26 April 1536 – Anne Boleyn and Matthew Parker’s meeting – The Fall of Anne Boleyn

On this day in 1536, 26th April, Queen Anne Boleyn met with her chaplain, Matthew Parker, and the words that she spoke to him that day had such an impact on him that they stayed with him for the rest of his life and made him take a job serving her daughter, that he just didn’t want.

What happened?

What did Parker say about this meeting?

In today’s Fall of Anne Boleyn video, I share with you what we know about this meeting.

I’m doing these “Fall of Anne Boleyn” videos daily until 19th May and I started on 24th April. You can catch up with them on the Anne Boleyn Files and Tudor Society Youtube Channel.

If you prefer reading to watching videos, you can read an article on Anne’s meeting with Matthew Parker – click here.

You can find out more about my book The Fall of Anne Boleyn: A Countdown at http://getbook.at/fallanneboleyn.

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8 thoughts on “26 April 1536 – Anne Boleyn and Matthew Parker’s meeting – The Fall of Anne Boleyn”
  1. We hear of so many people of doubtful character in history and it is so refreshing to know that there were some like Mathew Parker who were truly good and felt bound by his promise made to Anne over two decades earlier. He could have just ignored that promise and I’m sure no one would have known but he. So refreshing that he was a man of his word when so many others were not. Thank you Matthew Parker.

    1. Yes there were some decent souls out there, how did you find the book about William Marshall Michael as I’m thinking of reading it myself?

      1. I was perusing Amazon and it popped up as a recommendation. The title is The Greatest Knight by Thomas Asbridge. I hope you find it it’s excellent.

  2. I find it interesting that William Cecil Roger Ascham and John Dee were all friends who studied at Cambridge in the early days long before they became involved with Elizabeth 1st and had such an influence on her during her reign, William Cecil who became her chief minister and Dr John Dee who became her astrologer, Ascham who we know was her tutor when a young girl and who also taught the ill fated Lady Jane Grey, in a sense their lives were all bound together and one such member whom we discuss today is Mathew Parker her Archbishop of Canterbury, I believe Anne was aware something was going on, the scene in the Tudors where she beseeched Parker whilst holding Elizabeth in her arms may not be far from the truth, she spoke of her fears and anguish that something will happen to her, she could well have confided in him for she knew she could trust him like no other, maybe in reality she was not so emotional but merely called him into her chamber and dismissed all her staff, so she could speak to him in private but whatever she said, did have such an effect on him that he promised to look after her daughter, and he never renaged on that promise, Parker surely was a man of honour and she had seen that quality in him, I think Anne was terrified she knew Henry no longer loved her, when they were together they bickered a lot, he would leave her to be with Jane Seymour, more ominous she knew what happened to those who displeased him, she had seen plenty of examples, did she fear she would be poisoned it’s possible, maybe she feared she would be divorced and banished from court, but if that’s all she worried about she obviously had no idea what she would be caught up in in the next few weeks, she could never in a million years have imagined that she would be arrested charged and executed on trumped on charges, charges so ludicrous and vile that had she been possessed of the gift of foresight, she would have laughed out loud, one knows when one is in danger, senses are heightened like the woman who walks alone down a dark alley, and hears or thinks she hears footsteps behind her, she must have been in a heightened sense of anxiety, I think she entrusted Elizabeths spiritual welfare to Mathew Parker, and her religious welfare, she wanted her to grow up in the true religion that which would later be called Protestantism, knowing that she had secured her chaplains promise she could concentrate more on herself, completely unaware that the wheels were in motion that would see her go down in history as the only queen ever to be put on trial and condemned to death, it would also ruin Henry V111s reputation for ever as he would go down in history as a wife killer – an English Bluebeard, the storm clouds were gathering around Anne Boleyn and in all innocence the five men who would later be charged with her, were blissfully unaware they too would be involved.

  3. I know it is only speculation but I sincerely believe that Matthew Parker promised to watch over Princess Elizabeth, because Anne feared something was happening and feared for her life. He felt bound to her and when offered this post he felt obliged to serve Elizabeth as Queen and he recalled his earlier promise to help Elizabeth. The circle of people around her John Dee, William Cecil and Roger Ashcam were all from the same University and all clever men. Presumably Matthew Parker was as well and Elizabeth would be raised by and served by a collection of very skilful, influential, important and well educated men. Matthew Parker must have been a very honourable man. He didn’t want to be Archbishop of Canterbury but, although he was in poor health, he took it because he felt bound to Anne Boleyn and now bound himself to her daughter. Of course we don’t really know what Anne sent for him for, but with six days to go until her arrest, with hindsight it is a good guess that she commended Elizabeth to him. Anne had no control over who would take care of her daughter, her status or fate, but she could hope that someone she trusted would at least be able to keep an eye open for her, should anything premature happen to her mother. She chose Matthew Parker, her chaplain, a friend of Hugh Latimer, but not a controversial preacher, a reformer, to do what he could for little Elizabeth. She knew he would strive to keep his word and she knew he would put obligation before personal comfort or desire. It was the last time Anne spoke to him.

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