In this minicast we discuss the life of of Henry VIII’s most talked about wife-Anne Boleyn. Of all the six she lives on in story, speculation and fascination although she had a longer run attracting the Queen’s crown than she actually wore it. Anne died only four months after Henry’s first wife! (and by “died” we mean Henry had her executed.)
Anne was the daughter of Sir Thomas and Elizabeth Boleyn. While she was of noble birth, very little is know about her early years. We know that she was one of three children born to the Boleyns. We know that she was raised Catholic, but converted to Protestantism at some point.That her father was a diplomat serving under Henry VII and, later, under Henry VIII and, while it was probably expected that the Boleyn children would land at court and that they would have been educated for that role-the details are lost. There is not even a consensus as to what year Anne was born! Maybe 1500, maybe 1509, probably close to the former, but you want exact? Good luck.
It is known that she was presented and served under the Archduchess Margaret of Austria. That she accompanied Mary Tudor ( the sister to Henry VIII) to France for her marriage to Louis XIII, and that she stays there to serve Queen Claude. But, like her early years, not a lot is recorded about her age, and these years.
What else is known? When she returned to England she was very Frenchified. Anne had learned a great deal in France about court life: dress, dance, etiquette, languages. Her sister Mary had a similar court based education and had “matriculated” earning honors in horizontal games. ( Yes, we are being childish and euphemistic, we’ll own that!)
Anne did not see that method as her key to attaining the position she desired. She attracted several suitors and even had a rather scandalous betrothal that did not culminate in a marriage. We go into details during the podcast, but let’s just say Anne’s methods of attaining position had little to do with giving in, and everything to do with attracting.
Upon her return from France, her father sends her to court to be a lady in waiting to Queen Katherine. There, the already married King Henry VII quickly falls for her charms. What ensues is the history that is known about her life.
How she would not give in to the Kings advances, unlike her sister Mary. (Oh, we love us some smutty tales!)
How she kept her eye on the prize: the Queen’s Crown although it rested on the head of Katherine of Aragon at the time.
How she played this game with Henry for years while he attempted to leave Katherine, and how she ultimately aided the King in breaking from the church, Katherine and marrying her.
Once crowned Queen she wasn’t exactly the most popular, especially riding the heels of the adored Katherine. But part of Anne’s allure, part of the carrot she dangled to snare Henry was that she could do what Katherine had failed: Produce and heir.
Well, she did, but not what Henry had in mind. He wanted a son and the only living child to come from Anne was a daughter, Elizabeth.
Soon, Henry was dipping into the affair pool that was the ladies- in- waiting to the queen. He has several affairs and finally spies his next wife among them- Jane Seymour.
But he has to get rid of Anne before he can marry this beauty who surely will give him the son he so desires. Being King he gets his people on it. Soon many are arrested -including Anne- on grounds that she had an affair. The charges? Incest! Adultry! Treason! Included in the pack: Anne’s own brother George! Oh you have to listen to the podcast, we go into much more detail and specualtion and drama. Oh, the drama! But this was swift justice on trumped up charges and the final outcome for Queen Anne?
Off with her head!
On May 19, 1536, Anne Boleyn is beheaded.
It was a short reign, but the changes to England that took place during it changed the course of history. And, think what you will about Anne, but she gave birth to the woman who would one day change England again, Queen Elizabeth I.
Time Travel With The History Chicks
Blogs? There are QUITE a few out there, but here are a couple that might get you started learning more about Anne Boleyn. ( Just because she wasn’t our favorite wife, doesn’t mean that everyone agrees. Come on, plenty of wives to go around!) Check out The Anne Boleyn Files and On the Tudor Trail .
Follow Anne on Twitter!
As fodder for drama, none come close to Anne Boleyn. Romance, intrigue, allure, politics, religion, scheming…and more all swirled around the fast life of this woman whose motto was, “The Most Happy”.
Music courtesy of Music Alley. Visit them at Music.mevio.com