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A Lady’s Fall From Grace!

by Charlotte Randall

Firstly it is important to say that no one will ever no who or what exactly was to blame for the queen of Englands fall from grace. Many historians have tried, but there are to many people,theories and factors involved. I am going to look at each individual i believe had a part to play in the run up to Anne’s death,and look at each of there motives.

I will begin with the king himself. Henry VIII had once been a man in love,for many years Anne Boleyn was Henry’s obsession. He wanted nothing more than Anne and he waited years to get her. In letters dated 1526 Henry writes like a love struck teenager ” Wherever i may be, i am your’s my wholly beloved ” It was widely known that the king hated writing anything himself,and so avoided the task wherever possible. So to have these letters written by Henry’s own hand is clearly evidence that the man was madly in love or otherwise totally infatuated. However by the time they had married in 1533 Henry had risked everything for Anne his friend’s even his kingdom. And the loss of his friend’s,one friend imparticular is a factor which i think is often overlooked when discussing the queen’s fall. Born in 1478 Sir Thomas More was highly intelligent,a devoted family man and most importantly fiercely loyal to the king. He and Henry were extremely close and spent many happy years together at court. All was well until the king’s divorce from Katherine of Aragon came threw,and relation’s with Rome went into total melt down. More couldn’t accept Henry as head of church,he refused to sign the Act of succession, and so faced a traitor’s death. I believe the King was devastated, he knew his close friend of many years now faced execution upon his say so. Henry’s concern his evident in the fact that he was all to pleased to allow More to be beheaded,instead of facing the full horror of being Hung,Drawn and Quarted. I think More’s execution was the hardest blow for Henry. He had murdered his oldest friend for a women,and i believe maybe Henry began to resent Anne from that point on. Year’s of waiting and frustration meant that he had built up a false image of the women he had married. Anne Boleyn could never meet up to Henry’s expectation’s. After the disappointment of a daughter, Henry believed son’s would follow but this was not to be. Anne miscarried at the end of January 1536 of a male featus. Henry was horrified,tiring of Anne and with his eye on another women, i believe he saw his excuse to be rid of his queen. However the fact that Anne could not provide a male heir was no ground’s for divorce,he needed help to bring his wife down and saw his allies in Cromwell. And already at this point Cromwell was a man with a plan!

It was ultimately Cromwell that paved the way out for Henry from this doomed marriage. There was nothing he wanted more than to see Anne and the Boleyn fraction fall. Once they had worked together for a common aim,but now they had become rivals for power. The hatred that they had for each other came to a head on 2nd April (Passion Sunday). A sermon was read which made Cromwell believe Anne was publically opposing his policies towards reform. Anne and Cromwell’s differences of opinion, on the subject of the Reformation were based upon the fact that Anne believed that monasteries were being demolished unnecessarily,and that the funds raised should have been put to better use e.g. on education. Whereas Cromwell didn’t care how the money was spent as long as it pleased the king,he kept his head! But now he was locked in a bitter battle with the queen of England there could be only one outcome,his death or her’s. On the 20th April Cromwell retired from court claiming he was suffering from a bout of fever. What he was actually doing was plotting Anne’s downfall. I believe Cromwell played the adultery card because it was Henry’s biggest fear. If he believed Anne’s guilt then her behaviour would publically question the king’s manliness,it would be a direct assault on his masculinity something of which was a massive issue for Henry VIII.

The final person involved in her fall was Anne herself. Never the wall flower always the centre of attention,it has to be said Anne brought alot of problems on herself. She didn’t help herself by having a fiery temper and outspoken attitude towards life at court. Anne had always had imperfections,but Henry in the early years was blinded by the love he had for her,maybe her flirtatious manner and radical views were a breath of fresh air at first. But when the realities of married life set in,for Henry life with Anne became a drag. Henry much preferred a submissive wife,something Anne never was or ever could be. Unlike her predecessor Katherine of Aragon,Anne could not turn a blind eye to Henry’s infidelities,she was extremely jealous and this resulted in many an argument between the royal couple. This is evident when in January 1536 she miscarried Anne told Henry it was because she couldn’t bear the sight of another women (Jane Seymore) upon his knee,and that it was this that caused her to loose the baby. All this coupled with the fact that Henry did not like Anne meddling in political affairs,and with Anne’s hatred of his daughter Mary growing ever stronger. Henry had to be rid of her,but there needed to be a quicker way out he could not go through another divorce again so soon after Katherine. He went threw hell and high water to get Anne so to divorce her so soon after their marriage would be a public and political disaster. Besides Anne was to dangerous to simply divorce the Boleyn fraction was still strong and there may have been fears of reprisal. Henry needed to be rid of Anne completely,and saw her death as the only way out.

One can only guess as to what exactly made Henry act with such speed and venom towards Anne,but together He and Cromwell brought Anne down. Cromwell i believe was the most cold and calculated,he knew what he was doing,he knew that the king wanted rid of Anne and was prepared to believe anything of her in order for him to gain his freedom once more. Cromwell saw his chance to eliminate his enemy completely and took it,he played the game and won. In the end Anne Boleyn could not keep her oppions to herself,she was a women before her time never afraid to say what she thought,and in the male dominated world of a 16th century tudor court maybe that was her undoing. She wore her heart on her sleeve Could it possibly have been Anne’s own personality that helped bring about her untimely and tragic death? Her enemies wanted rid of the queen,and she unknowingly played right into their hands!

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