Henry VIII’s Love Letters to Anne Boleyn

Henry VIII wrote Anne Boleyn a collection of love letters which still survive today because they are in the Vatican Library. How they ended up there, we just don’t know, but the most likely explanation is that they were stolen from Anne Boleyn to provide evidence of her relationship with the King. Unfortunately, we do not have Anne’s replies but the letters are evidence of Henry VIII’s romantic side and his strong feelings for Anne.

You can click on the following links to read these letters in their entirety. I have put them in the order that they can be found in the 1906 book published by John W Luce and Company, rather than the order of the Harleian Miscellany, because, as J. O. Halliwell Philipps points out in his notes on the letters, they only make sense in this order.

19 Responses to “Henry VIII’s Love Letters to Anne Boleyn”

  1. Amanda says:

    I love all of these letters: it is so wonderful to be able to read of Henry’s love for Anne! Also wanted to let you know that the link to letter # 15 doesn’t work.

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    kassidy Reply:

    sorry but link #15 does work…. at least on my computer

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  2. Tegs says:

    Sooooo romantic! :)

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  3. Liz says:

    Can’t begin to express how much I’ve loved reading these letters….now I wish to marry a modern-day Henry VIII….Sigh.

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    Cynthia Layne Reply:

    Are you sure?

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    Kel Reply:

    Seriously? I will confess, these letters are very beautifully written and express what Henry VIII must have conceived as a very deep and true love for Anne. But we can’t ignore the ultimately tragic and sad end to this passionate affair. We know that every promise of service and faithfulness expressed in these letters has been proven by history to be ultimately false.

    I would rather look for a love as constant as the one described in Shakespeare’s Sonnet 116:

    “… Love is not love which alters when it alteration finds, Or bends with the remover to remove:O no! it is an ever-fixed mark, that looks on tempests and is never shaken…”

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    Kaz Reply:

    Instead of a henry, I would totally marry a Mark Smeaton or Henry Percy type for sure :) That’s what history basically is teaching me – don’t go for the ruler (he’s a psycho!), go for the true men :) How many bosses have we worked for that have been divorced from their first wives – too many! The first wives aren’t silly – they probably saw the monsters that their husbands were becoming as they got higher up in the ranks at work, and did the right thing by running!

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    Kaz Reply:

    Sorry I mean I’d marry Thomas Wyatt type any day (not Henry Percy, but he’s not so bad either) – men that appreciate life itself, and it would be an amazing bonus if they see life through artistic means like music or poetry – there is so much freedom in that :) But being married to someone who only cares about money and is worried about strategies on how to get more money, well, I would just know the marriage wouldn’t last at all because it’s superficial.

    lucieloo Reply:

    Well Said!!!

    What a tragic ending. But at least England was blessed with Queen Elizabeth.

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    Ron Reply:

    The your head could be separated from your shoulders too. Engage your mind before your fingers.

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  4. Natasha says:

    It feels as though ever time i read these letters (and i have read them many times) it never fails to move me. The love he bore for this women is incredible, how long he waited for her, how long she waited for him didn’t seem to matter. What mattered to him most was knowing that Anne felt the same for him and would one say hopefully be his.

    Reading these letters however, makes me question some Historians. Many say that King Henry VIII loved Jane Seymour above all other Queens, and I’m sure he did love her. After all Jane gave Henry his long awaited son and heir to the throne. He was even laid to rest by Jane.

    But the way he loved Anne, the amount of time(and by time I mean years) he spent courting her, his break with Rome, the divisionn of his kingdom because of his love for this women speaks volumes and can not be ignored.

    In my humble opinion I truly feel that Henry loved Anne is a way that he loved no other. Even though he betrayed her in such a way that can never be forgotten nor forgiven -their love goes down in history ( my mind) as one of the greatest loves of all times.

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  5. Amy says:

    While the letters are moving and the long time that he spent courting Anne, I don’t see how it can be true love if he so quickly turned against her. Henry seems to like the chase and keeping that in mind it seems like puppy love even though it was for many years. Not really sure how I feel about these letters…

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    Kaz Reply:

    I agree with Amy, I too don’t know how I feel about these love letters because we know the ending to their love story (Queen Anne’s head gets chopped off!), I guess we’re like crime investigators almost these days – the love letters don’t seem so sincere because of what happened at the end. Yep, the letters just remind me of obsession much like the crazed people of these days that get obsessed with celebrities etc just to do harm to them :/ Scary of course, but that’s how I see these letters – king henry was the crazed fan of Anne Boleyn, the unfortunate part was king henry’s power at the time.

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  6. Sally says:

    Yes, Henry loved Anne so much he had her head chopped off, leaving their daughter Elizabeth without a mother.

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  7. Laura says:

    I think its wise to bear in mind that courting any woman of that time period required a courtier’s style of writing even from a King. Professing profound and undying love was expected much the way women today expect men to open doors for them. The idea was to impress. Henry was a man who got his way in all things and he had no intentions of failing with Anne. So how much of it was love and how much of it was the chase?

    To Natasha above, yes Henry did many things during the time he waited for Anne but do not think he did them for love of her. Anne opened the door of reformation to him which granted him the most powerful position of all. Head of the church which put him as a form of God on earth. In breaking with Rome, he also gained tremendous wealth from the monasteries he tore down. Anne was a business partner to him in a way Katherine was not and she wasn’t even Queen yet. We all know how the story concluded and I don’t think we’ll ever know if it was “true” love or not.

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  8. Katy says:

    Hi, on Amazon there is a collection of these & it says they were originally published by “Hearne” in 1720. Do we know who this Hearne is? Is it Thomas Hearne? (That’s my last name & I so rarely see it spelled the same way I spell it so, just curious. Starting to get into some genealogy)

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  9. Denis says:

    Yes laura courtly love was expected in the 15 and 16th century. But as Thomas Wyatts poems to Anne show its was merely expressions of love such as compliments etc Henry’s letters to Anne go deeper than courtly expressions of love they show much more affection and concern. Also a kind of longing. I myself am not sure if it was truly motivated by love or obsession and lust but I don’t think it was courtly love.

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  10. karen says:

    I cannot even begin to see how Henry could love Anne so much and then kill her so ruthlessly! Boggling

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  11. Sherri says:

    I agree with everyone’s opinion here. That Henry’s and Anne’s love was the stuff that movies are made of, books written about and songs written. That Henry was a tyrant who wanted his own way. That he betrayed the great love of his life. That he liked the challenge and the chase and hunt.

    Did Henry truly love Anne ?? I think he did and she him. But with great love comes great tragedy and sadness.

    I have always thought that Henry had Anne executed because he loved her so much. He took her away from his life and in that I mean with Anne still living and of this earth would he have been able to resist her ??? Would his relationship with Jane survived ??? Would Henry been able to put Anne away somewhere and never felt that passion, that love, that fire for any other woman ?? There was only one way to break the ties that bound them and that was death. With a love like that it must have been very difficult to maintain it. Everyday was a drama between them. How very exhausting. Henry was also seeking peace, calm etc, But did he actually achieve that with Jane ???

    I know that history has other reasons for Henry executing Anne. Call me a true romantic but I like to think that there were reasons beyond the selfish and self centered ones that Henry actually gave. He just didn’t realize it at the time. How he must have missed Anne till the day he died. She was his 1 true match. Even though Henry would deny that how he must have went through the rest of his life with the other half of himself missing.

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