Some historians believe that he was the father of Catherine and Henry Carey, the children of Mary Boleyn. Mary was Anne Boleyn's older sister, and Henry's mistress before he dumped her for Anne. She was married to William Carey during the time of her affair with Henry. The Dictionary of National Biography states that Catherine was born in 1529-30. But this date has proved to be incorrect. William Carey died in June 1528. She was appointed as a maid of honour to Anne of Cleves in the spring of 1540, and she gave birth to her first child in 1540-41 Thus, it is more likely that Catherine was born in 1524, one or 2 years before Mary gave birth to a son, Henry.
William Carey was rewarded with land grants in 1524 and 1526, the years of the births of Mary's children.
After Anne's execution, members of the Boleyn family continued to suffer "constant persecution and spoliation" by Henry, and, afterward, by Elizabeth I. If William Carey was Catherine's father, she certainly would not have been selected by Henry to be one of Anne of Cleves' maids of honour. Catherine and her brother, Henry, created Baron Hunsdon of Hunsdon. Despite the taint of their Boleyn blood, Mary's two children remained in favor at the courts of Henry VIII and Elizabeth I.
In 1540 Catherine married Francis (later Sir) Knollys. They had eleven children. Their eldest child, Lettice, born 1540, married Walter Devereux, 1st Earl of Essex. Her second husband was Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester.
Lady Knollys died in January 15 1569 at Hampton Court Palace. Queen Elizabeth paid for the "opulent" funeral, that she described as royal. The funeral was overseen by the Earl Marshal and the Earl Treasurer the Earl of Leicester. Lady Knollys' funeral documents at Westminster Abbey were found with those of Henry III, Henry VI, Queen Mary II, King William III, Prince George of Denmark and Queen Anne.
Lord Hunsdon's funeral was also grand, and paid for by Elizabeth II. He rests in one of the loftiest tombs in Westminster Abbey.
Kate is a descendant of Catherine Carey through her 10th child, Elizabeth, who married Sir Thomas Leighton. The late Diana, Princess of Wales also descended from this marriage. Charlotte Eagar has written a fascinating article about these connections in the March 12 issue of The Spectator.