.