25 January 1533 – The Secret Marriage of Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn

Posted By on January 25, 2013

On this day in history, 25th January 1533, St Paul’s Day, King Henry VIII married Anne Boleyn in a secret ceremony at Whitehall.

Nicholas Harpsfield, the Catholic apologist writing in Mary I’s reign, recorded:

“The first whereof was that the King was married to [the] Lady Anne Bulleyne long ere there was any divorce made by the said Archbishop [of Canterbury]. The which marriage a was secretly made at Whitehall very early before day, none being present but Mr Norris and Mr Henage of the Privy Chamber and the Lady Barkeley, with Mr. Rowland the King’s chaplain, that was afterward made Bishop of Coventry and Lichfield. To whom the King told that now he had gotten of the Pope a lycence to marry another wife, and yet to avoid business and tumult the thing must be done (quoth the King) very secretly; and thereupon a time and place was appointed to the said Master Rowland to solemnize the said marriage.”

The marriage was kept secret for sometime because Henry’s marriage to Catherine of Aragon had not yet been fully annulled.

You can read more about the marriage in my article 25 January 1533 – Marriage of Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn.

Notes and Sources

  • A Treatise on the Pretended Divorce between Henry VIII and Catharine of Aragon, Nicholas Harpsfield, p234-235

7 thoughts on “25 January 1533 – The Secret Marriage of Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn”

  1. Baroness Von Reis says:

    Claire,I would really like too know even as Henry was the King,to marry another women ,still married to Queen Katherine why the Queen did not do anything as I am sure it was quickly found out??Did she have know power as Queen ,at the time the King did in fact commit sin as a bigit?Was the King above all God,the bible?It really seemed to me that none of his Queens ,had very little or know power at all? Was the King above all ,even God? Regards Baroness

    1. Claire says:

      I think that Henry VIII truly believed that his marriage to Catherine of Aragon was against God’s wishes and that the Pope should never have given a dispensation for it. He believed that God wanted him to marry Anne and when she fell pregnant he saw this as evidence of God’s blessing. He believed that his marriage to Catherine was null and void and that he could remarry. Henry was a God-fearing man and would never have believed that he was above God but he was no doubting the idea that the Pope was above him. I don’t think Catherine was in a position, by this time, to do anything, poor woman.

      1. Eva says:

        I dont think Catherine found out the secret marriage immediately. I remember it was when she heard that Anne presented in public dressed as a queen that she draw the conclusion that her case would be lost.

  2. suzie says:

    Henry was desperate for a son, an hare to the throne of England. I believe Henry was afraid that a girl would not be able to govern a country, this was seen in what happened durning Queen Matildas’ rign. And England was not ready for another go around of that. I truely believe that as a God fearing King Henry believed that his merrage to Catherine was nul and void.

  3. I personally don’t think Henry truly believed he was sinning against God by marrying Catherine. It was just an incredible, well thought-out, well executed plan & excuse to marry Anne Boleyn. I was always under the assumption that it was just the opposite in the Bible. That a man WAS to take his brothers wife and marry her and care for her and her children. But I also have to admit, I do not know the Bible well. Henty VIII no doubt was God-fearing enough, I suppose. But I think he also believed he just might be above God.

  4. Tracy says:

    Henry VIII believed in the “Diving Right to Rule”, meaning that he was answerable to God, alone. The people of that day were incredibly superstitious. He may very well have believed that he had sinned against God’s law by marrying Katherine, regardless of her insistence that Arthur had never known her, sexually. Katherine of Aragon was an extremely devout woman. I highly doubt that she would have lied about this at Blackfriars. Ultimately, I think Henry VIII wanted Anne Boleyn, no matter what it took. He pursued her for 7 years! He could have made other, more palatable choices for a new wife.

  5. Tendy says:

    Catherine could not do anything, especially when her nephew Charles did not intervene on her behalf of her. At first Henry thought Charles would invade, but he never did so..

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