20 Interesting Facts about Anne Boleyn

Posted By on April 8, 2021

I started the latest series for the Anne Boleyn Files and Tudor Society YouTube channel, “Facts about…”, with some interesting facts about Catherine of Aragon, first wife of Henry VIII, so I thought I’d better follow it with one on Anne Boleyn, even though I’d done a Top 10 Facts about her in the past. So, I’ve shared 20 more interesting facts about this second wife of Henry VIII.

I expect, as an Anne Boleyn Files follower, that you know most of them, if not all of them, but enjoy the video anyway!

And here’s my previous one on Anne Boleyn, in case you missed it:

And this is the one I mention on the spelling of “Boleyn”:

Here are links to the playlists I mention:

And here is my Catherine of Aragon video:

3 thoughts on “20 Interesting Facts about Anne Boleyn”

  1. Banditqueen says:

    Thanks for these very helpful questions and facts on Anne Boleyn. They will also be helpful to someone starting out on Anne Boleyn as they cover a good range of her life. I love these videos and your lovely site.


  2. Christine says:

    I thought the same thing, for the novice it’s a perfect way to introduce Anne Boleyn, these facts also clear up many of the myths about her.

  3. Banditqueen says:

    Anne Boleyn was by no means the most perfect human being on planet earth, but then none of is are and yet she continues to either be worshipped as a feminist martyr and icon or to be maligned. There is real controversy around Anne because she achieved something impossible. Queens had been replaced before in the marriage bed, not too often but they had been, one for as little a wrong as being ugly or so her husband said. Their only real crime was not having male children or any children at all. However, they were always replaced by another royal bride. So what was different about this time?

    Why was Anne Boleyn replacing Katharine of Aragon so difficult and so different? Well for one thing Katharine wasn’t going to budge and Henry didn’t force her out. Although he did abandon Katharine in the end as well as Rome and get his own divorce, he went through a long series of actions to get his marriage annulled, during which time, he remained publicly committed to Katharine, treated her as Queen and continued to live with her as his wife. He also took a pragmatic approach that the annulment would be granted. For at least four or years Henry proceeded with his case based on the advice of Cardinal Thomas Wolsey and moved at a patient pace. Katharine, meanwhile played a counter movement match and there seemed to be no end to it all.

    Others had been persuaded to accept the annulment of their marriage or been given little option but Katharine fought back and she had powerful backing. The fact was that from the moment the armies of Charles V marched into Rome and sacked it in 1527, Henry Viii was never going to be granted any annulment and Katharine knew it. Henry could have forced her to comply by committing her to a convent but its unlikely that she would have agreed even then and that would only provoke Charles. So the snails pace of the annulment went plodding along and Henry had the mistress and the wife, both of them very determined strong women, giving him one hell of a time. Eventually Anne pushed Henry into action and after the disaster of Blackfriars in 1529 the first step towards a break through was taken when Henry dismissed Cardinal Wolsey. The problem now was the case was in Rome and for two more years nothing very much happened.

    However, Anne made a bold move. She told Henry about a book which had been confiscated from her lady and after it was returned, she got him to read it. This was the Tyndale manoeuvre which saw Henry reading his book Obedience of a Christian Man and seeing himself as not governed by Popes or prelates. The book appealed to his ego and the King took a series of measures to remove the power of the Vatican in England. He forced the clergy to submit to him and was declared Head of the Church as far as the law of Christ allowed. This was later changed to make Henry Supreme Head and Protector of the Church. Henry Viii had broken from Rome but he still lived with Katharine and wore the shirts she made for him. Enter Anne yet again.

    Henry was now persuaded to abandon Katharine in 1531 and move his wife to the Palace built by Wolsey, the More. It was very palatial and it is still being studied for its actual layout. Katharine at first wasn’t under house arrest or confined, she had a full staff and was attending grand events. This would change, however after Henry’s marriage to Anne with several restrictions and although she lived in comfort, some of the houses had hidden damp problems and her health declined. She was also separated from her daughter, Mary, who was srnt to live with Princess Elizabeth. With the removal of various obstacles and the death of Archbishop William Warham in 1532, the path was now clear for Anne to marry Henry. The impossible had been achieved as Pope Clement still refused to budge and Katharine never accepted that she wasn’t Queen. Katharine wouldn’t go into religious retirement either and at one point it must have seemed that Katharine would remain Queen forever. Its all this that makes Anne’s achievements of the Crown as remarkable. She wasn’t a member of another royal house either so this wasn’t a new alliance with a dowry and everything, but a love match between a passionate couple who had been through it all to get what they wanted.

    This annulment and new marriage was expensive in terms of money and the politics and power struggle between the three people involved. The country had paid in terms of traditional religious faith and being now separated from the rest of Christendom. The people and nobles and even some of Henry’s loyal friends and servants would suffer in terms pf their lives. Turmoil had barely been avoided and freedom to say what one thought on the matter was now turned into treason. It would cost many more their commitment in blood and even Anne and five others would pay the price with their heads because this also changed the King.

    Anne was blamed for much of the spilled blood and her own reputation was deeply sullied along the way. She was blamed for taking the King away from his beloved wife and daughter. She was blamed for the death of More and Bishop Fisher. Then Henry destroyed Anne and her reputation with terrible lies and false charges of multiple cases of adultery and incest and plotting to kill him with those lovers. Here Anne gained a lot of sympathy and even at her execution people showed her respect and murmured against her fate. The fall out, however, is the cause of so much myth around her and her family.

    If Anne is exhonorated then her parents are blamed for putting her in the King’s bed, or they are blamed for not riding to her rescue. If Anne died, then its karma because she mistreated Princess Mary or someone else. The number of myths around Anne are staggering. We need to address them with facts. The only way to untangle the nonsense is to tell her story in the simplest way. There are many myth busting facts in these videos. Only by repeating them can we educate people who are naturally fascinated with Anne, but really only know the myths.

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