30 April 1536 – Anne Boleyn, Henry Norris and Dead Men’s Shoes

Posted By on April 30, 2011

Our source in the Queen’s Household

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!


5 thoughts on “30 April 1536 – Anne Boleyn, Henry Norris and Dead Men’s Shoes”

  1. lisaannejane says:

    I am not so sure about Cromwell and where his real loyalty lies – it seems to be for himself. He has made the king (and I think himself) much better off financially after taking over all the property, possession, and currency from the monastic houses. I think that Queen Anne may have said something about getting rid of all the houses, even those with a good reputation who really helped people. If the queen and Cromwell has a disagreement over the use of money from these houses, I would not trust Cromwell as much as before he started this whole process.

  2. Anne Barnhill says:

    But why did the Queen say such things–was it the strain of knowing her husband was on the prowl, lusting after Lady Jane?? Or was she just used to saying what she thought? Did Lady Shelton WISH to marry Norris? is that why the Queen was prodding him along? Hummmm…much to ponder.

  3. Well, a few years later Cromwell got his. Things go full circle, don’t they?

  4. lisaannejane says:

    I think Anne was distressed by Henry’s recent behavior and made a huge mistake in the game of courtly love. In other words, she really put her foot in her mouth and could not find a way out of it. If their marriage was strong, the whole episode might have been seen as just a mistake and forgotten but when things are not good, any slip of the tongue can be a dangerous thing. Cromwell would have pounced on this faster than my cat getting her favorite catnip toy.

  5. Claire-Louise says:

    I think Anne just could not help saying what she thought sometimes, I think this is perhaps one of the things that attracted Henry to her in the first place. He probably would have found it refreshing to have someone speak to him so honestly. She might have even said things like this on numerous occasions when Henry was pursuing her, but as the marriage began to break down, all the things which made her herself were used against her- I think Cromwell was probably just waiting for her to say something like that.

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