Henry Viii And Anne Boleyn

February 16, 2012 by staff 

Henry Viii And Anne Boleyn, Anne Boleyn is one of the most famous queens in English history, though she ruled for just three years. The daughter of an ambitious knight and niece of the duke of Norfolk, Anne spent her adolescence in France. When she returned to England, her wit and style were her greatest charms.

She had a circle of admirers and became secretly engaged to Henry Percy. She also entered the service of Katharine of Aragon. But she soon caught the eye of Henry VIII. He ordered Percy from court and tried to make Anne his mistress.

She refused. Her sister, Mary, had been the king’s mistress and gained little from it but scandal. Her hopes with Percy dashed, Anne demanded that the king marry her. She waited nearly seven years for Henry to obtain an annulment.

It finally took an irrevocable breach with the Holy See before they wed in 1533. But she was unable to give Henry the son he desperately needed and their marriage ended tragically for Anne. She was executed on patently false charges of witchcraft, incest and adultery on 19 May 1536. Her daughter, Elizabeth, would become England’s greatest queen.

Anne Boleyn’s birthdate is unknown; even the year is widely debated. General opinion now favors 1501 or 1502, though some historians persuasively argue for 1507. She was probably born at Blickling Hall in Norfolk. Her father was Sir Thomas Boleyn, a minor courtier with a talent for foreign languages; he was of London merchant stock and eager to advance in the world. Like most men, he chose to marry well. His bride was Elizabeth Howard, daughter of the second duke of Norfolk and sister of the third duke.

Anne had two surviving siblings, Mary and George. Their birthdates are also unknown, as is the order of their births. We only know that all three Boleyn siblings were close in age.

In 1514, Henry VIII married his youngest sister, Mary, to the aged king of France. Anne accompanied the Tudor princess as a very young lady-in-waiting and she remained in France after the French king died and Mary Tudor returned home.

Anne gained the subsequent honor of being educated under the watchful eye of the new French queen Claude. This education had a uniquely French emphasis upon fashion and flirtation, though more intellectual skills were not neglected. Anne became an accomplished musician, singer and dancer.

In 1521 or early 1522, with war between England and France imminent, Anne returned home. When she first caught Henry VIII’s eye is unknown.

He was originally attracted to her sister, Mary who came to court before Anne. She was the king’s mistress in the early 1520s and, as a mark of favor, her father was elevated to the peerage as viscount Rochfort/Rochford in 1525.

Mary herself would leave court with only a dull marriage, and possibly the king’s illegitimate son, as her reward. Anne learned much from her sister’s example.

Anne’s first years at court were spent in service to Henry VIII’s first wife, Katharine of Aragon. She became quite popular among the younger men. She was not considered a great beauty; her sister occupied that position in the family, but even Mary was merely deemed ‘pretty’.

Hostile chroniclers described Anne as plain, sallow, and possessing two distinct flaws – a large mole on the side of her neck and an extra finger on her left hand. Such praise as she received focused on her style, her wit and charm; she was quick-tempered and spirited.

Her most remarkable physical attributes were her large dark eyes and long black hair.

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