26 August 1533 – The Queen’s “Taking Her Chamber” Ceremony

Posted By on August 26, 2012

A pregnant Anne Boleyn in “The Tudors”

On this day in history, 26th August 1533, the pregnant Queen Anne Boleyn took to her chamber, after a special ceremony, to prepare for the birth of her first child.

You can read all the details in my article from last year 26 August 1533 – Anne Boleyn Prepares for the Birth of Her First Child

A woman’s “taking her chamber” is often described as confinement, but this is a misleading term. The birthing chamber was a man-free zone, but a woman would spend time with the friends she had chosen to attend her- in Anne’s case, her ladies. Birth was a social affair and an opportunity for female gatherings, or “gossipings” as they were called.

10 thoughts on “26 August 1533 – The Queen’s “Taking Her Chamber” Ceremony”

  1. Kyra Kramer says:

    The most interesting thing about gossiping is that the term of “gossip” for a woman who attended a laboring mother came first. Only later did gossipy come to mean any group of women sharing news. The father of the baby was responsible for making sure the gossips, and the midwife, were provided with the best food and drink possible. A good report of his treatment of these honored guests meant a boost in social standing or reputation for him and his family. Henry was reported to be very generous, as befitted a King.

  2. Sway says:

    My stomach always turns when I think about Anne taking the chamber, because I imagine she entered it with such high hopes and dreams of cloudless future… She truly loved her daughter Elizabeth, but maybe a male heir would have saved her life.

  3. cherie says:

    How long before the child’s birth does the queen take to her chamber

    1. Claire says:

      It was usual for a woman to take her chamber 4-6 weeks before her due date, and this applied to queens too.

      1. Dawn 1st says:

        Anne was lucky in that respect then, only being ‘entombed’ in the chambers for 13 days before she gave birth, how claustrophobic it must have felt as time past by, with windows covered over and fires burning even on sunny days. Its a good job they had ‘gossips’ to take your mind off things, especially for Anne, wondering what Henry was up to with the ladies!!
        I completely agree with Sway’s comment above. If Elizabeth had been a boy, the whole of history would have been changed…if he had lived.

        1. cherie says:

          Really?! Why so long? And what was the point in covering the windows? And if Elizabeth had been a boy the reign of bloody Mary would have been non existant. Good news for non catholics

  4. Baroness Von Reis says:

    I think that mother and baby took to there chamber to keep out anything such as fevers colds ect; aswell as a possible early birth therefore keeping mother and child in a closed off eviroment ,to closing off the windows to anything air born ,it mostly a safety measure. THX Baroness

    1. Claire says:

      The closed windows etc. were also supposed to stop the Devil entering. It was a very superstitious age.

      1. Baroness Von Reis says:

        Claire, Very good point you make and totally agree with that still today, there are people to date very superstitous,My greatgrandfather was a Baptis from the south and he to was very aware about the devils doings.I think they tried to cover anything that might hurt mother and baby. I to remember the salt at the table to ,ward off the devil. THX Claire,Baroness.

  5. Christine says:

    It wasn’t long ago that menstruating women were believed to turn milk sour hard work if you were in the dairy!

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