Second wife of King Henry VIII
Timeline of Anne Boleyn
Anne Boleyn - Second wife of King Henry VIII
Anne Boleyn was the second wife of King Henry VIII of England. The life story of this fascinating and tragic Tudor woman is one of the most famous of the Tudor period. The motto of Anne Boleyn was 'The Most Happy'.
Short Biography, Facts and Information about the Life of Anne Boleyn
This short biography and information about Anne Boleyn provides basic facts about her life:
- Nationality: English
- Also Known as: Nan Bullen
- Role: Second wife of King Henry VIII of England and mother of Queen Elizabeth I
- Lifespan of Anne Boleyn: 1502 - 1536
- Born: Anne Boleyn was born in 1502
- Married: She married King Henry VIII in January 1533
- Motto: The motto chosen by Anne Boleyn was 'The Most Happy'
- King Henry VIII met his second wife, Anne Boleyn, at the English court where she was a lady-in-waiting to Queen Catherine of Aragon. Henry fell in love with Anne. She married him because she was ambitious and was urged to do so by her family who belonged the powerful Howard dynasty
- Family connections: Second wife of King Henry VIII and mother of Queen Elizabeth I. Her mother was called Lady Elizabeth Howard and her father was Sir Thomas Boleyn. Her brother was George Boleyn, Viscount Rochford and her sister was called Mary Boleyn. She was the niece of the Duke of Norfolk
- Religion: Protestant
- The Death of Anne Boleyn: She was executed on 19 May 1536
Marriage Overview: The reason King Henry VIII married his second wife, Anne Boleyn, was for love and lust. Anne Boleyn was exciting and headstrong. Henry was in love with Anne Boleyn who also pregnant when they married
Description of Anne Boleyn
The description of Anne Boleyn: Anne Boleyn was dark skinned, dark eyed and dark haired - the total opposite to the Tudor vision of beauty which was pale and fair skinned. Anne had a sixth finger growing from her small finger and a large mole on her neck. She disguised these imperfections by creating new fashions at the Tudor court - long sleeves to hide her six finger and a black velvet ribbon around her neck hiding the unsightly mole. These 'deformities' were said to be the sure sign of a witch during the Tudor Era. The character of Anne Boleyn can be described as witty, intelligent, proud, brave, quick-tempered, stubborn, ambitious and haughty.
The Early Life of Anne Boleyn
The Early Life of Anne Boleyn. Anne Boleyn was born at Blickling Hall, Norfolk, England the daughter of Sir Thomas Boleyn and Lady Elizabeth Howard. Her younger sister was Mary Boleyn and her brother was George Boleyn. The Boleyn family home was at Hever Castle in Kent. During her early years Anne Boleyn she was taught by a French governess and was well educated at home. In the tradition in many noble Tudor families Anne Boleyn and her sister Mary were both sent to France in their early teens to finish their education as ladies-in-waiting at the French court. Both Anne and Mary were lady-in-waiting to Queen Claude, who was married to King Louis XII of France. During her early years at the French court Anne Boleyn acquired sophistication and elegance. She also acquired her taste for fashion and the beautiful and elegant clothes of the Tudor era. Whilst she was in France Anne Boleyn almost certainly would have attended the great meeting between the English and French King called 'The Field of Cloth of Gold'. King Francois I of France met King Henry VIII of England and this was probably where Anne Boleyn first saw King Henry VIII. Anne Boleyn returned to England after seven years in France where she was also taught music, dance and poetry.
The Early Life of Anne Boleyn at the Court of King Henry VIII
The young, but sophisticated Anne Boleyn joined her sister Mary at the English royal court as lady-in-waiting to Queen Katharine of Aragon. The first documented appearance of Anne Boleyn at the English Court was on March 1, 1522 when she participated in a masque.
Anne Boleyn and Henry Percy
The early life of Anne Boleyn at the court of King Henry VIII and Queen Catherine of Aragon was blissfully happy. Her ambitious family had arranged for an advantageous marriage to her distant cousin Sir James Butler who was the son of Sir Piers Butler of Ormond. The marriage negotiations were halted for reasons unstated. But Anne then met and fell passionately in love with Henry Percy (1500 - 1537) who later became the Earl of Northumberland. Henry Percy belonged to the retinue of Cardinal Wolsey. A marriage to Henry Percy would have resulted in Anne Boleyn becoming a countess. Apparently King Henry was 'disturbed' at the prospect of the marriage between Anne and Henry Percy. Wolsey therefore refused to give permission for the match even though their had been a pre-contract when the couple became engaged. the two lovers protested but to no avail. Henry Percy was forced into a loveless marriage and Anne never forgave Cardinal Wolsey who she blamed totally for the refusal. Anne Boleyn Quote: "If it ever lay in my power, I will work the Cardinal as much displeasure as he has done to me."
The Courtship of Anne Boleyn and King Henry VIII
After the incident with Henry Percy Anne Boleyn left the court and returned to her home at Hever Castle. Meanwhile, in 1525 King Henry VIII had an affair with her married sister, Mary Boleyn. Her family were therefore in favour and Anne Boleyn returned to court. The affair between Mary Boleyn and Henry was short lived. King Henry's attention was once again drawn towards her fascinating sister, Anne Boleyn. Mary Boleyn gave birth to a son on March 4 1526 , who was called Henry. Her son was widely assumed to be the son of King Henry VIII although he was not acknowledged as such. The reason for this was that Henry had already fallen in love with her sister Anne and his affair with Mary ended - she was totally discarded by the Tudor King.
Anne Boleyn and the Divorce of Henry and Catherine of Aragon - The King's 'Secret Matter'
Anne Boleyn was not in love with King Henry VIII. She had seen how her sister Mary had given into the King and been quickly discarded. Anne had no intention of making the same mistake. Anne was adamant that she would only give herself to the King if they were married - and how was this possible as he already had Catharine of Aragon as a wife? Henry VIII was a spoilt, powerful and pampered man, used to getting whatever he wanted. Anne Boleyn with her sharp and witty tongue presented him with an unexpected challenge. King Henry VIII courted Anne for six years. But Anne refused to sleep with him. Their affair become common knowledge amongst the courtiers. "The King's Secret Matter" was no longer a secret. It became publicly known that Henry was seeking a divorce from Queen Catherine of Aragon. The Lord Chancellor Cardinal Thomas Wolsey failed to obtain the Pope's consent to Henry's divorce from Catherine of Aragon and was dismissed by the King on the urging from Anne. At this time Anne could no longer hold back the advances of the King who had showered her with wealth and titles. Queen Catherine of Aragon was banished from court and sent to an estate in the English countryside for refusing to acknowledge that their marriage was unlawful. Their daughter Princess Mary was banished from court and refused permission to see her mother. In 1532 the situation called "The King's Secret Matter" came to a head when Anne Boleyn became pregnant.
The Marriage between Anne Boleyn and King Henry VIII
Thomas Cranmer, the Archbishop of Canterbury granted the annulment of the marriage between Catharine of Aragon and Henry VIII. On January 25th 1533 King Henry VIII married Anne Boleyn and was excommunicated by Pope Clement VII. Hatred and jealousy of the Boleyn family and Queen Anne Boleyn in particular increased. The English people hated Anne Boleyn ( Nan Bullen ) and she was called "Witch" and the "Whore". The loyalty of the English people was still with the discarded Queen Catharine of Aragon.
Anne Boleyn and her daughter Elizabeth
The long awaited heir to the English throne was born. Court Astrologers had all predicted a boy and King Henry expected a male heir. But he was sorely disappointed. Elizabeth , a daughter for King Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn, was born on 7 September 1533. Anne and King tried to make the most of the situation - a healthy daughter this time would surely be followed by a healthy son next time. Anne Boleyn fought for the rights of her daughter and ensured that she took precedence over her half-sister, the Princess Mary. On March 23 1534 Parliament passed the Act of Succession which ensures that only the children of King Henry VIII by his marriage to Anne Boleyn are his lawful heirs. The relationship between Anne Boleyn and her daughter Elizabeth lasted just three years when Anne's young life ended with her execution.
Anne Boleyn, King Henry VIII and the Church of England
Anne Boleyn and King Henry VIII had long been interested in the new ideas about religion and influenced by the teachings of Martin Luther. In 1534 King Henry VIII broke with the Church in Rome with the Act of Supremacy, which made him the head of the newly formed Protestant Church of England. All men were expected to swear their loyalty to the king and the new church, forsaking their allegiances to the Roman Catholic church. In 1535 Sir Thomas Moore and Bishop Fisher of Rochester were executed for refusing to acknowledge Henry VIII as head of the English Church.
The Marriage between Anne Boleyn and Henry VIII
The relationship between Anne Boleyn and King Henry VIII quickly deteriorated. His passionate love for her was turning to hate. But Anne once again became pregnant in 1534. The pregnancy was short-lived - Anne miscarried a baby boy. The miscarriage was believed to have been prompted by the shock from the news that the King had met with a terrible accident - it was not clear whether he was alive or dead. He had in fact badly injured his leg when he fell from his horse when jousting. The miscarriage was a terrible blow to Anne Boleyn. The King blamed Anne Boleyn, he began to believe that his second marriage was also cursed. In 1535 became pregnant again but this time she miscarried the baby. This tragedy sealed the fate of Anne Boleyn.
The Marriage Fails between Anne Boleyn and Henry VIII
By this time another lady-in waiting had caught the eye of King Henry VIII. Her name was Jane Seymour. Jane came from a powerful and noble family and was supported by her two ambitious brothers Thomas Seymour and Edward Seymour. Jane was also supported by the many enemies that Anne Boleyn had made. On 1536 January 7 Catharine of Aragon died at Kimbolton Castle. Instead of making the marriage of Anne Boleyn feel completely secure as Queen the death of Katharine the opposite effect. Henry could hardly have divorced his second wife whilst his first wife still lived. Henry blamed Anne Boleyn entirely for failing to produce a male heir. He also blamed her for the death of his friend Sir Thomas More. And King Henry was irritated by the demands of Anne and her temper tantrums. He had had enough. King Henry VIII started courting the meek and mild Jane Seymour - a woman who's personality was the complete opposite to Anne Boleyn.
The Fall of Anne Boleyn
King Henry VIII wanted to get rid of Anne Boleyn. Rumours about the conduct of Anne Boleyn started to circulate. The men who were part of her faction disappeared one by one. No one knew where Mark Smeaton the Queen's musician had gone. Then others followed including Sir Thomas Wyatt, Sir Francis Weston and William Brereton. The King's close friend Sir Henry Norris was arrested at a jousting tournament. Then the Queen's own brother, George Boleyn, was arrested.
The Trial of Anne Boleyn
On 1536 May 2nd 1536 Queen Anne Boleyn arrested and taken to the Tower of London. She was terrified. On May 15th 1536 Anne Boleyn was tried for treason, adultery and incest in the Great Hall of the Tower of London with her brother George Boleyn. Anne Boleyn defended herself well but the outcome of the trial was an inevitable. The peers of the realm found her guilty and she was sentenced to death by burning or beheading according to the King's wishes. Her own father, Thomas Boleyn the Earl of Wiltshire, was of no help. He denounced the crimes of all of those accused including his son and daughter. All of the accused were sentenced to death - Anne Boleyn, George Boleyn, Mark Smeaton, Sir Francis Weston, William Brereton and Sir Henry Norris. Only Sir Thomas Wyatt was set free. Anne's sentence was either death by beheading or burning. Anne Boleyn was terrified of death by burning and therefore agreed to admit that her marriage was not legal to ensure the more clement form of execution by beheading.
Preparation for Death
Queen Anne Boleyn wanted to go to her death with some dignity and showed her sense of humour when she talked of her execution and referred to the the comforting fact that she "only had a little neck." An ironic twist to this tragic story is that her cousin, Catherine Howard, became the fifth wife of Henry VIII and was also executed following charges of adultery and treason and suffered the same fate of being beheaded.
The Beheading of Anne Boleyn
The Beheading of Anne Boleyn took place on May 19th 1536. Anne Boleyn, the Queen of England was going to be deliberately killed by execution. Death by fire was excruciatingly painful but death by the axe was also a terrifying prospect. The executioners often took several blows of the axe before the head was finally severed. Anne Boleyn was therefore granted some clemency and a swordsman was called from France to undertake the execution. This expert French swordsman was known to be able to sever the head of Queen Anne Boleyn with one blow. The execution of Queen Boleyn was conducted at the Tower of London and witnessed by members of the court.
The Gruesome Death of Anne Boleyn
Following the execution of Anne Boleyn her severed head was held up by the hair by the executioner, not as many people think to show the crowd the head, but in fact to show the head the crowd and it's own body! After beheading Anne Boleyn would have been conscious for at least eight seconds until the lack of oxygen caused her unconsciousness and eventual death. The body and severed head of Anne Boleyn were buried in an unmarked grave in the Chapel of St. Peter ad Vincula at the Tower of London. Within 24 hours of Anne Boleyn's execution, Jane Seymour and King Henry VIII were formally betrothed on 1536 May 20th - they were married with indecent haste ten days later as Jane Seymour was pregnant.
The Ghost of Anne Boleyn
The ghost of Anne Boleyn is said to haunt the Tower of London. The ghost of Anne Boleyn is said to appear in the bodily likeness to her living person. The ghost of Anne Boleyn is believed to haunt her former habitat in the Tower of London. Ghosts are believed to have a surviving emotional memory typical of someone who has died violently, traumatically and tragically - which fits the description of the execution and death of Anne Boleyn. It is said that the soul of a ghost is not able to rest in peace and they remain in old and familiar places, repeating the same acts indefinitely until they are released from their endless haunting.
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