12 April 1533 – She has changed her name from Marchioness to Queen


On Easter Eve, Saturday 12th April 1533, Anne Boleyn attended mass in the Queen’s Closet of Greenwich Palace “with all the pomp of a Queen, clad in cloth of gold, and loaded (carga) with the richest jewels.”1 This was her first public appearance since her husband, Henry VIII, had informed his council the previous day that Anne was to be recognised as his wife and queen, and afforded royal honours, and it was quite a spectacle.

Eustace Chapuys, the imperial ambassador, wrote:

“On Saturday, Easter Eve, dame Anne went to mass in Royal state, loaded with jewels, clothed in a robe of cloth of gold friese. The daughter of the duke of Norfolk, who is affianced to the duke of Richmond, carried her train; and she had in her suite 60 young ladies, and was brought to church, and brought back with the solemnities, or even more, which were used to the Queen. She has changed her name from Marchioness to Queen, and the preachers offered prayers for her by name. All the world is astonished at it for it looks like a dream, and even those who take her part know not whether to laugh or to cry.

The King is very watchful of the countenance of the people, and begs the lords to go and visit and make their court to the new Queen, whom he intends to have solemnly crowned after Easter, when he will have feastings and tournaments; and some think that Clarencieux went four days ago to France to invite gentlemen at arms to the tourney, after the example of Francis, who did so at his nuptials. I know not whether this will be before or after, but the King has secretly appointed with the archbishop of Canterbury that of his office, without any other pressure, he shall cite the King as having two wives; and upon this, without summoning the Queen, he will declare that he was at liberty to marry as he has done without waiting for a dispensation or sentence of any kind.”2

On this same day, Henry VIII received a letter from Thomas Cranmer, the newly consecrated Archbishop of Canterbury, “Beseeching the King very humbly to allow him to determine his great cause of matrimony.”3 The King replied, giving him “licence” to do so.4 This meant that Cranmer could open a special trial into the annulment proceedings, which he did at Dunstable Priory, Bedfordshire. On 23rd May 1533, the court declared Henry’s marriage to Catherine “to be against the law of God” and dissolved it.5 The King had married Anne Boleyn on 25th January 1533 and this marriage was declared valid on 28th May 1533, just days before Anne’s coronation.

Also on 12th April 1533, Thomas Cromwell was made Chancellor of the Exchequer: “Thos. Crumwell. To be chancellor of the Exchequer, with the fees, robes, and vesture belonging to the office, from the death of Sir John Bourghchier lord Berners, who lately held it.”6

Notes and Sources

  1. Calendar of State Papers, Venice, iv. 870.
  2. Letters and Papers, Foreign and Domestic, Henry VIII, Volume 6, 1533, 351.
  3. Ibid., 327.
  4. Ibid., 332.
  5. Ibid., 525, Letter from John Tregonwell to Cromwell, 23rd May 1533.
  6. Ibid., 417 Grants in April 1533, 22.

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18 thoughts on “12 April 1533 – She has changed her name from Marchioness to Queen”
  1. This is my favourite portrait of Anne, incidentally another portrait allegedly of her has turned up on e bay Claire did you see it or anyone else? Weir thinks it’s her and the features do resemble this one and In the NPG, I can see the likeness in her eyes which are very large and the shape of the mouth, long narrow nose etc, I can understand Chapuy’s point when he said no one knows wether to laugh or cry it just have had a rather surreal effect on everyone. Henry already had a wife and Queen yet here he was expecting everyone to pay homage to another one, I wish I’d green there Anne must have looked so regal and proud.

    1. It is an interesting portrait–we definitely see the dark eyes, high cheekbones, and oval face. Plus, the “A” in her necklace looks a lot like the one Elizabeth wears in the Whitehall portrait. I’m reserving judgment, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it was Anne.

    2. Hi Christine,
      Yes, I saw it when Weir posted it on Facebook at the end of March and then I saw the papers on Sunday. I have a copy of the image and I’ve been corresponding with the seller. I’ve also been talking to a costume expert and art historian, and we don’t believe it can be reidentified as Anne Boleyn. I’m putting an article together at the moment so watch this space!

        1. I agree with you Christine (and Nan) – the portrait shown above is definitely not a great one, but it is near to all whe have been told about Anne Boleyn’s features .
          And it is sort of a basis to other next pictures of her.

        1. That should be quite an interesting article, Claire! I’ll watch for it.
          I never noticed the year!

  2. How can Anne be declared Queen when Cranmer has not yet examined, sorted out the marriage of Katherine of Aragon, Anne Boleyn and the King, or even started proceedings to do so? Talk about doing everything upside down. Now we put aside the fact that he was still lawfully married to Katherine, as Henry does not recognized this anymore. The Papal Curia will not rule until May. But our Henry cannot wait, why? Anne Boleyn is heavily pregnant with what both believe to be the much needed son and heir. Henry has also waited long enough, this must be the longest running divorce in history, he has had enough, told the papacy so and began to prepare the legal ground for a break from Rome. Henry Viii will become the authority, but he still needs the church proper to declare one marriage invalid and then he must make the new one lawful. Convocation the English church Parliament, then Cranmer and his council at Dunstable will decide all of this in Anne and Henry’s favour by the end of April, but on this time, Anne and Henry are acting in anticipation.

    Henry had married Anne in January and some sources say a service took place in France in November 1532. The first may be a dedication, betrothal, the second a private wedding, followed the first time by consummation, which by canon law technically made them in the sight of God and the Church, man and wife, if both consented to live as such and the marriage was as I said consummated. In Henry’s case, however, this could not have been the case for one simple fact, he was already married so not free to make such vows. Hence Henry now needed to ensure a pregnant Anne Boleyn was recognised as Queen, treated as such with honour, with this public appearance, ceremonies, the support of the council, if somewhat reluctantly, the declaration of his marriage lawful, finally by an act which would not be challenged as it was regarded with such reverence that its end bestowed god like mystical status on a man or woman, Anne’s fabulous coronation. To make certain that everyone continued to recognize Anne and to protect her children as his only legal heirs Henry, supported by Cromwell, brought in controversial new treason laws, laws of succession and the legislation that confirmed his status as Head of the Church. Anne’s public adornment and presentation as Queen was the prelude.

    Back to the question, how could Henry do this? Well technically he couldn’t, which is why he called the council and informed them, persuaded them and told them Anne would be treated as Queen as she soon would be in fact. And lets face it, who was going to stop him? Everything else was happening to smooth the path out for Anne, nothing short of an armed rebellion would hold things up now, and this was not on the cards at present. Henry had moved carefully up to this point, almost being lucky with timing, the obstacles had fallen away, he now appeared to be able to do as he wished, even charm and conjoil Parliament.

  3. Henry was able to do this because he never did get a divorce – it was an annulment he wanted and that was granted in both his eyes and in the eyes of the country. An annulment means he never was married and not that his marriage ceased to be good at the time the announcement was made. So when he married Anne whether in November or January (nice description of the canon law situation Banditqueen), in his eyes, he was marrying for the first time. For everyone else they’d have thought it can’t be legal (if they’d known about it at the time) but when his marriage to Catherine of Aragon was annulled it was safe for Henry to tell everyone about the marriage earlier in the year to Anne. Nobody could accuse him of being married when he entered matrimony with Anne.

    1. Hi Banditqueen and Pat,
      Even if I don’t feel easy speaking about religions grounds for annulments, I see that it has indeed retrospective effects like “our” annulments raised before civil courts.
      So, even if Anne’s state (ie pregnancy) needed some quick solution, this effects could even make their previous “betrothal, or dedication” (however you’ll name it) valid at the time of this annulment would have been acted.
      I assume that such an effect was indeed a matter of refusal on Katherine’s part.
      She, vanishing as a wife and a queen consort.
      Their seventeen-years old daughter becoming a bastard (a point no longer in question by now, when the child’s status is protected).
      The psychological point is rather how could Anne Boleyn stand this pressure – her royal lover (this time in a sexual meaning, obviously) sort of imposing his subjects a new state of things – it of course could not “work” without his own constant support.
      And we all know what happened later.
      If he was cautious enough not to find himslef in the same “upside down” situation as you perfectly describe it Banditqueen, he was pressed by the same aims (getting male heirs), as we can see later with his separation from Anne of Cleves, then the so quick trial of Catherine Howard (not heard pleading, as recalled in some posts)…
      So, no it was no case of bigamy – as it happens for instance to a famous german landgrave, by then, that is Philip of Hesse : like his pairs, converted to the new faith – putting aside their deep need of renewed morals (sometimes happens, even to german princes), it was a useful way both to get freed from the Saint Empire and Charles V and to do one’s way in one’s amily-affairs and economic matters – he was knwon as very debauched.
      Having married Christine of Saxony, a wife he found unattractive after having sired ten children with her (he had also had numerous bastards in the same time it seems) , he was opposed a refusal by a girl of 17 or about he nevertheless furiously desired.
      Himself was about 35 by then.
      Obliged to marry again, he wrote his protégé Martin Luther to be granted a good and valid divorce, or a justification for a state of things.
      Martin Luther first refused his agreement on the grounds that antique patriarchs had more austere morals – quite easy when compared with Philip! – and their example could not be applied to anyone; this answer is said to have infuriated the german highness .
      He pressed Melanchton with the same matter.
      Finally he was sent an answer saying that a divorce was still worse that the state of bigamy – both Luther and Melanchton, being unaware, there was already a cause for all this stuff, young Margaret, a low-ranked girl waiting for an authorized wedding.
      So, for some years – until the death of Christine, who did not survive much long after – he was a bigamist.
      Even for Protestants by then the divorce was not yet part of the common morals

    2. Hi Pat and Bruno, yes Henry could not be accused of being married as, as you say he saw himself as single, his first marriage being as if it never happened, although of course it was not going to be that simple, so he could as far as he was concerned marry Anne. However, it all had to be formal, hence Convocation, the hearing Cranmer will have, the previous seven years of hearings, courts, Curios, this debate, the canvassing of the Collages of Europe, the many arguments, with Henry and Katherine being married for numerous years, the Church could declare the marriage good and Katherine had her counter arguments. Henry sought advice from reformers as well as Catholic scholars and the theological and legal assessments became a personal obsession. Now he had finally cleared the path, he had what he wanted, he would get his annulment one way or another, he could present Anne as a Queen. Henry was side stepping the official Church of course, but now he was able to make his own laws, to have Cranmer and his own hearing examine the question as Rome for Henry no longer mattered. The Convocation and the clergy had submitted to Henry, the Convocation had declared his marriage annulled, it was now a matter of confirmation. Henry Viii was not going to wait for the official judgement from Rome, he had created a situation in which he did not need to, he may be jumping the gun slightly, but Cranmer would deliver. Anne’s coronation would do the magic bits and consecrate her as queen.

      Have you ever seen or heard of an old American comedy called Soup from years ago, which was very silly and complicated? The narrator used to introduce a set of complex totally ridiculous situations and then say: Confused? You will be after this weeks episode of Soup. I sometimes imagine Henry Viii and this period 1533 to 1536, with the many different verdicts on his marriage to Anne, then counter decision by Rome in favour of Katherine, the religious, political and violent roundabouts over the next few days 1534 to 1546, plus his marriage changes as this kind of constant confusion. Confused? You will be after this years changes on the Tudors. lol.

      1. Lol – I am still the candid one – for the time being.
        As rather “new” on this site and as french.
        You are perfectly right : KH’s view about himself as a single was “wishful thinking”.
        And in the mind of a sovereign, it is law-to-be itself.
        Both Henry and Philip of Hesse could not have read anything by Karl Marx.
        Had they, I guess they’d have still more cynical.
        Law (“right”) is superstructure, envelop to money – or power.
        By then, princes waited for advices before imposing their will (or lusts).
        As the “pope’s church” was being weakened, many theologians were waited for on those matters.
        When Luther intended – sincerely, when reading his view of Rome – to make things of better stuff (church forgetting its own reasons to be), this “new order”, even before being settled (if it ever was), was used by secular power as means of getting freed from ancient links and duties.
        While Philip of Hesse pressed only his protestant “obligés”, KH for not having divorced from Rome (not officially by then, I mean), still had the choice between catholics and protestants – only the answer mattered after all …
        Cranmer – I am sorry for the persons who see him as a guide and again it might as well be due to my lack of knowledge about religion and England by then – seems to me no more than the final and most obedient of KH’s theological servants.

        1. Hello Bruno, the case of Philip of Hesse is an interesting one, as nobody agreed with him, but he did not care, even though the Lutheran theologians gave very sound reasons. Interestingly they did not all agree that Henry should divorce Katherine either, which I think surprised him. Henry even though he used Tyndale as his authority for making himself head of the church, that he as a Prince can decide on such matters, also got short shift from Tyndale about his divorce. Being a King who needs a pat on the back, Henry turned to other sources, picking and choosing from many theologians and legal arguments to back what he called his new monarchy, bringing them together in a Compendium. Now it is also believed that some of these sources are a bit dodgy, others forged and some a bit too convenient. Back in 1533 and 1534 when Cromwell published tracts and booklets these arguments were very well put, persuasive and appeared to be authoritative, so made sense to a larger audience. Henry had his answers, even if he had to rummage for them in ancient libraries himself.

          Incidentally, Anne and George Boleyn had an active interest in the French reformers and George Boleyn translated some of their works. Jacques Lefevre d’Etaples, who translated the Bible into French seems to have influenced Anne who owned a copy of his assembled Epistles and Gospels for the Fiftytwo Weeks of the Year and George Boleyn translation of Ecclesiaste. As with other of Henry’s queens, Anne was a patron, although her personal interest was towards reforming theologians and she was presented with other French works by Clemont Marot and her French psalter may be by Louis de Berquin, a French martyr executed in Paris in 1529 for pro Lutheran texts. A number of these and other texts are in the British Library. A beautifully illustrated book by James P Carley published in 2004, “The Books of King Henry Viii and his Wives” shows and details these and other books collected or patronized or even translated by and for his wives.

          Henry Viii of course did not need to go very far to find a reformer or two, as in London at this time a number of German and others were living, preaching and writing, influencing our own reformers and their ideas certainly reached the royal court. Cranmer was brought in by Cromwell and others as the man to put the marriage right, the best man for the job as his own views were moving towards reform and what the King wanted. As a new man beholden to Henry, as you say, he was now a Henry yes man and acting as a faithful servant, but he would soon have ideas that he needed to keep to himself. Cranmer would be sent to Germany, be influenced by some of the almost totally Lutheran cities, come home with an illegal wife, whom he carried around in a box, but he would little by little make changes in England. Henry Viii knew that Cranmer was married, he also knew his views, he protected him from prosecution, but Henry would run his own religious revolution, his own way, returning to orthodoxy, as the draconian Six Articles showed late in the reign. The Six Articles or Six Strings of the Whip as reformers called them are a return to solid Catholic drogma, which is fine, but they came with severe penalties, an almost mandatory death sentence for breaking them, causing even Cromwell to distance himself from friends who fell foul of these new laws. Cranmer really comes into his own religiously with the reforms, moved by Edward Seymour and the young King Edward himself, during Edward’s short reign.

        2. Most interesting to me Banditqueen !
          I just “suspected” Anne of having been influenced by the french atmosphere about reformation (lutheranism did not spread, but calvinism as you know).
          But I did not know how much.
          You give plenty of details – we can see it was not just fashionable to read “other sources” in order to create a new religious pureness.
          Of course, as you make it clear, this new turn was an occasion for more cynical persons to get rid of their past duties – like it always seem to happen in these circumstances.
          These turns, even if based on a need of pureness, also seem to sire new “ordeals” – punishments to settle a new order, other persons then punished then for having become too staunch reformers.
          About Cranmer himself, I was certainly a bit harsh.
          It is obvious that, being a married religious, he could not refuse anything to his master on the same subject (or about).
          But some archbishops of Canterbury showed more moral strength through ages.
          He needed to keep some personal ideas hidden, as you point it out.
          Not the kind to stick to “his” faith even if threatened by a glorious martyr .
          I still believe that Philip of Hesse really “cared” of protestant theologians – but in a rather cynical view.
          Being sth like a tenant of the new faith, a protector for Martin Luther, he wanted them to pay him back for his loyalty to their cause and sake; even if religious, he woul not let forget he was the master.
          So he really tried on and again, until he get an advice good enough to be used as a validation for him to be a bigamist.
          This strange ploygamy – come from ancient times and rather remote coutries – was not long suitable to give examples to protestant princes and their subjects.
          So Philip’s own case shocked so many reformers’ souls that this state of things had soon become an example not to be followed

  4. Portrait says Ann Boleyn and Regina. Hence considered married at that stage. She does not appear to have wedding ring. Is that usual?

  5. What Henry did not realise was how this wrangling over his marriage to Anne would affect his daughter Elizabeth in years to come, the whole Catholic world always believed she was a bastard and he did not help matters when his marriage to Anne was annulled and declared her a bastard along with her sister Mary, restoring her legitimate status and placing her in the line of succession made no difference to the rest of Europe as according to them her parents were never legally married in the first place, I think that’s why she had to deal with the Catholics quite harshly, Elizabeth was a tolerant monarch but uprisings had to be quelled, these grew worse when Mary Of Scots was in her captivity but if Henry had maybe taken another route he would not have placed Elizabeth in such a tenuous position, he was not thinking of that as that was years away and he was banking everything on Anne’s unborn child being male, I think Anne had gambled everything on the fact that she could get pregnant as that gave Henry the final spurt he needed to marry her, she was so confident he wouldn’t abandon her she was therefore so sure of his love that her baby pushed this annulment and the coronation forward, Henry had to get rid of Katherine, what the rest of the world thought was their affair as long as he had the backing of his own lawyers and the church with him, but as for Elizabeth it was something she had to deal with for the rest of her life..

    1. As a non-believer, I tend to find your comment quite convincing …
      Edward favoured protestants, because, young as he was, he was a mere tool in his uncle’s (and of course Dudley’s) hands .
      His heir Mary had no choice – her own (and her mother’s) rejection by her father’s will could not have missed raising greediness to the power, hostile intentions of which she was conscious.
      All the more that her own accession to power was immediately combatted by her protestant subjects and relatives.
      Dying, she left powerful friends, dangerous to her sister and heir .
      And an embarrassing widower as well.
      That given , I don’t really think that the rest of Europe (but Spain?) would fight her .
      Or was it the beginning of England’s “insularism” (paranoiac towards foreign lands – don’t answer me on the point please as I know how awful my humour) ?
      England and France were good friends – well, inside some limits – by then.
      She (Elizabeth) of course got on rather well with protestant countries – never forgetting that you have to weaken enemies, supporting Dutch against catholic Habsburgs.
      When it comes about Anne’s feelings about her strength when she found herself pregnant, I doubt (ok I dont say it is your point at all).
      She was known for having refused to him her unlawful favours for years.
      It could have been her chief force, I guess.
      Her pregnancy, meaning that they had finally consumated their long-term relation of course hasted KH’s decision.
      But it was certainly still less acceptable this way to english subjects.
      And I tend to think she was not that confident after this fruitful intercourse ; after that, her
      status was very unclear (if we think of how long it took to find something suiting each part and everyone’s consciousness (view on faith and so on)and she was certainly aware f how shocking and dangerous for her
      And the haste he had shown, KH certainly regretted when this other girl was born.
      Another point being of course that when you have tried a flesh, your senses satisfied, you happen to find the plate less “magic” from then.
      Forgetting (or being ashamed when thinking about it) your schoolboy’s behavior and feelings towards this object.
      Well – clearly, just assuming …

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