On this day in history, 6th May 1536, four days after her arrest, Queen Anne Boleyn may have written a letter to her husband, Henry VIII.

She was of course imprisoned in the Tower of London at this time and the letter has been given the title, possibly added by Thomas Cromwell, “To the King from the Lady in the Tower”.

In this letter, the queen emphasises her innocence and asks the King to “let not any light Fancy, or bad Counsel of mine Enemies, withdraw your Princely Favour from me”. She also asks for a “lawful trial” and puts her present predicament down to the King’s affection settling on another, i.e. her own lady-in-waiting, Jane Seymour.

You can read the full text of this letter and read about author Sandra Vasoli’s research on it and her views on its provenance in Sandi’s article from last year – click here – and Sandi also made this video for last year’s MadeGlobal Publishing Anne Boleyn Day:

You can, of course, find out more about Sandi’s research in her book Anne Boleyn’s Letter from the Tower: A New Assessmentclick here.

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2 thoughts on “6 May 1536 – Try me, good King, but let me have a Lawful Trial”
  1. Anne’s last letter, and yes I believe and have always believed it to be genuine, gives us a real snapshot of how Anne saw her predicament. She is shocked and alarmed at how such charges can be brought against her and just why she is there is a mystery. She declared both her innocence and that she loves the King and she believes he will at least give her a fair trial. Anne clearly knew a different side of the King to that which we have inherited. She had known a man who could be loving and charming and fun. She also knew a man of passion and of deep emotions. However, there were times when she saw his high handed nature, his determination to be right and in control and to put her in her place. Henry wasn’t above reminding Anne were she came from when she complained of his affairs, temporary as they may be. Anne could be a handful and they argued as any couple, but Henry could use her humbler origins against her when he was frustrated. Anne’s lack of a son haunted her and she was conscious that there was pressure on her to give Henry a son. It deeply affected her and her moods reflected this and their relationship. They had also experienced good times and were often merry together, but a toil on their marriage was clear. Henry’s reaction to Anne’s last miscarriage was one of grief, anger and accusations and Anne’s was to accuse right back. However, they do seem to have tried to reconcile but at some point in April 1536 it all went fatally wrong. Anne was trying to make sense of it all, maybe reach the man she knew behind the mask of royalty. She approached him with respect but familiarity and humble trust. She wasn’t to know that she had been totally abandoned and that her letter would never reach her husband and would be kept from him by Cromwell. Anne’s fate was already sealed as far as Cromwell was concerned and Henry had long turned against his wife. It’s highly unlikely that this letter would have made any difference, but Cromwell couldn’t take that chance. Anne may still have been tried, but this letter may have saved her life.

  2. Just commenting on Anne’s humbler origins ; may be it’s not so after all as her mother’s ancestry : the house of Howard’s are of higher ranks in nobility than the Tudors and their claims to royalty are as equal as the blue blooded Plantagenants whom Henry was sure to eradicate during his reign

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