Anne Boleyn was the second and perhaps the most famous of Henry VIII’s six wives. Despite not being able to provide the king with the son that he so desired, she did give him a daughter that went on to become one of England’s greatest queens; Queen Elizabeth I. Anne was no stranger to the royal courts as she had served as lady-in-waiting to a number of crowned heads, including Henry’s first wife Catherine.
Anne Boleyn: Facts about her Life
Anne Boleyn was born sometime between 1501 – 1507. Her father was Sir Thomas Boleyn, the first Earl of Wiltshire and also a diplomat in the royal court. While her mother was Elizabeth, the daughter of the Duke of Norfolk.
She was one of three children, two sisters, and a brother. Her sister was Mary Boleyn while her brother George Boleyn was her two siblings. Anne practically all of her childhood was spent in the royal courts of Europe. Anne had received a good education while she studied in the Netherlands and France. Being in France, she served as a maid of honor to the Wife of King Francis I of France.
Later when she returned back to England in 1522, she was planned to get married to James Butler who was the 9th Earl of the Ormond and also her second cousin. But this plan was not made successful because of the interruption of the Cardinal Wolsey who in turn secured a post for Anne as a maid in honor to Catherine of Aragon, the wife of King Henry VIII.
Anne was a beautiful woman and had many admirers and was at one point engaged to be married to Lord Henry Percy before she caught the eye of the king. In 1523, Anne got engaged to Henry Percy who was the 5th Earl of Northumberland in secret. But her this relation was also broken up by Cardinal Wolsey who later send Anne back to Hever Castle, her family home.
How did King Henry VIII Meet Anne Boleyn?
Two years later to this incident, in 1526, It happened that Henry VIII visited the Hever castle and was mesmerized by the beauty and charm of Anne Boleyn. He started attempts to seduce her.
Though Henry VIII forced her, Anne didn’t want to be another mistress of the king like her sister Mary and rejected kings advances. But King didn’t move back from his desires and he sent many love letters to Anne expressing his desire of wanting her.
After his so many attempts, Anne announced to the king that she would be ready to be his legal wife and Queen, nothing at all other than this. It was a very bold decision which forced the king to gain an annulment for his previous marriage with Catherine, which was a very rare occurrence during that time.
King Henry VIII was also dissatisfied with her 20 years of marriage to Catherine as they failed to have a son. Henry was very desperate for a male heir as he felt it very necessary for the stability of the regime of Tudor.
Anne Boleyn and King Henry VIII’s Marriage
After so many attempts when they returned from France King Henry VIII marries Anne Boleyn secretly on 14th November 1532 in Dover. Henry arranged a very quick marriage as he was very eager to sleep with Anne.
They were legally married in January 1533, under the stewardship of Thomas Cranmer who became the new Archbishop of Canterbury. Then as per the desire of Anne, she was crowned as the Queen of England on 1st June 1533.
After a few months on September 7, Anne gave birth to a beautiful girl, Princess Elizabeth. However, Henry was disappointed with the birth of the daughter Elizabeth as he was desperate to have a boy.
Anne fell pregnant a further two times but unfortunately, she miscarried in 1534 and 1536. Upon hearing that one of the children that were lost was the son that he so desperately wanted, he proclaimed that his marriage was cursed and started to look for a way out.
Religious Views of Anne Boleyn
Anne before her marriage played a major role in the Protestant Reformation. After her marriage she was highly criticized and viewed as suspicion as people, court and Church of England had a lot of sympathies with Catherine of Aragon.
After Rome’s Split, Henry VIII started to dissolve the monasteries under the guidance of Thomas Cromwell, a commoner who later became the right hand of the King. Anne was not in favor of these policies and that caused her friction with both the king and Cromwell.
Anne Boleyn and Jane Seymour
Because of many reasons there aroused a sour relation between king and Anne, which led King to desert his wife and start dating Jane Seymour. After the third miscarriage of Anne, King decided to give up on Anne and her relation as a sign that their marriage was not approved by God and hence they are not able to produce a male heir.
He started to find a way out from Anne and to marry Jane Seymour. With the help of Thomas Cromwell, Anne Boleyn was arrested in the high treason in April 1536. She was blamed for the charge of incest, adultery and plotting to kill his husband, the King.
She was found guilty by the jury and was beheaded four days later.
What was Special about Anne Boleyn’s Fingers?
One of the most distinctive things about Anne, other than her beauty is the report that she had a sixth finger on her left hand. To many people, this marked her out as being a witch and unworthy of trust. Rumors were spread that she had the king under some kind of spell, all of which was used in her trial.
Not only was she accused of witchcraft she was also accused of having had no less than five affairs while married to the king, one of which was claimed to have been with her brother Lord Rochford. All of the charges against her were lies of course, but they lead to her imprisonment and ultimate execution; providing the king with a way out of the marriage.
The Story about Anne Boleyn’s Ghost
Anne was arrested on May 2nd and taken to the Tower of London to be imprisoned. Her execution was set for the 19th of May. When the day came she was lead from her quarters onto Tower Green where the execution was to take place. It was usual practice for the executioner to use an axe for a beheading, but in consideration of Anne’s royal status, she was granted the small mercy of having a French swordsman cut off her head instead.
She became the first queen to be executed in public. Such a terrible death is believed to have left Anne’s spirit walking the halls of the Tower of London, and there have been many reported sightings of her ghost, some of which claim that she carries her severed head beneath her arm.