Anne Boleyn (Queen of England)

Female 1501-1507 - 1536  (29 years)

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  • Name Anne Boleyn (Queen of England) 
    Born 1501-1507 
    Gender Female 
    Died 19 May 1536  Tower of London London, England Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Buried Chapel Royal of St Peter ad Vincula Cemetery Tower of London, London Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Person ID I743  King of Scots
    Last Modified 26 Sep 2012 

    Family Henry VIII King of England and King of Ireland,   b. 28 Jun 1491, Greenwich Palace Greenwich, London Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 28 Jan 1547, Whitehall Palace London, England Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 55 years) 
    Married 01 Jun 1533 
    Divorced 1536 
     1. Elizabeth I Queen of England and Queen of Ireland,   b. 07 Sep 1533, Greenwich Palace Greenwich, London Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 24 Mar 1603, Richmond, Surray, London, England Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 69 years)
    Last Modified 13 Feb 2009 
    Family ID F300  Group Sheet

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    Link to Google MapsDied - 19 May 1536 - Tower of London London, England Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsBuried - - Chapel Royal of St Peter ad Vincula Cemetery Tower of London, London Link to Google Earth
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    Anne Boleyn
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  • Notes 
    • Anne Boleyn (1501/1507?19 May 1536) was Queen of England as the second wife of King Henry VIII. She was also Marquess of Pembroke in her own right. Henry's marriage to Anne, and her subsequent execution, made her a key figure in the political and religious upheaval that was the start of the English Reformation. The daughter of Sir Thomas Boleyn and his wife, Lady Elizabeth Howard, Anne was of more noble birth than either Jane Seymour or Catherine Parr, two of Henry VIII's later wives, but less than her predecessor, Catherine of Aragon. She was educated in Europe, largely as a lady-in-waiting to Queen Claude of France. She returned to England in 1522.

      In 1525, Henry VIII became enamoured of Anne and began his pursuit of her. Anne resisted the King's attempts to seduce her and refused to become his mistress, as her sister, Mary Boleyn, had done. It soon became the one absorbing object of the King's desires to secure an annulment from his wife, Catherine of Aragon so he could marry Anne. When it became clear that Pope Clement VII was unlikely to give Henry an annulment, the breaking of the power of the Roman Catholic Church in England began.

      Thomas Wolsey was dismissed from public office, allegedly at Anne Boleyn's instigation, and later the Boleyn family's chaplain, Thomas Cranmer, was appointed Archbishop of Canterbury. The wedding between Henry and Anne took place on 25 January 1533. On 23 May 1533, Cranmer declared the marriage of Henry and Catherine null and void. Five days later Cranmer declared the marriage of Henry and Anne to be good and valid. Soon after, the Pope launched sentences of excommunication against Henry and the Archbishop. As a result of this marriage, the Church of England broke with Rome and was brought under the King's control.

      Anne was crowned Queen of England on 1 June 1533. Later that year, on 7 September, she gave birth to the future Elizabeth I of England. To Henry's displeasure, however, she failed to produce a male heir; and by March 1536, he was paying court to Jane Seymour. In April and May 1536, Henry had Anne investigated for high treason: tried and found guilty, she was beheaded on 19 May. Historians view the charges against her, which included adultery and incest, as unconvincing. Following the coronation of her daughter, Elizabeth, as queen, Anne was venerated as a martyr and heroine of the English Reformation, particularly through the works of John Foxe. Over the centuries, she has inspired or been mentioned in numerous artistic and cultural works. As a result, she has retained her hold on the popular imagination. Anne has been called "the most influential and important queen consort England has ever had,"[2] since she provided the occasion for Henry VIII to divorce Catherine of Aragon, and declare his independence from Rome.

      Early years (1501-1522)
      Anne was the daughter of Sir Thomas Boleyn, later first Earl of Wiltshire and first Earl of Ormonde, and his wife, Lady Elizabeth Howard, daughter of the 2nd Duke of Norfolk. Thomas Boleyn was a respected diplomat with a gift for languages; he was also a favourite of Henry VII, who sent him on many diplomatic missions abroad. A lack of parish records from the period has made it impossible to establish Anne's date of birth. Contemporary evidence is contradictory, with several dates having been put forward by various historians. An Italian, writing in 1600, suggested that she had been born in 1499, while Sir Thomas More's son-in-law, William Roper, suggested a much later date of 1512. As with Anne herself, it is not known for certain when her two siblings were born, but it seems clear that her sister Mary was older than Anne. Mary?s children clearly believed their mother had been the elder sister.[3] Mary's grandson claimed the Ormonde title in 1596 on the basis she was the elder daughter, which Elizabeth I accepted.[4][5] Their brother George was born some time around 1504.[6][7]

      The academic debate about Anne's birthdate centers around two key dates: 1501 and 1507. Eric Ives, a British historian and legal expert, advocates the 1501 date, while Retha Warnicke, an American scholar who has also written a biography of Anne, prefers 1507. The key piece of surviving written evidence is a letter Anne wrote sometime in 1514.[8] She wrote it in French to her father, who was still living in England while Anne was completing her education in the Netherlands. Ives argues that the style of the letter and its mature handwriting prove that Anne must have been about thirteen at the time of its composition. In his view, this would also be around the minimum age that a girl could be a maid of honour, as Anne was to the regent, Margaret of Austria. This is supported by claims by a chronicler from the late 16th century, who wrote that Anne was twenty when she returned from France.[9] These findings are contested by Warnicke in several books and articles, but the evidence does not conclusively support either date.[10]

      Anne's great grandparents included a Lord Mayor of London, a duke, an earl, two aristocratic ladies and a knight. One of them, Geoffrey Boleyn, had been a mercer and wool merchant before becoming Lord Mayor.[11][12] The Boleyn family originally came from Blickling in Norfolk, fifteen miles north of Norwich.[13] At the time of Anne?s birth, the Boleyn family was considered one of the most respected in the English aristocracy. Among her relatives, she numbered the Howards, one of the pre-eminent families in the land. She was certainly of more noble birth than either Jane Seymour or Catherine Parr, two of Henry VIII's later wives.[14] The spelling of the Boleyn name was variable. Sometimes it was written as Bullen, hence the bulls' heads that formed part of her family arms.[15] At the court of Margaret of Austria in the Netherlands, Anne is listed as Boullan.[5] From there she signed the letter to her father as Anna de Boullan.[16]

      Netherlands and France
      Anne's father continued his diplomatic career under Henry VIII. In Europe, Thomas Boleyn's charm won many admirers, including Archduchess Margaret of Austria, daughter of Maximilian I, the Holy Roman Emperor. During this period, she ruled the Netherlands on her father's behalf and was so impressed with Boleyn that she offered his daughter Anne a place in her household. Ordinarily, a girl had to be twelve years old to have such an honour, but Anne may have been younger, as the Archduchess affectionately referred to her as "la pettite Boulain [sic]".[18] Anne made a good impression in the Netherlands with her manners and studiousness, Margaret reported that she was well spoken and pleasant for her young age ("son josne eaige").[19] and told Sir Thomas Boleyn that his daughter was "so presentable and so pleasant, considering her youthful age, that I am more beholden to you for sending her to me, than you to me" (E.W. Ives, op.cit.). Anne stayed with Margaret from spring 1513 until her father arranged for her to attend Henry VIII's sister, Mary Tudor, for Mary's marriage to Louis XII of France in October 1514.

      In France, Anne was a maid-of-honour to Queen Mary, and then to 15-year-old Queen Claude of France, with whom she stayed nearly seven years.[20][21] In the Queen's household, she completed her study of French and developed interests in fashion and religious philosophy. She also acquired knowledge of French culture and etiquette.[22] She made the acquaintance of King Francis's sister, Marguerite d'Angouleme, a patron of humanists and reformers. She was also an author in her own right who encouraged Anne's interest in poetry and literature.[23] Anne's education in France proved to be of great value, later inspiring many new trends among the ladies of England. William Forrest, author of a contemporary poem about Catherine of Aragon, complimented Anne's "passing excellent" skill as a dancer. "Here", he wrote, "was [a] fresh young damsel, that could trip and go."[24]

      Anne exerted a powerful charm on those who met her, though opinions differed on her attractiveness. The Venetian diarist Marino Sanuto, who saw Anne when Henry VIII met Francis I of France at Calais in October 1532, described her as "not one of the handsomest women in the world; she is of middling stature, swarthy complexion, long neck, wide mouth, bosom not much raised ... eyes, which are black and beautiful".[25] Simon Grynée wrote to Martin Bucer in September 1531 that Anne was "young, good-looking, of a rather dark complexion". Lancelot de Carles called her "beautiful with an elegant figure", and a Venetian in Paris in 1528 also reported that she was said to be beautiful.[26] The most influential description of Anne,[27] but also the least reliable, was written by the historian and polemicist Nicholas Sanders in 1586, half a century after Anne's death: "Anne Boleyn was rather tall of stature, with black hair, and an oval face of a sallow complexion, as if troubled with jaundice. She had a projecting tooth under the upper lip, and on her right hand six fingers. There was a large wen under her chin, and therefore to hide its ugliness she wore a high dress covering her throat ... She was handsome to look at, with a pretty mouth".[28] Sanders' description contributed to what biographer Eric Ives calls the "monster legend" of Anne Boleyn.[29] Though his details were fictitious, they have formed the basis for references to Anne's appearance even in some modern textbooks.[30]

      Anne's experience in France made her a devout Christian in the new tradition of Renaissance humanism. While she would later hold the reformist position that the papacy was a corrupting influence on Christianity, her conservative tendencies could be seen in her devotion to the Virgin Mary.[31] Anne's European education ended in 1521, when her father summoned her back to England. She sailed from Calais in January 1522.[32]

      At the court of Henry VIII (1522-1533)
      Anne was recalled to marry her Irish cousin, James Butler, a young man of roughly her own age and living at the English court,[33] in an attempt to settle a dispute over the title and estates of the Earldom of Ormond. The 7th Earl of Ormond died in 1515, leaving his daughters, Margaret Boleyn and Anne St. Leger, as co-heiresses. In Ireland, a remote cousin named Sir Piers Butler contested the will and claimed the Earldom himself. Sir Thomas Boleyn, being the son of the eldest daughter, felt the title belonged to him and protested to his brother-in-law, the Duke of Norfolk, who spoke to King Henry about the matter. Henry, fearful the dispute could be the spark to ignite civil war in Ireland, sought to resolve the matter by arranging an alliance between Piers's son, James, and Anne Boleyn. She would bring her Ormond inheritance as dowry and thus end the dispute. The plan ended in failure, perhaps because Sir Thomas hoped for a grander marriage for his daughter. Whatever the reason, the marriage negotiations came to a complete halt.[34] James Butler later married Lady Joan FitzGerald, daughter of Thomas FitzGerald, 11th Earl of Desmond and Katherine Desmond.

      Mary Boleyn, Anne Boleyn's elder sister, had earlier been recalled from France in late 1519, ostensibly for her affairs with the French king and his courtiers. She married William Carey, a minor noble, in February 1520, at Greenwich, with Henry VIII in attendance: soon after, Mary Boleyn became the English King's mistress. The vast majority of historians, most notably Dr. Eric Ives, reject the notion of Henry VIII siring Mary Boleyn's children. They were born after the affair concluded and when Henry's attentions focused on Anne. Further, Henry did not acknowledge either child, as he did his son Henry Fitzroy, his illegitimate son by Elizabeth Blount, Lady Talboys.

      Anne made her début at the Chateau Vert (Green Castle) pageant in honour of the imperial ambassadors on 4 March 1522, playing "Perseverance". There she took part in an elaborate dance accompanying Henry's younger sister Mary, several other ladies of the court, and her sister. All wore gowns of white satin embroidered with gold thread.[35] She quickly established herself as one of the most stylish and accomplished women at the court, and soon a number of young men were competing for her.[36]

      The American historian Retha M. Warnicke writes that Anne was "the perfect woman courtier... her carriage was graceful and her French clothes were pleasing and stylish; she danced with ease, had a pleasant singing voice, played the lute and several other musical instruments well, and spoke French fluently... A remarkable, intelligent, quick-witted young noblewoman... that first drew people into conversation with her and then amused and entertained them. In short, her energy and vitality made her the center of attention in any social gathering."

      During this time, Anne was courted by Henry Percy, son of the Earl of Northumberland, and entered into a secret betrothal with the young man. Thomas Wolsey's gentleman usher, George Cavendish, maintained the two had not been lovers. It thus seems unlikely that their relationship was sexual.[37] The romance was broken off when Percy's father refused to support their engagement. According to Cavendish, Anne was sent from court to her family?s countryside estates, but it is not known for how long. Upon her return to court, she again entered the service of Catherine of Aragon. The poet Sir Thomas Wyatt, described her in a sonnet Whoso List to Hunt,[38] as unobtainable, headstrong, and belonging to the King: "noli me tangere for Caesar's I am/And wild for to hold though I seem tame".[39] In 1526, King Henry became enamoured with her and began his pursuit.[40]

      Anne resisted his attempts to seduce her, refusing to become his mistress, often leaving court to the seclusion of Hever. Within a year, he proposed marriage to her, and she accepted. Both assumed an annulment could be obtained within a matter of months. There is no evidence to suggest that they engaged in a sexual relationship until very shortly before their marriage; in fact, Henry's love letters to Anne prove that their love affair remained unconsumated for much of their seven year courtship. Suggestions that they were sexually active before this time are now largely regarded as part of the defamation campaign that was orchestrated in order to destroy Anne's reputation after her death.

      Henry's annulment
      It is possible that the idea of annulment (not divorce as commonly assumed) had suggested itself to Henry much earlier than this, and was motivated by his desire for an heir. Before Henry's father Henry VII ascended the throne, England was beset by civil warfare over rival claims to the crown and Henry wanted to avoid a similar uncertainty over the succession. He and Catherine had no living sons: all Catherine's children except Mary died in infancy.[42] Anne saw her opportunity in Henry's infatuation and determined that she would only yield as his acknowledged queen.[43]

      In 1528, sweating sickness broke out with great severity. In London, the mortality rate was great and the court was dispersed. Henry left London, frequently changing his residence; Anne Boleyn retreated to Hever, but succumbed to the illness; her brother-in-law, William Carey, died. Henry sent his own physician to Hever Castle to care for her.[44], and shortly afterwards, she recovered. It soon became the one absorbing object of Henry's desires to secure an annulment from Catherine.[45] Henry set his hopes upon a direct appeal to the Holy See, acting independently of Cardinal Wolsey, to whom he at first communicated nothing of his plans related to Anne. William Knight, the King's secretary, was sent to Pope Clement VII to sue for the annulment of his marriage to Catherine, on the grounds that the dispensing bull of Pope Julius II was obtained by false pretenses. Henry also petitioned, in the event of his becoming free, a dispensation to contract a new marriage with any woman even in the first degree of affinity, whether the affinity was contracted by lawful or unlawful connection. This clearly referred to Anne.[46]

      As the Pope was, at that time, prisoner of Charles V, the Holy Roman Emperor, Knight had some difficulty obtaining access. In the end, he had to return with a conditional dispensation, which Wolsey insisted was technically insufficient.[47] Henry had now no choice but to put his great matter into the hands of Wolsey, who did all he could to secure a decision in Henry's favour.[48] Due to being under Charles V's political control, Pope Clement VII could not grant Henry an annulment.[49] The Pope forbade Henry to contract a new marriage until a decision was reached in Rome. Convinced Wolsey's loyalties lay with the Pope, not England, Anne and Wolsey's many enemies ensured his dismissal from public office in 1529, when Henry finally agreed to his arrest on grounds of praemunire.[50] Had it not been for his death from illness in 1530, he might have been executed for treason.[51] A year later, Queen Catherine was banished from court and her rooms were given to Anne.

      Public support, however, remained with Queen Catherine. One evening in the autumn of 1531, Anne was dining at a manor house on the river Thames and was almost seized by a crowd of angry, hostile women. Anne just managed to escape by boat.[52] Anne Boleyn often acted independently of her husband, able to grant petitions, receive diplomats, preside over patronage appointments and foreign policy. When Archbishop of Canterbury William Warham died in 1532, the Boleyn family chaplain, Thomas Cranmer, was appointed, with papal approval.[53]

      The breaking of the power of Rome in England proceeded little by little. In 1532 Thomas Cromwell, brought before Parliament a number of acts including the Supplication against the Ordinaries and Submission of the Clergy, which recognised royal supremacy over the church. Following these acts, Thomas More resigned as Chancellor, leaving Cromwell as Henry's chief minister.[54]

      During this period, Anne Boleyn played a role in England's international position by solidifying an alliance with France. She established an excellent rapport with the French ambassador, Gilles de la Pommeraie. Anne and Henry attended a meeting with the French king at Calais in winter 1532, in which Henry hoped to enlist the support of Francis I of France for his intended marriage. Henry endowed his future wife with an appropriate rank. On 1 September 1532, Anne was granted the right to the title of Marquess of Pembroke, and became the most prestigious non-royal woman in the realm.[55] The Pembroke title was significant for the Tudor family because Henry's great-uncle, Jasper Tudor, had held the title of Earl of Pembroke;[56] and Henry performed the investiture himself.[57] With Anne's conviction for treason, the title was confiscated.

      Anne's family also profited from the relationship; her father, already Viscount Rochford, was created Earl of Wiltshire. Henry also came to an arrangement with Anne?s Irish cousins and created him Earl of Ormond. At the magnificent banquet to celebrate her father's elevation, Anne took precedence over the Duchesses of Suffolk and Norfolk, seated in the place of honour beside the King which was usually occupied by the Queen.[58] Thanks to Anne's intervention, her widowed sister Mary received an annual pension of £100, and Mary's son, Henry Carey, was educated at a prestigious Cistercian monastery.

      The conference at Calais was a political triumph, as the French government gave its support for Henry's re-marriage.[59] Soon after returning to Dover, Henry and Anne married in a secret ceremony. [60] She soon became pregnant and, as was the custom with royalty, there was a second wedding service, which took place in London on 25 January 1533. Events now began to move at a quick pace. On 23 May 1533, Cranmer, sitting in judgment at a special court convened at Dunstable Priory to rule on the validity of the King's marriage to Catherine of Aragon, declared the marriage of Henry and Catherine null and void. Five days later, on 28 May 1533, Cranmer declared the marriage of Henry and Anne to be good and valid.[61]

      Queen of England (1533-1536)
      Catherine was formally stripped of her title as queen and Anne was consequently crowned queen consort on 1 June 1533 in a magnificent ceremony at Westminster Abbey with a sumptuous banquet afterwards[62]. On the previous day, Anne had taken part in an elaborate procession through the streets of London seated in a litter of "white cloth of gold" that rested on two palfreys clothed to the ground in white damask, while the barons of the Cinque Ports held a canopy of cloth of gold over her head. In accordance with tradition, she wore white, and on her head a gold coronet beneath which her long dark hair hung down freely.[63] The public's response to her appearance was lukewarm.[64]

      Meanwhile, the House of Commons had forbidden all appeals to Rome and exacted the penalties of praemunire against all who introduced papal bulls into England. It was only then that Pope Clement at last took the step of announcing a provisional sentence of excommunication against the King and Cranmer; he condemned the marriage to Anne, and in March 1534, he declared the marriage to Catherine legal and again ordered Henry to return to her.[65] Henry now required his subjects to swear the oath attached to the First Succession Act, which effectively rejected papal authority in legal matters and recognised Anne Boleyn as queen. Those who refused, such as Sir Thomas More, who had resigned as Lord Chancellor, and John Fisher, Bishop of Rochester, found themselves in the tower. In late 1534, parliament declared Henry "the only supreme head on earth of the Church of England".[66] The Church of England was now under Henry?s control, not Rome's.

      Struggle for a son
      After her coronation, Anne settled into a quiet routine at the King's favourite residence, Greenwich Palace, to prepare for the birth of her baby. The child was born slightly prematurely on 7 September 1533. Between three and four in the afternoon, Anne gave birth to a girl, who was christened Elizabeth, probably in honour of Henry's mother, Elizabeth of York.[67]

      The infant princess was given a splendid christening, but Anne feared that Catherine's daughter, Mary, now stripped of her title of princess and labelled a bastard, posed a threat to Elizabeth's position. Henry soothed his wife's fears by separating Mary from her many servants and sending her to Hatfield House, where Princess Elizabeth would be living with her own magnificent staff of servants, and where the country air was thought better for the baby's health.[68] Anne frequently visited her daughter at Hatfield and other residences.[69]

      The new queen had a larger staff of servants than Catherine. There were over two hundred and fifty servants to tend to her personal needs, everyone from priests to stable-boys. There were over 60 maids-of-honour who served her and accompanied her to social events. She also employed several priests who acted as her confessors, chaplains, and religious advisers. One of these was Matthew Parker, who would become one of the chief architects of Anglican thought during the reign of Anne's daughter Elizabeth I.[70]

      Strife with the king
      The king and his new queen enjoyed a reasonably happy accord, with periods of calm and affection. Anne Boleyn's sharp intelligence, political acumen and forward manners, although desirable in a "mistress", were unacceptable in a wife. She was once reported to have spoken to her uncle in words that "shouldn't be used to a dog".[71] After a stillbirth/miscarriage in 1534, as early as Christmas that year, Henry was discussing with Cranmer and Cromwell the possibility of leaving Anne without having to return to Catherine.[72] Nothing came of the issue as the royal couple reconciled and spent summer 1535 on progress. By October, she was again pregnant.

      Anne Boleyn presided over a magnificent court. She spent lavish amounts of money on gowns, jewels, head-dresses, ostrich-feather fans, riding equipment, furniture and upholstery, maintaining the ostentatious display required by her status. Numerous palaces were renovated to suit her and Henry's extravagant tastes.[73] Anne was blamed for the tyranny of her husband's government. Public opinion turned further against her following her failure to produce a son. It sank even lower after the executions of her enemies Sir Thomas More and Bishop John Fisher.[74] However, with her arrest, trial and execution, public opinion in London and the continent shifted to sympathy, and disapproval of Henry's behaviour.

      Downfall and execution (1536)
      On 8 January 1536, news of Catherine of Aragon's death reached the King and Anne. Hearing of her death, they were overjoyed. The following day, Henry wore yellow from head to toe, and celebrated Catherine's death with festivities.[75] Anne, for her part, attempted to make peace with Princess Mary.[76]

      The Queen, pregnant again, was aware of the dangers if she failed to give birth to a son. With Catherine dead, Henry would be free to remarry without any taint of illegality. Mary rebuffed Anne's overtures, perhaps because of rumours circulating that Catherine had been poisoned by Anne and/or Henry. These began after the discovery during her embalming that her heart was blackened. Modern medical experts are in agreement that this was not due to poisoning, but cancer of the heart, something which was not understood at the time.[77]

      Later that month, the King was unhorsed in a tournament and knocked unconscious for two hours, a worrying incident that Anne believed led to her miscarriage five days later.[78] On the day that Catherine of Aragon was buried at Peterborough Abbey, Anne miscarried a foetus which, according to the imperial ambassador Chapuys, she had borne for about three and a half months, and which "seemed to be a male child".[79] For Chapuys, this personal loss was the beginning of the end of the royal marriage.[80]

      Given Henry's desperate desire for a son, the sequence of Anne's pregnancies has attracted much interest. Author Mike Ashley speculated that Anne had two stillborn children after Elizabeth's birth and before the birth of the male child she miscarried in 1536.[81] Most sources attest only to the birth of Elizabeth in September 1533, a possible miscarriage in the summer of 1534, and the miscarriage of a male child, of almost four months gestation, in January 1536.[82] As Anne recovered from her miscarriage, Henry declared that he had been seduced into the marriage by means of "sortilege"?a French term indicating either "deception" or "spells". His new mistress, Jane Seymour, was quickly moved into royal quarters. This was followed by Anne's brother being refused a prestigious court honour, the Order of the Garter, given instead to Sir Nicholas Carew.[83]

      Charges of adultery, incest, and treason
      Towards the end of April, a Flemish musician in Anne's service named Mark Smeaton was arrested, perhaps tortured or promised freedom. He initially denied being the Queen?s lover but later confessed. Another courtier, Henry Norris was arrested on May Day, but since he was an aristocrat, he could not be tortured. He denied his guilt and swore that Queen Anne was innocent. Sir Francis Weston was arrested two days later on the same charge. William Brereton, a groom of the King's privy chamber, was also apprehended on grounds of adultery. The final accused was Queen Anne's own brother, arrested on charges of incest and treason, accused of having a sexual relationship with his sister.[84] George Boleyn was accused of two incidents of incest: November, 1535 at Whitehall and the following month at Eltham.[85]

      On 2 May 1536, Anne was arrested and taken to the Tower of London. In the Tower, she collapsed, demanding to know the location of her father and "swete broder", as well as the charges against her. Four of the men were tried in Westminster on 12 May 1536. Weston, Brereton and Norris publicly maintained their innocence and only the tortured Smeaton supported the Crown by pleading guilty. Three days later, Anne and George Boleyn were tried separately in the Tower of London. She was accused of adultery, incest and high treason.[86] Adultery on the part of a queen was not a treasonable, civil offense necessitating execution: the accusations were designed to impugn her moral character. The treason was plotting, with her "lovers", the king's death, to ostensibly marry one of them afterwards?Henry Norris.[87]

      Anne's biographer Eric Ives, among others, believes that her fall and execution were engineered by Thomas Cromwell.[88] Anne differed with Cromwell over the redistribution of Church revenues and over foreign policy. She advocated that revenues be distributed to charitable and educational institutions; and she favoured a French alliance. Cromwell insisted on filling the King's depleted coffers and preferred an imperial alliance.[89] For these reasons, suggests Ives, "Anne Boleyn had become a major threat to Thomas Cromwell".[90] Cromwell's biographer John Schofield, on the other hand, contends that no power struggle existed between Anne and Cromwell and that "not a trace can be found of a Cromwellian conspiracy against Anne ... Cromwell became involved in the royal marital drama only when Henry ordered him onto the case".[91] Cromwell did not manufacture the accusations of adultery, though he and other officials used them to bolster Henry's case against Anne.[92] Historian Retha Warnicke questions whether Cromwell could have manipulated the king in such a matter.[93] Henry himself issued the crucial instructions: his officials, including Cromwell, carried them out.[94] The result, historians agree, was a legal travesty.[95]

      Final hours
      Although the evidence against them was unconvincing, the accused were found guilty and condemned to death by their peers. George Boleyn and the other accused men were executed on May 17, 1536. Lord Kingston, the keeper of the Tower, reported Anne seemed very happy and ready to be done with life. The King commuted Anne's sentence from burning to beheading and employed a swordsman from St Omer for the execution, rather than having a queen beheaded with the common axe. They came for Anne on the morning of May 19 to take her to the Tower Green.[96] Anthony Kingston, the Constable of the Tower, wrote:

      ? This morning she sent for me, that I might be with her at such time as she received the good Lord, to the intent I should hear her speak as touching her innocency alway to be clear. And in the writing of this she sent for me, and at my coming she said, 'Mr. Kingston, I hear I shall not die afore noon, and I am very sorry therefore, for I thought to be dead by this time and past my pain.' I told her it should be no pain, it was so little. And then she said, 'I heard say the executioner was very good, and I have a little neck,' and then put her hands about it, laughing heartily.
      I have seen many men and also women executed, and that they have been in great sorrow, and to my knowledge this lady has much joy in death. Sir, her almoner is continually with her, and had been since two o'clock after midnight.[97]

      On the morning of Friday 19 May, Anne Boleyn was executed, not upon Tower Green, but rather, a scaffold erected on the north side of the White Tower, in front of what is now the Waterloo Barracks[98] She wore a red petticoat under a loose, dark grey gown of damask trimmed in fur and a mantle of ermine,[99]. Accompanied by four female attendants, Anne made her final walk from the lieutenant's lodgings to Tower Green and she looked "as gay as if she was not going to die".[100] Anne made a short speech:

      ? Good Christian people, I am come hither to die, for according to the law, and by the law I am judged to die, and therefore I will speak nothing against it. I am come hither to accuse no man, nor to speak anything of that, whereof I am accused and condemned to die, but I pray God save the king and send him long to reign over you, for a gentler nor a more merciful prince was there never: and to me he was ever a good, a gentle and sovereign lord. And if any person will meddle of my cause, I require them to judge the best. And thus I take my leave of the world and of you all, and I heartily desire you all to pray for me. O Lord have mercy on me, to God I commend my soul.[101] ?

      This is one version of her speech, written by Lancelot de Carles in Paris, a few weeks following her death; he had been in London, but did not witness either trial or execution. All the accounts are similar, and undoubtedly correct to varying degrees.

      Death and burial
      She then knelt upright, in the French style of executions. Her final prayer consisted of her repeating, "To Jesus Christ I commend my soul; Lord Jesus receive my soul." Her ladies removed the headdress and tied a blindfold over her eyes. The execution was swift and consisted of a single stroke.[102] Cranmer, who was at Lambeth Palace, was reported to have broken down in tears after telling Alexander Ales: "She who has been the Queen of England on earth will today become a Queen in heaven."[103] When the charges were first brought against Anne, Cranmer had expressed his astonishment to Henry and his belief that "she should not be culpable." Still, Cranmer felt vulnerable because of his closeness to the queen. On the night before the execution, he had declared Henry's marriage to Anne to have been void, like Catherine's before her. He made no serious attempt to save Anne's life.[104]

      Henry had failed to provide a proper coffin for Anne, and so her body and head were put into an arrow chest and buried in an unmarked grave in the Chapel of St Peter ad Vincula. Her skeleton was identified during renovations of the chapel in the reign of Queen Victoria and Anne's resting place is now marked in the marble floor.

      Recognition and legacy
      After her death a number of myths sprang up about Anne. Many of these stories had their roots in anti-Anglican works written by Roman Catholics. Nicholas Sander, a Roman Catholic recusant born c. 1530, was committed to deposing Elizabeth I and re-establishing Roman Catholicism in England. In his De Origine ac Progressu schismatis Anglicani (The Rise and Growth of the Anglican Schism), published in 1585, he was the first to write that Anne had six fingers on her right hand.[105] Since physical deformities were generally interpreted as a sign of evil, it is unlikely that Anne Boleyn would have gained Henry's romantic attention had she had any.[106] Anne Boleyn was described by contemporaries as intelligent and gifted in musical arts and scholarly pursuits. She was also strong-willed and proud, and dared to quarrel with Henry.[107] Biographer Eric Ives evaluates the apparent contradictions in Anne's persona:

      ? To us she appears inconsistent?religious yet aggressive, calculating yet emotional, with the light touch of the courtier yet the strong grip of the politician?but is this what she was, or merely what we strain to see through the opacity of the evidence? As for her inner life, short of a miraculous cache of new material, we shall never really know. Yet what does come to us across the centuries is the impression of a person who is strangely appealing to the early twenty-first century: A woman in her own right?taken on her own terms in a man?s world; a woman who mobilized her education, her style and her presence to outweigh the disadvantages of her sex; of only moderate good looks, but taking a court and a king by storm. Perhaps, in the end, it is Thomas Cromwell?s assessment that comes nearest: intelligence, spirit and courage.[108]

      Upon exhumation in 1876, no abnormalities were discovered: her frame was described as delicate, approximately 5'3", with finely formed, tapering fingers. Elizabeth I certainly inherited her mother's frame, height, facial structure and hands. No contemporary portraits of Anne Boleyn have survived: the only likeness is a medal struck in 1534 to commemorate her second pregnancy; it is, however, severely damaged.[109]

      Following the coronation of her daughter as queen, Anne was venerated as a martyr and heroine of the English Reformation, particularly through the works of John Foxe, who argued that Anne had saved England from the evils of Roman Catholicism and that God had provided proof of her innocence and virtue by making sure her daughter, Elizabeth I, later became Queen regnant. Over the centuries, Anne has inspired or been mentioned in numerous artistic and cultural works. As a result, she has remained in the popular memory and Anne has been called "the most influential and important queen consort England has ever had."[110]

      Myths and legends of Anne Boleyn
      There have been many myths and legends about Anne Boleyn that have survived over the centuries. One is the story that she was secretly buried in Salle Church in Norfolk under a black slab near the tombs of her Boleyn ancestors.[111] Her body was said to have rested in an Essex church on its journey to Norfolk.

      Anne's ghost has reportedly been sighted at Hever Castle, Blickling Hall, and Salle Church.[112] The most famous account of her reputed haunting has been documented in paranormal researcher Hans Holzer's book Ghosts I've Met. In 1864, one Major General J.D. Dundas of the 60th Rifles regiment was quartered in the Tower of London. As he was looking out the window of his quarters, he noticed a guard below in the courtyard, in front of the lodgings where Anne had been imprisoned, behaving strangely. He appeared to challenge something, which to the General, looked like a whitish, female figure sliding towards the soldier. The guard charged through the form with his bayonet, then fainted.[113] Only the General's testimony and corroboration at the court-martial saved the guard from a lengthy prison sentence for having fainted while on duty.

      ^ Ives, page 230
      ^ Ives, p. xv.
      ^ The argument that Mary might have been the younger sister is refuted by firm evidence from the reign of Queen Elizabeth I that the surviving Boleyns knew Mary had been born before Anne, not after. See Ives, pp. 16?17 and Fraser, p. 119.
      ^ Ives, pp. 16-17
      ^ a b Fraser, p.119
      ^ Warnicke, p. 9;
      ^ Ives, p. 15
      ^ Anne Boleyn's handwriting.
      ^ Ives, pp.18?20.
      ^ The date 1507 was accepted in Roman Catholic circles. The 16th century author William Camden inscribed a date of birth of 1507 (written in Roman numerals as 'MDVII') in the margin of his Miscellany. The date was generally favoured until the late nineteenth century: in the 1880s, Paul Friedmann suggested a birth date of 1503. Art historian Hugh Paget, in 1981, first placed Anne Boleyn at the court of Margaret of Austria. See Eric Ives's biography The Life and Death of Anne Boleyn for the most extensive arguments favouring 1500/1501 and Retha Warnicke's The Rise and Fall of Anne Boleyn for her proposal of a birth year of 1507.
      ^ Ives, p. 3.
      ^ Fraser, pp. 116-17.
      ^ Ives, p. 3.
      ^ Strickland, p. 273.
      ^ Fraser, p.115
      ^ Ives, plate 14.
      ^ Ives, pp. 42?43; Strong, pp. 6?7.
      ^ Fraser and Ives argue that this appointment proves Anne was probably born in 1501; but Warnicke disagrees, partly on the evidence of Anne?s being described as ?pettite.? See Ives, p. 19; Warnicke, pp. 12?3.
      ^ Warnicke, p. 12.
      ^ Starkey, pp. 261?63.
      ^ Fraser, p. 121.
      ^ Starkey, p. 263.
      ^ Fraser, p.121.
      ^ Fraser, p. 115.
      ^ Strong, p. 6.
      ^ Ives, p. 20.
      ^ Warnicke, p. 243.
      ^ Strong, 6; Ives, 39.
      ^ Ives, p. 39.
      ^ Warnicke, p. 247.
      ^ Ives, pp. 219?226. For a full discussion of Anne?s religious beliefs, see Ives, pp. 277?287.
      ^ Williams, p.103.
      ^ Fraser, p. 122.
      ^ Fraser, pp. 121-124.
      ^ Ives, pp. 37?39.
      ^ Starkey, p. 271; Ives, 45
      ^ Fraser, pp. 126?7; Ives, p. 67 and p. 80.
      ^ Full text of the poem Whoso List to Hunt
      ^ Ives, p. 73.
      ^ Scarisbrick, p. 154.
      ^ Ives, pp. 42?44; Parker, p. 53; Rowlands, p. 236. Rowlands refers to his earlier article, written with David Starkey: "An old tradition reasserted : Holbein's portrait of Queen Anne Boleyn", Burlington Magazine, 125 (1983), 88-92; Burlington Magazine Publications, ISSN 00076287; Wilson, pp. 209?10.
      ^ Lacey, p.70.
      ^ Graves, p. 132.
      ^ Starkey, p. 331.
      ^ Brigden, p. 114.
      ^ Starkey, p. 301.
      ^ Starkey, pp. 308?12.
      ^ Starkey, pp. 314, 329.
      ^ Morris, p. 166.
      ^ Starkey, pp. 430?33.
      ^ Haigh, 88?95.
      ^ Fraser, p. 171.
      ^ Graves, pp. 21?22; Starkey, pp. 467?73.
      ^ Williams p. 136.
      ^ Ives, pp. 158?59; Fraser, 185.
      ^ Starkey, p. 459.
      ^ Wooding, 167.
      ^ Starkey, p. 366.
      ^ Williams, p.123.
      ^ Starkey, pp. 462?464.
      ^ Williams, p.124.
      ^ Fraser, p. 195.
      ^ Ives, p. 177; Starkey, pp. 489?500.
      ^ Fraser, pp. 191-94.
      ^ Scarisbrick, pp. 414?18; Haigh, pp. 117?18
      ^ Haigh, pp. 118?20.
      ^ Williams, pp.128-131.
      ^ Starkey, p. 512.
      ^ Somerset, pp. 5?6.
      ^ About Matthew Parker & The Parker Library.
      ^ Fraser.
      ^ Williams, p.138.
      ^ Ives, pp. 231?260.
      ^ Williams, pp.137-138.
      ^ Starkey, pp. 549?51; Scarisbrick, p. 436.
      ^ Starkey, p. 551.
      ^ Fraser.
      ^ Scarisbrick, p. 452.
      ^ Scarisbrick, pp. 452?53; Starkey, pp. 552?53.
      ^ Starkey, pp. 553?54.
      ^ Ashley, p. 240.
      ^ Williams, chapter 4.
      ^ Williams, p.142.
      ^ Williams, pp.143-144.
      ^ Ives, p. 344.
      ^ Hibbert, pp.54-55.
      ^ Ives, p. 344.
      ^ Ives, pp. 319?329. See also Starkey, pp. 559?569, and Elton, pp. 252?53, who share this view.
      ^ Ives, pp. 309?16.
      ^ Ives, p. 315.
      ^ Schofield, pp. 106?108. Schofield claims that evidence for the power struggle between Anne and Cromwell which "now dominates many modern accounts of Anne's last weeks" comprises "fly-by-night stories from Alesius and the Spanish Chronicle, words of Chapuys taken out of context and an untrustworthy translation of the Calendar of State Papers".
      ^ Warnicke, pp. 212, 242; Wooding, p. 194.
      ^ Warnicke, pp. 210?212. Warnicke observes: "Neither Chapuys nor modern historians have explained why if the secretary [Cromwell] could manipulate Henry into agreeing to the execution of Anne, he could not simply persuade the king to ignore her advice on foreign policy".
      ^ "Clearly, he was bent on undoing her by any means." Scarisbrick, p. 455.
      ^ Wooding, pp. 194?95; Scarisbrick, pp. 454?55; Fraser, p.245. None of the dates of Anne's alleged encounters coincide with her whereabouts.
      ^ Hibbert, pp.58-59.
      ^ Hibbert, p.59.
      ^ Ives, p. 423, based on the contemporary Lisle letters.
      ^ Williams, p.146.
      ^ Fraser, p. 256.
      ^ Hibbert, p.59.
      ^ Hibbert, p.60.
      ^ MacCulloch, p. 159.
      ^ Schama, p.307.
      ^ Ives, 39.
      ^ Warnicke, pp. 58?9.
      ^ Warnicke, pp. 58?9; Graves, 135.
      ^ Ives, p. 359.
      ^ For a full description of Anne Boleyn's remains, see Doyne C. Bell: "Notices of the Historic Persons Buried in the Tower of London", John Murray, Albemarle Street, 1877.
      ^ Ives, p. xv.
      ^ Norah Lofts, Anne Boleyn, p.181
      ^ Lofts, Anne Boleyn, p.182
      ^ Hans Holzer, Ghosts I've Met, p.196
      ^ a b c d e f g h Lundy, Darryl, thePeerage,, retrieved on October 26, 2007
      ^ a b c d e f Lundy, Darryl, thePeerage,, retrieved on October 26, 2007
      ^ Lady Elizabeth Howard, Anne Boleyn's mother, was the sister of Lord Edmund Howard, father of Catherine Howard (fifth wife of Henry VIII of England), making Anne Boleyn and Catherine Howard first cousins.
      ^ Lundy, Darryl, thePeerage,, retrieved on October 26, 2007
      ^ a b c Lundy, Darryl, thePeerage,, retrieved on October 26, 2007
      ^ Lundy, Darryl, thePeerage,, retrieved on October 26, 2007
      ^ Elizabeth Tilney is the paternal grandmother of Catherine Howard.
      ^ a b c d e f Lundy, Darryl, thePeerage,, retrieved on October 26, 2007

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