Early Years of Anne Boleyn

Early Years of Anne Boleyn



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Anne Boleyn, the daughter of Sir Thomas Boleyn and Elizabeth Howard, daughter of the Duke of Norfolk, was born in Bilickling Hall in about 1500. Anne was the second of three surviving children. Mary Boleyn was born in 1499 and her brother George Boleyn, in 1504. (1)

Sir Thomas was very ambitious for his two daughters. "Thomas Boleyn... wanted Mary and Anne to learn to move easily and gracefully in the highest circles and to acquire all the social graces, to speak fluent French, to dance and sing and play at least one instrument, to ride and be able to take part in the field sports which were such an all-absorbing passion with the upper classes, and to become familiar with the elaborate code of courtesy which governed every aspect of life at the top." (2)

In 1512 Sir Thomas Boleyn was sent on a diplomatic mission by Henry VIII to Brussels. During his trip he arranged for Mary Boleyn to work in the household of Margaret, Archduchess of Austria. (3) In 1514 Mary was one of the ladies-in-waiting who attended the king's sister Mary to France for her marriage to King Louis XII. She remained to serve Queen Mary and was joined by Anne. They were among the six young girls permitted to remain at the French court by the king after he dismissed all Mary's other English attendants.

After King Louis XII's death, his wife secretly married Charles Brandon, 1st Duke of Suffolk, on 3rd March 1515. Mary stayed in France. There is some evidence that she had a sexual relationship with King Francis. He boasted of having "ridden her" and described her as "my hackney". A representative of Pope Leo X described her as "a very great infamous whore". (4) As her biographer, Jonathan Hughes, has pointed out, "she seems to have acquired a decidedly dubious reputation." (5)

Anne Boleyn also remained in France but she seems to have avoided the kind of behaviour indulged in by her sister. Members of the Royal Court observed that she learned "dignity and poise". According to the French poet, Lancelot de Carle, "she became so graceful that you would never have taken her for an Englishwoman, but for a Frenchwoman born." (6)

The historian, Antonia Fraser, has claimed that Anne was an impressive young woman: "Anne Boleyn demonstrated a particular brightness, sufficient to convince her father that here was a child worth backing - some kind of star, in terms of parental hopes. She was, for example, a very different character from her giddy sister Mary; far more intelligent and far more applied." (7)

At thirteen Anne became one of the Queen's maids of honour. There was great competition to become a maid of honour as it offered the opportunity of meeting members of the nobility. Parents hoped that this would eventually lead to a good marriage. As maid of honour, Anne entertained the Queen by playing musical instruments and singing songs. She was also expected to make polite conversation with important guests at the royal court.


Recently I watched the 2008 film version of The Other Boleyn Girl. (Why, why did I do this to myself?) In between raging at the major historical inaccuracies, and wondering where Benedict Cumberbatch as William Carey disappeared to early in the film, we came to a rather disturbing rape scene between Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn. There is nothing historically to suggest that Henry was ever violent towards her sexually or otherwise. Yet here we have, in historical fiction, and not for the first time Henry actually raping her, I could not help but wonder, why?

In recent years Anne has received a far more sympathetic treatment from historians than her contemporaries ever gave her. Modern historians are generally in agreement that the label of ‘The Great Whore’ was undeserved. Recent biographies have moved away from the idea of a scheming woman using her body to ‘entrap’ the king, instead focusing on her intelligence, wit and ambition. At the time those around her conceded, sometimes grudgingly, that what she was lacking in beauty she made up for in personality. George Wyatt praises her musical talents, her graceful dancing, education and the way she conducted herself in general. Anne Boleyn was, in essence, the perfect courtier. As such, she became one of the most popular women at court.

Yet despite the modern desire to consider Anne as a bright, intelligent woman we can’t ignore the fact of her sexual appeal. Even though her dark looks were not as traditionally beautiful as the paler skinned, fair haired women Englishmen apparently preferred, we cannot deny that there was something quite obviously attractive about her. While her intelligence and learning maintained the interest of the king, this must have been coupled with some sort of physical attractiveness, whether it be her virginity, her sensuality or just her sheer self confidence. She would not have caught the king’s eye simply with her choice of reading material. Their earliest meeting is thought to have been the famous Chateu Vert which would become eerily prophetic the masque being about a man’s desire for a woman who holds out against him but eventually relents allowing him access to her. Anne, ironically, was cast as Perseverance.

Despite her sexual allure, we have every reason to believe that Anne was indeed a virgin when she married Henry, or at any rate when she first slept with him. Although the court was riddled with flirtations and innuendo, Eric Ives suggests that the tradition of courtly love, despite the inherently sexual aspects of the game, would not have involved (as a general rule at least) any actual sexual activity. It was, after all, in place to govern courtship and allow potential partners to meet and get to know each other under the sanctions of chivalric tradition. While Anne certainly had her fair share of suitors and a rumoured betrothal with Henry Percy, later Earl of Northumberland, David Starkey dismisses the idea that they might have lain together, claiming that Anne would not have thrown away her reputation on a ‘potential’ match.

How then do we move from Anne the virgin to Anne the rape victim?

The poem ‘Who so list to hunt‘ by Anne’s contemporary and rumoured love interest Thomas Wyatt, presents us with the image of Anne as a hind hunted by the male courtiers, all competing to out do each other and capturing her. While the poem adequately reflects Anne’s appeal at court and the attention she commanded, we cannot help but notice that the aim of the hunt was to capture and kill the hind, as Henry VIII, the winner of her affection, went on to do. But nothing contemporary suggests that Anne was the victim of rape.

In modern films Anne is raped by her husband in Henry VIII (2003) and The Other Boleyn Girl (2008). Genevieve Bujold’s Anne refers to a rape in her younger years in Anne of the Thousand Days (1969), but it does not form part of the main story.

Henry VIII and The Other Boleyn Girl share many similarities in script, mostly as they were both written by the same man. Yet the rape scene is used for very different effect in both instances. In Henry VIII it is used to demonstrate the irretrievable break down in their relationship Henry rapes her rather than continue an argument with her. As Anne is traditionally shown to be wilful and fiery tempered the rape can be seen to show how Henry is unwilling to put up with her temper, preferring her instead to become a submissive wife. After leaving her, we see that Henry breaks down himself, trying to come to terms with what has happened to them as a couple.

This is completely at odds with other fictional depictions. In the novel The Reincarnation of Anne Boleyn, Henry VIII rapes her because he can’t stand to think of her with another man. Following a similar theme in The Other Boleyn Girl Henry rapes her simply because he cannot restrain himself anymore.

Even in this promotional image, Anne does not look impressed by Henry’s advances, while the bed is quite imposing despite being in the background.

During an argument, Henry tells Anne that he has broken with the church, sent Katherine, ‘a good woman’ away, and turned the country upside down to marry her, therefore she must consent to sleeping with him. When she refuses he simply has her anyway. In both cases the rape, worryingly, is portrayed as a compliment to her. In both instances the compliment is one of possession Henry wants her so much he is willing to rape her. A description of Anne in the novel Brief Gaudy Hour presents her body as “a snare for any man” and here we have this confirmed on the screen. Certainly in The Other Boleyn Girl we are given the impression that Anne has led Henry, and also herself, to this by teasing him but never giving into his advances.

But perhaps what is most worrying is that Anne falls pregnant, as a result of the rape, with Elizabeth. By the end of the film Elizabeth is hailed as one of the greatest monarchs England has known and we are to forget that her mother was raped. In effect the rape is fully justified on screen as Elizabeth I is the result and her mother was to blame by driving Henry to the act in the first place.

Thankfully the rape of Anne Boleyn is limited in fiction and we can hope that it remains so. For the moment we, sadly, have just the few instances which largely portray it as something that is unavoidably Anne’s fault. The rape is seen as the punishment for her ambition and the return she gets for holding out against the king by using her body as the ‘snare’ to trap him. Apparently, it is not enough that she lose her head in her quest for the throne, but she must be raped into the bargain the price she pays for leading a man on.


The Age of Anne Boleyn

At the birth of Anne Boleyn, if a seer had predicted her important role on the stage of English History, I feel certain her father, Sir Thomas Boleyn, would have scoffed. Indeed, of all possible futures for this girl-child, it would not seem conceivable that Anne’s destiny lay as a crowned Queen of England, consort of Henry VIII. At best, her father probably thought of a future where one of his daughters, surviving the perils of infancy and childhood of this period, achieved a marriage strengthening Boleyn’s own status at court.

Later Earl of Ormonde and Wiltshire, Thomas Boleyn- or Bullen as the family was known then- was but a knight at the time of Anne’s birth. A son of a man whose own father, Sir Geoffrey Boleyn, stood even lower on the rungs of English society- a self made man who became a Mayor of London and gained an heiress, the daughter of Lord Hoo and Hastings, as his wife (Warnicke 1989, p.8).

Thomas Boleyn, the ambitious father of Anne Boleyn continued building upon what his grandfather first built and rarely- that is, until his daughter Anne had the misfortune to miscarry the King’s son in 1536- missed a step to raise his family higher in the Tudor hierarchy. Indeed, Thomas Boleyn had done well enough for himself when he married Lady Elizabeth Howard, a daughter of Thomas, Duke of Howard, head of a prolific family, with bloodlines stretching back to Edward I, through his second marriage to Margaret of France.

At Anne’s birth, Sir Thomas Boleyn- with his daughter’s future as mother to one of England’s best-loved monarchs hidden from him-had no reason to leave documentation about the date of her birth. This being the case, Anne’s birth year, as indeed the place of her birth, is shrouded in the deepest mist of history, and has long been fodder for lively debate amongst Tudor historians. My reason for entering this fray is a belief that the arguments for Anne’s birth in 1507 are much stronger than the other suggested years of 1502 or 1501, indeed, as early as 1499.

For many historians, the crux of the matter appears to revolve around Anne Boleyn’s sojourn over on the continent. Thomas Boleyn, using the contacts he made abroad during his time as a successful diplomat, sent Anne first as a fille d’honneur at the court of Margaret, Duchess of Burgundy. After a brief stay in Burgundy, Anne’s father arranged for her to go onto France, perchance to join her sister Mary as attendant to Mary Tudor, the youngest surviving sister of Henry VIII, on her marriage to Louis XII of France. * Because the first sojourn occurred in 1514, historians have argued that Anne Boleyn must have had reached either the age twelve or thirteen, usually the youngest ages considered for a fille d’honneur.

I believe Retha Warwicke, in her ‘Rise and fall of Anne Boleyn,’ argues a very good case that Anne Boleyn was no more than seven on her arrival at Margaret’s court. Not only does she cite the example of Anne Brandon, six-years-old in the same time period as Anne Boleyn, placed also in Margaret’s care but in addition she cites a letter from the Regent to Thomas Boleyn. This letter comments how Anne was “so well spoken and so pleasant for her young years” (Warnicke 1989, p. 12).

These words imply that Anne was younger than twelve or thirteen, because it is extremely unlikely that the Regent would have commented on her ‘young years’ if Anne had neared or reached her teenage years. In this period, though admittedly not a common occurrence, girls of twelve were unlikely to be regarded in their ‘young years’, as they could be legally wed, as well as have their marriages consummated. There is even a letter that Anne herself wrote to her father, in obviously immature handwriting, during her stay with the Regent, in which Anne blames her mistakes and poor penmanship on the fact that this letter was the first she had written by herself (Warnicke 1989, p. 15). Surely by twelve or thirteen this would not likely be the case.

We also have evidence pointing to what happened to Anne after her arrival in France. That Anne made acquaintance of Renée of France (Warnicke 1989, p. 21), the French Queen’s young sister, born 1510 (Britannica Online 2009), who was still in the Royal nursery, shows us that Anne was not made part of the licentious court of François of France. Rather, because of her extreme youth, Anne spent her first years in France in the nursery of the Royal children, at the court of Claude, the Queen and consort of François. Where François’ court had a reputation for ‘free-living,’ if not depravity, his wife’s court was deemed almost as good as a good convent. A court very suitable for a young, gently-bred girl, especially if she is to be returned to her family not as ‘spoiled goods, ‘ but with all her prospects of achieving a good marriage still in place that is, her ‘good name, ‘ and ‘virginity’ still intact.

Another confusion concerning Anne Boleyn is whether she was in fact the elder sister, rather than her evidently more flighty sister, Mary Boleyn. Before Anne’s involvement with the King, Mary briefly became mistress to King Henry VIII – some people from the period believed her son, Henry Carey, to be also the son of the King- perhaps after her marriage to William Carey. (The confusion continues even over the timing of Mary’s relationship with the King. Warnicke believes it occurred after her marriage with William Carey (Warnicke 1989, p. 34) while Antonia Fraser states it happened before (Fraser 1992, p. 101). Retha Warnicke also believes Mary to be the younger sister and only twelve at her marriage to William Carey, which I believe unlikely.

Sir Thomas Boleyn’s decision to send Anne rather than Mary to the Duchess of Burgundy seems to offer evidence that Anne was the elder. But not necessarily so. It is possible that Sir Thomas Boleyn realised that his younger daughter, besides her obvious intelligence, had inherited his gift as a linguist- something that would one day be passed down to his grand-daughter, Elizabeth the First. His decision to send Anne rather than Mary to Burgundy could have been simply the result of a parent weighing up opportunities for their children, and deciding which child would benefit most from them. It is also possible that Mary may have already displayed characteristics of concern to her father. As an adult, Mary had a reputation for being rather free with her ‘favours’ (Fraser 1992, p. 101), the King of France also remarked about her, per una grandissima ribala et infame sopre tutte.

During the reign of Elizabeth, members of Anne’s own family believed the Queen’s mother to be the younger sister, as shown when Mary Boleyn’s grandson attempted to claim the Earldom of Ormonde through this fact of his grandmother’s seniority. As Fraser comments, this seniority was not contested “although in the reign of Anne Boleyn’s daughter there were plenty who would have done so, if it had been untrue” (Fraser 1992, p.119) There is another bit of evidence to sway my belief about how young Anne actually was during her time on the continent. Anne spoke English with a French accent until the day her husband and Thomas Cromwell found a legal way to murder her. An accent natural to our speaking voice is something usually acquired at a young age. That Anne had a French accent on her return to England suggests strongly that she first came to the Continent as a child. Also, the very fact that Anne seemed so ‘French,’ another thing not making her popular, either with the English court or with the common people, implies that she had been away from her family and England during the important character developing years of her childhood. Supporting this view are the words of George Cavendish, loyal gentleman usher of Cardinal Wolsey. Cavendish wrote in his ‘Life and Death of Cardinal Wolsey, This gentlewoman, Mistress Anne Boleyn being very young was sent into the realm of France (Sylvester, R. S., D. P. Harding, et al.1962, p. 31).

Surely Cavendish’s choice of the words ‘very young’ tells us more than anything else that Anne was a child in France, and goes against the argument that, in 1527, Anne Boleyn first caught the King’s eye when she was at least twenty-six. Even in today’s world, women of twenty-six are not regarded as young girls. Yet we have contemporary description from William Forrest – a supporter of Catherine of Aragon who was in England during her ‘divorce’ from the King- of Anne as a ‘fresh young damsel’ (Warnicke p. 56).?We also have Anne Boleyn’s own words to consider. Firstly there is Anne’s letter written to the King after he arranges for her to be a maid of honour to Catherine of Aragon, just after the fire of the king’s passion really started blazing bright. Anne writes at the start of this letter,

It belongs only to the august mind of a great king to whom nature has given a heart full of generosity towards the sex to repay by favours so extraordinary artless and short conversation with a girl (Hanson, M. 2009).

Anne’s words are also documented just before the final downfall of Cardinal Wolsey. One night, Henry VIII decided to sup with Catherine of Aragon, the woman he was working hard to divorce. Not surprisingly, even though somewhat surprising to the King, he found Catherine of Aragon not prepared to be her usual companionable self, rather her antagonistic mood soon resulted in an argument. Henry then went to Anne Boleyn, in hope of receiving some sympathy from his mistress, only to find Anne angry in turn. After saying that she feared he would one day return to Catherine, she went on to say:

I have been waiting long and might in the meanwhile have contracted some advantageous marriage, out of which I might have had issue, which is the greatest consolation in this world, but alas! Farewell to my time and youth spent to no purpose at all (Fraser 1992, p.169).

If she had been twenty-six at the start of her relationship with the King, Anne could not lay claim to being either a ‘girl’ or having ‘spent’ her youth during the long years prior to her marriage to the King. It is also extremely unlikely that she could have lied about her age. Anne had too many enemies who would have delighted in telling the truth to the King.

Anne’s relationship with the twenty-year old Henry Percy, later Earl of Northumberland, needs to be considered here too. This relationship, documented by George Cavendish as well as later brought up during the trial for Anne’s life, possessed all the hallmarks of ‘first love,’ both of them entering into this relationship as if naive of how their lives were controlled by their place in Tudor society. Moreover, there are potent hints suggesting that Anne and Percy may have pre-contracted themselves to one another, which would have put into question the legality of any future marriage entered into by Anne and Percy (Fraser 1992, p.126).

Disregarding Percy’s loud protests that he had committed himself to Anne Boleyn, Wolsey broke up their relationship, Percy being married in quick haste to Mary Talbot. It was a marriage doomed to failure from the start. As for Anne and Percy? Because of their youth, this break-up apparently hit them both hard, making them never forget what had happened. Was it just a coincidence that the man leading the party to arrest Wolsey for treason was none other than Percy? And Anne said later that she rather had been Henry’s Countess (meaning, Percy’s wife) than Henry’s Queen. When the verdict of Anne’s execution was delivered, Percy, a judge at her trial, fainted.

In 1876, St. Peter ad Vincula, a chapel situated at the north-end of Tower Green, was remodelled extensively. Part of the project involved repairing the floor, under which were found the remains of – amongst others- Anne Boleyn, Katherine Howard and Jane Grey. Close to the choir chapel, a ‘beheaded’ woman’s skeleton was found under a paving stone. A medical examiner described the exhumed skeleton as having a “delicate frame with a small neck, “as one would expect of a skeleton belonging to Anne Boleyn, a female beheaded in her middle or late twenties. Admittedly, we cannot be certain that this age is correct, but it was concluded that these bones were indeed the bones of Anne Boleyn (Warnicke, pp. 235-6). As Katherine and Jane Grey, both also buried at St. Peter ad Vincula and also believed identified during these excavations, were teenagers (respectively, nineteen and sixteen) and executed before bearing children, I believe the differences between skeletons would have been apparent. I have no doubt the bones found in 1876 were indeed those of Anne Boleyn.

So how do we briefly summarise society attitudes to ‘age’ at this time? Life was far shorter then- with an average life expectation somewhere around forty years. However, just because life was brief does not mean people of the period automatically regarded those in their thirties as old. Nevertheless, we have to keep in mind that life was much harder then and consequently people did age faster than what we see today in the Western world.

Mary Stuart, forty-four at her death, suffered with rheumatism for years prior to her death and was found to have mostly grey hair after her execution. By his forties, gout already caused great daily agony to William Cecil, later crippling him as an old man.

Elizabeth in her late thirties, whose constitution as Queen was generally sound, developed a painful leg ulcer, which caused one suitor to offend her by calling her ‘an old creature with a sore leg’ (Weir 1998, pp. 274-5). When Robert Dudley died at fifty-five he was almost unrecognisable as the handsome, dark ‘Gypsy’ who had come as close as any man to marrying Anne Boleyn’s daughter. That same daughter, after her recovery from small pox at twenty-nine, said to a deputation who petitioned her to marry and thus safeguard the realm with heirs of her body, “The marks they saw on her face were not wrinkles, but the pits of smallpox, and although she might be old, God could send her children as He did to St. Elisabeth” (Weir 1998, p. 138). Keeping in mind the cadence of the time, I construe her response in that Elizabeth is referring to a time in the future, when would indeed be ‘old, ‘ but still the unspoken concern about the “delay of the ripe time for marriage”(Jenkins 1959, p. 175) is apparent. By thirty-seven, Elizabeth, no doubt seeking reassurance from her courtiers to the contrary, was indeed protesting that she was too old for marriage (Weir 1998, p. 216). We even have the utterance of her father to reflect upon, when he said: “I am forty-one years old, at which age the lust of man is not so quick as in lusty youth “(Fraser 1992, p.220). Thus, it is clear that they, like us, were aware of ‘youth’ as compared to ‘maturity.’ With so many children and teenagers scythed down by the grim reaper, probably more so.

There is little doubt that Henry VIII passion for Anne Boleyn was the ‘Grand Passion’ of his life. But Henry was a King, only the second of his dynasty, desperately in need of a son to secure the succession of his crown. To turn his kingdom upside down to achieve his marriage with Anne Boleyn, he must have felt confident of her ability to bear children, and healthy children at that. Cardinal Wolsey attempts to wave a French princess under his King’s nose were not helped by the fact that Renée of France, like her mother before her, had a physical defect, which resulted in her walking with a limp and caused expression of doubts about Renée’s suitability to bear children (Warnicke 1989, p.63). But such a woman also would not have appealed to Henry, who took great pride in not only his physical appearance, but that of his children too. Early in 1528, Wolsey wrote to the Pope defending the King’s choice of Anne on the grounds that she was likely to have children (Warnicke 1989, p. 77), which suggests Anne Boleyn was youthful.

When it is considered that Katherine of Aragon was only thirty-two when brought to bed of her last child, a still born daughter, it seems very unlikely that the King would place his hopes and faith in the ability of a twenty-eight-year-old woman to give him sons.

Anne Boleyn came from a class that generally married young in England (Harris 2002, p.56), though admittedly not as young as did Princesses of the time, often married not long into their teenage years, after infant or childhood betrothals. Anne’s own mother married by the time she was seventeen, her sister Mary probably married William Carey in her teenage years. Anne herself would have expected to be wed by her very early twenties, the ‘ripe time’ for marriage. In 1519, aged only thirty-three, Catherine of Aragon was described as “the King’s old deformed wife” (Fraser 1992, p.76).

Of course, by then, Catherine – in ten years of marriage- had given birth at least six times, resulting in only her daughter Mary surviving beyond the first weeks of infancy. Grief and the constant strains of pregnancy can swiftly age any woman. But Anne Boleyn had, physically and psychologically, a great deal to cope with too. Even so, on the day of her execution a witness said Anne Boleyn ‘never looked more beautiful.’ On the scaffold, when she removed her pearl encrusted coif to replace it with a simpler head covering, Anne Boleyn revealed her black hair to be as black as ever. Do these descriptions gel with a woman of thirty-six, decidedly middle-aged by the times-who been through the terror of imprisonment, a trial for her life, months of fear and uncertainty while her husband and his ministers plotted to get rid of her, and a tragic second miscarriage barely four months before her death? I don’t believe so.

Whenever there is confusion about something from the past I believe it best to seek out ‘voices’ from the time, to discover whether there are voices from the past that can help untangle the confusion. Sometimes the voices are silent, leading us to conjecture, but in the case of Anne Boleyn’s age there are, I believe, enough ‘voices’ that do speak. And not only the voices I have put already forward. Only a couple years before her marriage to the King, Anne was described as ‘young’ (Fraser 1992, p.171). William Camden wrote in his Annuals Anne Boleyn’s birth date as being 1507. Jane Dormer -Lady in waiting and confidante to Catherine of Aragon’s daughter Mary Tudor – believed Anne Boleyn not quite twenty-nine when she died (Ives 1986, p.3). Mary Tudor had many valid reasons to hate Anne Boleyn as the daughter of Catherine of Aragon, and was in the perfect position to be aware of Anne’s true age.

Figure 20 Mary Tudor?English History, http://englishhistory.net/tudor/mary1faq.jpg (accessed 21/09/09)

I want to end this investigation by comparing three portraits. Two portraits depict two women aged around twenty-seven years, one Henry VIII’s third wife, Jane Seymour, painted by Holbein and the other his daughter Mary, by the artist Master John. The third is a portrait of Anne Boleyn, a miniature by Lucas Hornebout, painted in 1526, about the time when King Henry VIII first fell in love with her. When these three portraits are studied side by side, it is clear that that the Horenbout portrait shows some one who could indeed be described as a ‘fresh young damsel, ‘ a young woman no more than twenty. The other two portraits show women with shadowed eyes, lines etched all around, skin- especially around Mary’s mouth and Jane’s chin – losing it elasticity, clearly much maturer women, both fast losing the freshness of youth.

Figure 21 Anne Boleyn?? Tudor History, http://tudorhistory.org/boleyn/boleynmin.jpg (accessed 11/11/10)

Figure 22 Believed to be the only period drawing of Anne Boleyn?Daily Mail, http://img.dailymail.co.uk/i/pix/2007/03_01/boleynES1403_468x614.jpg (accessed 21/07/09)

There is a fourth portrait to consider – a drawing by Holbein depicting Anne Boleyn during her brief time as Queen. Though drawn from different angles, Holbein’s drawing clearly shows the same woman as that painted by Horenbout, but time has passed the girl in the miniature has become the woman. But still evident is that this woman is not much older than that shown in the portraits of Jane Seymour and Mary Tudor. It is a portrait, I believe, of a woman who has not reached her middle thirties.

* Scholars dispute whether Mary Boleyn actually attended the eighteen-year Queen, but I think why not? Sir Thomas Boleyn clearly had the necessary skills to develop a network of influential friends. I also believe his ambitions were such that he would have done all in his power to place both daughters in positions where they could improve the status of the Boleyn family at court and abroad.

Bailey, K. (Dec97/Jan98). ‘The coronation of Anne Boleyn.’ British Heritage 19(1): 4.?Britannica Online: http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/498078/Renee-of-France (accessed 01/08/09).

Bruce, M. L. (1972). Anne Boleyn. London, Collins.

Chapman, H. W. (1974). Anne Boleyn. London, J. Cape.

Denny, J. (2007). Anne Boleyn: a new life of England’s tragic queen. Cambridge, MA, Da Capo Press.

Fraser, A. (1992). The wives of Henry VIII. New York, Knopf.

Hanson, M. English History. http://englishhistory.net/tudor/letter6.html (assessed 22/07/09).

Harris, B. J. (2002). English aristocratic women, 1450-1550: marriage and family, property and careers. New York, Oxford University Press.

Ives, E. W. (1986). Anne Boleyn. Oxford, OX, UK New York, NY, USA, Blackwell.

Ives, E. W. (1998). ‘A Frenchman at the Court of Anne Boleyn’ History Today 48: Pages 21-26.

Ives, E. W. (2004). The life and death of Anne Boleyn: ‘the most happy’. Malden, MA, Blackwell Pub.

Jenkins, E. (1959). Elizabeth the Great. New York, Coward-McCann.

Lofts, N. (1979). Anne Boleyn. New York, Coward, McCann & Geoghegan.

Warnicke, R. M. (1989). The rise and fall of Anne Boleyn: family politics at the court of Henry VIII. New York, Cambridge University Press.

Weir, A. (2001). Henry VIII: the king and his court. New York, Ballantine Books.


Who Was Anne Boleyn English Literature Essay

For a woman who played such an important part in English history, we know remarkably little about her earliest years.Anne Boleyn is often presented as a ‘self-made’ woman,rising from lowly origins to the top of her dramatic fall. Antonia Fraser puts Anne's birth at 1500 or 1501, probably at Blickling (Norfolk) and the date of birth seems to be at the end of May or early June. Other historians put Anne's birth as late as 1507 or 1509.Anne was not ‘a poor knight’s daughter’as one Nicholas Delanoy allegedy said to a skinner of St Omer Calais.Anne was born into the English social and political elite. Anne spent part of her childhood at the court of the Archduchess Margaret. Fraser puts her age at 12-13, as that was the minimum age for a 'fille d'honneur'.

Her father was Thomas Boleyn,who was an increasingly prominent courtier-administrator at the court and in the gouvernement of Henry VIII.

It is not known for certain when Anne Boleyn was born.William Camden,writing, towards the end of of Elisabeth’s reign,said she was born in 1507,and something like that date is implied by Henry Clifford in his ‘Life of Jane Dormer’,duchess of Feria,when he said that at her execution Anne was not twenty-nine years of age.

But the most telling evidence for Anne’s age is the handwriting in a letter that she wrote to her father in French in 1513 from La Vure near Brussels.It is written in a neat and regular hand.It is most improbable that anyone younger than ten could write as clearly aas this.A telling parallel is to be find in a letter from Emperor Maximilian to Don Diego de Guevarre,in charge of the emperor’s son Charles,in which Maximilian confirmed his earlier promise that Don Diego’s niece should join the imperial household at Malines now she has reached the appropriate age:she was just over thirteen.So it is very likely that Anne was born around 1500-most likely 1501.

Anne Boleyn had a sister,Mary,and a brother ,George,who will feature proeminently in this account of her life.It is not known when they were born,or whether they were older or younger than Anne.There is nonetheless,a good deal of circumstantial or later evidence which suggest that Mary came first.George Boleyn date of birth is also uncertain.A remark in verses by George Cavendish,suggest that he served in the privy chamber before ‘years thrice nine’had gone,in other words before he was twenty-seven,that implies that he was born no later than 1499 and probably earlier.But George was reappointed to the privy chamber in 1529,then George could have been born in 1503 or 1504,after his sister Anne.Of Anne’s early years,as of the childhood of all in her position,it is known next to nothing.In these years her father Thomas Boleyn was rising in importance and favourIn May 1512 he was sent by Henry VIII as his ambassador to the court in the Low Countries Of the Archduchess Margaret of Austria.On returning to England in summer 1513 he seny Anne to serve there,where she stayed mainly at Malines.Margaret found Anne so bright and pleasant for her young age,that she was more beholden ,she said,to him for sending her than he was to her.Anne evidently studied under a tutor called Symonnet.

It was than she wrote the letter to her father.Anne assured her father that she had written the letter herself.Her handwriting is more impressive than her French.Thomas Boleyn’s intention in sending Anne to Margaret was that she should acquire sufficient French to be employable in Chaterine’s household .In Margaret court,Anne was much influenced by the paintings and music that Margaret commissioned.Anne was one of eighteen ladies and maids of hounour.It is not know exactly what Anne did,but ladies and maids in such household were both companions and servants,keeping their mistress company and running errands.That could mean playing musical instruments,singing and dancing.Such ladies and maids would also be involved in festivities.

Anne stayed just over a year.On 14 August 1514 her father Thomas Boleyn wrote to the archeduchess Margaret,asking her for Anne to return home.He said that there is going to be a wedding between Anne’s siter Mary and Louis XII,king of France,and that Mary would need attendants who could speak French.’Which request’,he wrote,’I neither could nor knew how to refuse.’It is not know exactly when Anne came backe home,but a list in the Biblioteque Nationale in Paris of those attending the wedding celebrations includes Anne’s siter Mary but not Anne.

But the marriage was short-lived:Louis died on 1 January 1515.After Mary’s housband death she secretly married Charles Brandon,who had been sent to negotiate her return.

From 1514 until 1521 Anne served as a member of Queen Claude’s household.Queen

Claude was crowned in Saint-Denis in May 1516,surely Anne was there too.In June 1519 Anne’s father Thomas Boleyn attended the christening of Henri,the future Henri II,Queen Claude’s second child:and it is unknown if Anne was present there too.Anne also made the acquintance of Francis’s sister,Marguerite of Angouleme.In September 1535 one of the French ambassadors in England would write to tell Marguerite how Anne said that her grestest wish was to see her again.

Anne spent the most formative years of her adolescence at the French court.However she must surely have thouroughly mastered the language.

Francis,his wife,his sister Marguertite,and his mother Louise of Savoy were all commited patrons of arts,and Anne very likely absorbed some of their tastes.Also Anne and her brother George would later build up a significant collection of books in French,printed in Paris,and it was surely during her years in France that she aquired that interest.

By the end of 1521 Anne was recalled to return back in England.Diplomatic reasons largely explain her return.At the end of January 1522 Francis noted her departure,along with that of the English scholars in Paris,suspecting that all of this meant that Henry intended to make war on him.

Cardinal Wolsey’s remarks alluded to Anne father’s wish to see her well married as she entered in her twenties.In autumn 1529 Sir Thomas become earl of Ormond,though

that title was overshadowed by the English titles also received.In these years Anne’s father was rising in prominence and his daughter was evidently a lady at court.It is known that she took part in a pageant at Cardinal Wolsey’s residence York Place in March 1522,at Shrovetide,playing the part of Perseverance,as she is mentioned in the accounts.At some point there was evidently talk of marrying Anne to Henry Percy.heir of the fifth earl of Northumberland.For Anne’s father that would undoubtedly have been something of a coup,settling his daughter in the family of one of the leading nobleman of early Tudor England.Henry percy was serving in the cardinal’s household.When Wolsey went to court,Percy would resort his pastime to the queen’s chamber,where he would fall in dalliance with the queen’s maidens,among whom was Anne Boleyn.

There grew such a secret love between them,Carvendish continued,that at length they were ensured together intending to marry.When the king heard of ii he was much offended,because he too had been smitten by Anne.And so he got Wolset to enfrynge to break the pre-contract between them.Anne did not married Henry Percy because Henry had already fallen in love with Anne.,and employed Wolsey to block her marriage.Anne was also persued by Thomas Wyatt.The son of Sir Henry Wyatt of Allington castle near Maidstone,Kent,treasures of the chambers,Thomas had married Elisabeth Brooke,daughter of Thomas,Lord Cobham,around 1520 and a son,Thomas,had been born in 1521,followed by a daughter.

Mary Boleyn Anne’s sister was the one who catches the eye of Henry VIII when she comes to court as a girl of fourteen.Dazzled by the golden prince,Mary’s joy is cut short when she discovers that she is a pawn in the dynastic plots of her family.

When the capricious king’s interest wanes,Mary is ordered to pass on her knowledge of how to please him to her friend and rival:her sister Anne Boleyn.

Anne soon become irresistible to Henry,and Mary can do nothing but watch her ambitious sister’s rise.

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 the Boleyn residence at Hever Castle, but contracted the illness her brother-in-law, William Carey, died. Henry sent his own physician to Hever Castle to care for Anne, and shortly afterwards, she recovered. It soon became the one absorbing object of Henry's desires to secure an annulment from Catherine.[54] Henry had 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. In 1527 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 permitting him to marry his brother's widow, Catherine, had been obtained under false pretences. 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.

As the Pope was, at that time, prisoner of Charles V, the Holy Roman Emperor, as a result of the Sack of Rome in May 1527, Knight had some difficulty obtaining access. In the end he had to return with a conditional dispensation, which Wolsey insisted was technically insufficient.[56] Henry now had no choice but to put his great matter into Wolsey's hands, who did all he could to secure a decision in Henry's favor,[57] even going so far as to convene an ecclesiastical court in England, with a special emissary, Lorenzo Campeggio from the Pope himself to decide the matter. But the Pope never had empowered his deputy to make any decision. The Pope was still a veritable hostage of Charles V, and Charles V was the loyal nephew of Henry's queen, Catherine.[58] The Pope forbade Henry to contract a new marriage until a decision was reached in Rome, not in England.

Convinced that Wolsey's loyalties lay with the Pope, not England, Anne, as well as Wolsey's many enemies, ensured his dismissal from public office in 1529. George Cavendish, Wolsey's chamberlain, records that the servants who waited on the king and Anne at dinner in 1529 in Grafton heard her say that the dishonour that Wolsey had brought upon the realm would have cost any other Englishman his head. Henry replied, "Why then I perceive. you are not the Cardinal's friend." Henry finally agreed to Wolsey's arrest on grounds ofpraemunire.[59] Had it not been for his death from illness in 1530, he might have been executed for treason.[60] A year later in 1531 (fully two years before Henry's marriage to Anne), 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 women. Anne just managed to escape by boat.

When Archbishop of Canterbury William Warham died in 1532, the Boleyn family chaplain, Thomas Cranmer, was appointed, with papal approval.

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, thus finalizing the break with Rome. Following these acts, Thomas More resigned as Chancellor, leaving Cromwell as Henry's chief minister.


Anne Boleyn (abt. 1501 - 1536)

In 1513, Anne was sent to France and trained in all the skills as a lady of the court by Margaret of Austria. She became fluent in French and impressed Margaret with her intelligence. In August of 1513, Anne was with her sister in France when Mary Boleyn served as fille d'honneur to Mary Tudor, Queen of France, when she married King Louis XII of France. When King Louis XII died in 1515 she joined the household of Queen Claude of France the queen of King François I. [2] [3]

By 1522, Sir Thomas, Anne's father made a request that she be returned to England after the death of Queen Claude. Henry's sister Mary (Tudor) Brandon the Duchess of Suffolk appointed Anne to the household of Queen Catherine. Shortly after arriving in England, Anne became one of the Queen's ladies. That year, she attended and participated in one of the revels at the court of Henry VIII. [4]

Life with a King

It was around this time that the King began to take an interest in Anne. Thus began a struggle for the King to win Anne's affections. She aspired to become more than just another mistress and refused him. With her vibrancy and intelligence, she would woo Henry and then push him away. This continued for several years until Henry realized his only recourse was to marry Anne. His battle to obtain an annulment from Catherine had already begun. [5] [6]

There were many letters exchanged between Anne and Henry. A year after Henry became enamored with Anne he wrote a letter to her:

" In turning over the contents of your last letter, I have put myself in great agony, not knowing how to interpret them, whether to my disadvantage, as you show in some places, or to my advantage, as I understand them in some others, beseeching you to earnestly let me know expressly your whole mind as to the love between us two. It is absolutely necessary for me to obtain this answer, having been for above a whole year stricken with the dart of love, and not yet sure whether I shall fail in finding a place in your heart and affection, which last point has prevented me for some time past from calling you my mistress because, if you only love me with an ordinary love, that name is not suitable for you, because it denotes a singular love, which is far from common. But if you please to do the office of a true loyal mistress and friend, and give up yourself body and heart to me, who will be, and have been, your most loyal servant, (if your rigour does not forbid me) I promise that not only shall the name be given you, but I will take you for my only mistress, casting off all others besides you out of my thoughts and affections, and serve only you. . H R " [7]

On 1 September 1532, she was, created Marchioness of Pembroke. [8] . Anne first secretly married Henry on 25 January 1533/4. Anne became pregnant and the Archbishop Of Canterbury Thomas Cranmer approve the annulment of Henry and Catherine's marriage. [9] [10] [11] [12] On 19 May 1533, Henry publicly declared his marriage to Anne. He made Greenwich Palace, her home, and a great celebration took place. [13]

A Princess is Born

On 7 September 1533, their first child Princess Elizabeth was born at the Palace of Placentia. Elizabeth's birth was celebrated in full royal regalia. However, Henry wanted a male heir, which was a concern for Anne. Elizabeth was the only child that Anne gave birth to that did not die as an infant. [13] [14]

The christening of the Princess was a grand affair. It took place at Greenwich Palace, and Dukes and Duchesses and many others were summoned to attend. The palace was decorated in true royal fashion. The Archbishop of Canterbury was Godfather and christened the baby girl. [14]

Jane Seymour had been appointed one of Anne's ladies, and the King took an interest in her. His dissatisfaction after three years of Anne not being able to produce a living male heir had grown. In April of 1536, Henry was admitting he had grown weary of Anne. [15]

The Downfall

She was accused of beguiling several men, committing adultery and incest, with her own brother George Boleyn, Lord Rochford. Anne along with these gentlemen were all convicted of adultery and plotting to kill the King. One of the men accused, Mark Smeaton initially denied the accusations, but eventually confessed and threw himself at the mercy of the King. Some of the other men accused were Sir Francis Weston, Henry Noreys, and, William Bryerton, they all pled not guilty but, were all convicted. A few days later, Anne and her brother George declared their innocence of the accusations.

" Your Grace's displeasure and my imprisonment are things so strange unto me as what to write or what to excuse I am altogether ignorant. Whereas you sent unto me, willing me to confess a truth and so to obtain your favour, by such an one whom you know to be my ancient professed enemy, I no sooner received this message by him than I rightly conceived your meaning and if, as you say, confessing a truth indeed may procure my safety, I shall with all willingness and duty perform your command." But do not imagine that your poor wife will ever confess a fault which she never even imagined. Never had prince a more dutiful wife than you have in Anne Boleyn, "with which name and place I could willingly have contented myself if God and your Grace's pleasure had so been pleased." Nor did I ever so far forget myself in my exaltation but that I always looked for such an alteration as now my preferment being only grounded on your Grace's fancy. You chose me from a low estate, and I beg you not to let an unworthy stain of disloyalty blot me and the infant Princess your daughter. "

They too were convicted and condemned to execution. The men were all drawn and quartered, while Anne was made to witness their torture. [16] [17]

The Archbishop of Canterbury pronounced Henry's marriage to Anne null and void on 17 May 1536, [18] and on 19 May 1536 Anne was beheaded at the Tower of London, her punishment chosen by the King. The same day the Archbishop of Canterbury declared Anne's daughter, Princess Elizabeth illegitimate. [19] [20] [21]

Anne was interred at St Peter ad Vincula at the Tower. [22] In 1976, there was a request to have Anne re-interred at Lambeth in London. [23]


Anne Boleyn Has Had a Bad Reputation for Nearly 500 Years. Hayley Nolan Wants to Change That

As the second wife of King Henry VIII, Anne Boleyn was one of the most powerful women in the world in the 16th century. In fact, Henry&rsquos desire to annul his first marriage to Katherine of Aragon so he could pursue Anne is widely credited as a key factor leading to England&rsquos astounding break with the Roman Catholic Church in 1533. Even so, her peers at the Tudor court didn&rsquot hold back when it came to their ideas about her. Contemporary descriptions of Boleyn painted her as a seductress, as power-hungry, and even as a witch with six fingers who enchanted the king.

And those descriptions stuck.

For hundreds of years, Anne Boleyn&rsquos bad reputation has run throughout both conventional historical narratives and popular depictions of this time period. And there&rsquos been no shortage of them: The story of the woman who had been Henry&rsquos queen for only three years before he ordered her beheading in 1536, on charges of treason, has retained public interest &mdash look no further than the film The Other Boleyn Girl, in which Natalie Portman portrays Boleyn as a scheming temptress, or the television series Wolf Hall, featuring Claire Foy&rsquos Anne as part of an ambitious and social-climbing family.

But for historian Hayley Nolan, those portrayals of Boleyn raised several unanswered questions.

&ldquoI wanted to get to the truth of why and how Henry could do that to Anne,&rdquo says Nolan. &ldquoThen in researching him, I discovered that everything we&rsquove been told about Anne is not the truth.&rdquo

Nolan&rsquos new book, Anne Boleyn: 500 Years of Lies, is part biography and part historical exposé, challenging the conventional sources often used to explore Boleyn&rsquos life while highlighting the queen&rsquos humanitarian, religious and political efforts.


Anne Boleyn Has Had a Bad Reputation for Nearly 500 Years. Here's How One Historian Wants to Change That

As the second wife of King Henry VIII, Anne Boleyn was one of the most powerful women in the world in the 16th century. In fact, Henry&rsquos desire to annul his first marriage to Katherine of Aragon so he could pursue Anne is widely credited as a key factor leading to England’s astounding break with the Roman Catholic Church in 1533. Even so, her peers at the Tudor court didn’t hold back when it came to their ideas about her. Contemporary descriptions of Boleyn painted her as a seductress, as power-hungry, and even as a witch with six fingers who enchanted the king.

And those descriptions stuck.

For hundreds of years, Anne Boleyn’s bad reputation has run throughout both conventional historical narratives and popular depictions of this time period. And there’s been no shortage of them: The story of the woman who had been Henry’s queen for only three years before he ordered her beheading in 1536, on charges of treason, has retained public interest &mdash look no further than the film The Other Boleyn Girl, in which Natalie Portman portrays Boleyn as a scheming temptress, or the television series Wolf Hall, featuring Claire Foy&rsquos Anne as part of an ambitious and social-climbing family.

But for historian Hayley Nolan, those portrayals of Boleyn raised several unanswered questions.

&ldquoI wanted to get to the truth of why and how Henry could do that to Anne,&rdquo says Nolan. &ldquoThen in researching him, I discovered that everything we&rsquove been told about Anne is not the truth.”

Nolan&rsquos new book, Anne Boleyn: 500 Years of Lies, is part biography and part historical exposé, challenging the conventional sources often used to explore Boleyn&rsquos life while highlighting the queen&rsquos humanitarian, religious and political efforts.

Many popular histories paint Boleyn as setting her sights on Henry in pursuit of power, and the king making the ultimate sacrifice for love in choosing to break with Rome in order to wed her. Much has been made of the love letters Henry VIII wrote to her. Although undated, the surviving letters of their correspondence (only Henry&rsquos remain Boleyn&rsquos have not survived) are thought to span almost three years.

As Nolan’s account makes clear, however, the king had been making inquiries in secret about divorcing Katherine of Aragon years before Boleyn came on the scene, and Boleyn actually resisted the king&rsquos advances. She ran away from the royal court for a year starting in the summer of 1526 to escape, and those love letters appear to encompass the time when she was absent from court, distancing herself from his advances. &ldquoThe historians who do acknowledge this say it was a calculated tactic and sexual blackmail &mdash the ultimate example of &lsquowhen a girl says no, she really means yes,&rsquo&rdquo says the historian. &ldquoThere are historians who are calling Henry&rsquos harassment love letters and claim that he sentenced the queen he loved to death. I&rsquom sorry, but the manner in which a man kills a woman does not prove his love for her. If it can end in decapitation, it was never love.&rdquo

Nolan sees parallels with how some stories about women are told today. Earlier this fall, a New Zealand jury found a 27-year-old man guilty of the murder of British backpacker Grace Millane. His defense rested on the claim that Millane had died accidentally during consensual sex several media headlines about the case were criticized for disproportionately focusing on Millane&rsquos sexual history.

&ldquoEven if people try and say [the Tudor period] was a different time, no it wasn&rsquot,&rdquo says Nolan. &ldquoIt&rsquos always trying to discredit the victim when actually we need to be defending the victim &mdash that&rsquos why we can&rsquot dismiss the romanticization of Anne&rsquos story. It filters down and has an effect.”

No part of Boleyn’s story makes that clearer than the end.

Boleyn was arrested along with five men she was accused of committing adultery with &mdash one of whom was her own brother George &mdash in May of 1536. She was tried first and found guilty of adultery, incest and high treason, including the charge that she planned to kill the King so she could elope with a lover. But by this time, Henry was already deeply besotted with his own mistress Jane Seymour he would be betrothed to her the day after Boleyn&rsquos execution.

Nolan suspects there was more to the story than adultery, a contentious issue about which historians have disagreed for decades. Many historians suspect that the charges against Boleyn were at least exaggerated and at worst wholly fabricated by Thomas Cromwell, an adviser to Henry who was engaged in a power struggle with the Queen Nolan argues that the Queen’s lack of privacy and her deeply held religious beliefs would have made it difficult to be unfaithful at all, much less with multiple men.

Two months before her execution, Boleyn was involved in passing nationwide legislation titled the Poor Law, which stated that local officials should find work for the unemployed. The law entailed creating a new governing council that rivaled the one headed up by Cromwell. &ldquoSuddenly we have a much more devastating reason as to why Cromwell would be immensely threatened by the Queen,&rdquo says Nolan. &ldquoShe wasn&rsquot a ruthless bully or seductress she was actually a working politician who died for pushing this radical anti-poverty law through parliament.&rdquo While the law’s creation has long been attributed to Cromwell, Boleyn’s involvement was recognized as part of U.K. Parliament Week this November.

The traditional historical interpretation of Anne Boleyn has relied on sources that obscured that part of her story. For example, Nolan says, the Spanish Ambassador Eustace Chapuys is a source of much contemporary writing about her, but he was a supporter of Katherine of Aragon. And even beyond the ambassador, the people who kept the records in the 1500s and the people who interpreted them in the centuries that followed tended to be overwhelmingly male. To Nolan, they brought the perspective that women only achieve power by “trickery.”

And, she argues, correcting Boleyn&rsquos story has broader implications for the way women&rsquos stories are told. &ldquoWe send out a dangerous message to the world when we tell readers and viewers that women only want power for selfish and frivolous reasons,” she says. “When we tell readers that Anne was killed because she had a string of torrid affairs, it implies that women deserve their downfall.”

In Women and Power: A Manifesto, classicist Mary Beard traces the roots of misogyny all the way back to the Ancient Greeks, finding the image of the poisonous Medusa transposed onto contemporary female leaders, including Angela Merkel and Hillary Clinton. In the U.K., this year several female politicians have announced they will not run in the upcoming December general election, citing increasing abuse in the form of death and rape threats. It was this climate that left Nolan determined to make Boleyn’s story heard.

“Her story is more relevant now than ever before, because she was a politician who was taken down,” says Nolan. “This is still happening, and this is why we need to learn what really happened in order to make sure that history never repeats itself ever again.”


Anne Boleyn - Anne Boleyn's marriage preparation | www.historynotes.info / Anne boleyn was born in c.1501, probably at blickling hall in norfolk.

Anne Boleyn - Anne Boleyn's marriage preparation | www.historynotes.info / Anne boleyn was born in c.1501, probably at blickling hall in norfolk.. She was executed on charges of incest, witchcraft, adultery and conspiracy against the king. The anne boleyn , boleyn also spelled bullen , (born 1507?—died may 19, 1536, london, england), second. Read the essential details about anne boleyn that includes images, quotations and the main facts of her life. 25 january 1533 probably at the palace of whitehall. Anne boleyn returned to england in 1522 for her arranged marriage to a butler cousin, which would have ended a dispute over the earldom of ormond.

Do you like this video? Even the year is widely debated. Anne boleyn was the second wife of king henry viii of england. General opinion now favors 1501 or 1502, though some historians persuasively argue for 1507. In 1533, king henry viii annulled his first marriage (to catherine of aragon) and was in the process of breaking with the catholic church to.

Will the real Anne Boleyn please stand up? - Travel Through Time from historynavigator.files.wordpress.com Even the year is widely debated. The anne boleyn , boleyn also spelled bullen , (born 1507?—died may 19, 1536, london, england), second. She was educated and skilled at the diversions expected of a charming member of court. King henry's marriage to anne and her subsequent execution were part of the complex beginnings of the english reformation. Anne boleyn was the second wife of henry viii and the mother of elizabeth i. Anne boleyn, 1st marchioness of pembroke (ca. Anne boleyn has had a bad reputation for nearly 500 years. 25 january 1533 probably at the palace of whitehall.

Anne boleyn, who came from an aristocratic family, had served in the courts of other european royals.

Obviously, the whole fall of anne boleyn and those five courtiers is terrible, a real miscarriage of justice, but then it's made worse by henry viii moving on with his life with unseemly haste. In 1533, king henry viii annulled his first marriage (to catherine of aragon) and was in the process of breaking with the catholic church to. Anne boleyn was the second wife of king henry viii of england. Between 1500 and 1509 probably at blickling hall. Anne boleyn, second wife of henry viii of england and mother of queen elizabeth i. 25 january 1533 probably at the palace of whitehall. General opinion now favors 1501 or 1502, though some historians persuasively argue for 1507. Even the year is widely debated. Mistress and wife of henry viii. Anne boleyn was one of england's most controversial queens. Although she was queen of england for just under three years, anne boleyn (ca. When henry viii noticed anne boleyn in 1526, he didn't wanted her to become his wife and queen. Anne boleyn, who came from an aristocratic family, had served in the courts of other european royals.

In 1533, king henry viii annulled his first marriage (to catherine of aragon) and was in the process of breaking with the catholic church to. She was educated and skilled at the diversions expected of a charming member of court. Anne boleyn is the most famous of henry viii's six wives, executed by a french swordsman on 19 may 1536 after being arrested for adultery and incest. Anne boleyn's birthdate is unknown Anne, sometimes known as 'anne of a thousand days' in reference to her short reign as queen.

Natalie Portman as Anne Boleyn in The Other Boleyn Girl - … | Flickr from live.staticflickr.com Obviously, the whole fall of anne boleyn and those five courtiers is terrible, a real miscarriage of justice, but then it's made worse by henry viii moving on with his life with unseemly haste. She was executed on charges of incest, witchcraft, adultery and conspiracy against the king. Anne boleyn has had a bad reputation for nearly 500 years. Anne boleyn was born in c.1501, probably at blickling hall in norfolk. Anne boleyn, 1st marchioness of pembroke (ca. Anne boleyn was the second wife of king henry viii. Mistress and wife of henry viii. Between 1500 and 1509 probably at blickling hall.

Although she was queen of england for just under three years, anne boleyn (ca.

This biography offers details on her profile, childhood, early life and timeline, legacy and trivia. She was educated and skilled at the diversions expected of a charming member of court. Her father was thomas boleyn, who had been squire of the body at the funeral of henry vii, and was knighted at henry viii's. She was executed on charges of incest, witchcraft, adultery and conspiracy against the king. Anne boleyn, 1st marchioness of pembroke (ca. Henry's desire to divorce his first wife and marry anne helped bring about the english reformation. Read the essential details about anne boleyn that includes images, quotations and the main facts of her life. Even the year is widely debated. Anne boleyn is the most famous of henry viii's six wives, executed by a french swordsman on 19 may 1536 after being arrested for adultery and incest. Although she was queen of england for just under three years, anne boleyn (ca. But the marriage was never fully settled. In 1533, king henry viii annulled his first marriage (to catherine of aragon) and was in the process of breaking with the catholic church to. Anne boleyn, the second wife of king henry viii, served as queen of england in the 1530s.

She was educated and skilled at the diversions expected of a charming member of court. He simply desired anne as his mistress. King henry's marriage to anne and her subsequent execution were part of the complex beginnings of the english reformation. Anne boleyn is the most famous of henry viii's six wives, executed by a french swordsman on 19 may 1536 after being arrested for adultery and incest. Anne boleyn was the second wife of henry viii and the mother of elizabeth i.

How Anne Boleyn Lost Her Head from cdn.history.com This biography offers details on her profile, childhood, early life and timeline, legacy and trivia. The anne boleyn , boleyn also spelled bullen , (born 1507?—died may 19, 1536, london, england), second. She was executed on charges of incest, witchcraft, adultery and conspiracy against the king. Do you like this video? Anne was the daughter of thomas boleyn, 1st earl of wiltshire, and his wife, lady elizabeth howard, and was educated in the netherlands and france, largely as a maid of honour to claude of france. Between 1500 and 1509 probably at blickling hall. She was educated and skilled at the diversions expected of a charming member of court. King henry's marriage to anne and her subsequent execution were part of the complex beginnings of the english reformation.

King henry's marriage to anne and her subsequent execution were part of the complex beginnings of the english reformation.

Anne boleyn returned to england in 1522 for her arranged marriage to a butler cousin, which would have ended a dispute over the earldom of ormond. In 1533, king henry viii annulled his first marriage (to catherine of aragon) and was in the process of breaking with the catholic church to. But the marriage was never fully settled. Anne boleyn has had a bad reputation for nearly 500 years. Anne, sometimes known as 'anne of a thousand days' in reference to her short reign as queen. General opinion now favors 1501 or 1502, though some historians persuasively argue for 1507. Anne boleyn is the most famous of henry viii's six wives, executed by a french swordsman on 19 may 1536 after being arrested for adultery and incest. Read the essential details about anne boleyn that includes images, quotations and the main facts of her life. Even the year is widely debated. Wife of king henry viii and mother of queen elizabeth i. Although she was queen of england for just under three years, anne boleyn (ca. This biography offers details on her profile, childhood, early life and timeline, legacy and trivia. Henry's desire to divorce his first wife and marry anne helped bring about the english reformation.

Anne boleyn, second wife of henry viii of england and mother of queen elizabeth i. Anne boleyn was the second wife of henry viii and the mother of elizabeth i. Although she was queen of england for just under three years, anne boleyn (ca. Anne boleyn, who came from an aristocratic family, had served in the courts of other european royals. Anne boleyn, attributed to john hoskins more images.

Source: live.staticflickr.com

Anne boleyn, 1st marchioness of pembroke (ca. She was educated and skilled at the diversions expected of a charming member of court. Anne was the daughter of thomas boleyn, 1st earl of wiltshire, and his wife, lady elizabeth howard, and was educated in the netherlands and france, largely as a maid of honour to claude of france. 25 january 1533 probably at the palace of whitehall. This biography offers details on her profile, childhood, early life and timeline, legacy and trivia.

Anne boleyn, 1st marchioness of pembroke (ca. Henry's desire to divorce his first wife and marry anne helped bring about the english reformation. He simply desired anne as his mistress. Anne boleyn, attributed to john hoskins more images. Anne was the daughter of thomas boleyn, 1st earl of wiltshire, and his wife, lady elizabeth howard, and was educated in the netherlands and france, largely as a maid of honour to claude of france.

Anne boleyn 3 episodes, 2021. Her father was thomas boleyn, who had been squire of the body at the funeral of henry vii, and was knighted at henry viii's. Anne boleyn, who came from an aristocratic family, had served in the courts of other european royals. Anne boleyn was born in c.1501, probably at blickling hall in norfolk. Anne boleyn is the most famous of henry viii's six wives, executed by a french swordsman on 19 may 1536 after being arrested for adultery and incest.

Anne boleyn was born in c.1501, probably at blickling hall in norfolk. This biography offers details on her profile, childhood, early life and timeline, legacy and trivia. Celebrating queen anne boleyn life and legacy. Anne boleyn returned to england in 1522 for her arranged marriage to a butler cousin, which would have ended a dispute over the earldom of ormond. Her father was thomas boleyn, who had been squire of the body at the funeral of henry vii, and was knighted at henry viii's.

Anne boleyn was born in c.1501, probably at blickling hall in norfolk. She was executed on charges of incest, witchcraft, adultery and conspiracy against the king. Do you like this video? Anne boleyn, second wife of henry viii of england and mother of queen elizabeth i. Mistress and wife of henry viii.

Anne boleyn returned to england in 1522 for her arranged marriage to a butler cousin, which would have ended a dispute over the earldom of ormond. She was educated and skilled at the diversions expected of a charming member of court. Anne boleyn, second wife of henry viii of england and mother of queen elizabeth i. When henry viii noticed anne boleyn in 1526, he didn't wanted her to become his wife and queen. Anne boleyn, who came from an aristocratic family, had served in the courts of other european royals.

Anne boleyn, attributed to john hoskins more images. Even the year is widely debated. 25 january 1533 probably at the palace of whitehall. But the marriage was never fully settled. Anne boleyn was one of england's most controversial queens.

Do you like this video? He simply desired anne as his mistress. Anne boleyn was one of england's most controversial queens. General opinion now favors 1501 or 1502, though some historians persuasively argue for 1507. Anne boleyn, the second wife of king henry viii, served as queen of england in the 1530s.

Source: chrissullivanministries.com

Henry's desire to divorce his first wife and marry anne helped bring about the english reformation.

Source: www.theatrescenes.co.nz

Wife of king henry viii and mother of queen elizabeth i.

Source: listverse-wpengine.netdna-ssl.com

In 1533, king henry viii annulled his first marriage (to catherine of aragon) and was in the process of breaking with the catholic church to.

Source: www.tudortalkandcatwalk.com

Anne boleyn has had a bad reputation for nearly 500 years.

General opinion now favors 1501 or 1502, though some historians persuasively argue for 1507.

Wife of king henry viii and mother of queen elizabeth i.

Wife of king henry viii and mother of queen elizabeth i.

Celebrating queen anne boleyn life and legacy.

She was educated and skilled at the diversions expected of a charming member of court.

Read the essential details about anne boleyn that includes images, quotations and the main facts of her life.

Source: www.wessexscene.co.uk

He simply desired anne as his mistress.

Source: onthetudortrail.com

Anne boleyn has had a bad reputation for nearly 500 years.

Anne boleyn has had a bad reputation for nearly 500 years.

Anne boleyn returned to england in 1522 for her arranged marriage to a butler cousin, which would have ended a dispute over the earldom of ormond.

Source: www.thefamouspeople.com

Anne boleyn, 1st marchioness of pembroke (ca.

Source: live.staticflickr.com

Anne boleyn has had a bad reputation for nearly 500 years.

Between 1500 and 1509 probably at blickling hall.

Source: www.historynotes.info

Even the year is widely debated.

Source: www.hevercastle.co.uk

Anne boleyn, 1st marchioness of pembroke (ca.

Source: images.artwanted.com

General opinion now favors 1501 or 1502, though some historians persuasively argue for 1507.

Source: images.fineartamerica.com

Anne boleyn has had a bad reputation for nearly 500 years.

Source: mychristianpsychic.com

Anne boleyn was one of england's most controversial queens.

This biography offers details on her profile, childhood, early life and timeline, legacy and trivia.

Source: onthetudortrail.com


Get A Copy


Early Years of Anne Boleyn - History

ANNE BOLEYN: A KING'S OBSESSION


BOOK TWO in the SIX TUDOR QUEENS series number 5 in the Sunday Times bestsellers in May 2017

These two UK e-shorts accompany Anne Boleyn: A King's Obsession.

The Tower is Full of Ghosts Today is out on 31st October 2017, in time for Hallowe'en.

The Chateau of Briis: A Lesson in Love is out on 11th January 2018.

Below: The beautiful paperback jacket for Anne Boleyn, out on 11th January in the UK.

AN EXTRAORDINARY YOUNG WOMAN, WHO CHANGED THE COURSE OF HISTORY.

Fresh from the sophisticated palaces of Burgundy and France, Anne draws attention at the English court, embracing the play of courtly love. But when the King commands, nothing is ever a game.

She has a spirit worthy of a crown - and a crown is what she seeks. And so she embarks on her perilous course, which will plunge a kingdom into turmoil.

ANNE BOLEYN.
THE SECOND OF HENRY'S QUEENS.
HER STORY.

Acclaimed, bestselling historian Alison Weir weaves impeccable new research into the dark, fascinating tale of Henry VIII's second wife - a woman ahead of her time, who dared to question traditional concepts of femininity, and whose ambition drove her to gamble with the fickle nature of a dangerous king.

History tells us why she died. This powerful novel shows her as she lived.

Alison Weir recounts one of the most sensational episodes in English history, revealing a courageous, determined woman on a headlong course to tragedy.
Be prepared for your perceptions to be challenged.



"As if we weren't excited enough - Weir teases Twitter with beautiful Boleyn book artwork" http://www.royalhistorygeeks.com/as-if-we-werent-excited-enoughweir-teases-twitter-with-beautiful-boleyn-book-artwork/

Named one of the best books of the year by NPR in the USA.

"Anne Boleyn has always been one of the most hotly-debated figures in history. Villain or victim? Schemer, sorceress, or saint who died for the new religion? Alison Weir's wonderfully detailed novel offers a spellbinding solution to the mystery of Anne's true nature. Carrying all the conviction of Weir's lifelong historical research, it both paints a wholly human portrait of Anne, and places her in the broad European context which makes sense of her story. At once an enthralling read, and a real contribution to our sense of the sixteenth century." (Sarah Gristwood, author of Game of Queens, to whom most of the credit is due for the cultural context of my portrayal of Anne Boleyn's early years in Europe.)

"This Anne is clever and clear-sighted. Those sympathetic to Boleyn tend to stumble at her documented spite towards Katherine of Aragon and Mary Tudor, but Weir roots this bad behaviour in understandable insecurity as the King's ardour for her wanes and the longed-for son does not arrive. This tale of ascent and demise cannot escape comparisons with Hilary Mantel's Wolf Hall series, which deals with the same events. Weir's version is detailed, immaculately researched and convincing. She is particularly interesting on Anne's probable exposure to early feminist writings." (Antonia Senior, The Times)

"As with all her books Alison makes history come alive as no one else. Her novels are biographical but with that comes that extra magic ingredient of a vividly imagined fictional framework which takes the reader there, then. I enjoyed it enormously. I finished it late last night and genuinely couldn't put it down. I'm still reeling from the horror of that final paragraph which kept me awake for the rest of the night. Brilliant!!" (Barbara Erskine, author of Lady of Hay)

"Weir's Boleyn is a highly intelligent idealist, who becomes the tragic victim of her own ambition, rather than the manipulative minx of popular myth. Figured as a proto-feminist figure, we see how she sought to emulate the powerful female rulers of Europe, in whose courts she served during her youth, where she learned that, - when kingdoms are at stake - human feelings count for nothing. It was a truth that would be hammered home once she was Queen, when she locked horns with her powerful male adversaries. The novel is a triumph of fine detail and research and offers a complex depiction of an endlessly fascinating woman." (Elizabeth Fremantle, historical novelist)

"A marvellous book - Anne comes alive and leaps from the page, fascinating, enthralling, full blooded - you can't help but fall in love with her. A brilliant evocation of the period - and a knife edge moment in British history. Wonderful." (Kate Williams)

"The moment I opened Alison Weir's new novel I was transported back into the sixteenth-century. Although a novel, Weir's outstanding and sound historical research shines through, shedding new light on England's most controversial queen. Weir provides page after page of utterly compelling detail, keeping the reader hooked from start to finish. This book is not only a world apart from any other novel on Anne Boleyn, it is also an exquisite work of literary art. I enjoyed it so much, I can't praise it highly enough!" (Nicola Tallis, author of Crown of Blood)

BOOK OF THE WEEK in THE LADY
"The second book in this spellbinding series offers a nuanced portrait of Henry VIII's famously 'beheaded' wife Anne Boleyn. Telling the story from her protagonist's point of view, Weir writes in a way that appeals to the modern reader, while keeping a sharp eye on historical facts. Weir presents Anne as much more than a pretty, passive consort for Henry: she shows her manipulative side, her bravery in challenging the religious and social rules of the day, and her role at court. Her Anne is a woman who was not only fearless but also something of a feminist icon. The story of Boleyn has been told many times, and from many angles, but this could be the best adaptation so far. A cracking read - I can't wait for the third instalment."

"Alison Weir is the doyen of Tudor fiction and non-fiction, in my book. She has that unique talent to transport her readers into the lives and loves of the people she writes about from the first line. Anne Boleyn: A King's Obsession takes us from the eleven year-old Anne, worrying about her sallow skin and unwomanly figure, to the woman kings lusted after, and the woman who changed England - and thereby Europe and North America - forever. Anne shines through as the woman any king couldn't possibly resist! With Alison's light touch, it is fiction that reads as fact, and leaves us breathless, hoping - then of course we recognise that we are not reading pure fiction after all, but a finely woven tapestry of fictional biography that stays with us long after we close the book at the final line. It is simply a masterpiece." (Susan Ronald, author of The Pirate Queen and Heretic Queen)

"Simply exquisite. Anne Boleyn is a tricky character and hard to like sometimes, but Alison has really brought her to life in such a compelling way. This is Anne Boleyn as you have never seen her before. I could not put it down." (Tracy Borman, author of Cromwell and The Private Lives of the Tudors)

"It is 1512. A young girl, who in our own times would be in the final year at primary school, is pondering a future that soon will be decided for her - marriage with the richest and most important man her father can lay his hands on. Materially she will want for nothing. End of story. She spies her younger brother bunking off school. He is her best friend. Their dad is due home any time on leave. His work in London keeps him away for weeks on end. Alison Weir's latest novel Anne Boleyn: A King's Obsession follows these young characters from the most tranquil of beginnings in the idyllic Kentish countryside, to those dreadful consecutive days nearly a quarter of a century later when they are led out to meet their maker. Before we even begin to read the book, we already know there will not be a happy ending. Weir, nevertheless, has the skill and knowledge to construct the tale in such a way that still we cannot fail to be taken aback as events unfold, or to be saddened by what Anne Boleyn becomes, and, finally, appalled by the nature of her terrible demise." (Marilyn Roberts, author of The Mowbray Legacy and of Katherine Howard, the Dowager Duchess and Norfolk House, Lambeth - Trouble in Paradise, forthcoming)

"Thank you most sincerely for this beautifully-crafted work laying bare the intimate details of Anne Boleyn's life from when she was a young child through to her tragic demise. Thank you for taking me into the royal courts of old to be able to eavesdrop on all the intimate conversations or get into the mind of these well-known characters. You brought each one back to life in a fascinating way. It is a thorough delight wandering through your well-scripted pages and I am sincerely grateful for all the hours of research and hard slog you have put in to fashion this intricate account of such a famous time in history." (Jennifer Larmer, author)

"Prominent royal biographer and historical novelist Weir is well-placed to craft this detailed fictional portrait of Henry VIII's second wife. Weir isn't blindly sympathetic toward Anne. Instead, she explores Anne's influences and motivations, creating a multifaceted portrait of an ambitious woman who reluctantly accedes to Henry's courtship and later acts out of desperation to protect herself and her daughter, Elizabeth. As always, Weir demonstrates a keen eye for crafting dramatic scenes of beautiful, accurate detail, instilling in the reader a vivid sense of being there. Even readers who know Anne's story well should gain insights from this revealing novel." (Booklist)

"An intriguing interpretation of the obsessive and volatile relationship between Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn. So many books have been written about Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn that you may think it would be hard to say anything new, yet Alison Weir combines her wealth of historical knowledge, culled from many years of research into the period, with a story-telling ability that has held millions enthralled, to give a new take on the story. Anne's transformation from a normal, seemingly-kind-hearted girl, to a vindictive woman, driven by fear, stress and ambition to seek the downfall of her enemies is credible, and even understandable. Weir's great skill is the creation of a driving narrative. Anyone who enjoys a thoroughly good story, whilst wanting their historical fiction to be true to the known facts, will enjoy this latest offering from a writer who deserves the title of Tudor Queen herself. This is truly a tale of obsession - Henry's for Anne, and Anne's for the crown. Weir's unrivalled knowledge of historical facts support a convincing portrayal of obsession, ambition and retribution." (Melita Thomas, Tudor Times)

"Alison Weir combines life-long research and eminent knowledge of the Tudor Era with highly engaging character and plot development to craft the fascinating, vibrant, and ultimately tragic life story of Anne Boleyn, Queen of England. Anne Boleyn: A King's Obsession is a phenomenal tour de force, true historical fiction at its finest. Based largely upon Alison's near life-long exhaustive research, this novel is written from Anne Boleyn's point-of-view. [She] is crafted as a brilliant, complicated, driven, and passionate woman. Her navigation through the muddy waters of 16th-century male dominance throughout her life and tragic fall in large measure highlights Anne as a truly heroic figure. I was totally enthralled. Alison's rich and vibrant story-telling will get us all discussing once again the life of Queen Anne Boleyn, as well as the lives of those she touched, sharing our opinions and debating the facts of what is known and what can't be known." (Beth von Staats, QueenAnneBoleyn.com)

"Weir deals sensitively with Anne's increasing desperation as she fails to produce a living son and witnesses the king's blatant philandering. The plot intensifies once Anne is accused of adultery and treason, culminating in a truly shocking and emotional execution scene. Weir brings considerable expertise to her portrait of Anne as a flawed but very human heroine, a woman of great ambition, idealism and courage. A richly detailed rendering of the familiar Tudor drama." (Kirkus Reviews)

"This is a well-written and fast-paced novel that should appeal to fans of Tudor-era fiction looking for a fresh look at one of the period's most popular protagonists." (Library Journal)

"Weir's Anne is a clever and strong woman." (Sunday Express Magazine)

"Alison Weir's novel represents a persuasive attempt to restore the humanity of a tragic, misrepresented figure, one of history's original nasty women. Weir's fictional Anne is ferociously smart and guilty of nothing but craving the power that's rightfully hers to claim. Anne Boleyn, A King&rsquos Obsession is beautifully written, exquisitely detailed, and gives readers a more down-to-earth picture of the often maligned Anne. . .. Don&rsquot miss this series." (Romance Reviews Today)

"Beautifully written, exquisitely detailed. Anne stands out as someone who is both educated and intelligent. Henry is, well, Henry, obsessed with having a son, but also obsessed by his sexual urges, and possessing a cruel and dangerous demeanour. Alison Weir's Six Tudor Queens series begins with KATHERINE OF ARAGON, THE TRUE QUEEN and continues with her Anne Boleyn tale. Don't miss this series." (NPR)

""Alison Weir's novel is a persuasive attempt to restore the humanity of a tragic, misrepresented figure, one of history's original nasty women. Anne Boleyn ruled England alongside Henry VIII for only three years, from 1533 to 1536, before she famously lost her head. But the couple had a bumpy six-year courtship before that, an extended, aphrodisiacal game of hide-and-seek. Weir's doomed Anne is ferociously smart and guilty of nothing but craving the power that's rightfully hers to claim. The book suggests that beheading might be the price to pay for having a mind of one's own." (NPR listed as one of their Best Books of 2017)

"Alison Weir strips away many of the myths that have grown around Anne's dramatic life and returns to what little source material we have on this most famous of queens to reimagine her turbulent life and times. The result is a stunning reappraisal of the queen who changed the course of history, an unforgettable and palpably plausible portrait of a flawed but very human woman whose persuasive powers and vaulting ambition took her so high that she soon found herself not just out of her depth but on a road more perilous and more frightening than she could ever have imagined. Weir gets to the heart of this enigmatic queen, using her vast historical knowledge and intuitive sensibilities to bring us an Anne Boleyn more vital, more credible and more irresistibly real than we have ever before seen her. This Anne is restless, driven, manipulative, fiercely intelligent, and intimidating even to the King she ensnares through her wiles. The girl who sought love, power and status is transformed by the achievement of her own ambitions to the point where she is prepared to recklessly challenge the man who holds all power over life and death. This is a thrilling addition to the magnificent Six Tudor Queens series as Weir puts flesh on the bones of this remarkable Queen, examines in detail the influences that motivated her life, and offers up one of historical fiction's most compelling and exciting portraits of the enduringly fascinating and mysterious Anne Boleyn." (Lancashire Evening Post)

"This is a stunning, engaging, comprehensive and convincing novel. Weir create[s] a woman who is bright, educated, thoughtful, caring, likeable and different from the usual female courtier. The journey as told by Weir is realistic, unsensational, and diligent in paying attention to details of court life and Anne's trial and execution. It is a very human tale of how power corrupts and creates neuroses, real and imagined. Anne Boleyn: A King's Obsession is important, page-turning biographical fiction, hauntingly and beautifully told. It is psychologically penetrating and packed with wonderful, vivid scenes. Weir's characterisation is superb, and this complex novel will be, without doubt, one of the most admired works of historical fiction of 2017." (Historical Novels Review)

Limited-edition advance bound proof review copies of Anne Boleyn: A King's Obsession.


"I am slightly lost for words - I finished this over the weekend and it is truly wonderful. You've done that incredibly difficult thing of keeping us on the edge of our seats all the way to the end, even though we all know what that end must be. Anne is an extraordinary character and I think you've really handled her changing understanding of herself, her relationship with the King and her situation brilliantly. She is a really sympathetic (if flawed) heroine! I really think you have
delivered a Book Two that might even be better (though that would be hard) than Book 1."

"I'm a good third of the way through and thus far totally rapt in Anne's experiences in Europe. The unique perspective you give us on these queens remains powerful and thrilling. And I'm really enjoying the glimpses of Katherine's family from Anne's point of view - it makes for a narrative as detailed in its weaving as the best tapestry!"

"I finished Anne Boleyn in a state of appalled fascination. Such a powerful novel! I think you've done a brilliant job with Anne as a character - the progression is clever, subtle and effective as we watch Henry gradually erode her resistance to romantic involvement thanks to his dogged, relentless pursuit. And because you're so unfailingly clear about how she feels about him at every turn, we do sympathise with her in the process and her actions make perfect sense. This is no mean feat! I did enjoy, too, the shiver I felt throughout, almost as though I was watching events unfold, hiding behind the sofa, holding the pages at
arm's length and hardly daring turn them for fear of what was to come the ghastly denouement. The ending is terrific. What's especially pleasing to me about this novel is that it's plainly a piece with Katherine and yet its tone is different to reflect Anne's personality. Brilliant. This was no easy task to achieve for a character essentially so unsympathetic. Bravo!"

"I had the pleasure of reading your novel over several days while on vacation, and I just want to tell you how marvellous I think it is. I thought I knew [Anne Boleyn's] story, particularly after reading your wonderful The Lady in the Tower, but this book took me to a new level of understanding and appreciation of her life. I particularly enjoyed the early parts in the Brabant court and in France, and also the nuanced portrait of Anne's relationship with her sister. I cried non-stop
throughout the last dozen pages or so. I found the swift final stage of her life, her sense of the tables turning and the rapid denouement so affecting, and her brave behaviour in the Tower so very sad. I am so impressed by the combination of your evident deep knowledge of Anne and your arrangement of it all into such a compelling story - really, I'm just so excited by it! Congratulations on having written such a superb novel."

"I stayed up much later than I should last night as I couldn't put Anne Boleyn down. Those final scenes are incredibly vivid and memorable, and Anne's humbling self-realisation is very powerful. At the other end of the story, the effect of Anne's early years in Europe on her developing character and personality is fascinating, and you open up the world she was exposed to at that time. I really enjoyed being back in Henry's court, and the way you've intertwined the Queens' stories and shown the impact that the long years of waiting for the divorce have on Anne. It's great to see how you've maintained Henry's character from The True Queen through Anne's very different eyes, while successfully drawing a nuanced picture of a flawed but more sympathetic Anne Boleyn
than is often offered. She's such an interesting woman, under enormous pressure from everyone around her in that bubbling cauldron of court politics. And alongside the story itself, the push and pull of politics and religion, the desire for power and the forced or willing sacrifice of self for family or country or the greater good are themes that your readers, like me, will find totally engrossing. It's going to be a fabulous sequel to The True Queen."

"I've absolutely loved Anne Boleyn, and I'm so impressed with the way you have brought her, and the people of the Tudor court, to life in this book. The liveliness of the court, and the vibrant background to Anne's life really shine through, but best of all is the way that we see Anne's character shaped and changed by the situations and people that she comes across and the choices that she makes. She's a fascinating woman throughout, and you've captured a wonderfully human portrait of this infamous queen everyone thinks they know. It's a fantastic partner to The True Queen, and your readers are going to love it."

ANNE BOLEYN - A KING'S OBSESSION


It is hard to credit that an English queen could become a modern celebrity nearly five centuries after her death, but in recent years, Anne Boleyn, the second wife of Henry VIII, has become the subject of a fast-growing cult. From the anonymous person who, every year, on the anniversary of her execution, has flowers placed on her supposed grave in the Tower of London, to the `Anne Boleyn lovers` in Yahoo Groups, the posthumous charisma of this most controversial of queens intrigues and fascinates. In recent years, historical novelists have fed this fascination, serious historians have endlessly debated every aspect of Anne Boleyn`s life, and film makers have both fuelled, and capitalised on, the public`s seemingly insatiable appetite for all things Anne. So - why
this interest?

Anne`s own story is one of the most dramatic - and tragic - in English history. She was a woman who lived on the edge for much of her adult life.Well-born but not conventionally beautiful, at twenty-one, she arrived at the English court after spending seven years at the courts of Burgundy and France, where she was imbued with radical feminist ideas way ahead of her time. Her French manners, stylish dress, wit and charm made her an immediate success. By 1526, Henry VIII had fallen passionately in love with her, and the following year he resolved to set aside his chaste and devoted wife, Katherine of Aragon, who had failed
to give him a male heir, and marry Anne. There followed six long years of frustration, with Anne refusing to become Henry's mistress in anything but the courtly sense, and the Pope stalling over granting an annulment.

Anne wielded considerable influence over Henry. An evangelical who wanted the Catholic Church reformed from within, she helped to open the King`s eyes to new and highly controversial ideas. It was her vision that shaped the revolution that we call the English Reformation. In the end, a disillusioned Henry broke with Rome, declared himself Supreme Head of the Church of England, and married Anne. But her child, much heralded as the long-awaited male heir, turned out to be a girl, the future Elizabeth I. Her next three pregnancies ended in miscarriages, which laid her open to the machinations of her enemies, who united to bring her down.

Writing her story was an enormous challenge. We do not have such a wealth of personal letters written by Anne as we do for Katherine of Aragon, and much of the source material on her is hostile - essentially, we lack a voice for her, and there is damning evidence that cannot be She left behind her an enduring mystery. `If any will meddle with my cause,' she had said as she faced death, `I require them to judge the best.' Many since have done just that, yet the enigma remains. Anne has become a romantic figure in the widest sense. But in all the romancing, has anyone noticed the evidence that suggests how Anne really felt about Henry VIII, and about her daughter? And why, in her last confession, did she swear, on the damnation of her soul, that she had never offended
with her body against the King?


Anne Boleyn was a feminist way ahead of her time.

Anne travelled extensively in France and almost certainly knew (at least by sight) Leonardo da Vinci.

Did Anne Boleyn fend of Henry VIII's advances for seven years? Or is the truth rather different?


Watch the video: The Boleyns: A Scandalous Family Series 1 Episode 3 Full Episode BBC