Anne Boleyn’s Love Life prior to Henry VIII: Henry Percy and Thomas Wyatt

Posted By on September 19, 2014

Before Anne Boleyn became romantically involved with Henry VIII, her name was linked to two courtiers: Henry Percy, son of the Earl of Northumberland and a member of Cardinal Wolsey’s household, and Thomas Wyatt the Elder, the famous Tudor poet.

I want to share with you today two videos I did as sample “Claire Chats” videos for The Tudor Society. In these videos I discuss Anne Boleyn’s links with these two men and what we know about her relationships with them. I do hope you enjoy these videos.

This post is part of my Anne Boleyn Life Series and you can click here to read other articles in the series.

Sorry about the overhanging videos!

Notes and Sources

15 thoughts on “Anne Boleyn’s Love Life prior to Henry VIII: Henry Percy and Thomas Wyatt”

  1. Tina DeKeyser says:

    Loved them both! Thank you! Hope that there are more to come!

    1. Claire says:

      Thank you! I’m doing weekly videos over at The Tudor Society – just done one today on Tudor pets – and I also have an Anne Boleyn Files YouTube channel – https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCioSUqeGrdFq6DEVK3-DXGQ

  2. Jami Morris says:

    Loved them! Thank you so much.

  3. Karen says:

    Thank you, very informative. Will look forward to hearing more.

  4. Sara says:

    I loved these! I would think, given the fact that both Anne and Henry Percy’s families were already in negotiations for betrothals to other people, that their desire to go against that showed a great amount of love between the two.

    1. Gail Marion says:

      Could their love have whet Henry’s appetite to make Anne his own?

  5. Mary the Quene says:

    I have such jealousy that Anne Boleyn knew Thomas Wyatt as a love interest. He would be my number one choice at the “Dinner Party Companions from History.” <3

  6. Melinda Russell says:

    Thanks so much for the information. I enjoyed the videos emmensely.

  7. Christine says:

    I enjoyed the videos very much thankyou Claire

  8. kirstin says:

    Really interesting, thank you.

  9. Tami says:

    Wonderful…I love listening to your accent from across the pond.

  10. Annie says:

    Thank you. I’m fascinated by the Tutors. Thank you for making them accessible. I loved your chats.

  11. BanditQueen says:

    Thank you for sharing these two informative vidoes. I can certainly see why Suffolk would push the story of Wyatt and Anne denied any relationship with Wyatt; Charles Brandon had broken off his alliance with Norfolk and the Boleyn family after helping to destroy Wolsey; but I think he did not want the King to marry her. His wife appears to have been violently repulsed by the idea of Henry marrying Anne Boleyn, her former maid in France, and I can see Charles being concerned about it as well. But what would have given him the idea of any relationship, if the poems are not enough? Did Brandon just suspect a liaison, invent one; listen to his wife; find Wyatt an easy target; hope for such a relationship to be true and that Henry would listen to him as his friend,; a lot of questions. I think that while Anne may have had a chaste relationship with Henry Percy, it did not go as far as consumation or formal betrothal. May-be they did hope to marry, but once they saw that their families had other plans; everything was broken off cordially and they went their seperate ways. Percy would not lie on oath; as you say, Claire, his soul would be endangered and this was more important in those days than his physical concerns. But perhaps he carried a torch for her and wished that things could have been different? As for Thomas Wyatt, I believe that Henry showed some concern that he may fancy Anne Boleyn and used his skills for diplomatic missions to get him out of the way. I doubt that Henry believed Wyatt and Anne were actually lovers; or at least if they had have been any attraction between them was long over. I believe Wyatt did admire Anne and held her up on a pedastal. May-be he hoped that if things had have been different that may-be he and Anne would have married. But where they ever lovers or as you say, was it unrequited love? The evidence is not conclusive as most of it is based on gossip and tales that come from Anne’s enemies. However, the story of the game of balls is one often repeated by novels and drama and has a very strong impression on the minds of historians and writers alike. It is such a detailed story that I am not convinced it can be dismissed. I do not say it is conclusive proof that Anne and Wyatt were lovers; Wyatt appears to have stolen the jewel; but he may have loved Anne and have hoped for more. He would be very brasion putting such a jewel before the King; staking his claim in Anne, if you will, but then Wyatt was meant to be a bit rash in any event. Where they lovers? I think that they were, but that it was well over before Henry and Anne began their relationship in earnest and Wyatt was very careful to make sure that the King knew the relationship was over, as some of his poems also suggest.

  12. Lisa says:

    If I remember correctly Percy was already a very sick man by the time of Anne’s trial and he died shortly afterwards. I think he was heartbroken over what he was being forced to do – basically kill a woman he once loved.

  13. Abbie Marie says:

    I think that anne really loved Henry Percy and if Henry v111 really loved her he would have let her marry him.instead he was selfish and only married her to prove he could , after all what the king wants he gets. He was also probably scared of what everyone would say if he didn’t make her queen as promised , but all he wanted was a mistress and a legitimate son, so he should have either stuck with catherine of aragon and married again when she died or married the mother of his illegitimate son Henry fitzroy! I think anne would have been much better off with Henry Percy , and as she would become a countess would still have advanced the boleyns. However I’m skeptical about her involvement with wyatt as yes he may have written her poetry but I doubt they had an affair because she was a noblewoman and they are suppose to be chaste, also she was supposedly ambitious so it would have ruined her chances of a good marriage.

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