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Anne Boleyn: One of the Greatest Queen Consorts of England

Updated on February 6, 2015
Anne Boleyn: Queen Consort of England
Anne Boleyn: Queen Consort of England

Anne Boleyn was the first English Queen to be beheaded. Anne Boleyn’s execution is something that she is remembered for – we all know the rhyme: Divorced, beheaded, died; divorced, beheaded survived. But Anne Boleyn was one of the greatest Queen Consorts of England. She had major influential power of Henry VIII and should be remembered much more for her undeserved execution.

Anne Boleyn and Charity

Anne is viewed as a Queen who was disliked by the English people. She was initially viewed as a home-wrecker and a whore. If you've seen Showtime's The Tudors, you may remember the scene with the coronation where the streets were empty. That really was the case for Anne Boleyn. While there were some Catholics who refused to acknowledge Anne as Queen, many started to change their view.

Not everybody hated her and when they realised the type of queen she was going to be, they started to like her a lot. By the time of her death, there were crowds gathering because they didn’t want to see Anne Boleyn executed. Sir William Kingston, the Constable of the Tower of London, even feared that the public would storm the Tower to release her (oh, what a tale had that have happened!).

Anne was a charitable Queen of England. She cared more about the people than the Court. In fact, Anne argued with Thomas Cromwell about where the money should go after the monasteries were dissolved – one of the reasons why Cromwell wanted to remove the Boleyn faction from power. While Cromwell wanted to place the money into the Royal coffers, Anne wanted the money to go to the poor and into the education of the people. She strongly believed that all people should have the right to an education.

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Anne Boleyn and the Religious Reformation

Anne was a strong supporter of the religious reformation. She had a direct role in Henry VIII’s break from Rome as a way to gain a divorce from Catherine of Aragon and marry her. However, she also helped further the reformation and encouraged her husband to look into the theology behind the religion.

It was because of her books that Henry VIII gained the idea of a break from Rome; something that he had always been against. She helped him see that a King could have a connection to God without the need of the Pope. She also encouraged her ladies-in-waiting to read the English translation of the Bible that was in her rooms at Court. Of course, Catherine of Aragon had a part to play in the reformation; if it was not for her defiance, Henry VIII would never have had a reason to break from Rome to marry Anne.

Anne Boleyn was the Second Wife of Henry VIII
Anne Boleyn was the Second Wife of Henry VIII

Anne Boleyn’s Influence Over Henry VIII

Anne had more influence over Henry VIII other than in religion. She often debated with him about foreign policy and helped to create Whitehall, among other palaces. She was extremely intelligent, which was a major attraction and helped Henry VIII in many areas. Unfortunately, this became a problem for other members of Court, particularly Thomas Cromwell.

Her intelligence led to her downfall. Cromwell needed to remove her as her influence over Henry was too great. While being strong-willed, she was stubborn, which also led to problems with her husband.

The young Princess Elizabeth Tudor
The young Princess Elizabeth Tudor

Anne Boleyn and Elizabeth I

Anne Boleyn is remembered as the mother of Elizabeth I but that is all. There is very little mentioned about how Elizabeth had the strong-willed personality and intelligence of her mother. Katherine Parr would have been a major influence in offering Lutheran tutors but Elizabeth had many of Anne’s traits, including her love for the English people.

It is a shame that Henry VIII – and the country has a whole – had such a belief that women could not be monarch in their own right. Elizabeth I proved the exact opposite. Had Henry VIII realised the power and authority that his daughter had over the Kingdom, it may have saved Anne Boleyn from execution.

Anne Boleyn was extremely influential for her time. In fact, she was ahead of her time. She was the “it-girl” for fashion, bring French fashion to the English Court, and helped to create the religious reformation in England. While very little is known about her true personality, she should be remembered for more than her execution; an execution that was created by people who wanted to remove the Boleyn faction from power because Anne was so influential, intelligent and thought more of the English people.

A Fan Video of Anne Boleyn's Life and Death


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