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9 <meta http-equiv="Content-Language" content="en-us"><title>Anne Boleyn: Biography, Portraits, Primary Sources</title>
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15<table border="0" cellpadding="3" height="667" width="100%">
16 <tbody>
17 <tr>
18 <td height="29" width="25%"><br>
19 </td>
20 <td height="29" valign="top" width="50%">
21 <p align="center"><font size="4"><br>'[A] woman who is the scandal of
22 Christendom.'<br>
23 </font><i><font size="-1">Katharine of Aragon describes her
24rival, 1531</font></i></p>
25 </td>
26 </tr>
27 <tr>
28 <td height="610" width="25%"><br>
29 </td>
30 <td height="610" valign="top" width="50%">
31 <p align="center">
32&nbsp;</p>
33 <p align="center">
34<img src="boleyn_files/boleyncardinalbig.gif" alt="Anne Boleyn" border="0" height="90" width="352"></p>
35 <p align="center"> <b>
36 <img src="boleyn_files/boleynmainjpg.jpg" alt="the most famous portrait of Anne Boleyn; at the NPG, London" border="2" height="357" width="275"></b></p>
37 <p align="center"> <i><font size="2">portrait of Anne Boleyn by an unknown
38 artist, late 16th century</font></i></p>
39 <p> <b> <br>Anne Boleyn is one of the most famous queens
40in English history, though she ruled for just three years.&nbsp; The
41daughter of an ambitious knight and niece of the duke of Norfolk, Anne
42spent her adolescence in France.&nbsp; When she returned to England,
43her wit and style were her greatest charms.&nbsp; She had a circle of
44admirers and became secretly engaged to Henry Percy.&nbsp; She also
45entered the service of Katharine of Aragon.&nbsp; But she soon caught
46the eye of Henry VIII.&nbsp; He ordered Percy from court and tried to
47make Anne his mistress.&nbsp; She refused.&nbsp; Her sister, Mary, had
48been the king's mistress and gained little from it but scandal.&nbsp;
49Her hopes with Percy dashed, Anne demanded that the king marry
50her.&nbsp; She waited nearly seven years for Henry to obtain an
51annulment.&nbsp; It finally took an irrevocable breach with the Holy
52See before they wed in 1533.&nbsp; But she was unable to give Henry the
53son he desperately needed and their marriage ended tragically for
54Anne.&nbsp; She was executed on patently false charges of witchcraft,
55incest and adultery on 19 May 1536.&nbsp; Her daughter, Elizabeth,
56would become England's greatest queen.</b></p>
57 <blockquote>
58 <p><a href="http://englishhistory.net/tudor/monarchs/boleyn.html#Biography"><br>
59 <font size="4">Read the biography of Anne Boleyn</font></a><font size="4">.</font></p>
60 <p><b><br>
61Primary Sources</b> <br>
62Read <a href="http://englishhistory.net/tudor/letters.html">letters
63written by Anne</a>.&nbsp; <br>
64 <a href="http://englishhistory.net/tudor/ab-percy.html">The
65romance between Anne &amp; Henry Percy,</a> c1523&nbsp; <br>
66Eyewitness accounts of <a href="http://englishhistory.net/tudor/prianne1.html">her coronation in
671533</a> &amp; <a href="http://englishhistory.net/tudor/prianne2.html">her
68execution in 1536</a>.&nbsp; <br>
69 <a href="http://englishhistory.net/tudor/ab-lastdays.html">An
70account of Anne's last days</a> <br>
71 <a href="http://englishhistory.net/tudor/prianne3.html">Anne's
72last words</a>, 19 May 1536&nbsp; <br>
73 <a href="http://englishhistory.net/tudor/exanne.html">Another
74account of her execution</a></p>
75 <p>
76 <b>Secondary Sources<br></b>Read JA Froude's 1891 work <i>
77 <a href="http://englishhistory.net/tudor/secondary.html">The Divorce
78 of Catherine of Aragon</a></i>.&nbsp; <font size="2">Understandably, it also
79 discusses Anne Boleyn as well as Henry VIII's rumored affair with her
80 sister Mary.</font></p>
81 </blockquote>
82 <blockquote>
83 <p><a href="http://englishhistory.net/tudor/annedesc.html">Contemporary
84descriptions of Anne</a> <br>
85 <a href="http://englishhistory.net/tudor/lovelett.html">Henry
86VIII's love letters to Anne</a> <br>
87 <a href="http://englishhistory.net/tudor/monarchs/boleyn-poems.html">Poetry
88about Anne Boleyn</a> </p>
89 <p>Visit <a href="http://www.marileecody.com/images.html">Tudor
90England: Images</a> to view portraits of Anne.&nbsp; <br>
91Visit the <a href="http://englishhistory.net/tudor/monarchs/eliz.html">Queen
92Elizabeth I site</a> to learn more about Anne's daughter.&nbsp; <br>
93Read about Anne's sister, <a href="http://englishhistory.net/tudor/citizens/boleyn.html">Mary Boleyn</a>.<a href="http://englishhistory.net/tudor/monarchs/fiveanne.html"><br>The
94Boleyn-Howard connection</a> <br>
95 <font size="-1">Anne's relationship to Henry VIII's fifth wife</font>
96 </p>
97 <p>Test your knowledge of Anne Boleyn's life at <a href="http://englishhistory.net/tudor/tudor1.html">Tudor Quizzes</a>.</p>
98 <p><font size="2"><b><br>Links<br></b>
99 <a href="http://www.geocities.com/boleynfamily/">The Boleyns</a>: A
100 website dedicated to the entire Boleyn family, with particular emphasis
101 upon Anne.<br><a href="http://jack-of-all-trades.ca/meandmine/">Me and Mine</a>:
102 Biography and images of Anne Boleyn.</font></p>
103 <p><font size="2"><b><br>
104 Interact<br>
105 </b> Meet other Anne Boleyn enthusiasts at <a href="http://www.fine-eyes.net/anneboleyn/indextwo.html">Mistress
106Anne: The Official Anne Boleyn Fanlisting</a>.<br>
107Meet other Six Wives enthusiasts at <a href="http://ladiesallfanlist.cjb.net/">Ladies All: A Fanlisting for
108the Six Wives of Henry VIII</a>.<a href="http://groups.yahoo.com/search?query=Anne+Boleyn"><br>
109Anne Boleyn at Yahoo! Groups</a>&nbsp; There are numerous groups
110dedicated to Anne.&nbsp; I think you need a Yahoo! ID to join.<br>
111 <a href="http://tudorhistory.org/lists/list.html"> Tudor Talk </a>&nbsp;This
112email discussion list is sponsored by Tudorhistory.org.&nbsp; It does
113not focus exclusively on Anne.<br>
114 <a href="http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Reign_of_the_Tudors_rpg/">Reign
115of the Tudors</a>&nbsp; This is a role-playing game set in 16th century
116England.&nbsp; If you would like to 'play' Jane Grey or Anne Boleyn or
117other Tudors, click the link to join.</font></p>
118 <p><br>
119 <b>NEWS&nbsp;&nbsp; September 2004<br>The Life and Death of Anne Boleyn:
120 The Most Happy</b> by Eric Ives has just been published
121 <a href="http://www.amazon.co.uk/exec/obidos/ASIN/0631234799/qid=1096393233/ref=sr_8_xs_ap_i1_xgl/026-3687195-0558069">
122 in the UK</a> and
123 <a href="http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/0631234799/qid=1096393461/sr=8-1/ref=sr_8_xs_ap_i1_xgl14/002-7093489-7046463?v=glance&amp;s=books&amp;n=507846">
124 US</a>.&nbsp; I will be posting a lengthy review soon.&nbsp;
125 <font size="2">Professor Ives had previously written the definitive
126 biography of Anne in 1986; this work incorporates new research.</font></p>
127 <p>
128 <b><br>
129 Anne
130Boleyn: A New Life of England's Tragic Queen</b> by Joanna Denny
131 was published
132 <a href="http://www.amazon.co.uk/exec/obidos/ASIN/074995017X/qid=1076882496/sr=2-2/ref=sr_2_11_2/026-9295844-3953254">in the UK</a>
133 in April 2004.</p>
134 <hr>
135 <p><font size="2">The above portrait of Anne Boleyn is a late
13616th copy of a lost original.&nbsp; It can be viewed at the National Portrait
137Gallery, London.</font></p>
138 <hr> </blockquote>
139 </td>
140 <td height="610" width="25%"><br>
141 </td>
142 </tr>
143 </tbody>
144</table>
145<blockquote>
146 <blockquote>
147 <blockquote>
148 <p align="left"><font size="4"><br>
149 <br>
150 </font><a name="Biography"><br>
151 </a><font size="4">'She is of middling stature, with a swarthy
152complexion, long neck, wide mouth, bosom not much raised, and in fact
153has nothing but the King's great appetite, and her eyes, which are
154black and beautiful - and take great effect on those who served the
155Queen when she was on the throne.&nbsp; She lives like a queen, and the
156King accompanies her to Mass - and everywhere.'&nbsp;&nbsp; </font><i><font size="-1">the Venetian ambassador describes Anne, 1532</font></i> </p>
157 </blockquote>
158 <p align="left">&nbsp;</p>
159 </blockquote>
160 <p> <b>Biography</b><br>
161Anne Boleyn's birthdate is unknown; even the year is widely
162debated.&nbsp; General opinion now favors 1501 or 1502, though some
163historians persuasively argue for 1507.&nbsp; She was probably born at
164Blickling Hall in Norfolk.&nbsp; Her father was Sir Thomas Boleyn, a
165minor courtier with a talent for foreign languages; he was of London
166merchant stock and eager to advance in the world.&nbsp; Like most men,
167he chose to marry well.&nbsp; His bride was Elizabeth Howard, daughter
168of the second duke of Norfolk and sister of the third duke.</p>
169 <p>Anne had two surviving siblings, <a href="http://englishhistory.net/tudor/citizens/boleyn.html">Mary</a>
170and George.&nbsp; Their birthdates are also unknown, as is the order of their
171 births.&nbsp; We only know that all three Boleyn siblings were close in age.</p>
172 <p>In 1514, Henry VIII married his youngest sister, Mary, to the aged king of France.&nbsp; Anne
173accompanied the Tudor princess as a very<img alt="miniature portrait of Anne Boleyn" src="boleyn_files/boleynsmall.jpg" align="right" border="0" height="232" width="175"> young lady-in-waiting; she remained in France after the French king died and
174 <a href="http://englishhistory.net/tudor/citizens/brandon.html">Mary Tudor</a>
175returned home.&nbsp; Anne gained the subsequent honor of being educated
176under the watchful eye of the new French queen Claude.&nbsp; This
177education had a uniquely French emphasis upon fashion and flirtation,
178though more intellectual skills were not neglected.&nbsp; Anne became
179an accomplished musician, singer and dancer.&nbsp; </p>
180 <p>In 1521 or early 1522, with war between England and France
181imminent, Anne returned home.&nbsp; When she first caught Henry VIII's
182eye is unknown.&nbsp; He was originally attracted to her sister, Mary
183who came to court before Anne.&nbsp; She was the king's mistress in the
184early 1520s and, as a mark of favor, her father was elevated to the
185peerage as viscount Rochfort/Rochford in 1525.&nbsp; Mary herself would leave
186 court with only a dull marriage, and possibly the king's illegitimate son, as
187 her reward.&nbsp; Anne learned much from her sister's example.</p>
188 <p>Her first years at court were spent in service to Henry VIII's
189first wife, <a href="../aragon.html">Katharine of Aragon</a>.&nbsp; She became quite popular among
190the younger men.&nbsp; She was not considered a great beauty; her
191sister occupied that position in the family, but even Mary was merely
192deemed 'pretty'.&nbsp; Hostile chroniclers <a href="http://englishhistory.net/tudor/annedesc.html">described Anne</a>
193as plain, sallow, and possessing two distinct flaws - a large mole on
194the side of her neck and an extra finger on her left hand.&nbsp; Such
195praise as she received focused on her style, her wit and charm; she was
196quick-tempered and spirited.&nbsp; Her most remarkable physical
197attributes were her large dark eyes and long black hair.&nbsp; </p>
198 <p>The king's attraction was focused upon her sharp and teasing
199manner, and her oft-stated unavailability.&nbsp; What he couldn't have,
200he pined for all the more.&nbsp; This was especially difficult for a
201king used to having his own way in everything.&nbsp; Anne was also
202seriously involved with <a href="http://englishhistory.net/tudor/ab-percy.html">Henry Percy</a>,
203the son and heir of the earl of Northumberland; there were rumors of an
204engagement and declarations of true love.&nbsp; The king ordered his
205great minister, <a href="http://englishhistory.net/tudor/citizens/wolsey.html">Cardinal
206Thomas Wolsey</a>, to end the match.&nbsp; Wolsey did so, thus ensuring
207Percy's unhappy marriage to the earl of Shrewsbury's daughter and
208Anne's great enmity.&nbsp; It was safer to blame the Cardinal than his
209king.&nbsp; Also, Henry's jealousy revealed the depth of his feelings,
210and Anne quite naturally thought - if she could not be an earl's wife,
211why not try for the crown of England? </p>
212 <p>When Anne avoided Henry's company, was sullen and evasive to him,
213he sent her from court; he hoped that a few months in the country would
214persuade her of his charms.&nbsp; It did not work.&nbsp; Anne was
215already playing a far more serious game than the king.&nbsp; Later,
216after she had been arrested, Henry would claim he had been 'bewitched'
217and the term wasn't used lightly in the 16th century.&nbsp; But perhaps
218it was simply the contrast between her vivacity and Katharine's
219solemnity; or perhaps the king mistook the inexplicable ardor of true
220love for something more ominous, long after that love had faded.&nbsp; </p>
221 <p>It is impossible to fully explain the mystery of attraction
222between two people.&nbsp; How Anne was able to capture and maintain the
223king's attention for such a long while, despite great obstacles and the
224constant presence of malicious gossip, cannot be explained.&nbsp; Henry
225was headstrong and querulous.&nbsp; But for several years, he remained
226faithful to his feelings for Anne - and his attendant desire for a
227legitimate male heir.&nbsp; </p>
228 <p> <img src="boleyn_files/aragon-min.jpg" alt="miniature portrait of Katharine of Aragon" align="left" border="0" height="168" width="166">One cannot separate the king's desire for a
229son, indeed its very necessity, from his personal desire for
230Anne.&nbsp; The two interests merged perfectly in 1527.&nbsp; Henry had
231discovered the <a href="../aragon.html">invalidity
232of his marriage</a> to Katharine.&nbsp; Now it was possible to annul
233his marriage and secure his two fondest hopes - Anne's hand in marriage
234and the long-desired heir.&nbsp; </p>
235 <p> Cardinal Wolsey had long advocated an Anglo-French
236alliance.&nbsp; For that reason, he disliked the Spanish
237 <a href="../aragon.html">Katharine
238of Aragon</a>.&nbsp; He now set about securing his monarch's annulment
239with the intention of marrying Henry to a French princess.&nbsp; And if
240not a French princess, perhaps a great lady of the English court.&nbsp;
241Wolsey did not like Anne, and she despised him.&nbsp; It was Wolsey who
242had delivered the king's orders to Henry Percy, driving her suitor from
243court.&nbsp; She never forgot that injury to her heart.&nbsp; And while
244she could not revenge herself upon the king, <a href="http://englishhistory.net/tudor/letter8.html">she could work
245against</a> his Lord Chancellor.&nbsp; His protégé and successor <a href="http://englishhistory.net/tudor/citizens/cromwell.html">Thomas
246Cromwell</a> became a close ally. </p>
247 <p>But Anne alone did not cause Wolsey's fall from grace, though she
248took the blame for it.&nbsp; Indeed, 'Nan Bullen', as the common people
249derisively called her, became the scapegoat for all the king's
250unpopular decisions.&nbsp; But it is important to remember that no one
251- not Wolsey, not Cromwell, and certainly not Anne Boleyn - ever
252controlled Henry VIII, or made him do other than exactly what he
253wanted.&nbsp; He was a king who thoroughly knew and enjoyed his
254position.&nbsp; <a href="http://englishhistory.net/tudor/citizens/more.html">Sir Thomas
255More</a> would aptly point this out to his son-in-law, William Roper -
256'If a lion knew his strength, it were hard for any man to hold
257him.'&nbsp; And later, when Roper commented upon the king's affection
258for More, the philosopher replied that if his head would win the king a
259castle in France, then Henry would not hesitate to chop it off.&nbsp; </p>
260 <p>But most people found it easier to hate Anne than to hate their
261monarch.&nbsp; As the king's desire for an annulment became the gossip
262of all Europe, she was roundly criticized and condemned.&nbsp; And she
263was not popular at the English court either.&nbsp; Both her unique
264situation and her oft times abrasive personality offended many.&nbsp;
265And Katharine's solemn piety had impressed the English court for three
266decades; her supporters were numerous, though not inclined to face the
267king's formidable wrath.&nbsp; In truth, Anne was sustained only by the
268king's affection and she knew his mercurial temper.&nbsp; It is
269possible that she was as surprised by his faithfulness as everyone
270else.&nbsp; </p>
271 <p>As the struggle for an annulment proceeded and the pope
272prevaricated between Henry and Katharine's nephew, the Holy Roman
273Emperor Charles V, Anne's position at the English court became steadily
274more prominent.&nbsp; There were at first little signs.&nbsp; The king
275would eat alone with her; she received expensive gifts; she began to
276dress in the most fashionable and expensive gowns; the king paid her
277gambling debts since Anne, like most courtiers, enjoyed cards and dice.
278 </p>
279 <p>The king was not too outlandish at first; he had no desire to
280prejudice the pope against his case by flaunting a new love.&nbsp; But
281as the delays mounted, and rumors of his new love spread, Henry
282realized there was no purpose in hiding the truth.&nbsp; By 1530, Anne
283was openly honored by the king at court.&nbsp; She was accorded
284precedence over all other ladies, and she sat with the king at
285banquets and hunts while Katharine was virtually ignored.&nbsp; The
286pretense of his first marriage was allowed to continue; Katharine
287continued to personally mend his shirts and send him gifts and
288notes.&nbsp; But it was an untenable situation.&nbsp; It grated on both
289women.&nbsp; Anne perhaps taxed the king with it.&nbsp; To placate her,
290she was titled marquess of Pembroke on 4 September 1532 at Windsor
291Castle; she wore a beautiful crimson gown and her hair hung
292loose.&nbsp; Now elevated to the peerage in her own right, she had
293wealth and lands of her own.&nbsp; But when she accompanied him to
294France on a state visit a short while later, the ladies of the French
295court refused to meet with her.&nbsp; </p>
296 <p>It is believed that her elevation to the peerage marked the
297physical consummation of Anne and Henry's relationship.&nbsp; She would
298give birth to <a href="http://englishhistory.net/tudor/monarchs/eliz.html">Elizabeth</a>
299just a year later, and there were rumors of a secret marriage in late
3001532.&nbsp; It is possible that she became pregnant after just a few
301months and a second, legitimate wedding became a necessity.&nbsp; </p>
302 <p>
303 <img src="boleyn_files/boleyn3sepiatinged.jpg" alt="sepia-tinged sketch of Anne Boleyn by Hans Holbein the Younger" align="left" border="0" height="344" width="216">The king had his fondest wish within his
304grasp.&nbsp; Anne was pregnant with his long-awaited son, or so he
305thought, and this son must be legitimate.&nbsp; He could no longer wait
306upon the pope.&nbsp; Henry rejected the authority of the Holy See and
307Thomas Cranmer, archbishop of Canterbury, annulled his marriage to
308Katharine.&nbsp; Henry and Anne married again in January 1533 in a
309small ceremony.&nbsp; But though they were now husband and wife, few
310recognized the fact.&nbsp; </p>
311 <p><a href="http://englishhistory.net/tudor/prianne1.html">Her
312coronation</a> was a lavish affair; the king spared no expense.&nbsp;
313But the people of London were noticeably unimpressed.&nbsp; They cried
314out 'HA! HA!' mockingly as tapestries decorated with Henry and Anne's
315entwined initials passed by.&nbsp; Henry asked, 'How liked you the look
316of the City?'&nbsp; Anne replied, 'Sir, I liked the City well enough -
317but I saw a great many caps on heads, and heard but few tongues.'&nbsp;
318 </p>
319 <p>And so her coronation was yet another reminder of her complete
320dependency upon the king.</p>
321 <p>Anne enjoyed her triumph as much as she could.&nbsp; She ordered
322new blue and purple livery for her servants and set about replacing
323Katharine's badge of pomegranates with her own falcon symbol.&nbsp; She
324chose as her motto, 'The Most Happy', in stark contrast to her
325predecessor.&nbsp; Katharine had been 'Humble and Loyal'; Henry's
326mother, Elizabeth of York had chosen 'Humble and Reverent'.&nbsp; But
327humility was not a marked characteristic of Anne Boleyn.&nbsp; </p>
328 <p>She was pious, though not as rigid and inflexible as Katharine of
329Aragon.&nbsp; Anne's sympathies naturally lay with the progressive
330thought now challenging Catholic orthodoxy; with Henry's rejection of the papacy and his
331creation of a new Church of England, <a href="http://englishhistory.net/tudor/faq.html#Eleven-b">the
332Reformation</a> had come to England.&nbsp; It was not as revolutionary
333as Luther's movement in Germany.&nbsp; Henry actually remained a devout
334Catholic, only denying what he now regarded as the illegitimate
335authority of the papacy.&nbsp; Anne knew that her marriage and future
336children would never be recognized as legitimate by Catholic
337Europe.&nbsp; She had to support the new church, otherwise she was no more than
338 the king's mistress.</p>
339 <p>And this new emphasis upon debating even the most esoteric bits of
340theology appealed to her nature.&nbsp; She was always curious and open
341to new ideas; she never blindly accepted<img alt="The above portrait is of Anne Boleyn, painted by Lucas Horenbout; dated 1525-27. Sir Roy Strong identified the portrait. Anne wears a necklace with her falcon badge." src="boleyn_files/boleynstrong.jpg" align="right" height="175" width="175"> anything.&nbsp; But this is not to deny her
342deep faith.&nbsp; As queen, she was close friends with Thomas Cranmer
343and she also sponsored various religious books.&nbsp; She had none of
344the hard-fought pragmatism of her daughter,
345 <a href="http://englishhistory.net/tudor/monarchs/eliz.html">Elizabeth</a>.&nbsp; Religious faith was a
346vital part of Anne's life, as it was for every person in the 16th
347century.&nbsp; </p>
348 <p>She entered confinement for the birth of her first child on 26
349August 1533.&nbsp; The child was born on 7 September 1533.&nbsp; The
350physicians and astrologers had been mistaken; it was not a
351prince.&nbsp; But the healthy baby girl called Elizabeth was not the
352disappointment most assumed, nor did she immediately cause her mother's
353downfall.&nbsp; The birth had been very easy and quick.&nbsp; 'There
354was good speed in the deliverance and bringing forth,' Anne wrote to
355Lord Cobham that very day.&nbsp; The queen recovered quickly.&nbsp;
356Henry had every reason to believe that strong princes would
357follow.&nbsp; It was only when Anne miscarried two sons that he began
358to question the validity of his second marriage.&nbsp; </p>
359 <p>Elizabeth's christening was a grand affair, though the king did
360not attend.&nbsp; This fact was much remarked-upon, but Henry
361confounded all by his continuing affection for Anne.&nbsp; He also
362promptly declared Elizabeth his heir, thus according her precedence
363over her 17 year old half-sister,
364 <a href="http://englishhistory.net/tudor/monarchs/mary1.html">Princess Mary</a>.&nbsp; Anne could
365breathe a sigh of relief, recover, and become pregnant again.&nbsp; </p>
366 <p>Immediately after Elizabeth's christening, Henry wrote to Mary and
367demanded that she relinquish her title of Princess of Wales.&nbsp; The
368title belonged to his heiress.&nbsp; He also demanded that she
369acknowledge the validity of his new marriage and legitimacy of her
370half-sister.&nbsp; But Mary could be as obstinate as her mother; she refused.&nbsp; Enraged, Henry evicted Mary from her
371home, the manor Beaulieu, so he could give it to Anne's brother, George.&nbsp; In December,
372 she was moved into Elizabeth's household
373under the care of Lady Anne Shelton, a sister of Anne's father.&nbsp;
374It was an understandably miserable time for Mary.&nbsp; When told to pay her
375respects to the baby Princess, she said that she knew of no Princess of
376England but herself and burst into tears.&nbsp; </p>
377 <p>Henry was infuriated and Anne encouraged the estrangement.&nbsp;
378Her daughter's status depended upon Mary remaining out of favor.&nbsp;
379In the two and a half years she lived after Elizabeth's birth, Anne
380proved herself a devoted mother.&nbsp; Soon after the birth, Elizabeth
381had to be moved from London, for purposes of health; London was rife
382with a variety of illnesses - sweating sickness, smallpox, and
383plague.&nbsp; Elizabeth and Mary were sent to Hatfield.&nbsp; Both
384Henry and Anne visited their daughter often, occasionally taking her
385back with them to Greenwich or the palace at Eltham.&nbsp; During these
386visits, Mary was kept alone in her room.&nbsp; </p>
387 <p> <img alt="portrait of Henry VIII" src="boleyn_files/henry8boleyn.jpg" align="left" border="2" height="186" width="150">There are account books and
388letters which reveal certain facts about Elizabeth's early
389childhood:&nbsp; bills for an orange satin gown and russet velvet
390kirtle, for the king's heir had to be fashionably dressed; a letter in
391late 1535, after her second birthday, from the wet nurse asking
392permission to wean her; a plan of study in classical languages, for
393Anne was determined her daughter would be as educated as Mary.&nbsp; </p>
394 <p>The conflict with Mary dominated a great deal of Henry and Anne's
395thoughts.&nbsp; In January 1534, the king's new chief minister, Thomas
396Cromwell, went to visit Mary at Hatfield.&nbsp; He urged her to
397renounce her title and warned her that her behavior would lead to her
398ruin.&nbsp; Mary replied that she simply wanted her father's blessing
399and the honor of kissing his hand.&nbsp; When Cromwell chastised her,
400she left the room.&nbsp; Mary, and indeed most of England, believed
401Anne to be the cause of Henry's disgust with his eldest child.&nbsp; In
402truth, Henry had far more to do with it than Anne; this was proven
403after Anne's execution.&nbsp; Mary believed that she would regain her
404favor with the wicked stepmother out of the way but she was proven
405terribly wrong.&nbsp; Eventually, under threat of her life, she <a href="http://englishhistory.net/tudor/primary.html">wrote the letter</a>
406her father had long desired.&nbsp; </p>
407 <p>He and Anne also tried a gentler course with Mary; their goal was
408to show that she had brought Henry's displeasure upon herself and that
409he and Anne were quite willing - under reasonable conditions - to
410receive her.&nbsp; At their next visit to Hatfield, Anne arranged to
411see her stepdaughter.&nbsp; She invited Mary to come to court and
412'visit me as Queen.'&nbsp; Mary responded with a cruel insult - 'I know
413no Queen in England but my mother.&nbsp; But if you, Madam, as my
414father's mistress, will intercede for me with him, I should be
415grateful.'&nbsp; Anne did not lose her temper; she pointed out the
416absurdity of the request and repeated her offer.&nbsp; Mary then
417refused to answer and Anne left in a rage.&nbsp; From then on, she made
418no attempts to gain Mary's friendship.&nbsp; </p>
419 <p>The problem with Mary highlights the untenable positions Anne and
420Elizabeth occupied in English politics.&nbsp; Many of Henry's subjects
421did not know who to call Princess, who was the rightful heir, and who
422was the true wife.&nbsp; Katharine of Aragon lived on, still calling
423herself Queen, and Mary, encouraged by the spiteful Imperial ambassador
424Eustace Chapuys, still called herself Princess.&nbsp; Furthermore,
425Chapuys, who openly despised Anne, told Mary that Anne was planning to
426have her murdered.&nbsp; It was a terrible lie but one that Mary, in
427her hysterical state, was inclined to believe.&nbsp; When word came
428that she and Elizabeth's household was moving from Hatfield to The
429More, she refused to go.&nbsp; She believed she would be moved and
430quietly murdered.&nbsp; Guards had to actually seize her and throw her
431into her litter.&nbsp; Her distress naturally made her ill.&nbsp; </p>
432 <p>Elizabeth, meanwhile, was too young to notice any of this.&nbsp;
433But such events helped cement the lifelong hatred Mary would have for
434her half-sister.&nbsp; Her Spanish friends continued to spread rumors
435about Anne and Elizabeth, saying the infant princess was physically
436deformed and monstrous in appearance.&nbsp; To dispel this, in April
4371534, Henry showed the naked infant to several continental
438ambassadors.&nbsp; In that same month, Anne announced she was once
439again pregnant.&nbsp; Nothing could have pleased Henry more.&nbsp; She
440may have had a miscarriage in February for there were rumors she was
441pregnant in January but nothing came of it; given the heightened
442circumstances, it is unlikely she could have hidden her
443condition.&nbsp; Even a suspicion of pregnancy was sure to become
444gossip.&nbsp; But the main source of this miscarriage is Chapuys,
445hardly an impartial observer.&nbsp; At any rate, she was definitely
446pregnant again in April 1534.&nbsp; </p>
447 <p>The elated king took his wife to the medieval palace at Eltham;
448there, they sent for the princess Elizabeth.&nbsp; Henry was often seen
449carrying her about and playing with her.&nbsp; The king<img src="boleyn_files/boleynsketch2.jpg" alt="sketch of Anne Boleyn by Hans Holbein the Younger" align="right" border="0" height="206" width="165"> and queen soon returned to Greenwich and
450then Henry left on a progress, leaving Anne at the palace.&nbsp; This
451was probably out of concern for her health and lends some credence to
452the belief she miscarried in February.&nbsp; If she had, Henry would
453show special concern for her health, and this he did.&nbsp; He was
454supposed to meet Francis I of France in June at Calais to sign a treaty
455but decided not to, writing that Katharine and Mary, 'bearing no small
456grudge against his most entirely beloved Queen Anne, might perchance in
457his absence take occasion to practice matters of no small peril to his
458royal person, realm, and subjects.'&nbsp; </p>
459 <p>His extra attention to Anne did not help her health.&nbsp; In
460September 1534, she miscarried a six-month-old fetus; it was old enough
461for features to be discerned - it was a boy.&nbsp; Henry was bitterly
462disappointed.&nbsp; Anne was likewise.&nbsp; She was also angry for
463Henry had begun a casual affair that summer.&nbsp; She reproached him
464and Henry replied, 'You have good reason to be content with what I have
465done for you - and I would not do it again, if the thing were to
466begin.&nbsp; Consider from what you have come.'&nbsp; The scene was
467furious and overheard by her attendants.&nbsp; But it was a passing
468storm.&nbsp; Henry was already tired of his new mistress and, within
469days, Chapuys was sadly writing to Charles V of Henry's continued
470affection.&nbsp; But there were signs that things were not progressing
471smoothly.&nbsp; </p>
472 <p>&nbsp;For example, Henry had hoped to cement his relationship with
473Francis I by betrothing Elizabeth to Francis's son, the Duc
474d'Angouleme.&nbsp; After Anne suffered two miscarriages, as the French
475ambassador reported to Francis, the French king grew wary of such a
476betrothal.&nbsp; To him, it must have seemed that Anne's position was
477weakening; after all, Henry had dismissed one wife because she had no
478sons - would he do the same to Anne?&nbsp; And, if he did, then what
479good was a marriage to Elizabeth?&nbsp; Of course, it was in France's
480interests to promote Anne for Katharine of Aragon and her daughter were
481Charles V's pawns.&nbsp; But his doubts highlight the
482instability of Anne's position.&nbsp; </p>
483 <p>This undoubtedly affected her mental and physical health.&nbsp;
484Henry was never the mercenary adulterer of legend.&nbsp; In fact, he
485was remarkably conventional in his sexual appetites, unlike his French
486rival.&nbsp; Any affairs would have been widely reported and yet,
487during his long marriage to Katharine of Aragon, there were just a
488handful of mistresses.&nbsp; He enjoyed being around attractive
489women.&nbsp; He was flirtatious and would joke with them, compliment
490them, but only rarely did he enter into a physical relationship.&nbsp; </p>
491 <p>But for Anne, any occasional fling was devastating, especially if
492it followed upon her miscarriage.&nbsp; Such behavior was said to
493indicate his displeasure with her; this she could not afford.&nbsp;
494They were occasionally estranged and the effect was to increase her
495already-noticeable anxiety.&nbsp; In late 1534 Anne, accompanied by the
496duke of Suffolk, her uncle Norfolk, and other courtiers, visited
497Richmond Palace, where both Elizabeth and Mary resided.&nbsp; Anne
498entered her daughter's rooms only to realize that the two dukes had
499left her.&nbsp; They were paying court to Mary and remained with her
500until Anne had left.&nbsp; Still, this slight could be forgotten when
501the Treason Act was passed in November.&nbsp; It was now a capital
502crime to deny the legitimacy of her marriage or children.&nbsp; By
503December, she and Henry had made up yet again.&nbsp; </p>
504 <p>A scandal occurred shortly thereafter which added further damage to Anne's
505 reputation.&nbsp; Her sister, Mary, who had been Henry's mistress years
506 before, married Sir William Stafford without her family or the king's
507 permission.&nbsp; Because Stafford was poor, Mary's father was angry and cut
508 off her allowance.&nbsp; She appealed to the king and Anne but they would not
509 help.&nbsp; (Mary did not attend court during Anne's reign, since her presence
510 would have been an embarrassment for the king and queen.)</p>
511 <p> <img alt="portrait of Anne Boleyn" src="boleyn_files/anne2.jpg" align="left" border="0" height="194" width="139">Always fascinated with rumors surrounding his
512English 'brother', Francis I decided to hedge his bets in the mercurial
513Tudor court.&nbsp; In other words, he would remain friendly with Anne
514and also with Mary Tudor.&nbsp; And so he instructed his new
515ambassador, Admiral Chabot, to ignore Anne when he arrived at
516court.&nbsp; Chabot was received by Henry and two days passed without
517any mention of the queen.&nbsp; Henry asked if Chabot wanted to visit
518her.&nbsp; The ambassador replied, 'As it pleases Your Highness' and
519then asked permission to visit Mary.&nbsp; Henry refused, but Chabot
520made certain everyone knew of his request.&nbsp; He also told courtiers
521that Francis wanted to marry the Dauphin to Mary; when Henry reminded
522him of the union with Elizabeth, the ambassador said nothing.&nbsp;
523Still, Francis did enrage Charles V by acknowledging Elizabeth's
524legitimacy.&nbsp; </p>
525 <p>It was a tedious and frightening dance for Anne.&nbsp; During the
526two and a half years after Elizabeth's birth, she was rarely secure,
527certain of her position and the king's affections.&nbsp; Her little
528daughter received every favor she could bestow; Anne insisted Henry
529favor Elizabeth because it strengthened her position.&nbsp; But she was
530surrounded by fair-weather friends who, at the slightest sign of
531Henry's disfavor, ignored her.&nbsp; She only trusted her brother,
532George, whose wife, Jane Rochford, was a viper in their nest.&nbsp;
533Meanwhile, Henry was again flirting openly with another woman.&nbsp;
534This time it was Anne's cousin and lady-in-waiting, Madge
535Shelton.&nbsp; Anne still had influence over her husband, but knew only
536one way to make his favor permanent.&nbsp; She must bear a son.&nbsp;
537Henry would never dismiss the mother of his long-awaited heir.&nbsp;
538Her enemies would at last be silenced.&nbsp; </p>
539 <p>Meanwhile, Henry's health had begun to worsen.&nbsp; The first
540signs of the illness which would kill him appeared (occluded sinus on
541his leg).&nbsp; Headaches became frequent and severe.&nbsp; The king
542was a hypochondriac.&nbsp; Now unable to indulge his love of sports, he
543instead indulged his fear of pain and illness.&nbsp; And he was
544frequently impotent.&nbsp; He was in his mid-forties and increasingly
545obese; this, combined with his other ailments, made his continued
546virility questionable.&nbsp; Certainly his 'mistresses' did not
547conceive.&nbsp; But the continued lack of an heir and Anne's
548miscarriages must have reminded him of Katharine.&nbsp; How could it
549not?&nbsp; Like most of his contemporaries, the king blamed his wife
550when she did not conceive or carry to term.&nbsp; </p>
551 <p>And, like Francis I, Thomas Cromwell - that influential and
552brilliant man - was keeping his options open as well.&nbsp; He visited
553Mary and was rumored to promise support for her reinstatement.&nbsp;
554Anne was terrified at this loss of her one-time supporter who was also
555the king's most trusted advisor.&nbsp; But Anne had one last chance,
556and in June 1535, became pregnant again.&nbsp; She lost that child as
557well, in January 1536; she was reported to have said, 'I have
558miscarried of my savior.'&nbsp; </p>
559 <p>When her destruction came, it was rapid and unbelievable.&nbsp;
560Henry had always been one to plot against people while he pretended
561affection.&nbsp; Anne suffered the same fate as Katharine.&nbsp; She
562knew he was dissatisfied with her but he maintained their lifestyle
563together.&nbsp; And all the while, he was seeking the best way to
564destroy her.&nbsp; Katharine of Aragon died in January as well, just a
565few days before Anne's miscarriage.&nbsp; These events, taken together,
566pushed Henry into action.&nbsp; While Katharine had lived, most of
567Europe, and many Englishmen, had regarded her as his rightful wife, not
568Anne.&nbsp; Now he was rid of Katharine; if he were to rid himself of
569Anne, he could marry again - and this third marriage would never be
570tainted by the specter of bigamy.&nbsp; </p>
571 <p>Henry's <a href="http://englishhistory.net/tudor/prianne2.html">decision
572to thoroughly destroy Anne</a> baffled even her enemies.&nbsp; There
573was a possible way out which would spare Anne's life.&nbsp; Henry had
574admitted an affair with her sister,<img alt="an 18th century portrait of Anne Boleyn" src="boleyn_files/anne3.jpg" align="right" border="2" height="194" width="144"> Mary.&nbsp; He could have argued that was as
575damning as Katharine's marriage to his brother.&nbsp; But he chose a
576more direct route.&nbsp; He had her arrested, charged with adultery,
577witchcraft, and incest; the charges were ludicrous even to her
578enemies.&nbsp; Her brother George was arrested as well.&nbsp; His
579despised wife, Jane Rochford, testified about an incestuous love
580affair.&nbsp; Whether anyone believed her was irrelevant.&nbsp; Henry
581VIII wanted Anne convicted and killed.&nbsp; George would also lose his
582life, as did three of their friends.&nbsp; Only one had confessed to
583the charge, and that was under torture; it was still enough to convict
584them all.&nbsp; </p>
585 <p>As queen of England, Anne was tried by her peers; the main charge
586was adultery, and this was an act of treason for a queen.&nbsp; No
587member of the nobility would help her; her craven uncle Norfolk
588pronounced the death sentence.&nbsp; Poor Henry Percy, her first love,
589swooned during the trial and had to be carried from the room.&nbsp; As
590a concession to her former position, she was not beheaded by a clumsy
591axe.&nbsp; A skilled swordsman was brought over from France.&nbsp; She
592was assured that there would be little pain; she replied, with typical
593spirit, 'I have heard that the executioner is very good.&nbsp; And I
594have a little neck.'</p>
595 <p>&nbsp;</p>
596 <blockquote>
597 <blockquote>
598 <p><font size="4">'You have chosen me from low estate to be your
599queen and companion, far beyond my desert or desire; if, then, you
600found me worthy of such honor, good your grace, let not any light fancy
601or bad counsel of my enemies withdraw your princely favor from me;
602neither let that stain - that unworthy stain - of a disloyal heart
603towards your good grace ever cast so foul a blot on me, and on the
604infant princess your daughter.' </font><b>&nbsp; </b><i><font size="-1">from Anne Boleyn's <a href="http://englishhistory.net/tudor/letter10.html">last letter</a>
605to King Henry VIII, 1536</font></i>;<i><font size="2"> <a href="http://englishhistory.net/tudor/letter10.html">its authenticity
606is debated</a>.</font></i></p>
607 </blockquote>
608 </blockquote>
609 <p>&nbsp;</p>
610 <p>She had prayed for exile, to end her days in a nunnery, but now
611faced a more tragic fate.&nbsp; She met it with bravery and wit.&nbsp;
612She was brought to the scaffold at 8 o'clock in the morning on 19 May
6131536.&nbsp; It was a heretofore unknown spectacle, the first public
614execution of an English queen.&nbsp; Anne, who had defended herself so
615ably at her trial, chose her last words carefully:&nbsp; 'Good
616Christian people, I am come hither to die, for according to the law,
617and by the law I am judged to die, and therefore I will speak nothing
618against it.&nbsp; I am come hither to accuse no man, nor to speak
619anything of that, whereof I am accused and condemned to die, but I pray
620God save the king and send him long to reign over you, for a gentler
621nor a more merciful prince was there never: and to me he was ever a
622good, a gentle and sovereign lord.&nbsp; And if any person will meddle
623of my cause, I require them to judge the best.&nbsp; And thus I take my
624leave of the world and of you all, and I heartily desire you all to
625pray for me.&nbsp; O Lord have mercy on me, to God I commend my
626soul.'&nbsp; She was then blindfolded and knelt at the block.&nbsp; She
627repeated several times, 'To Jesus Christ I commend my soul; Lord Jesu
628receive my soul.'&nbsp; </p>
629 <p>It was a sardonic message to the king.&nbsp; Even now he waited
630impatiently to hear the Tower cannon mark Anne's death.&nbsp; He wished
631to marry Anne's lady-in-waiting, <a href="http://englishhistory.net/tudor/monarchs/seymour.html">Jane
632Seymour</a>.&nbsp; They wed ten days after the execution.&nbsp; </p>
633 <p>Elizabeth was just three and a half when her mother died.&nbsp;
634She was a precocious child, though; when her governess visited her just
635days after the execution, <a href="http://englishhistory.net/tudor/monarchs/eliz.html">Elizabeth</a>
636asked, 'Why, Governor, how hap it yesterday Lady Princess, and today
637but Lady Elizabeth?'&nbsp; </p>
638 <p>Anne was buried in an old arrow box since no coffin was
639provided.&nbsp; But the box was too short; her head was tucked beside
640her.&nbsp; The remains were taken to St Peter ad Vincula, the church of
641the Tower of London.&nbsp; It was later rumored that her few remaining
642friends smuggled her body to a more suitable grave and she is buried
643under a plain slab in a Norfolk church.&nbsp; The church is said to be
644haunted.</p>
645 <p align="center">&nbsp;</p>
646 <p align="center"><font size="4">'And if any person will meddle of my
647cause, I require them to judge the best.'&nbsp; <br>
648 </font><i><font size="-1">from Anne Boleyn's speech at her execution</font></i>
649 </p>
650 <blockquote>
651 <p>&nbsp;</p>
652 <center>
653 <p><font size="-1"><a href="http://englishhistory.net/tudor/monarchs/wives.html">to the Six
654Wives main page</a></font> <br>
655 <font size="-1"><a href="http://englishhistory.net/tudor.html">to
656Tudor England</a></font></p>
657 <p><font size="-1"> <a href="http://englishhistory.net/tudor/primary.html">to Primary Sources</a></font></p>
658 </center>
659 </blockquote>
660</blockquote>
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