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The Tudors — Eleanor Clifford

Eleonore Clifford
Eleanor Clifford

The depicted young lady is Eleanor Clifford, the youngest child of Eleanor Brandon, who was born in 1547, and not Helena Snakenborg! I just wrote a letter to somebody who asked me why this is not Helena Snakenborg and I would like to share with you some of my response: "I have been researching the coats of arms and symbols of the dynasties of the Renaissance for the last ten years and I found that more than 80% of the depicted can be identified through their coats of arms and other symbols. These are the only tools to do so. Written inscriptions on Renaissance paintings have been in all cases added hundreds of years later, predominantly in the 19th century, typically by their proud owners or eager curators. These inscriptions are most often incorrect and hence irrelevant. The only exceptions to this rule are two inscriptions in Latin: "aetatis sue" and "anno domini" which denote the age of the depicted and the year when the painting was made and hence have to be taken very seriously. As I understand you have been researching the life of Helena extensively. Therefore you must be aware that she had very fair hair. Furthermore she was born between October 1549 and March 1550. Now have a look at the painting "A Young Lady Aged 21" [the portrait painting above]. This woman had been 21 years old when she had been painted in 1569, hence she was born in 1548 or 1547. Therefore she cannot be Helena. Furthermore the depicted is not fair-haired or blond as Helena was (see: Elizabeth Jenkins, Elizabeth and Leicester, London 1961, p. 138). Also, have a look at her costume which is decorated with the Tudor Rose. Only a member of that family was permitted to be depicted like that. My research shows that this person can only be Eleanor Clifford, born in 1547."

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