• FREE Anne Boleyn Files Welcome Pack of 5 goodies
    sent directly to your inbox Free Tudor Book



    Includes 3 Free Reports, Book List and Primary Sources List Please check your spam box if you don't receive a confirmation email. PLEASE NOTE: Your privacy is essential to us and we will not share your details with anyone.

Anne Boleyn – A Victim?

Posted By on August 4, 2009

Whoso List to Hunt

Whoso List to Hunt

This post is part one of another series of three blogs that I’m going to do on the personality of Anne Boleyn. If you remember, a few weeks ago I did a series of three posts exploring Anne Boleyn The Witch, Anne Boleyn The Great Whore and Anne Boleyn The Martyr, well now I’ve been inspired to explore Anne Boleyn: A Victim, Anne Boleyn: A Homewrecker and Anne Boleyn: Opportunist Career Woman. I become inspired by ideas that other people hold and comments that annoy me!

So, today we look at Anne Boleyn as a victim.

Well, Anne Boleyn was definitely a victim, there’s no denying that. She was a victim because:-

  • Thomas Cromwell conspired against her with the help of Chapuys and the Catholic faction.
  • She did not receive a fair trial and in fact her executioner must have been ordered prior to her trial, so her guilt was already established and it did not matter what evidence she produced to contest it.
  • Her words and normal behaviour as Queen (courtly love) were twisted and used against her.
  • Her husband’s fears and paranoia were fed by a very clever Cromwell.
  • One of her trusted ladies began an affair with the King – Jane Seymour.
  • She was executed as a woman innocent of all charges.

Historian and author Karen Lindsey, writer of “Divorced, Beheaded, Survived: A Feminist Reinterpretation of the Wives of Henry VIII” goes one step further and asks whether Anne Boleyn was actually a victim of sexual harassment. Lindsey talks of the King’s infatuation with Anne and states that the fact that he wrote her 17 letters, when he hated writing letters, is evidence of this infatuation and obsession. Lindsey also points out that Henry complains in his letters about Anne not replying and that this could only have been for one reason: that Anne did not return his interest but that she could not openly reject a king. However, Anne’s strategy did not work and Henry continued to bombard her with letters. Lindsey points out that:

“Today, Henry’s approach to Anne would be instantly identifiable as sexual harassment. Anne however, had no social or legal recourse against a the man who ruled the country. She continued, as so many women before and since have done, to dodge her pursuer’s advances while sparing his feelings. It didn’t work.”

Henry VIII carried on his obsession with Anne, offering to make her his one and only mistress, which Anne did not want, and Lindsey believes that it is clear that Anne did not want the King and instead wanted a normal life and a normal marriage. Lindsey describes what she believes Anne’s position was:

“It was a hellish position. Could she really tell the king to his face that she had no interest in him? She could reiterate her desire to keep her chastity and her honor, but clearly he didn’t respect that. She could ignore his letters and stay away from court, but he refused to take the hint. To offer him the outright insult he asked for would be to risk not only her own but her father’s and brother’s careers at court. She undoubtedly kept hoping he would tire of the chase and transfer his attentions to some newer lady-in-waiting.

But he didn’t and she was trapped: there was no chance of her making a good marriage when every eligible nobleman knew the king wanted her. She began to realize she would have to give in. [as Wyatt wrote in his poem ‘Whoso list to hunt’] ‘Nole me tangere, for Caesar’s I am”.

Virtually every account of Anne’s story cites the poem, yet its central image is ignored. Anne was a creature being hunted, and hunted by the king — like the buck he had killed and so proudly sent to her. There could be no refuge from the royal assault; no one would risk protecting her from Henry’s chase. She could run, hide, dodge for a time, but the royal hunter would eventually track down his prey. And he would destroy her. The hunt was not an archaic metaphor in sixteenth century life, it was a vivid integral part of that life and everyone knew what happened to the wild creature at the end.”

Was Anne Boleyn really like the deer in Wyatt’s poem? Was she really a woman with no choice but to give in to an all powerful King?

It’s hard to say when we can’t get into Anne’s head and there are no journals or accounts from Anne herself. Lindsey believes that Anne was intelligent enough to turn the situation to her advantage and to allow herself to “become captured on her own terms” and, like Elizabeth Woodville and Edward IV, to resist the King’s advances and become a Queen.

Lindsey does make a very interesting hypothesis on Henry VIII’s relationship with Anne, and it is easy to believe that Henry was totally obsessed with Anne and that he put an incredible amount of pressure on her. However, I like to believe that their relationship was a meeting of minds and was actually a relationship based on love, passion and mutual respect. Although Anne may have started off being sexually harassed by the King, I think that she did fall in love with this man who had so much in common with her and that her resisiting him was more an attempt to protect her virtue and reputation, rather than a game or strategy.

What do you think? Was Anne a victim? Was she just another pawn used by Henry VIII? Did she suffer as a victim of sexual harassment and have no other choice but to give in to the King?

Comment here to give your opinions or join our discussion in the forum – see https://www.theanneboleynfiles.com/forum/anne-boleyn-forum/victim-or-homewrecker/.

You can read Thomas Wyatt’s poem, “Whoso List to Hunt”, on the Anne Boleyn Poems page and you can order Karen Lindsey’s book at on our special Anne Boleyn Files Amazon US Store or Anne Boleyn Files UK Store.

P.S. The release date of Philippa Gregory’s “The White Queen” is only 2 weeks away! I will be publishing my review of it on The Anne Boleyn Files special Tudor book review site, but, for now, I’ve put some videos on there to whet your appetite! See http://reviews.theanneboleynfiles.com/coming-soon-the-white-queen/149 for more details.

23 thoughts on “Anne Boleyn – A Victim?”

  1. lisaannejane says:

    I am trying to imagine some lawyer trying to explain “sexual harassment” to Henry and the other men at the time, and I doubt it would go over too well! How do you tell someone who was brought up in a male dominated society to consider that he be more thoughtful and caring of others, especially women? It would a scene right out of Monty Python! It would be like the part where the villagers dress up a lady and claim she is a witch!

  2. Claire says:

    Can just picture it now!! Think the lawyer would end up without a head!

  3. rochie says:

    Well, as I commented on the forum the other day, I can’t quite buy into the sexual harassment idea. It is a modern, emotive term that relates better to someting like groping or heavy breathing in the modern workplace and cannot convincingly be transferred to courtly love among the 16th century aristocracy. The very fact that it conjures up Pythonesque images is sufficient to place the theory, for that is all it is, in its proper context – that is fanciful, at the very least.
    Anne was a flesh and blood woman, and Henry was quite presentable at the time of his wooing of her. Also, he was the most powerful and wealthy man in the land. It is absurd to imagine that Anne would have felt harassed by his attentions. Her sister’s experiences prompted her to be suitably aloof, and it was a strategy that worked for her. I believe the two were in love, and that the relationship was a genuine and passionate one – spoilt by Henry’s personality change following his jousting accident, which turned him into a tyrant.

  4. Claire says:

    I agree, Henry’s accident is the only logical explanation, in my opinion, for Henry’s slide into complete tyranny. It’s the only thing that makes sense of how a man can go from such passion to a weird indifference. It wasn’t even hatred that he seemed to feel for Anne, he just seemed to forget about her.

  5. JUNE DECK says:

    I agree that the sexual harassment angle works only if one understands the meaning of such, and in the time and place, well, women were chattel, even well born women, perhaps even more so. But, and there is a but here, I do not believe Anne was in the least attracted to him in the beginning, and perhaps did have feelings for Henry Percy as certainly has been portrayed to us throughout historical accounts of Anne’s rejection of the King. I really believe she was pressured by her father and coupled with the King’s pursuit of her, she either gave in and decided to play the game or she didn’t so much give in, but invented the game. Women of her time rarely were given opportunity to marry for love, love maybe came after time, but she certainly would have known her father’s position at court as well as that of her brother,[ who we are led to believe she cared for greatly], depended upon her playing that game with great cunning, although that sounds crude. She may have learned to love him, and as for him, I cannot picture him having a real sense of love, only possession and conquer, he was already a cruel man well before the jousting accident and the lack of oxygen or whatever surely hastened his madness, for he surely fell into a sort of serial killer mode!! Yes that is in our terms too.

  6. Di says:

    I’m of the belief that it was all Cromwell Chapuys and Edward Seymour that conspired against Anne. Seymour used the same tactics with Jane that Wiltshire and Norfolk used in 1526 to Anne. Jane Seymour was a willing participant in the fall of the Queen.

    Henry for 9-10 years was MADLY in love with Anne and supposedly she with him. 2 miscarriages later and she gets executed? The whispers of Cromwell and Seymour were like little devils on his shoulders. Cromwell was majorly to blame for this.

    While Henry was a great king. He was very naive and picked bad people to associate with in regards to politics. He was to blame in that aspect as he chose Wolsey and then Cromwell as advisors. That in turn would lead to the downfall of Anne. Cromwell got what was coming to him in the end.

    Henry may have gotten his precious son from the weak Jane; but it was Elizabeth; Anne’s daughter that proved to be the Greatest Monarch of the Tudor period.

    1. BanditQueen says:

      Jane Seymour was not weak: she was the norm for Tudor times and she was more astute than Anne Boleyn. The fact that she died in child birth proves nothing. A number of ladies died in childbirth and both Anne and Jane had children late in life for a first child. There is nothing to indicate any physical weakness from Jane Seymour. She may have been more obedient, but she did attempt to stand up for Princess Mary and for the pilgrims and the monastic house, only to be cowed by Henry who was fed up with wives that questioned his authority. He was not alone in that belief; most noble husbands had the same attitude: it does not mean their women were weak.

      Elizabeth being the greatest monarch of the Tudor Age is a matter of opinion, and she is so because she was her father’s daughter and very much like him in temperament.

  7. Claire says:

    Hi Di,
    I’ve just listened to the Alison Weir podcast and she talks about how clever Cromwell was in his plot because he preyed on the King’s obsessive fear of treason and Anne’s well-known flirtatious nature – the perfect plot! What’s more, the King had been introduced to a seemingly meek girl who would make the perfect wife. It is a tragedy that Henry could go from pursuing Anne with so much passion to abandoning her to a cruel death and taking a mother away from an innocent little girl.

  8. Bassania says:

    I find it hard to believe the whole sexual harrassment thing, by today’s standard and our political correctness crap, almost anything can count as sexual harrassment. And at the time, it was almost expected that if you were a beautiful girl, powerful men would have affairs with you, so sexual harrassment wouldn’t count, as no doubt the girl was being pushed by her family into the affair anyway, just like in James rule when guys were generally the favourites, so while its okay to call Anne a victim, she was no doubt encouraging him.

  9. Aimee says:

    If it’s not sexual harrassment, what is it?

    Because the specific terminology did not exist at the time, that means it couldn’t occur?

    I view Henry VIII as one of those troubled types who is always happier with what he WANTS, not what he actually HAS.

    He dutifully waited YEARS to marry Katherine of Aragon. If historical accounts are to be believed, he loved her. Once she was his, though, he WANTED others (Bess Blount, Mary Boleyn, Anne, etc.)

    I do believe Henry’s shocking abbandonment and murder of Anne Boleyn was governed by his urgent desire for a son, but I also think he was “over” her, just as he was “over” Katherine of Aragon when he bannished her, separating her from her one child, and forcing her to live in appalling circumstances.

    If Jane Seymour lived, I don’t doubt she would have found her faerie tale interrupted with Henry’s wanting/having/discarding or other females. He might have been less likely to divorce her, though.

  10. Lady Kateryn says:

    It is worth noting that Henry himself, recognised that his courtship of Anne had overtones of hunting. In one letter, he mentions that since he is absent, he sends her the gift of venison he has hunted which is “harte’s flesh from Henry” ie with the pun on hart/heart.

    Personally I think it is impossible to regard his courtship of Anne as harassment if it is based on Henry’s letters. We do not have Anne’s replies so we only have half the story.

  11. Aimee says:

    “Personally I think it is impossible to regard his courtship of Anne as harassment if it is based on Henry’s letters. We do not have Anne’s replies so we only have half the story.”

    Lady Kateryn, I have to respectfully disagree with this.

    Let’s say you’re in love with and engaged to “Jack.”. “Micheal,” a married man and CEO of your company AND your Dad’s good friend and fraternity brother, is interested in you.

    Michael throws out a variety of subtle “hints” and not so subtle declarations. Uninterested, you either disregard his overtures or find diplomatic ways to discourage them. Despite your refusals, Michael sends you flowers and sweet notes to your office. He sends more flowers and sweet notes to your home. If you leave town to visit friends or relatives, he sends MORE flowers and sweet notes to you at your friend’s/relative’s home.

    Michael uses his social contacts and professional connections to get your Dad a better job, and continues sending you flowers, jewelry, and sweet notes.

    Michael uses his social contacts and professional connections to promote YOU to a better job, a position raising your income and professional importance exponentially. Now you’ve got a special table set up in your office for his flowers.

    Micheal introduces your beloved fiance “Jack” to other eligible women. He has the ear of the local priest who WAS going to officiate at your wedding advising Jack to rethink your marriage for various reasons.

    You live in a small town. After you and Jack break things off, dating becomes tough because many of the men suited to your age, religion, and socioeconomic status are all somehow connected to Michael. Michael can directly impact their professional growth and their social acceptability.

    Michael keeps sending you lovely letters, flowers, jewelry, lingerie, etc…

  12. Claire says:

    Wow, Aimee, that’s a great modern day example and it shows how subtle harassment can be and yet how awful.
    As Bassania says, it is hard for us to judge things with our 21st century eyes as things were completely different then – courtly love, the ritual of “courting”, the status and treatment of women. What was acceptable then just isn’t today. Also as Lady Kateryn says, we don’t have Anne’s letters. We have no real evidence to support sexual harassment BUT that doesn’t mean that it didn’t happen. Henry wanted Anne, he went after her, he did hunt her and bombard her with letters and he was in a position of absolute power. Was Anne an unwilling victim or did she find it all intoxicating? We’ll never know and we cannot be sure what happened. We cannot rule harassment out.

  13. Aimee says:

    “As Bassania says, it is hard for us to judge things with our 21st century eyes as things were completely different then – courtly love, the ritual of “courting”, the status and treatment of women. What was acceptable then just isn’t today.”

    Social mores change with time, yes, but society’s changes do not alleviate criminal behavior. Rape was not so staunchly persecuted in the past, for instance. Wealthy heiresses (sometimes children) were abducted and raped by fortune hunters. The heiress’s family usually ended up marrying the “ruined” (rape victim) heiress to her rapist because she became effectively “unmarriageable.”

    Whoa! What a concept! If your pockets are light, just carry off and molest your rich neighbor’s 10-year-old! Make money the old-fashioned way, rape and then marry it.

    Now, this would have been a “victimless crime.” Until one takes into account the rape victim’s sufferings. Just because the behavior was not publicly acknowledged as “wrong” and was not generally punnishable by law does not make it less criminal and damaging.

    I do “buy” the concept of Anne as a victim of sexual harrassment. I believe that, eventually, she coped and opted to make the best of her situation, but I’m skeptical she would have accepted Henry’s suit YEARS after it began had other options been available to her.

    I think that’s the important question that needs answering in deciding if Anne was a victim or not. Did Anne have the power to change her circumstances?

  14. Lady Kateryn says:

    I do not agree with putting 21st Century labels on 16th century behaviour. To be quite frank, how many women had the power to change their circumstances in 16th century England? Marriage and the procreation of heirs was the norm for virtually all women and arranged marriages a fact of life.

    We do not have a definite time-frame for Henry’s courtship of Anne but we do know (according to Starkey) that in January 1527 she sent Henry a gift of a jewel (depicting a maiden in storm-tossed ship) that was a symbol of her acceptance of his love. We then see Henry’s attempts to get his marriage to Catherine annulled.

  15. Aimee says:

    “To be quite frank, how many women had the power to change their circumstances in 16th century England?”

    How many unmarried women were expected to bed their sisters’ married leftovers?

    I believe in calling a thing what it is. Henry’s courtship of Anne was inappropriate even for 16th century England. It limited her options in terms of finding a suitable husband (i.e., a bachelor.) To point out that she ultimately acquiesced doesn’t make the original behavior less improper.

    Again, a raped child heiress married to her rapist might ultimately adjust to married life and perhaps build some type of relationship with her husband. That does not alleviate the original crime.

  16. Lady Kateryn says:

    Henry’s behaviour towards Anne would have been considered the norm in the sixteenth century since it was acceptable practice for kings to have mistresses. Incidentally Bessie Blount who was Henry’s mistress, was granted large tracts of land by the King which she held in her own right (ie they did not revert to her husband on her marriage.)

    She went onto to marry successfully twice. Incidentally perhaps you could give a few examples of raped child heiresses in the reign of Henry VIII as I was under the impression that many child heirs and heiresses were placed under wardships.

  17. Aimee says:

    “Henry’s behaviour towards Anne would have been considered the norm in the sixteenth century since it was acceptable practice for kings to have mistresses.”

    At one time it was “acceptable” for a man to expect sexual favors from female employees. The female employees usually suffered for it, but no one blamed their employers. The stereotypes of the housemaid dismissed in disgrace for sleeping with the men of the house or of a secretary/receptionist as her boss’s mistress/concubine exists for a reason.

    That it was “acceptable” does not mean that every career woman welcomed her boss’s inappropriate advances if he made them.

    Here is an article discussing the prevalence of rape in Medieval England. Note the statistics indicate that 4% of the victims married their rapists, and that nobles are conscpicuously absent.

    ” Incidentally perhaps you could give a few examples of raped child heiresses in the reign of Henry VIII as I was under the impression that many child heirs and heiresses were placed under wardships.”

    These incidents when they occured focussed on several pertinent factors: that a deflowered virgin was somehow “damaged goods” and that rape was (at least partially) the victim’s “fault.” Rape was something to be ashamed of and to conceal, not to make official complaints and seek legal prosecution of the perpertator.

    That said, there is legislation in English common law making rape of virgins illegal.

  18. CP says:

    Don’t know if this is the right place to ask this, but I believe Anne was 26 when her relationship with Henry VIII started? Isn’t that quite old for a woman in those times? Why was she not a married woman by that age already?

  19. Claire says:

    Anne was either 25/26 or around 19/20 depending on what birthdate you believe. I think she was born in 1501 so that would make her about 25 in 1526 when she is said to have caught Henry’s eye. In around 1520 a marriage match between Anne Boleyn and James Butler, son of Piers Butler the Earl of Ormonde, was proposed to Henry VIII in an attempt to unite the Boleyns and Butlers who were in dispute over lands in Ireland (Anne’s gradfather was Thomas Butler, Earl of Ormonde). This proposed match was why Anne returned to England from France but although this plan dragged out for a few years it came to nothing and James Butler returned to Ireland in the summer of 1526. So, Anne was meant to have married earlier.
    Jane Seymour was in her late 20s when she met and married Henry too. Girls in Tudor times did tend to marry in their teens and I suppose that Anne and Jane would have been seen as “middle aged” in a time when the average life expectancy was only around 35 (people from noble families tended to live longer because of their better diet etc.). Interesting question, Charmain!

  20. Kaz says:

    I was once harrassed at work by the boss and let me tell you it is VERY much like what Anne Boleyn went through, except that when my father found out, he stormed off to see my ex-boss and gave him hell (instead of pushing us together for my family’s sake, LOL!).

    I worked for about 5 years in that office and I didn’t notice any of the married boss’s sexual hints until 2 months before I quit on the spot – he also kept asking me out, I kept saying no, and he too couldn’t handle rejection to the point he was getting more forceful in asking me out to the point of making me scared. So I basically quit on the spot. And yes, I live in a small town too. I changed jobs but the harrassment continued in the beginning, and yes, because we are of the same profession, my current workplace has contacts with the ex-boss so it was soooo easy to keep an eye on me – some men’s egos are so fragile that they have to make you out like the bad person no matter what – and he proved this fragile ego when another lady quit in a huff – the ex boss made her out to be the ‘bad person’, but when I heard her side of the story I now believe her because it sounded just like mine! Thankfully, a lot of people in my town already know that my ex-boss treats women like dirt so it’s no news to the older people of town that he is up to his normal tricks again. So I will ALWAYS be pro-Boleyn forever because I know how it feels. Thank God for sexual harrassment rules in that it gives less-advantaged ladies a sword against narcissistic bosses. Never be afraid to stand up for yourselves! I just wish Anne Boleyn had the chance to run away too, but her harrasser was just too insanely powerful. I also wonder if Anne Boleyn got ‘Beauty and the Beast’ syndrome where in order to make the situation better, she fell in love with her harrasser because she couldn’t rely on anyone else to save her from this siuation (her family was enjoying the perks)?? But then of course hatred played a part towards the end, which makes total sense because Anne would have felt cheated after realising Henry was having mistresses again. That’s my 2 cents worth, LOL! Anne Boleyn is a true inspiration and forever will be 🙂

  21. BanditQueen says:

    Anne Boleyn was obviously the victim of a conspiracy by Cromwell, Henry and the conservative faction. She had also stacked up a few enemies either by design, by her beliefs, by her treatment of them, her scorn towards them, or because she replaced them in the King’s affections. She also did not always use her head before speaking and insulting key individuals around the King who were still in a position to hurt her. I think Anne was at times too confident of her place in Henry’s affections and as Queen: she was supremely confident at the start of her reign and mildly confident for most of the next year, but had spells of paranoid tension and fear in the last 18 months of her short reign. In the 2 years leading up to her coronation she also made a few enemies who stayed in the background waiting for her to make an error so as they could have their revenge. She felt safe enough to insult the Kings wife, daughter, sister and his close friends: not a great idea, but Anne believed at the time that Henry listened only to her, that she would provide him with a son and heir and that she could do no wrong in his eyes. It was a reasonable assumption to make at first.

    However, Anne did underestimate one or two people. With Katherine, she had really nothing to fear as she was out of the way, but with Mary she did as she was still around and opposed and defied Anne at every opportunity. The courtiers even abandoned Anne on visits to her daughter and went to court Mary. A pro Mary faction grew up at court. With Cromwell Anne miscalculated. When she fell out with him over the money from the monastic houses going to the pockets of nobles instead of the good causes she hoped for, she believed that she could use her position as Queen to demand his head. She did not realise just what a clever fox Cromwell was and that he could out manouver her. When she directly challenged him, he used a counter attack and used the King’s discontent with her to plot her downfall. She also underestimated the Duke of Suffolk who hovered in the background and used suttle methods to divert Henry’s attention away from Anne. He did not directly take part in bringing her down, but he sprang with her other enemies to help ensue she was found guilty. Although he had been slightly out of favour from 1532-35, he soon found his way back into favour and diverted the King’s attention in the way he knew best: through the hunt and women.

    Anne was a victim of her own foolishness as well: she flirted and let her tongue do the talking instead of her brain. She made an entire series of foolish mistakes that endangered and alienated even some of her supporters. This same lashing tongue also made the King feel harshly against her and fall out of love with her. She also stood in the way of changing foreign policy and simply had to go.

    She may have been innocent of the false charges and so a victim of the Henry that she had helped to create as well as the legislation that he had put in place to protect her from slander and her children from threats, but it is clear that she had enough enemies to make those charges in the first place. Anne was not sexually harassed: she participated in her families games and the Kings pursuit of her; but she was a victim of his sexual politics as she was disgarded for another woman. Anne was pushed aside as her rival had been, but with much more force and cruelty. She was a victim of a plot to discredit her, a plot to get rid of her and of course she was a victim in the sense that she was helpless and was imprisoned, tried, and executed. None of her charm, her whits, her brains, or her passion for the King could save her from the charges against her or her ultimate fate. She was also falsely accused and thus an innocent victim. She was a woman in a world were male power ruled and she was Henry’s subject. All of this meant that she was subject to the rule or law and to the power of her husband and KIng. His passion and love for her had long gone. He believed that she was guilty of treason, betrayal of the marriage bed, plotting to kill him and marry her lover, and that she had used sorcery to trap him into loving and marrying her in the first place. And for all the hold that she had over him in the seven years of their courtship; there was nothing she could do about it. She was a woman who had given all and now she had lost. She was seperated from her child, she was locked in rooms in the Tower, spied on and watched day and night, subjected to a public trial and discection of her sex life, and now she would pay with her life. She could do nothing to stop any of it.

    Anne may have gotten herself into the role of Queen and so had placed herself in the position that made her vulnerable; gotten rid of her greatest enemy, Cardianl Wolesy, carved out domestic and foreign religious and political changes and advised Henry on most things since 1527, but in the end all of that availed her nothing. She was powerful to begin with, but in the end powerless to stop herself from becoming a victim of the King that she had helped to create.

  22. J.R. says:

    It’s hard to say because we don’t have Anne’s POV. But having read that book, I do think there’s strong possibility that Anne was sexually harassed. Of course this only makes her reputation as seductress and a whore that much more appalling. I mean, it would have been incredibly unlikely that a woman from her situation in life would dream of being queen at the start of the “courtship.” It would have been unlikely that Henry would have married her instead of a princess. Yes, it did happen, but that was unusual. So she either wasn’t interested or was stringing him along in hope of…what exactly? To be made chief mistress? That wasn’t a thing in England at the time. Favors? She could have gotten more by giving in. And there was no guarantee he wouldn’t find someone else. Henry had already had at least two mistresses by the time he had set his sights on Anne. No, I think it more likely that Anne was genuinely not interested and that Henry bullied her until she had little choice. After she did accept him, she obviously did what it took to secure the most advantageous position.
    As for people saying that we can’t judge Henry by our standards…well, I’m not surprised, but I do find it telling. Whenever historical slavery is discussed, it’s strongly condemned. Whenever historical institutionalized persecution of people of different religions comes up, it’s strongly condemned. Anyone who tries to justify either of those crimes is glared at. Whenever the historical abuse of women comes up…people say that we can’t judge people because we didn’t live in that time and it’s their culture. It’s despicable that the persecution of women is seen as less atrocious than the persecution of those of certain races and religions.

Please note: Comment moderation is currently enabled so there will be a delay between when you post your comment and when it shows up.

Leave a Reply

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

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.