Thursday, July 10, 2014

The Wives of King Henry VIII - Chapter II: Queen Anne Boleyn

While still married to Katharine of Aragon, King Henry VIII was in love with Anne Boleyn. Henry hated
writing, but he wrote her letters. You can see just how infatuated he was with her in this heartfelt letter:
my heart and I surrender ourselves into your hands, beseeching you to hold us commended to your favour, and that by absence your affeftion to us may not be lessened: for it were a great pity to increase our pain, of which absence produces enough and more than I could ever have thought could be felt, reminding us of a point in astronomy which is this: the longer the days are, the more distant is the sun, and nevertheless the hotter; so is it with our love, for by absence we are kept a distance from one another, and yet it retains its fervour, at least on my side; I hope the like on yours, assuring you that on my part the pain of absence is already too great for me; and when I think of the increase of that which I am forced to suffer, it would be almost intolerable, but for the firm hope I have of your unchangeable affeftion for me: and to remind you of this sometimes, and seeing that I cannot be personally present with you, I now send you the nearest thing I can to that, namely, my picture set in a bracelet, with the whole of the device, which you already know, wishing myself in their place, if it should please you. This is from the hand of your loyal servant and friend,  
On Janurary 25th, 1533, there was a secret marriage between Henry and his long-time lover, Anne Boleyn. It was not until May 23rd that his marriage to Katharine of Aragon was declared invalid, but to the stubborn
King it didn't matter. There was an elaborate coronation ceremony held for her. The King's hopeless infatuation for the enticing Queen would not prove to last too long.

Anne was already pregnant before the marriage. Henry VIII was so glad to finally have a son. He had been wanting this for so long, and the time was fast approaching! The great, new heir to the English throne was to be finally born! On September 7th, 1533, the Queen gave birth to a healthy and happy child. Her name was Elizabeth. Henry was glad, yet he already had a daughter. He would do anything to have a son.

Anne's charms were quickly wearing off by this point. She was not his ideal wife; she did not obey each of his orders, she had a
viscous temper and attitude, and she was unpopular at court. In 1534, Anne was pregnant again, but the child did not survive. Henry did not want to deal with her anymore. Again he was searching for a way to get out of marriage. By around this time he was having an affair with a lady named Madge Shelton, while he was searching for ways to get rid of Anne.

The King arrested Anne on charges of incest, witchcraft, and adultery. He locked up several male friends of Anne, including her own brother. By this time, the King's affections for a pretty lady named Jane Seymour were quite known.

On the 19th of May, at the Tower Green, there was a private execution. The constable describes the very morning to Thomas Cromwell:
This morning she sent for me, that I might be with her at such time as she received the good Lord, to the intent I should hear her speak as touching her innocency alway to be clear. And in the writing of this she sent for me, and at my coming she said, Mr. Kingston, I hear I shall not die afore noon, and I am very sorry therefore, for I thought to be dead by this time and past my pain. I told her it should be no pain, it was so little. And then she said, I heard say the executioner was very good, and I have a little neck, and then put her hands about it, laughing heartily. I have seen many men and also women executed, and that they have been in great sorrow, and to my knowledge this lady has much joy in death. Sir, her almoner is continually with her, and had been since two o'clock after midnight.” 
Before she was killed, according to Edward Hall, she said:
‘Good Christian people, I am come hither to die, for according to the law, and by the law I am judged to die, and therefore I will speak nothing against it. I am come hither to accuse no man, nor to speak anything of that, whereof I am accused and condemned to die, but I pray God save the king and send him long to reign over you, for a gentler nor a more merciful prince was there never: and to me he was ever a good, a gentle and sovereign lord. And if any person will meddle of my cause, I require them to judge the best. And thus I take my leave of the world and of you all, and I heartily desire you all to pray for me. O Lord have mercy on me, to God I commend my soul. After being blindfolded and kneeling at the block, she repeated several times: To Jesus Christ I commend my soul; Lord Jesu receive my soul.’” 
The Queen was put in an arrow box, as no coffin was supplied. She was buried in an unmarked grave.

Thus passed the second Queen of King Henry VIII. Her motto was “The Most Happy.” I have to admit that's quite ironic, but I'm sure she's in a happier place now.


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