According to Matthew Parker, Archbishop of Canterbury in Queen Elizabeth I’s reign, it was on or around this date (six days before Anne’s arrest) that he met with Queen Anne Boleyn. He was serving as one of her chaplains at the time.

According to Parker, she spoke words to him that day that made him feel so bound to Anne’s daughter, Elizabeth, who was just two years old at this time, that he agreed to take the office of Archbishop of Canterbury in her reign even though he didn’t want it.

Had Parker promised Anne that he would look out for her daughter, that he would support her? We don’t know. But their conversation that day stayed with him for the rest of his life.

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3 thoughts on “26 April 1536 – The queen meets with her chaplain”
  1. I believe Anne was aware of a plot against her but not to the extent that it turned out to be. She saw how when Henry discarded his first wife he eventually never let mother and daughter see each other again. She was probably expecting to be sent away to some unhealthy Manor in a swamp and would never see Elizabeth again. I don’t think she expected a literal death sentence. If word of that was going around why even have the show trial.

  2. Anne was not stupid and knew her husband was heartily sick of her, she must have felt doom closing in around her like a ship caught in a storm, like a fox caught in the huntsmans lair, wolves baying all around her, as Michael says she had seen how he had treated his first wife and daughter, she had seen great men’s heads topple on the scaffold and their family’s face shame and ruin, expecting something dreadful to happen to herself with no one to turn to for help she poured her heart out to her chaplain I believe, here was a man she could trust and although we have no knowledge of their conversation, he must have suffered the full brunt of her despair her fear for herself and her vulnerable daughter, she would have wanted her to grow up in the same religion and have instilled in her the same piety and charity that Anne herself had, and yes she must have thought she would be divorced and banished from court, maybe to a nunnery and therefore would have little or no contact with her daughter, she must have hoped that Elizabeth would succeed her father as she wanted Matthew to be her Archbishop when she took the throne, as we know at this point Anne was still Henrys queen and Elizabeth his heir, it was only after her trial when she was condemned to die that she had her marriage annulled and Elizabeths status lost that she must have realised with utter despair that her daughter would never be queen, however as we know Elizabeth did become queen, but Anne did not have that luxury of seeing into the future, and after the awful events of May 1536 Anne must have suffered along with many other terrible thoughts that her daughter was now merely Henrys daughter like Mary and Henry Fitzroy, a bastard with no rights but dependant on their fathers good will, Matthew did honour his promise to Anne Boleyn which shows he was a loyal man and he must have told Elizabeth the real truth about her mother, as her mothers devoted chaplain he would have told her how pious she was, how she hated vulgarity and banned the men of her household from visiting brothels, how she instilled in her women high moral values as one contemporary noted, never was there such a deep sense of morality as there was in Anne Boleyns day, she had tried to befriend her half sister Mary but she had rebuffed her offers of friendship time and again, she had helped many women in distress she was known for her charitable works etc, so I think in the end Elizabeth in her mind had a picture of her mother not as an evil woman who had tried to destroy her fathers life and others around her, who had died in shame on the scaffold, but as a woman deeply wronged, a woman who tragically had become a victim of suspicious slander and of darkly twisted plots from which she had no protection from, and also a loving mother who had cared deeply about her daughters welfare and right to be queen.

  3. Although we don’t know what charge Anne gave Matthew Parker, yes, I agree that the most likely explanation is that she asked him to watch over Elizabeth. She couldn’t give him Elizabeth to care for as the child was a ward of the state and belonged to her father, the King. Even if he dismissed her mother she would remain in the care of those appointed by the King, not Anne. Anne could hope that those she trusted would do their best to intervene for Elizabeth and to be allowed to serve in her household so as they could care for her wellbeing. I find it very moving that Anne trusted this gentleman and that he remembered it so fondly years later and went on to serve her daughter, Elizabeth.

    I also find that Anne was very intelligent and yes, she did suspect that something was up and had done for a few weeks. Rumours and gossip and spies and odd behaviour all pointed to a plot and she felt ill at ease. I believe Anne thought Henry was going to end their marriage, but had no idea he and Cromwell planned something more permanent.

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