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The Day Anne Boleyn Fears She Has Lost Henry VIII

Updated on July 6, 2013
Henry VIII's passion for Anne Boleyn led to trouble in the country.
Henry VIII's passion for Anne Boleyn led to trouble in the country. | Source

During a seven year period up until 1533, The King’s Great Matter was well known. Henry VIII wanted to divorce Catherine of Aragon and marry Anne Boleyn. While it took seven years, it only took three for Henry VIII to believe he had made a mistake. By 1536, Henry VIII’s eyes had strayed to Jane Seymour. On March 6, 1536, Anne Boleyn wrote how she feared she would lose the king. It was less than two months later that the questions began and Thomas Cromwell started to frame Anne Boleyn and her faction.

Henry VIII Falls for Anne Boleyn

Henry VIII first laid eyes on Anne’s sister, Mary, while he was in France. Mary Boleyn was a mistress of King of France at the time and soon became a mistress to Henry. However, like with all his mistresses, Henry soon found himself bored. The Boleyns and Howards wanted power. Thomas Howard was the brother of Elizabeth Boleyn, Anne and Mary’s mother, and worked closely with Thomas Boleyn – their father – to gain extra power. When Mary lost the interest of the King, they pushed Anne to take that place.

Anne Boleyn never wanted the same reputation that her sister had. While historians debate about her purity, she wanted love and someone to become her husband rather than to sleep with kings for power. Henry VIII saw Anne in a pageant at court and was instantly infatuated but Anne avoided his advances.

It is possible that playing hard to get made Henry VIII want Anne more. He was used to getting everything that he wanted. Whatever the reason, Henry wanted Anne. She refused to become his mistress and made it clear that she wanted to be Queen of England. Whether this was something that she really wanted or was being pushed by her father and uncle is unclear but she stuck to her wishes.

Anne Boleyn Suffers Miscarriages

Anne managed to provide Henry VIII one child – Elizabeth. If Henry had realised just how much his daughter would do for the English people, things may have been different, but at the time a woman was not seen as a good monarch for the kingdom. Anne failed to provide any more living children and suffered at least two miscarriages.

Some historians now believe that Anne was rhesus negative; a condition that had not been discovered until about a hundred years ago. This led to her body developing antibodies to fight against the baby, believing that it is an illness. However, to Henry VIII, this was a sign that his marriage to her was doomed. He may have started questioning whether it was valid in the eyes of the Lord; similar to the way he doubted his marriage to Katherine of Aragon was valid.

The last miscarriage occurred in January 1536, less than two months before Anne’s fears that she was losing her husband. By this time, she had reason to fear this.

Henry VIII's eyes wander to Jane Seymour; the opposite of Anne Boleyn
Henry VIII's eyes wander to Jane Seymour; the opposite of Anne Boleyn

Henry VIII’s Eyes Wander to Jane Seymour

Henry VIII had already developed an interest in Jane Seymour upon visiting the Seymours in 1535. Jane was made one of Anne’s ladies-in-waiting, where Henry would have more access to her beauty. Jane’s personality was the completely opposite of Anne Boleyn. She was meek and mild, while also being fair-haired.

It was not until the miscarriage in 1536 and Katherine of Aragon’s death in the same month of the miscarriage that Henry took action on his interests. He started sending Jane gifts but he did not seek her love or want the same trouble as he had had with Anne. To many of the English people, Anne was still not seen as the rightful queen. He wanted to make sure that Anne was completely out of the way, especially now that Katherine was, to make sure the English people viewed his next wife as a legitimate queen; and therefore an heir as legitimate.

The first of the men to be pulled in for questioning about an affair with Anne Boleyn was Mark Smeaton on April 30, 1536. From then on, other men were also questioned, including Anne’s brother, George Boleyn. Anne’s fears of losing her husband were right but she probably did not see the path that Henry VIII and Thomas Cromwell decided to take; whether Henry VIII knew the evidence was fabricated or not is a different matter. Anne was beheaded for treason on 19 May that year and Henry VIII married Jane Seymour 11 days later.

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