4 March 1522 – Anne Boleyn takes part in a pageant

On Shrove Tuesday 1522, 4th March, Anne Boleyn took part in the pageant of “The Château Vert” at York Place, a property owned by Cardinal Thomas Wolsey.

This was her first recorded public appearance at court since her return from France in late 1521. The pageant was part of the Shrovetide celebrations which began on 1st March 1522 and which also celebrated the negotiations between Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor, and Henry VIII for a joint attack on France, which were to be sealed by the marriage of Charles V and Princess Mary, daughter of Henry VIII.

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9 thoughts on “4 March 1522 – Anne Boleyn takes part in a pageant”
  1. “The Tudors” portrays the young and handsome Henry VIII falling head over heels with the beautiful debutante Anne Boleyn at this mask. The costumes were aesthetically gorgeous but historically ridiculous. Sixteenth-century women appearing on a public occasion in sleeveless tutus? How absurd. The costumes of “The Other Boleyn Girl” and “The Six Wives of Henry VIII” were more accurate, capturing how the Tudors dressed and adorned themselves.

    Natalie Dormer portrayed Anne Boleyn excellently, capturing her intelligence, sex appeal, mystique and eloquence. To begin with, however, she presented Anne as a manipulative seductress, hardly different from Natalie Portman’s Boleyn bitch. The most accurate portrayal, in my opinion, was given by Genevieve Bujold in “Anne of the Thousand Days”. She portrayed Anne as a fiery, principled, courageous and headstrong woman, who met her death with dignity and bravery. She even captured Anne’s French accent, something other portrayals lack.

    When Anne appeared in the March 1522 pageant, was she a young woman in her early twenties, or was she a precocious young lady of fifteen years? We will never know. Novelists tend to favour the latter scenario, whereas historians tend to go with an older Anne. When she arrived in England, she was confidently expecting to marry James Butler and become an Irish countess. After that fell through, within a year she had secretly betrothed herself to the heir to the earldom of Northumberland. Only three years later did Henry’s eye fall on her and their love affair began. If Anne was twenty-six or twenty-seven when Henry began courting her affection, she would have been rather old for a highborn Tudor woman, but perhaps she was twenty or twenty-one, a young and graceful woman who was commonly referred to in correspondence as a “girl” and “young”.

    1. I love the scene in the Tudors as it captures the flavour, but now I look at the actual costumes, yes, probably a bit provocative. But then we are meant to believe Henry fell in lust with Anne here. Come to think about it, most of the costumes in the Tudors look as if they are supposed fall off the women, ready for a sexual encounter. I am sure Anne made an impressive display, but did the King notice her now? Well if he did, it took him another four years to act on his discovery, so whoever wounded his heart…must have been someone else.

  2. Yes The Tudors portrayed Thomas Boleyn as an opportunist who encouraged his daughters affairs with the King and even had him telling Anne to go after him, not the exact words but the truth is there is evidence he was not very pleased at all with their associations with him, everyone who was involved with Henry knew what a dangerous man he was even in those early days, his temper was swift and he was extremely fickle, Thomas possibly was worried his daughters may displease the King in some way and also he was a proud man, he did not want his contemporaries to think he owed his good fortune to their charms, he was highly intelligent, a good ambassador having the art of diplomacy and a linguist, Genevieve Bujold is my favourite Anne too, she’s a French Canadian actress so yes she had the accent and she was very fiery, she was not interested in Henry and her portrayal I think is the more realistic out of all the other actresses who played her, even in that film though Hollywood altered the facts, it had Henry outside the door when her trial was on and he visited her in the Tower, Kings did not make a habit of visiting the condemned it was a highly unethical thing to do and in fact there is only one instance of that happening when James 1st decided to visit Guy Fawkes, it was unheard of yet he wanted to talk with him to see how he could be guilty of such a barbarous act, Henry also according to popular myth was not out hunting awaiting the sound of the cannon when Anne was at her execution, getting back to the festival it all sounds very colourful and I wonder if Henry did actually notice her then, more than likely he noticed her when she was in attendance on his wife, maybe he went to her apartments and saw her singing to the queen, we have no way of knowing when he first noticed Anne, his attraction to her was so strong most people think it was love at first sight yet it may have crept up on him gradually, little by little he noticed her moving around the court, hearing her intelligent conversation, he saw her elegance and how stylish she was and her accent was sexy, it was the exotic that appealed to Henry then he began to seriously fall for her and the rest is history, about Henrys daughter Mary why was her marriage to her cousin called of, this was just the first in a long line of disappointments for her, none of her marriage negotiations came to anything, Henry was so concerned about his own marital affairs he never really considered his daughters.

    1. Hi Christine. I loved Genevieve Bujold as Anne in Anne of 1000
      Days, one of the finest portrayals of the turbulent relationship between Anne Boleyn and Henry Viii, especially when Henry talks about tearing the world in half and scattering the two halves into the abyss to have her. Very dramatic, but it possibly sums up what Henry did go through and the way he tore England and Europe apart in his ultimate quest for son, new wife, divorce and Anne Boleyn. She is so petite, but she has such screne presence that she is almost larger than life in her believability of being Anne Boleyn. Richard Burton was a fantastic Henry Viii, vain, full of life, angry at times, passionate, shy around Anne, or pretending to be coy and someone you don’t argue with. I think Hollywood enjoyed fictional encounters in the Tower, but I have to say this one I loved. When Anne tells Henry she has slept with half the court just to spite him, she tells him to get a son on “that pale girl if you can. My Elizabeth will be a greater Queen of England than a King is made by any son of yours!!!” Fantastic. I agree, I don’t think the Boleyn males either pushed Anne into the King’s way or conspired to make her Queen. They were ambitious, on the make as with any other genteel, merchant, part noble family in royal service. Ambitious does not translate into putting your daughter into the King’s bed in the hope of rising to to top, although it couldn’t do any harm from some accounts. However, Henry had only had mistresses, so he was not looking to make one of these ladies from the royal bed into his wife. Nor did he go around sleeping with women with a promise of marriage attached. Kings took mistresses for sexual fulfilment while their wives were pregnant and only a few official mistresses ever existed. Unlike in the Tudors or France, Henry didn’t sleep with every woman he saw. While the Boleyn family were in a position to be aware that Henry was not living in marriage bliss with Katherine as tragically no living son had survived to become heir, I doubt that they clocked Anne as an automatic replacement. Once Henry was showing an active and more long term interest in Anne, I think they did encourage her, but not bully or command her and when Anne and Henry became more intimately involved, falling in love and had a relationship, her family naturally took advantage of that and looked forward to whatever benefits came from this relationship. There is, however, some tentative evidence to suggest that when it became clear that Anne would be Queen soon, that the Duke of Norfolk objected as he didn’t think Anne as suitable and that Sir Thomas Boleyn was hesitant. Henry was marrying a subject..this could be dangerous if it all fell apart and it did.

      1. Yes I thought Genevieve was brilliant and Richard Burton to, he was a marvellous actor, he was amiable friendly and cheerful as the King yet also terrifying which is how we imagine Henry to have been, at one scene in the film they even showed Henry in a brothel with Norfolk but I doubt he ever visited one, Henry is often portrayed as a womaniser who hopped from bed to bed but the reality is that he was quite prudish and was fussy about the women he chose to get involved with, he was also very hygienic and kept himself clean with regular baths so he would never have just slept with a tavern girl, his table manners were spotless to and unlike Charles Laughton’s portrayal of Henry V111, guzzling on chicken legs and throwing the bones over his shoulder at the dogs, and the scene in The Tudors where he gorged on a swan with all the juices dribbling down his front as Anne walked her last steps, he was not like that all, and in fact when it came to sex he was prudish and never liked vulgar comments or phrases, and yes after Anne became involved with the King her family probably tthought ‘here we go again six months or a year later he will lose interest and he will find another ‘, yet what must have all shocked them was the passion Henry felt for their youngest daughter and instead of losing interest, he only became more obsessed and she played him like a fish on a hook, the delight they felt when he made his intentions clear that he wished to marry Anne we can only imagine, and then the immense pride both Thomas and Elizabeth felt that he had chose their daughter overcome all else, it must have seemed surreal to them, the King actually promised to marry their daughter and make her queen! Today it would be tantamount to winning the lottery and yes maybe her family were a bit wary of this, they knew Anne was headstrong and hadn’t been trained to be a queen, her life would be completely different and in fact if they did have any misgivings then they should have acted on their instincts and advised her not to marry but Anne was not the sort to take advice and just as today young people don’t listen to their parents, Anne also was very much her own person and saw it as her gaol on earth to marry Henry, give him sons and lead England out of Catholism.

  3. I loved Genevieve as Anne also, she is my favorite portrayal, I’ve watched it since I was a teen and got interested in Anne then. The best line is ” …but watch her as she grows, she’s yours, she will be a greater queen that any king of yours, she shall rule a greater England that you could ever have built, yes my Elizabeth shall be queen and my blood with have been well spent!” I love this website, I look at it everyday for new things and look at the past articles. Wonderful website!

  4. I haven’t seen “The Tudors” but I was quite surprised to see bare arms displayed on the ladies in white dresses in the picture. Considering how covered they were in their usual attire, I wondered how accurate this could be. The dresses look like something worn in our time rather than in Anne’s time. Genevieve Bujold made such an impression on me in Anne of the Thousand Days, also. I’ve loved the movie my entire adult life.

    Great article!

  5. First this portrayal of the Chateau Vert Pageant is more or less the way it is described in the original contemporary source by Edward Hall, its an exact replica in the Tudors. The dresses are as described in the sources but one detail only, it doesn’t mention if they have long or short sleeves. It’s probably correct that given the modesty of Tudor people that these dresses had some kind of sleeves and some kind of collar, not a detached ruff. Breasts were shown by Tudor women all the time to represent childbearing, so there is nothing wrong in that part of the costume. Natalie Dormer portrayed Anne Boleyn as she was told before refusing to continue in the second series and insisting on a more accurate Anne Boleyn.

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