30 April 1536 – Anne Boleyn, Henry Norris and Dead Men’s Shoes
Posted By Claire on April 30, 2011
News is just in that either today or late yesterday there was an altercation between Queen Anne Boleyn and Henry Norris, Groom of the Stool and Chief Gentleman of the Privy Chamber. We go straight to Sir Tim Ridgway who has spoken to one of Anne Boleyn’s ladies…
Yes, Lady Claire, I’m so glad that I did not take Dr Who up on his offer of a ride in the tardis yesterday to go to 2011 and see the Royal Wedding because I needed to be at court at a time like this. Events are really unfolding today and this is a worrying time for the Queen and her household.
Earlier today I spoke to one of the Queen’s ladies who had witnessed an argument between Queen Anne Boleyn and the King’s great friend, Henry Norris. The argument was apparently sparked off by Queen Anne asking Norris about why he was taking so long to propose to her cousin, Lady Shelton. Here is what my informant told me:-
“The Queen asked Norris why he was not going through with a marriage to Lady Shelton and he just shrugged, saying that he would tarry a time. Well, Her Majesty was rather irritated by his flippancy and she snapped at him, saying, “You look for dead men’s shoes. For if aught came to the King but good, you would look to have me.” We all gasped at this remark and his lordship was deeply shocked, replying, “If he should have any such though, he would his head were off.” Her Majesty was in a real rage now and threatened him, telling him that she could undo him if she would. They continued slinging angry words at each other and it was horrible, a very violent quarrel.”
Lady Claire, it is no wonder that the Queen’s ladies were so shocked by this quarrel because the Queen was accusing Henry Norris of having feelings for her and she mentioned the King’s death, which obviously is unmentionable – oops, just mentioned it, perhaps we should edit that bit. All of the Queen’s ladies were deeply troubled by this horrible quarrel and my informant has told me that the Queen was so worried about the words she spoke in anger that she went to see Norris and commanded him to see her almoner, John Skip, and “swear for the Queen that she was a good woman”.
We all know that Queen Anne Boleyn is a good woman but this argument at a time when the Boleyn faction seem to be waning in influence at court, the King is spending more time with the Lady Jane Seymour and Cromwell is plotting who knows what, is very worrying. Unfortunately, news of the argument is all over court and it is being blown out of all proportion. Back to you in the studio, Lady Claire.
Thank you so much for that report, Sir Tim, Cromwell is the Queen’s man so I’m sure we have nothing to worry about on that front. I suspect that the Seymour faction will lose favour just as quickly as they gained it and things will soon get back to normal. The King and Queen are very good at making up!
- The Life and Death of Anne Boleyn, Eric Ives, p335
- Six Wives: The Queens of Henry VIII, David Starkey