On this day in history, 7th May 1536, five days after her arrest, Queen Anne Boleyn’s chaplain, William Latymer, was searched by the mayor and jurates of Sandwich in Kent.

He had just landed on English soil after a trip to Flanders on the queen’s business.

What was his business and did they find anything on him?

Read more…

Photo: Sandwich Bay shingle beach, © Copyright David Anstiss and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence, geograph.org.uk.

Related Post

25 thoughts on “7 May 1536 – William Latymer, Queen Anne Boleyn’s chaplain, is searched”
  1. This may have been a coincidence or the authorities looking out for any one in and out about Anne and maybe letters in or out of support. Everyone would be in the frame as far as the authorities were concerned and under suspicion if connected to Anne or the men and who had not been identified as a turn coat. Francis Bryan had sided with Jane Seymour party and so had Cromwell and John Russell but Anne’s chaplain didn’t know as he was abroad in a time before Twitter so had no idea of the Queen’s arrest. He was apparently lucky his book choice on this trip meant he wasn’t bringing anything controversial home for Anne and he was let go by customs. He could have been on the radar as he was abroad and his loyalty unknown until he was searched or he could have just been randomly searched but it was probably no mere coincidence.

    What a terrible shock it must have been for Mr Latymer to learn that his beloved mistress had been taken into custody on such shocking charges. He must have been devastated. He would also prove loyalty to her daughter as Queen.

    Commercial Break: Elizabeth I Tuesday 9th May 9 p.m..A docudrama starring Lily Cole with historian Susanna Lipscomb and blood guts and gore man Dan Jones for entertainment value. I haven’t seen a descent drama about Elizabeth I for years. For once it shouldn’t be all Virgin Queen and Glorianna but somewhere inbetween and more balanced. Their six wives was good so looking forward to watching next week. Thank goodness an escape from Genius lol. I don’t accept totally Lipscomb take on Anne’s fall, but she has a point that Anne and her reckless conversation were used by a spiteful Cromwell/Henrican desire to be rid of this marriage in order to make a more powerful case against her. No specific conversation was mentioned but these innocent but careless conversations with Norris and Weston were mashed into a general charge of conspiring against the King. Adultery and incest alone could only equal divorce or banishment or confinement in a religious house as they were not criminal in nature. However, plotting to marry the lover after Henry’s death and place a bastard child on the throne were and taken together these conversations, some of which only came out in the Tower, were obviously interpreted in this manner.

    Personally I believe a number of things contributed to Anne’s fall and I believe it began a month earlier. I believe Anne’s last miscarriage left her vulnerable, her enemies watching her made every little thing count against her, she was in the way of Cromwell and his plans, she was in the way of his foreign desires, she was also being watched by the Seymour gang who were promoting their sister to replace Anne and her relationship with Henry was up and down. There were problems in their marriage and he appeared to be thinking about deserting her. There had been juries and inquiries and oyer and terminer in the two weeks up to her arrest, all sorts of strange behaviour in council meetings and even Henry’s elaborate protests of making every one know Anne was his true wife was a front. Then it had all fallen into place. Cromwell had arrested Mark Smeaton and interrogated him for 24 hours till he confessed. His naming of Henry Norris may have been a coincidence or it may have been impressed upon him over the period of the questioning and he gave in. However, the news of Norris and Anne’s unfortunate talk reached him and confirmed everything. Henry wanted Anne out of the way and in a sudden turn of emotion from love to hatred fed into his decision making as he now ordered Cromwell to take whatever steps he needed to end things. Having began with a weak case, but one which may possibly make Henry look like a cuckold, Cromwell went further and feeling his own place was not secure, he went out and invented a strong one from bits and pieces that came from earlier conversations and his own imagination. There are four main theories, conspiracy by Cromwell and his cronies, deliberate conspiracy by Henry, Anne’s careless behaviour and possible guilt. The last one I dismiss out of hand. I have said there is something in the third, but only in that innocent talk was deliberately used for false evidence, not because Anne was to blame. This leaves Cromwell and Henry as the main instigators. No matter what sort of case Cromwell could cook up against Anne, he couldn’t act without the King’s cooperation, consent or orders. Henry, therefore is just as much to blame and although I do go with the Cromwell conspiracy, I also think Henry was the instigator in wanting Anne gone and ordered an investigation. What transpired was more than even Cromwell could have hoped for but he had already begun his plans, his spying and secret investigations. These courtly games became dangerous in an air of suspicion and spies made what they would of innocent and reckless conversations alike. This is why some of the men who fell into this trap did so accidentally, while others appear targeted due to rumours arriving at Cromwell’s door. It mattered not, a name came up and Cromwell had his five innocent victims, all connected to Anne in some way and now he made his list of invented indictments and false dates which he then presented to the King who accepted everything. Henry was satisfied, his loathing for Anne was now very clear and with each added name from her time in the Tower, Brereton and Weston were arrested after Anne, confirmed to Henry his wife was guilty of horrendous crimes and deserved death. Henry turned cold and nothing could have changed his mind or give six innocent people a chance of a fair trial. Henry simply wanted Anne out of his life, Cromwell found and contrived and conjured up the evil means to make it happen.

    There is of course the more ridiculous but often spouted theory, mainly explored by Professor Retha Warnicke and older historians, that Anne was doomed from the moment she had a miscarriage of a male baby in January 1536. Professor Warnicke believes conclusively that Anne had a deformed foetus. This information comes from the latter fanciful and hostile source of Nicholas Sander, a Catholic exile writting in the 1580s so extreme caution should be used in using this source. However, there is no contemporary evidence that Anne’s last miscarriage was anything out of the ordinary. Professor Warnicke has used a number of treatise from the era to explain that there was a belief that deformed children were as a result of illicit sex. One does refer specifically to incest, the very sin Anne and George Boleyn was accused of but there is a very clear problem with this, Anne didn’t have a deformed child. Warnicke still says that Anne was innocent but her theory is around how illicit sexual practices were seen at the time and how harm was seen within the context of witchcraft. Although Anne wasn’t charged with witchcraft, Warnicke appears to take seriously a rumour that Henry believed she had used such powers to curse him and beguile him into marriage. This vague rumour may not even be true but its origins are a courtier being told by Henry that he felt bewitched into marriage, that he felt his marriage was not blessed and he would take another wife. However, it was apparently said shortly after Anne’s miscarriage and there is evidence that it wasn’t meant, may not have reliable origins and that Henry and Anne were reconciled within a few weeks. Henry did indeed enquire into annulment of his marriage, but this was not a clean option, but if he wanted to use any of this against Anne, why wait five months. A big leap from an off the cuff remark from a distressed husband which he never repeated and may never have said to Anne being thought to have harmed her baby through magic. Even if the court believed this and there are no indications to this, again why wait five months? Yes, the witchcraft statute was passed in 1536, but old laws allowed a charge of malficia. And the men of course were targets of Cromwell in order to make the sexual lies stick that they were accused of with Anne because they were guilty of sexual misconduct anyway, so the charges are easier to believe if someone has a poor character. There was indeed a new Buggery Statute which made a particular brand of illicit love, homosexuality, sodomy in particular, a capital crime. Warnicke alleged that some of the men arrested with Anne were lovers and that their sexual preferences were men or bisexual. At this time the Church frowned on same sex relationships but in England before this statute it wasn’t a capital crime. The first person executed for this crime was Walter, Lord Hungerford, executed on the same scaffold, ironically as Thomas Cromwell in 1540. Again, we have a problem with Professor Warnicke’s theory. There is no actual proof that any of these innocent men were known sexual deviants and had they been, then why wait to deliberately link them to sex with the Queen (save as targets of course)? Why not simply charge them under the statute which would have been more acceptable given that attitudes were not so liberal then as today. (While it is true that sexual practices were more fluid in the Middle Ages than one may assume officially it was still frowned upon outside the marriage bed in any form). I admit that Professor Warnicke has done her homework on the statute, but the only information she bases her belief that these five men were targets for sexual heresy as she calls it, on are verses by George Cavendish and the misinterpretation of their scaffold speeches in which they asked pardon as sinners and vague references to licencious living. That George Boleyn and then ten years later, Mark Smeaton put their names in the same book is not proof they were lovers. Interesting as these theories are as an insight to the mind of the Medieval and Tudor Society on religious and sexual ideas, they don’t apply to the arrest of Anne Boleyn and her co accused. Anne didn’t give birth to a deformed foetus, there is no evidence to support that view. Neither is there any evidence to support the theory that the men were involved in sexual heresy or that they were targeted on account of such crimes of sodomy. Anne’s brother may have been a womanizer or gay but his death speech can only be interpreted as a sinner seeking general pardon on their Eternal soul.

    I reject this theory above because there is no evidence to support the idea that Anne’s fall had anything to do with either the birth of a deformed baby or that her child was deformed. I reject the theory of sexual heresy as there is no evidence that any of these men were known as having deviant sexual practices. As someone has said on another article, it is possible that they all were lovers, but that doesn’t make it true and there are no contemporary sources to back up this theory. I reject the theory that Henry believed Anne had bewitched him as he merely said this in passing and no such charges were brought against her. Henry was angry and disappointed when Anne miscarried and believed God would give him no sons but there is no evidence that this was anything but a normal miscarriage like many others during these times. It is not likely that Anne was arrested due to losing a son and again no evidence supports this idea. Anne was open to attack from her enemies and no longer safe after Katherine died, but a more logical path would have been an annulment. Henry explored this path and the reasoning behind his choice to destroy a woman he loved so absolutely and cruelly is beyond any logical explanation. He turned suddenly and violently against her and used Cromwell, his creature to find a means to remove his wife forever so he could make a fresh start with another woman. Cromwell took full advantage of foolish talk and some nasty tittle tattle, found a patsy and forced him to confess to adultery and give him a name. A link with Anne’s foolish talk was established when Smeaton named Henry Norris, the man she had teased the day before. Cromwell took it from there, more arrests followed and more lies were invented and a case against six innocent people made. No deformed foetus, no witchcraft, no sodomy, just straightforward false allegations of sexual intercourse and incest with the Queen and conspiracy. Henry’s true motivation is a mystery, but at some point, maybe even before January 1536 Henry had stopped loving Anne and his hatred was fed by paranoid suspicious lies. Henry believed these charges because it was convenient to do so. Despite the view of Elton that Tudor government didn’t interfere with the courts to find traitors guilty, there is plenty of evidence that Henry Viii made certain very few had favourable outcomes. The legal mechanisms were in place before anyone was arrested and the grand juries assembled. There are hints that this case was doomed before it began and an alliance of court machinations combined in favour of the Seymour family and to destroy the Boleyn factions and their allies. The entire thing was a stitch up and Anne and her five co accused were innocent victims of a paranoid King and an ambitious minister.

    1. Jolly good refutation of the Warnicke theory, BQ. As ever, your comment makes a good read. What do you make of John Schofield’s Cromwell book (The Rise & Fall of …), and his theory that everyone concerned expected an annulment, until the 28/29th April. He writes, “Once Henry had turned irrevocably against Anne in January 1536, there was nothing that Cromwell could have done for her except perhaps secure for her as painless a divorce settlement as was possible in the circumstances, and even this slim hope vanished when three anonymous lords went to Henry one day with information that the queen was false to him.” Schofield’s theory relies on de cares, as you know. There is here, at the least, a link to Mark Smeaton. I’d be interested to know what you think.

      1. Schofield isn’t alone; I think Susanna Lipscomb agrees with him:


        The main problem with this theory is that there is no known reason for setting up the legal commissions — not sure that this is a strong basis for discarding the theory, since other theories also rely on certain “weak reeds” (for example, the Ives/Weir “Cromwell dunnit” theory rests on the assumption that a guy who tried to get a tax supported program of poor relief through Parliament in 1535 has a motive to murder Anne in 1536 — because she wants the fruits of the dissolved monasteries to be used for charitable purposes. GMAB!_

      2. Hi, yes, there are a series of pieces of information which supports the theory that Cromwell was looking into a possible annulment. A few days before he and Henry consulted an expert on canon law which suggests he wanted to know if he could annul the marriage. Henry is reported by Chapuys, although this may only have been a rumour, to have said he was going to abandon Anne. This was before her arrest. Henry also tried to get Harry Percy to admit he was previously contracted with Anne, but this was after her arrest when he was also charging Anne with adultery and treason. Schofield has a good point, and I apologise in advance but I’m commenting blind as I haven’t read him recently. I believe, however, events took over and Cromwell went further to get rid of her, based later on his own admission. I don’t think Henry wanted an annulment after Smeaton’s confession and Cromwell was more than happy to oblige in any way possible. To be honest I actually think both Cromwell and Henry feared Anne to a degree, at least to the extent that she might not accept an annulment. I believe there is enough evidence that Cromwell was capable of cooking up as good a case as possible and Henry was capable of being cruel enough to believe anything and to order more investigations to ensure the case didn’t fall apart. There are equally good arguments for Cromwell and Henry being the instigators and just as good a case for both combinations. Susanna Lipscomb argued that it was more a case of unfortunate events and rumours and Henry believed his beloved Anne was guilty. This doesn’t explain Cromwell targeting Smeaton. There are a number of factors which come together. Cromwell couldn’t just simply act alone and why would Henry act alone if he wanted an annulment? Two grounds existed for an annulment if he didn’t get Percy to agree. Henry had a relationship with Anne’s sister Mary and he may have had an affair with his mother. Mary Talbot could be a witness to Anne and Percy and so could others and Cromwell could be very persuasive. No I believe the events of 28th and 29th April gave rise to an investigation, Cromwell had what he wanted after Smeaton confessed, but he had also implicated Henry Norris and possibly George Boleyn (George being arrested is still something of a mystery as is how Cromwell obtained information accusing him of incest and no contemporary evidence points to this being the authors favourite, Jane Boleyn) which then led to their arrest and interrogations. Henry must have authorised these at least, even if Cromwell planted the evidence and we know how angry Henry had been on May Day. We also know he had an angry encounter with Anne on 30th April. If Henry wanted an annulment and the best Cromwell could indeed do for Anne was a fair and smooth annulment, which got her the best treatment, by May 1st he had changed his mind. His behaviour after this and up to 19th and the swift rush to justice show a King determined to have Anne gone and Cromwell provided a more permanent means. He now took bits of conversation and twisted them into a deadly conspiracy to kill the King, with one of her many lovers and he sat down and invented the list of sexual details and indictments we are left with. In other words Henry said yes I want this woman gone for good and Cromwell, already plotting her downfall didn’t need to arrange an annulment; he simply cooked up false evicence instead. I definitely reject the deformed foetus theory.

        1. I agree with you that the deformed foetus theory is completely unsupported. What I also reject is the idea that Cromwell instigated the whole thing and convinced Henry of Anne’s guilt. AFAIK, there would have been three possible grounds for an annulment .. Anne’s pre-contract with Henry Percy, alleged “witchcraft”, and Henry’s affair with Anne’s sister Mary. I think the meeting with the canon lawyer was to investigate the first two possibilities (because those allow for Henry to be an innocent victim,) — and that the conclusions were (a) not enough evidence to overcome Percy’s denial that a pre-contract existed and (b) a charge of witchcraft would make Henry’s supremacy (assumed solely to marry Anne) over the church something inspired by Satan (because the desire to marry her was demonic, if due to witchcraft). This is why (again, IMO) the annulment papers actually do not specify the grounds — since Henry knew of his affair with Mary Boleyn, annulling the marriage on those grounds makes him look a little silly for thinking he ever could have a valid marriage with Anne.

        2. Anne Boleyn was not accused of witchcraft. I am sorry but I really don’t understand your idea about a divorce on the grounds of witchcraft. Henry is only vaguely reputed to have made an off the cuff remark about being charmed into marriage to an anonymous courtier which was then reported as a rumour. There is no other evidence that Henry believed his wife had bewitched him into marriage, although this idea has an interesting precedent. Warwick tried Jaquetta Woodville, Edward iv’s mother-in-law, for using charms to entice the young King into marriage with her daughter, when he rebelled against his master but this was thrown out for lack of evidence and Jaquetta made reference to her former service to Margaret of Anjou. This was revised by both George Duke of Clarence in his attempts to promote himself but also found its way into the Titular Regis, as part of the official reason why the marriage of Edward and Elizabeth Woodville was declared invalid. The other more convincing reason of course was that it had been shown that Edward was married first to Eleanor Butler, Earl of Shrewsbury, which I know is disputed, but that was the main reason underpinning Richard iii and his kingship so it was here in the Act of Parliament confirming his claim in law. However, yes, the Act does also say that Edward was beguiled into marriage by witchcraft so Henry would have a legal precedent if he wanted go go down that road. Ah, we have a problem. Henry Tudor had the Act repealed and all of the copies destroyed so he couldn’t use that to back him up. A canon law expert could well find their way around that but he would need a ruling from a Church court as well as Parliament, so that wouldn’t be easy.

          Henry didn’t ask for an expert until the last week in April. The entire thing all happened after 18th April, the Easter Monday which saw a lot of confusion and trouble. Anne had a high moment, with the bow from Chapuys, then there was the disastrous meeting with Henry by the Ambassador and Cromwell during which Henry had a meltdown over the Emperor and his proposals and Cromwell found himself being attacked by Henry and the whole of his foreign policy fall apart. Those who believe in Cromwell as the instigator of a conspiracy point to this moment as key. A week later on 23rd April a candidate of Queen Anne was overlooked for a supporter of Lady Jane Seymour in a promotion. Henry acted with a number of contradictions during all this next week, including to see this expert, who as you say would look into the other two possible reasons for an annulment, he also referred to Anne in terms of endearment, but then this was a standard way to refer to your royal consort, but then he also cancelled their trip to France and set up legal tribunals of oyer and terminer. The latter suggests Henry had no real interest in another annulment. As he wanted to marry again a divorce was out of the question, so he could annul his marriage or ask Cromwell for another solution.

          It’s the other solution I believe Henry wanted and he left the details to Cromwell who used everything he could find or invent, every rumour he could confirm, every confession he could extract, every person he could trick to find out more lies and distortion from, sent his spies to report anything he found dangerous and Anne’s own words helped him to frame a case. The two juries considered evidence about treasons and conspiracy and were set up before even Smeaton was arrested so this appears as evidence for Henry being the instigator. There is much confusion, but perhaps Henry was being two faced, keeping all on their toes with the investigation and conspiracy against Anne going on in the background. I believe both have merit and it was a combination of the two things, plus a series of incidents which allowed Cromwell to make his case and Henry to demand Anne’s arrest, trial and those of her innocent co accused to be condemned.

          Henry once loved Anne very much but between January and now he had lost that love. The evidence that Anne had betrayed him, confirming his desire to be out of the marriage angered him and turned his love to passionate hatred. He proceeded against them with impunity and with swift vengeance and rough justice. Henry may well have thought about an annulment immediately after the death of his unborn son, may well have had thoughts of being charmed into marriage, but if he did, there is no evidence to support him taking any action at that time. This is also were Professor Warnicke’s theory falls down. As I said, evidence in her research does indeed show that some theological works existed which promoted the fear that deformed foetus are believed to be as a result of illicit sexual activity. However, there is no evidence that Anne had a deformed child and the evidence from Nicholas Sander is very biased and 50 years later. There is no evidence that Henry sought an annulment in February or March 1536, but there was a Statute he could use if he feared any harm came to his child as above and it didn’t result in divorce. There was never any discussion around Anne and the men being involved in sexual practices which could harm her unborn child and condemn them under the Buggary Act. There was no investigation of Anne being involved in witchcraft. None of these were even raised to strengthen Cromwell’s case against the Queen or the five men. Henry may have made an unsubstantiated remark to a courtier about being bewitched, but he doesn’t appear to have taken it any further. If he really believed this why wait another four or five months to see a canon law expert? I don’t believe Henry seriously wanted another annulment. He wanted another solution and now he had one. Whether Henry or Cromwell were the initial instigator, the entire thing was loaded to paint a dark, dark picture of Anne, to make everyone feel sorry for the poor betrayed King, whose wife had done such terrible things to him. It was all a big piece of theatre, but the drama and terrible ending all too fatally real.

          Globerose, yes, Scoffield has a good point. From January there probably wasn’t much anyone could do if Henry wanted out but find a way to divorce Anne at that point as she had now lost her trump card. Anne was open to her enemies as this conspiracy shows. It’s a pity he didn’t seek her agreement for a divorce or annulment in the circumstances she found herself with her miscarriage being made public and Henry certainly thinking he may not now have anymore heirs. However, there is evidence that Anne and Henry patched things up for a time and Henry didn’t consult an expert for four months. When this all hit it appeared out of the blue, but something was afoot for at least two weeks. It was confusing at first, but now it was terrifying.

  2. Ah, my Applemac has intervened again …. ‘de cares’ should read ‘de Carles’. Sorry about that.

  3. I could never understand why Warnicke a respected academic historian takes at face value what Sander said half a century later, in Elizabeths reign her name was dragged through the mud as it was when she was alive by catholic propagandists who wished to discredit her daughter, Elizabeth was born a bastard her parents were never legally married, etc, Anne was in league with satan and was sleeping with her brother, she gave birth to a monster, in reality the poor little thing was a normal baby who tragically died before it was properly developed, one historian noted it had the features of a male but others said it was impossible to tell the sex as it was too early, but somehow a ridiculous theory has twisted it out of all proportion so that it was deformed, Warnicke bases Anne fall on the theory that the incest charge was used against Anne and her alleged lovers were sexual deviants, it’s deformed foetus was proof that Henry and his council believed this but where does she get the evidence? From Sander a Catholic propagandist who also wrote disparagingly of her appearance that she was a sallow skinned crone with a big tooth, he never met her and I bet if he had, he would have been charmed by this eloquent gracious lady instead! I have never heard before from any historian that Annes alleged lovers were anything other than straight, Warnicke has blown the deformed foetus theory out of all proportion and suggested they indulged in sodomy and there is proof of this in some of the men’s scaffold speeches, yet it was customery for the condemned to say a little speech and admit they were sinners, this did not mean they were guilty of what they were to die for, one of the men said, ‘the cause for which I die judge not yet if ye judge judge the best’ in a roundabout way he was saying to the crowd he was innocent, George Boleyn said he had been a sinner so what! In that age a sin meant anything from failing to attend church on a Sunday to being a bit drunk, it was also customery to praise the King something which Anne did, the crowds did not take much notice of these speeches as mentioned they were part of the routine of the condemned person, Weston and Brereton were happily married and Brereton was not even in Annes circle, the fact that both their wives believed firmly in their innocence shows they had a close and loving relationship with them, if any of these men were guilty of anything it was possibly just the sort of rivalry that existed at court, the squabbling over their positions, possibly gambling and the odd brawling session, Brereton was a bit crooked but that did not make him a sexual deviant, and the witchcraft remark was something Henry said when he was feeling bitter over the loss of his child which he believed to have been a prince, it was not something he took seriously himself yet again Warnicke has turned it into what she believes a credible source, jokingly I think Warnicke had been reading too much of the Salem witch trials before she wrote her biography of Anne, Henry was not concerned with witchcraft, he was more concerned with heretics and getting a son, indeed did he really believe such people existed, it was not until James 1st that the persecution of so called witches occurred with his very real belief that they had been responsible for the storm that that blown up when his bride was travelling from Denmark to England, then a lot of innocent women were put to death just because they had a wart on the end of their nose or their neighbours sick cow had fallen sick and died, they had a black cat which followed them around all day and they made medicines from herbs, all preposterous nonsense and today it is considered laughable, the belief of witchcraft is as archaic as the dinosaurs yet it was a very real fear in 17th century England and America, Anne did not give birth to a deformed foetus, she was not a witch, she was deeply religious and pious, she was not a whore and although she was no saint and said many awful things most of these were just said out of frustration and anger, she was not a hypocrite and tried to be something she was not, from young she had been schooled by Margaret of Austria who had taught all the girls in her household the art of conduct, how a lady behaved, how she spoke and what she said, her bearing and what impression she made on her contemporaries, her household had a strict moral code and it was something Anne herself modelled her own on, she had been schooled to believe in herself to respect herself, and to behave with dignity and virtue, all of Margaret Of Austrias ladies left her court thus and the fact that Anne impressed so many when she first arrived at court with her polish and cultured manner was mostly down to her, this earlier Anne who was taught so diligently by that doyenne of ladylike behaviour would not have turned into a sexually voracious devil worshipping tramp who plotted to kill her husband, it’s utterly ridiculous and it does Anne no justice I think to even consider reading Warnickes book in the first place, Phillipa Gregory also does Anne no favours having her trying to coerce her brother into bed with her, and giving birth to her baby with a huge head like it was an alien from Mars, but that the problem with Annes sorry tale, books written by the likes of Gregory are then made into films and the public watching think, ‘blimey she slept with her own brother and she had a monster baby, Smeaton and the others were gay and had orgies and she was a bloodsucking witch’ , thus a simple theory becomes fact, yet none of it is and it’s like the little finger on one of Annes hands, it was not a finger but a tiny nail next to her other one, it was not noticeable and in fact quite possibly added to the beauty of her hands which were said to be long and shapely, hands which her daughter undoubtedly inherited, like a mole next to a short little nose instead of extracting from it, can actually enhance its perfectness, and in a strange way the tale of the monster baby and the whiff of sorcery actually lends yet more enigma to the sad story of this most enigmatic of queens.

    1. My understanding of Warnicke’s position is that she initially disagreed with Eric Ives’ faction-based theory of Anne’s downfall. Ives proposed that Thomas Cromwell united with the supporters of Katherine of Aragon to bring down Anne and her fellow reformers. Cromwell was motivated by fear and dislike of Anne and their growing estrangement about the fate of the monasteries. For his evidence, Ives relied very closely on John Skip’s sermon in April 1536 as well as the ambassadorial dispatches of Eustace Chapuys. Essentially, this theory meant that Cromwell duped Henry into believing his wife was guilty of treason. After Anne was dead, so this theory goes, Cromwell also turned on the Aragonese faction.

      Warnicke disagreed with Ives’ factional argument, and she suggested that he was basically ignoring gender issues and contemporary attitudes to reproduction. Warnicke thinks that Anne’s miscarriage in 1536 convinced Henry that their marriage was doomed. Warnicke also drew attention to the fact that the indictments charged Anne and her lovers with sexual relations over a three year period, ending in December 1535, just before the miscarriage took place. What was the reason for the selection of these particular dates? Why, to make it seem as if Anne’s incestuous relations with her brother and adulterous affairs with the other men had caused her to become pregnant. It was not Henry’s child, it was the product of adultery – or even incest.

      Warnicke also suggested that sexual offences such as adultery and incest were closely associated with witchcraft and sorcery during this period. She notes that Anne was rumoured to have poisoned her stepdaughter Mary and stepson Henry Fitzroy; there were also allegations that she plotted the king’s death.

      As is well known, a third historian, G.W. Bernard, entered the lists at about the same time, and he vocally disagreed with both Ives and Warnicke. Bernard’s theory was that Anne was guilty of adultery, though probably with only two or three of the men and not her own brother. Bernard thinks that Anne’s affairs were uncovered in a moment of scandal and fear by one of her ladies, the countess of Worcester. Unlike Ives, who relied on Chapuys, Bernard focused on the French reports and the poetry of Lancelot de Carles, who was not actually present at court when Anne’s downfall occurred.

      Lacey Baldwin Smith wrote a study of Anne’s life that included an analysis of the four main theories about Anne’s downfall and execution: those put forward by Ives, Warnicke, Bernard and Alison Weir. He pointed to problems with all of these theories. Ives and Weir rely too much on Chapuys, and more recent historians such as Lipscomb have demonstrated that it was Henry, not Cromwell, who was the prime mover in Anne’s downfall. Bernard’s theory is based on a shaky reading of a poem, while Warnicke’s theory is based on non-existent evidence.

      1. Lacey Baldwin Smith also questioned why historians are so harsh about Warnicke and accuse her of fabricating evidence, when most of the other historians can also be charged with relying on a speculative or imaginative reading of the evidence.

        1. The problem is when trying to find out facts from events that happened so long ago is not an easy task, and we will never know what Henry said to Cromwell behind closed doors, or what Anne and Henry talked about between the sheets, there is such a lot of evidence missing for example, much of Kingstons letters were destroyed in a fire that would have told us much more what Anne said whilst under arrest in the Tower, there are several variations of her scaffold speech and even her resting place is disputed, I do believe however like Warnicke that her final miscarriage sealed her fate as it was then plain to Henry that Anne could not carry a child to full term, she had Elizabeth as proof she was fertile but it appeared she was just as unfortunate as Katherine when it came to princes, sadly we will know the complete truth as Ives put it quite simply in his biography ‘ historians see through a glass darkly’.

        2. I don’t believe Professor Warnicke invented her theory, her research is actually sound, but here it is stretching it to the limit as she is applying her research to an event which may not have happened. Her source for Anne’s deformed foetus comes from Sander writing 50 years later so she should not hold him as a reliable source. She has researched texts which proposed the ideas that men and women engaging in forbidden sexual practices may lead to the woman having a deformed baby or in other inheritance of disability. In Sexual Heresy in her book Rise and Fall of Anne Boleyn Warnicke makes much of a theory that there was a fear at court, in the inner sanctum of Henry and in the council and perhaps in Cromwell’s eyes that forbidden sexual practices had caused this miscarriage and the men chosen because of their sexuality because you can make them seem more likely to have sex with the Queen. In other words, they would look guilty because people would be horrified at their homosexual relationships and Anne could be guilty of using witchcraft on her child or the King and possibly of incest and adultery and her deformed child proved it. Warnicke theorized that there was a fear that this was the cause of Anne’s miscarriage not that it was the cause and her miscarriage led to her downfall. As Christine points out, this idea has to be rejected because there is no evidence Anne had a deformed foetus, nor that Henry suspected anything other than failure, that God would not give him male children, that he sought to end his marriage because of this, that he believed Anne was using witchcraft or that any of the five men accused had been involved in forbidden homosexual relationships. The theory falls down because none of this was brought as charges and there were now other laws which could be used to execute them under. I reject her theories for the reasons stated above, but that doesn’t mean she hasn’t well researched her ideas. Theological ideas such as those stated by Warnicke did exist among some theologians but could not be applied to Anne Boleyn and her case.

          Apart from a whole host of articles on witchcraft and sexuality in history Warnicke cites this specifically for support of her ideas: “K.Park and L.Danston “Unnatural Conceptions” : 20-54; E. Fenton. Certain Secrete: 12-13, J Barker “The Description of a monstrous chylde (London 1564); Anonymous, “A strange and true discourse of the wonderful judgement of God. Of a Monstrous, Deformed Infant, begotten by incestuous copulation..(London 1600) and for the terrified father, W. Elderton…” The true fourme and shape of a monstrous chylde borne in Stoney Staforde” London 1565. She also says a treatise from the 17th century showed the idea of Sander that Anne gave birth to a “shapeless mass of flesh” was made independent of him. However, this is even later and certainly no contemporary evidence sustains this idea. The theory simply cannot and does not apply in the case of Anne Boleyn and there is nothing but a few words based on their last speeches which give any proof of any of the five men being suspected of or engaged in homosexual or incestuous relationships. I have to reject her theories on that basis.

      2. I remember Bernard saying in the ‘Last Days Of Anne Boleyn’ that a woman does not go and have sex with her own brother to get pregnant just because he’s the one man you can trust to keep quiet, I agree with him and so do millions of other women, however Gregory reckons Anne could have as she was a very ruthless woman, I mean come on your own brother? Jesus! Incest has always been frowned on its unnatural, and Anne was not a queen in Ancient Eygpt where it was considered normal to copulate with your brothers, uncles even fathers! The Eygptians had no idea that children being borne of two close blood relatives would have birth defects, Tutankhamen for example was born with scoliosis and a club foot, he was only young when he died, possibly murdered and walked with a stick, his parents were brother and sister, Anne and George were both normal adults who had had a normal upbringing, they had the advantage of a good education, they mixed with a lot of attractive people so how can Gregory even think such a thing, Anne was desperate to have a son but she was not that desperate to go to such lengths and as iv mentioned before, why on earth would her own brother agree to sleeping with her, I simply cannot see that, the incest charge was just used to discredit her name there was no basis in it yet Gregory thinks it could possibly be true, she’s not an historian however just a novelist although no doubt she does her research, but I think she’s just put it in her books as it gives it added spice, she even mentioned that she’s used Warnickes theories about the incest and monster baby but Warnicke however refutes this, Gregory’s novels remind of the News Of The World I used to read years ago, it was full of salacious gossip!

        1. My grandmother loved the news of the world and thought it was all true. Thankfully the paper no longer exists and one day the Sun will go the same way, but the salacious nonsense of Philippa Gregory and these indictments would certainly have been in them, serialized in full colour. The 18th Dynasty in particular married brothers and sisters, although fathers and daughters married for ceremonial roles and the Ptolemy Dynasty definitely did. However, Anne and George Boleyn lived in an era when such close relationships were forbidden by the Hebrew Bible and the Church. Her brother would be the last person she would sleep with to get a child. She wouldn’t be foolish enough to sleep with anyone to get a child. If Henry was impotent then it didn’t make sense as if he was regularly impotent or for long periods he would know he wasn’t the father. Even if only occasionally impotent, why take the chance as his ability may return or go at any time and it was unpredictable. Henry was an intelligent being and could probably have worked it out. There seems to have been none of Anne’s ladies who were accused of or who confessed or who were blamed for helping her procure these men. Katherine Howard was able to see Thomas Culpepper on a regular basis because he was brought to her and she was helped by Jane Boleyn and others. She also saw him while he was at close quarters, late at night. She didn’t have to go palace hopping while pregnant and confined after childbirth. Anne would have needed half a dozen clones to achieve the level of adultery she was charged with. Anne Boleyn was a sophisticated woman with a good degree of common sense. There is evidence that she thought she couldn’t get pregnant while Mary and Katherine were still alive but there is a difference between being emotionally disturbed and seeking out a member of the King’s privy chamber in order to get pregnant, not once but several times and in several different places.

          I don’t really worry about Philippa Gregory I’m afraid as her books are fictional and I know her theories are unique and her own for the purposes of selling her books. I also know she at times promotes her ideas as fact, but I like yourself am intelligent enough to know they are not fact. Unfortunately, some people believe them and that’s a problem but then again they are only entertainment.

        2. I loved reading it in bed with a cuppa, all funny stories about Mrs.X and the milkman ha! As for the Sun that’s just a comic, but yes for Anne to have had to commit adultery she would have had to implicate several of her women and Jane her sister in law no doubt would have jumped at the chance, she seemed to get a thrill out of the danger, however as you mention no women were ever charged with aiding her unlike in Catherine Howard’s case, there is the rather spurious story of Smeaton and the marmalade in the cupboard but with Catherine she only met with Culpeper none others, although she was accused of employing Dereham so they could revive her old affair and she had to have the help of Jane and several other women in her household, queens were rarely alone as we have seen it was well nigh impossible to conduct an affair without the help of her women, therefore this fact also renders the charges of adultery in Annes case impossible, Cromwell possibly thought that enough blood would be shed over the coming weeks and he did not think it necessary to bring any women into it, yet it makes the case against her very shaky and unrealistic, how could a queen who was greeting ambassadors and officials and presiding over banquets find the time to go bed hopping from Hampton Court to Windsor Castle and be in time to carry out her duties as consort, when she had leisure time it was spent with her dogs playing in the parks and embroidery with her women, she visited Elizabeth when she could and spent an awful lot of money on acquiring beautiful clothes and bonnets for her, her maternal instinct was strong and when the choice came to having a quickie with a lover or spending time with her beloved little girl, I’m sure the latter won every time, are the council suggesting then that whilst she was with her women she could suddenly slip behind the curtains and her and Norris or Smeaton could have a fumble there and then under their very noses? Because that’s what they were suggesting, the case against Anne Boleyn would in fact have looked more credible had she only been charged with one lover and plotted the Kings death with him, but no they had to really drag her name through the mud and make her out to be a deeply immoral woman without respect for the King and the realm and five innocent men had to suffer with her, such was the price Henry would pay to get a son.

  4. Banditqueen: that Anne wasn’t charged with witchcraft doesn’t necessarily prove that Henry didn’t suspect it. If, in fact, a witchcraft charge would endanger the supremacy, then she wouldn’t be charged with it, especially if the same effect could have accomplished by charging her with something else.

    1. Esther, thanks for your interesting theory. Unfortunately there isn’t any evidence that Anne was even suspected of witchcraft. The nearest we get is a rumour that Henry one day vaguely said something to an unknown courtier that he believed he may have been bewitched into marriage and his marriage cursed. It’s only ever going to be speculation as to how seriously he believed this or what exactly he meant, let alone if it’s more than a rumour he said it. Henry, like Anne, was grieving after the loss of his unborn son. He was genuinely devastated as was Anne and his reaction was unusually harsh and public. We know more details about this miscarriage and how the couple felt than many others with either Katherine or Anne. This was known to be a male baby and Henry was getting more desperate as time went on. He was now almost 45. He had no idea how long his male fertility would last (yes in theory he could go on forever, but health problems affect a man’s performance)and Anne wasn’t a spring chicken. Assuming a dob of 1501_or 1502 she was approximately 34/5. Even an old date of 1507 made her at least 28/9. These were years which made it harder for a woman to conceive and have s healthy child. Anne had proved she could have a healthy child, but with two miscarriages, possibly three, it was looking as if her fertile days may be numbered. A grieving King may think this was to do with God not being pleased or at a stretch his wife being a witch. However, there is no evidence that Henry actually did believe this and nothing but a rumour indicates he even said it. I don’t believe Henry believed for one moment Anne was a witch and he was still pretty committed to their marriage for four months afterwards.

      I don’t understand what you mean by if a charge of witchcraft would endanger the Supremacy he would charge her with something else?

      Do you mean that because because Henry made himself head of the Church in order to marry Anne after seven years of seeking an annulment from Rome, if she was now shown not to be the chosen one who would provide his son, he would look foolish if he now divorced Anne? Do you mean that Henry could use witchcraft to claim Anne tricked him into marriage and now everything he had done to achieve his power and position was in doubt because of that decision due to her failure to give him a son? Henry certainly had made all of his decisions based on his absolute belief that a) his first marriage was not valid and blessed by God as his first wife was formerly married to his brother and b) Anne could and would be the woman to give him a son. He had gone as far as he did because be was single minded and Anne had been just as single minded at the end of their courtship and accepted her role as Queen and that it was her job to give birth to a son. Now this had turned out not to be the case, so yes, Henry would begin to question why he had done all this, including his Supremacy. The failure of Anne to have a son may not endanger the Supremacy, but it would certainly make Henry look foolish. He was by now asking questions about the validity of his marriage, if he yet again had failed the Lord, but he doesn’t appear to have blamed anything demonic. If Henry really thought Anne was a threat to his Supremacy or to anything else he had done to making her his Queen, it was more likely to God he turned for answers than superstitious belief in witchcraft. Henry may have thought about this for a brief time, but the logic of his thinking always took him down a path which made more sense, the righteousness of his cause. Henry was a big believer in his own righteousness and he knew that Anne as a witch simply didn’t make any sense. I don’t believe this argument makes much sense. Henry had to find something which would make Anne look far more devious than someone who had him under a spell. Any capital crime Anne was found guilty of or any sin had to make her the villen and Henry the victim. After the miscarriage, there doesn’t seem to have been anything more than grief which made him question his marriage. Something changed by April, something which made him look again, a movement away from support for the Boleyn clan towards the Seymour party. It’s their supporters who seem to be plotting behind the scenes and Cromwell has his own agenda, but is also moving towards the Seymour faction. Nothing happens until April, after Cromwell finds himself undermined policy wise and has a strip torn off him by the King. The events leading to Anne’s fall come in the next two weeks. Its now that Henry questions his second marriage. Its now that Henry sets up legal commissions and its now that Cromwell investigates every rumour and rash conversation and finally sets his plot in motion, supported fully by the King and the Seymours. The confession of Smeaton and accidental conversations with Norris and Weston do the rest and Anne was charged with adultery, treason and incest. Henry doesn’t need an annulment any more. Now, thanks to Cromwell, he can charge her with a capital crime, treason. Adultery and incest are not enough, but if a case can be made that she plotted with one of her lovers to kill the King, then job done. Anne’s actions may not endanger the Supremacy, in fact the trial may even judtify him as a righteous King and enhance his Supremacy, but Henry’s marriage being in doubt would certainly have led to him asking questions. Again, there is no evidence he sought to end his marriage based on witchcraft or even believed Anne was a witch, save in fiction.

      1. Henry’ made himself Supreme Head of the Church in England so that he could marry Anne. If his desire to marry Anne was demonic in origin (as it would have been if due to witchcraft), then the supremacy would be rooted in something of Satanic (not divine) origin. So, I don’t think Henry would have charged Anne with witchcraft, even if he thought that the marriage was invalid due to that reason. The absence of evidence proves something didn’t happen only if there would have been evidence if the event did happen — if the desire to protect the supremacy prevented charges based on witchcraft, then the absence of evidence doesn’t disprove the theory, Anne’s 1536 miscarriage (apparently, her second — there are records that Anne had “a goodly belly” in 1534, but nothing came of it) made Henry think the marriage was cursed by G-d, for the same reason as Henry came to believe that his marriage to Katherine was cursed. However, this would not necessarily taint the supremacy. Iif, for example, they could have proven a pre-contract with Percy, G-d would curse them for Anne’s bigamy, but Henry relied on Percy’s statement under oath, so it wouldn’t be his fault — and it wouldn’t taint the supremacy — if Percy lied. The ground for annulment that did make Henry look silly was the invalidity created by his relationship with Mary Boleyn … he was the sinner in that case .. I am trying to think of reasons why Anne had to be executed … and since (a) Cromwell would have agreed with Anne on poor relief and (b) Chapuys had been told that Anne can’t get in the way of better relationships between the Empire and England, I don’t see him having a motive to murder based on political disagreement. I do think Anne’s ideas would have angered Henry … he wanted the money from the monasteries …; and poor relief or other charitable purposes had no place in his spending plans!

        1. Anne and Cromwell had fallen out over the use of the monastic land and its revenue. Anne wanted the use of the money to go towards social use, education, rather than them being sold to greedy courtiers. Cromwell also had a go of cultivating his own foreign policy which he assumed Henry approved off which backfired as he didn’t calculate Henry into the equation. Cromwell ended up in trouble and assumed Anne was the main barrier. It’s argued that this is part of the root for a fall out with an already vulnerable Anne and when Henry wanted her out of the way, Cromwell was only too willing to oblige and developed the eventual plot. It’s more likely a combination of things which came together, including a series of unfortunate conversations and events that persuaded Henry an investigation was needed. Confronted with a probably forced confession, confirming that Norris was one of Anne’s lovers from Smeaton, made those conversations into more than they were and Henry, angry and betrayed gave orders for their arrests. There is also an alternative that Henry placed commissions in place to try various crimes including treason and conspiracy and these conversations were reported as validation of those investigations. One has Cromwell as the instigator, the other Henry. The reality is that it has to be both. Once the wheels turned, they were given a push as Cromwell made the charges stronger to strengthen his case.

          There is no reason Anne had to die. The entire thing is totally illogical. However, Henry doesn’t seem to have been behaving or thinking in any way that makes any sense. The whole thing came together very bizarrely. We don’t unfortunately have all the pieces and that’s why there are so many theories. All we know for certain is Smeaton was interrogated by Cromwell and confessed to adultery. Anne had a conversation the previous day with Henry Norris which was unfortunate and involved telling Norris that he sought to have her after her husband died. Norris outraged denied it. The next thing we know is that Anne and Henry argued about something, but we don’t know what and he was extremely angry. Due to this conversation and out of Smeaton confessing, he also named Norris. We next know for certain is that word reached Henry the next day, 1st May and he left joust leaving Anne there with Norris in tow. It’s assumed because of what happened on the way back that he had been told of Smeaton’s confession. Henry confronted Norris, asked him to confess he had slept with the Queen and offered him his life. We know next that Norris denied everything and was taken to the Tower. At a tennis match 2nd May Anne was summoned to appear at the Council and goes there. She is accused of adultery and arrested and taken to the royal apartments in the Tower. George Boleyn goes to Whitehall and is arrested. Over the next few days, Thomas Wyatt is arrested, Francis Bryan arrested but not charged, Richard Page is also arrested, although later released. Wyatt was released after its all over. William Brereton and Francis Weston are arrested also and also charged. Evidence was given to two juries and the evidence accepted. Cromwell obviously makes his list of dates, names, times and places and details, which are not questioned but are nonsense and Henry now wanted Anne out of the way. An annulment is only now used to invalidate the marriage after Anne is condemned in order to declare Elizabeth illegitimate. Henry wants no rivals for Jane Seymour or her children. Once the confession is made, the charges laid out, Henry probably believed them or didn’t care and wanted Anne dead and out of his life. Charging Anne with believable examples of adultery and incest you can make a strong case which blackens her name and justifies and action. By adding treason the blame for everything going wrong can be laid at her door. Henry doesn’t have to explain why his marriage hasn’t been blessed. His wife is a vile traitor and a whore who has betrayed and conspired to kill him and may even have plotted to kill the beloved Princess Mary and even his only son….. Oh dear. It doesn’t have to be true, it just has to sound good. A confession and two dodgy conversations add some authenticity to the whole thing. It’s all a load of rubbish but neither Henry or Cromwell care about that. Henry practically switched off and acted like a bachelor. He had a party and went to visit Jane Seymour who is moved closer to Greenwich. His behaviour is shocking and it points to the accused all being doomed. He may have taken every morbid step over Anne’s execution but he acted now as if she was already dead.

          Yes, I see your point on the Supremacy being possibly endangered which may be why he waited. I don’t believe Anne’s miscarriage had anything to do with her arrest or fall, but her enemies were able to act as she was more vulnerable. They were all totally innocent and yes, there was no logic to it, but then Henry wasn’t logical in many of the things he wanted. Cromwell had reason to oblige and so did others who were moving towards the Seymour alignment.

      2. Also to accuse Anne of witchcraft and to have Henry look like a bewitched schoolboy in front of his subjects and the whole world would have done nothing to the image he liked to portray of himself, he loved to show of his power and riches to foreign visitors, he was exceedingly vain and jealous of his position, he was ever suspicious of his Plantagenet relatives having more claim to the throne than he, he like to model himself on his hero Henry V, he had broken with Rome and caused plenty of unrest in his kingdom, a lot of decent men had died, would he really want everyone to think that it had all been down to his wife casting a spell in a cooking pot with frogs and toads croaking? To say it was all down to sorcery does Henrys image no good as the all omnipotent monarch he liked the world to see, indeed it would have brought the monarchy and his very character into disrepute, here was a king who excelled at the jousts a renaissance prince who could read several languages, who composed music, a poet a highly intelligent man, would he be so gullible as to have been under a spell for ten long years and all the turmoil he had put his kingdom through would have been due to just a few incantations? Was Anne that powerful, if she had been she would have ensured her babies lived, Henry was not stupid and the witchcraft theory has just been based on the remark he made to one of his courtiers, novelists have jumped on it because it sounds good, it has no basis in fact, Henry was not King Arthur and Anne Morgana Le Fey, the witch who due to her spells caused danger to Camelot, the tales of Arthur was something throughout the ages Henry and his predecessors liked to read about, indeed Henry 11 and his queen Eleanor found them fascinating but they were just fairy tales, to actually have a charge of witchcraft levelled at Anne would have done Henry no good at all, he would have looked a laughing stock throughout his kingdom and Europe, apart from the fact he did not believe it anyway, he had fallen deeply in love with her and thus the word bewitched is often used in poetry to explain ones hold over another, like an enchantment, it does not mean however that the one who feels true love actually believes they are bewitched, it is just a phrase, Henrys off the cuff remark has been misread down the centuries.

        1. Hi Christine, yes it would definitely make Henry look foolish. I like that, a spoilt schoolboy. I still think that no matter what Anne was accused of, even if Henry invented or simply believed the false lies he could have taken the same actions Henry ii took against Eleanor of Aquitaine or other Kings against an adulterous wife and divorced or set her aside. I know she didn’t have a powerful family to protect her, but Henry could make up his own annulment. The Supremacy made that possible. Had they been a more civilised lot then they would have worked out a sensible solution. If Henry really was a wronged husband there is no way he would have been refused a divorce/annulment on the grounds of adultery. The fact is he did know it was all invented, he was complicit in this as was Cromwell and he acted out of callous disregard to ensure the charges were as bad as possible in order to justify judicial murder of his Queen. It was only Anne’s death which could bring Henry a totally fresh start and that’s why he brutally went as far as he did. Anne definitely didn’t need to face execution, but I believe that Henry had come to hate Anne as violently and with as much passion as he once loved her. It was his hatred which became manifest during these dark days. Had Henry truly wanted an annulment there were genuine reasons he could present but witchcraft would make him look like an idiot. One theory I read somewhere, although I can’t recall as after a time all of the articles merge together in my brain, but one scholar remarked about Anne’s adultery impinging on Henry’s honour and it was because of that he had no option as a righteous and honourable King but to execute her if she was found guilty. This also has something to do with Anne’s execution with a sword and King Arthur which seems to me someone having a flight of fancy and the mention of Henry’s honour, well, dont make me laugh. However, Henry did constantly promote himself as a self righteous King and I can see he may reason that after all he has done for Anne, this is how she rewards and betrays him and she must pay the ultimate penalty. Henry had to come up with some rubbish to justify such a merciless act. The problem for Henry is we no longer buy it. It may have been accepted at the time, but certainly not by everyone and Anne’s declaration of innocence as she received communion certainly gave rise to questions about her guilt. Henry acted the way he did out of his own selfish needs and hatred, not because he was righteous or out of justice. He had options, but with Cromwell able to invent a convincing case, which nobody dared to question and the trial stacked with enemies, he took the quickest and most permanent way out of his marriage in order to save face.

  5. Sander said Anne Boleyn was rather tall of stature with black hair and sallow skin as if troubled with jaundice, she had a projecting tooth etc, when the Victorians carried out reservation work in St Peter Ad Vincula and believed they had found Anne her skeleton was measured at five foot three, that is not tall but would have been considered average height by Tudor standards, her little feet and hands were described as shapely, no sign of an extra finger! as we now believe she had dark brown, possibly with a red tint hair and her skin would have been not fair but not sallow either, more a shade inbetween which would have looked very attractive especially after she had been in the sun, the projecting tooth is nonsense as no other contemporary ever mentioned it and here we can see the absurd taint of sorcery attached to her as witches are represented with projecting teeth, warty noses etc, as she was not old when she died Sander could not depict her as a humpbacked crone but had to distort her looks somewhat, had he ever seen her portraits the Hever one and the one which hangs now in the NPG or even the sketch by Holbein? Had he ever seen these pictures he would have seen what we do now, a dark eyed vivacious looking woman with a perfectly shaped oval face, clear skin and a rosebud mouth, the little baby who would have been the saviour of its mother also had its image distorted so it was portrayed as a shapeless mass of flesh, all hot air as Hilary Mantel called it in ‘The Last Days Of Anne Boleyn’, she was right.

  6. Yes Bandit queen it’s true, he wanted to wipe the slate clean and marry Jane with no shadowy wife lurking in the background, yet Queen Eleanor had actually taken up arms against her husband in favour of her rebellious sons which could have caused him death, she was just punished with imprisonment, then again had he had her executed their eldest son Richard ‘Coer De Lion’ would have exacted the most terrible revenge and the duchy of Aquitaine would have risen up against him, she had also been Queen Of France and had two daughters who were French princesses, he knew he daren’t touch a hair of her head even tho like his descendant and namesake he had grown sick of his wife, King John had affairs and his Queen Isabella indulged in plenty to but he never had her executed, instead rather gruesomely he had her lovers killed and hung over her bed as a grim warning, Henry was unique in that he went that far in actually executing his wife and as you say, he had plenty of options, King John has the reputation for being one of our worst Kings and yet he did not kill his wife, was the execution of Anne down to the chemical inbalance of Henrys brain due to his two previous head injuries? The fact he was so outraged would be a normal reaction for any spouse once they had evidence their partner had cheated on them, yet would he have still executed Anne ten years before, five years before had they been married then, he was still quite an amiable person in those days yet research has shown his temper had grown along with bursts of paranoia after his head injury’s, therefore would he have had Anne killed prior to that? And here’s where it takes a sinister turn, adultery was not punishable by death but plotting to kill the King was, so they had that charge brought in yet again as now they had reason to condemn Anne to death, he was obviously doing his best or Cromwell was to ensure they had enough evidence to execute her, a crowned queen! yet again where was the evidence? Her unwise remark to Norris was carried back to Cromwell so he decided here was a good basis for it yet he knew Anne was safe whilst her husband lived, why should she want him dead, her distress at his injury in the joust where he was unconscious for several hours was plain for all to see, once he was dead she would be at the mercy of her enemies and quite possibly Elizabeth to, it was all nonsense and Henry knew it, his chief minister knew it and as you mention all the jury were rigged, the result was a foregone conclusion, there was no one who could help her even though many including her enemies Chapyus for example thought she was innocent, and at her execution Cromwell made sure it was kept as private as possible, all foreigners were cleared and she was beheaded on the green within the Tower not in a public place like Tower Hill, it was as if they were trying to keep this sordid episode in Henrys reign as low key as possible, as well they might since she was being shamefully slain like one of Henrys deers during the hunt, that deer had a chance of escape he could run to freedom but where could Anne go, captured and cornered and condemned she was shown no mercy, meanwhile Henry the dreadful wronged husband was merrily going about making his wedding arrangements, gleefully having his ever increasing girth measured for his wedding suit and Jane was no doubt being congratulated by her slimy brothers safe in Greenwich or wherever Henry chose to have her housed at the time, he was happy he had succeeded in freeing himself from his barren nag of a wife yet his image was never free from her, and his good name had suffered as a result, all through Englands history the story of Anne Boleyn and Henry V111 is forever entwined with the tale of a love turned sour, a vengeful husband and a murdered queen, by killing his second wife he actually preserved her name for all posterity, his third wife died in childbirth his fourth he was repelled by, indeed she was the only bride who agreed to marry him, his fifth actually did betray him and his sixth wife some say only escaped the axe because he died before she did, out of six marriages all he had to show for it were two daughters and a nine year old son, from one mistress he had a bastard child who had died not long after Anne Boleyns execution and may have fathered a child on Mary Boleyn but there was no actual proof just gossip, Henry could well have had low fertility problems as some historians have suggested, the fact that after six marriages he left just three children is proof that his quest for a son was rather fruitless.

    1. I don’t think Henry Viii could cope with Eleanor of Aquitaine but yes Henry ii did imprison her but then yes, she had powerful sons and powerful allies. Why Henry Viii is unique in this behaviour will be theorized forever. The accident certainly changed him and he wasn’t acting with and degree of sanity, but paranoid moods were noted by this time. I’m glad he didn’t hang her alleged lovers above her bed.

  7. Yes well King John was such a disreputable man he would not have bothered with the niceties of a trial either, I can see him paying a servant to slip some poison into Annes wine had she been married to him, I find Eleanor every bit as fascinating as Anne here was another strong minded courageous woman who made her mark on history, she was called the most beautiful queen out of all the queens in the world, it was said in beauty and intelligence alone she surpassed them, like Anne herself when she made her debut at court, she stood out amongst the other women by her very elegance and style, her wit and vivacity such women make their mark on history, Eleanor also met Henry 11 whilst she was married to King Louis and hastily married him after her divorce, an action which enraged Louis as he loved her so childishly one contemporary noted, it was said that Henry was overcome with lust for her, there are parallels in their story with Henry and Anne, that too was a love turned to hatred, indeed was it ever true love or lust, it is difficult to separate the two, Eleanor lived into her eightieth year, very old for her day and ruled wisely as regent for her son King Richard and later for John, something which I feel Anne would have been quite capable of doing herself had her life not ended so brutally.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *