Anne Boleyn’s Destiny in a World Where Catherine Survived

In my latest video, I’m delving into another “what-if” scenario surrounding Anne Boleyn’s fall.

Elizabeth Cumming’s question ponders Anne Boleyn’s fate had Catherine of Aragon lived longer than 1536.

Key Questions Explored:

  • Would Anne have faced the scaffold if Catherine had lived a few more years?
  • How did Catherine’s opposition to the annulment set the stage for Anne’s destiny?
  • What role did the quest for a male heir play in shaping the course of Tudor history?

I do love what-iffing!

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2 thoughts on “Anne Boleyn’s Destiny in a World Where Catherine Survived”
  1. I wonder if, had Catherine survived, Henry would have found it as easy to also put Anne aside instead of execute her. Anne would not have gone quietly, no more than Catherine would have, but at least she would have survived. Also, would that have meant that she would have been alive during Elizabeth’s reign?

  2. I think Anne would have had little choice but to go quietly, Katherine’s stance at her annulment had the strength of her nephew being the Emperor who the pope feared, but Anne whose only power was through her husband, knew there was nothing she could do against the king and his desire to be rid of her, the survival of Anne rested on two events crucially, the birth of a prince and the life of her rival, tragically for her they both died, leaving Henry with the option of a new wife, unfettered as he now was by the first, and the demise of his heir, who had been a boy, so if Katherine had indeed lived longer and how ironic that his first queens life kept his second wife’s position secure, something which Anne was very much aware, how would indeed Anne’s destiny turned out? Desperate to be rid of the nagging shrew he had once loved to distraction I think he may have collaborated with his ministers to bring her down, and yes I believe it would have been similar to the charges Cromwell had secured which led to her shame and fall in May 1536, Katherine on hearing of her husbands plan to end his marriage and she would have overheard eventually would have been delighted and with her usual optimism, have believed that he had broken free of the spell from the cursed enchantress and returned to god, his soul was saved he would return to his true wedded Christian spouse! Of course he would have done no such thing, I do not believe she would have laughed she was a pious woman and rejoiced for his soul, for her and Mary, she had never stopped loving him and believed the cause of all her ills was due to Anne Boleyn, the problem of Anne would have gnawed away at Henry V111 after Katherine departure from the world, he knew he was still stuck with a woman who was proving to be as useless as she, however he knew she had no powerful relations and many enemies, something which made him gleeful but she was a crowned and anointed queen, she also was not that easy to remove, I do think Anne’s fate would have been the same eventually it just would have given her more time on earth, but maybe had they both reconciled and she became pregnant again how can we say how history would have turned out? That infant could have been a boy and Anne would have been safe, but maybe by then had Katherine been dead, Henry could just have had his marriage annulled and off Anne went to a nunnery, as he still might want to be rid her even though she had given him a prince, she was a very violent tempered and jealous woman, she raged at him when he took mistresses, her tantrums angered him, maybe for a peaceful life he would have had his marriage annulled and he would still have married Jane Seymour, he knew one son was not enough, but towards the end of his life he realised he would never father another, it was Katherine of Aragons refusal to let Henry V111 go that really shaped the destiny of this nation, and of course several players had a part, but had Henry and Anne married much earlier several more children might have graced the royal nursery and the alternative view is fascinating.

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