Obviously, the events which happened during Anne Boleyn’s all too short life are enough to fill a book, so I’m just going to give you the basic dates here.
The following dates and details are agreed upon by the majority of modern historians.
Anne Boleyn’s Life
1501 – Birth of Anne Boleyn “The Most Happy” – Daughter of Thomas Boleyn (Earl of Ormonde and Wiltshire) and Elizabeth Boleyn (née Howard, daughter of the Earl of Surrey), and sister of George and Mary. It was originally thought that Anne was born around 1507 but it is now known that Anne was a maid of honour at the court in Brussels in 1513, a position that was only open to a girl of around 12 or 13, not 6.
1513 – Anne is sent abroad for a European education – Anne was maid of honour to the Regent Margaret of Austria at the Habsburg Court.
1515 – Anne enters the household of Queen Claude, Francis I of France’s wife. It is thought that she remained with Queen Claude in France for nearly 7 years.
Back to England
1521 – Anne is called back to England – Anne was summoned back to England to marry James Butler, son of Sir Pierce Butler, to settle a dispute over land and the title of Earl of Ormonde. The marriage which was being arranged by Cardinal Wolsey never takes place, perhaps because Henry VIII decides he wants Anne for himself.
1522 – Anne takes part in an English Court pageant on Shrove Tuesday playing the part of “Perseverance” and becomes one of Catherine of Aragon’s maids.
1522 – 1527 – Anne becomes involved in some way with Henry Percy, Thomas Wyatt and then is noticed by King Henry VIII.
1524 – Henry VIII stops sleeping with Catherine of Aragon.
1526 – Henry VIII loses interest in his mistress Mary Carey (née Boleyn), Anne’s sister, who it is said gave birth to two of Henry’s children (Catherine and Henry Carey). Henry is attracted to Anne.
1526-1527 – A series of love letters are written by Henry VIII to Anne Boleyn, including one asking her to be his one and only mistress. Anne stays away from court and away from Henry. Henry realises that Anne will only be his if he marries her and asks the Pope for a dispensation to marry again.
1528 – Anne acquires a copy of “The Obedience of the Christian Man and How Christian Rulers Ought to Govern” published by William Tyndale. She later shows parts of it to Henry. This book said that rulers were accountable to God, not the Pope.
1530 – The Fall of Cardinal Wolsey who had opposed Anne Boleyn and failed to get a divorce for the King. Wolsey died in November 1530 after being arrested.
1531 – Henry makes moves to be recognised as “sole protector and supreme head of the English church and clergy”, but has to accept the additional words “so far as the law of Christ allows”.
1532 – On the 1st September Anne is given the title of Marquess of Pembroke in her own right.
1532 – October – Henry takes Anne with him to the French Court to meet with Francis I. Anne finally sleeps with Henry.
The Events of 1533
25th January – Anne becomes Henry VIII’s wife.
February – Anne talks of being pregnant.
30th March – Cranmer becomes Archbishop and grants the annulment of Henry’s marriage to Catherine. Catherine of Aragon is made Princess Dowager of Wales and her daughter (and Henry’s) Mary is to be known as “Lady Mary”
1st June, Whit Sunday – Anne is crowned Queen
7th September – Birth of Henry and Anne’s daughter, Princess Elizabeth, future Queen Elizabeth I of England. The birth was a disappointment because Henry was desperate for a son and heir.
The Events of 1534
The Act of Supremacy – Henry VIII becomes the Supreme Head of the Church of England.
The Act of Succession states that only the offspring of Henry and Anne are lawful heirs to the throne.
Summer – Anne Boleyn miscarries a baby, Henry starts to have problems with impotency and rifts are noticed in the Royal marriage.
October – Anne is pregnant again.
The Events of 1536
January – Henry becomes interested in Jane Seymour.
7th January – Catherine of Aragon dies at Kimbolton Castle.
24th January – Henry VIII’s horse falls, causing Henry to fall and be knocked unconscious for around 2 hours. Some suggest that this accident caused some brain damage and was the cause of Henry’s behaviour towards Anne – her execution even when their marriage had been annulled etc. 5 days after Henry’s accident, Anne miscarries a boy. Propaganda by Catholics in Elizabeth I’s reign alleged that this baby was a deformed monster, but there is no evidence of this.
Spring – Anne argues with Cromwell. Cromwell begins to see Anne as a threat and starts planning to remove her from “power”.
The Fall of Anne Boleyn
24th April – A “commission of oyer and terminer” set up, allegedly with the King’s approval, to investigate treason and other offences committed by a group of people, including Anne.
30th April – Mark Smeton is arrested for committing adultery with Queen Anne. Smeton confesses after 24 hours of interrogation, and probably torture.
2nd May – Henry Norris is sent to the Tower and Queen Anne is accused of adultery with three men. Sir Francis Weston and William Brereton are also arrested and charged with adultery and treason. Rochford (George Boleyn, Anne’s brother) is arrested for incest and treason. Also around this time, Henry begins to have secret meetings with Jane Seymour.
12th May – Brereton, Weston, Smeton and Norris appear in court. Norris, Brereton and Weston plead “not guilty” to all charges and Smeton pleads “guilty” to adultery, but “not guilty” to the other charges. They were all found guilty and sentenced to “drawing, hanging and quartering”.
15th May – Anne and her brother, George (Rochford), are tried. Both plead “not guilty” but are found guilty. Anne is sentenced to death by beheading or burning.
17th May – Brereton, Smeton, Norris and Weston are beheaded on Tower Green, having had their punishment changed by the “mercy” of King Henry. Rochford is also beheaded.
18th May – Anne is due to be beheaded but the execution is cruelly postponed. Cromwell announces that Henry’s marriage to Anne was null and void, and that Elizabeth is illegitimate. An ecclesiastical court also grants Henry a dispensation to marry Jane Seymour.
19th May – Anne is beheaded on Tower Green by a French swordsman, who must have been sent for from Calais before the court even found Anne guilty! Anne’s body is wrapped and taken to the Church of St Peter ad Vincula.
20th May – Just one day after Anne Boleyn’s execution, Henry VIII becomes betrothed to Jane Seymour.
30th May – Henry VIII marries Jane Seymour.
19 thoughts on “Anne Boleyn – Chronology”
Just reading through this simple, blow by blow chronology of Anne’s life, it reminds me of one of those old fashioned hour glasses with the sand. At the start everything seems to move very slowly, interminably long – and then towards the end the sand moves faster, or appears to. All the important events come on apace, closer and closer together, and then suddenly it’s all over so quickly!
I’ve been struggling with the “deformed” fetus issue for awhile now. I suspect that there was a great deal of ignorance regarding the appearance of fetuses throughout pregnancy during this time and, while the appearance of this fetus may have seemed unusual, he was likely very normal for that stage of Queen Anne’s pregnancy.
Not that it mattered to H8 by this time. He became so determined to see the end of her that any falsified information was as good as fact and only fueled his hatred and unforgivable action against Queen Anne.
Every time I think of this sad path of hers it sends chills down my spine and makes my heart ache at the injustice of it.
I think the deformed foetus story is just a story as there was no mention of it at the time – just another attempt to blacken Anne’s name and paint her as a witch. I know what you mean about having a chill down your spine. The dream that I had that started this website off – a dream about Anne’s execution – really upset me because I felt so powerless to help her and couldn’t believe that an innocent woman was being executed like that. Horrible.
How can one find out if the children of Anne Boleyn’s sister lived or what became of them? ……..
Catherine Carey married Sir Francis Knollys and she became Chief Lady of the Bedchamber to her cousin Elizabeth I. Her and her husband had 15 children – you can find out about them at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Catherine_Carey,_Lady_Knollys but Catherine’s daughter Lettice’s second marriage was to Elizabeth I’s favourite, Robert Dudley the Earl of Leicester. Catherine died in 1569.
Henry Carey was knighted in 1558 and was made 1st Baron Hunsdon by Elizabeth I in 1559. Elizabeth also made him Master of the Queen’s Hawks (1560), Knight of the Garter (1561), Captain of the Gentleman Pensioners (1564), Governor of Berwick-upon-Tweed and Lord Warden of the Eastern March (1568), Lieutenant General of Elizabeth’s forces during the Rising of the North, Keeper of Somerset House (1574), Privy Counsellor (1577), Captain-General (1581), Lord Chamberlain of the Household (1585) and then Elizabeth made him Lord Chamberlain Lieutenant, Principal Captain and Governor of the Army in 1588 at Tilbury. He also had various other offices and was a real favourite of the Queen. He died in 1596 and was buried at Westminster Abbey. You can read more about him at
Henry Carey was married to Ann Morgan and the couple had 12 children. Their son George became 2nd Baron Hunsdon and their son John became 3rd Baron Hunsdon.
It is said that the following people can all trace their family back to Mary Boleyn: Winston Churchill, John Davison Rockefeller, P. G. Wodehouse, Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon (the late Queen Mother), the late Princess of Wales (Diana), Sarah the Duchess of York, Charles Darwin and Thomas West, 3rd Baron De La Warr.
me encanta la historia de ana bolena,me recomiendan un libro???????????? pero que diga la historia tal como es….
Hola Anne, pienso que el mejor es de Eric Ives “La vida y la muerte de Anne Boleyn: La màs feliz”….!es muy completo!
I would like to know if you have any evidence that links Anne Boleyn to the small town of Briis-sous-Forges south of Paris in the département of the Essonne. There is a persistent legend that claims she spent some time here, apparently early on in her life. Here is this webpage (in French) which relates ‘l’énigme Anne Boleyn’ There is a château near the church where local people think she would have stayed, but apparently it would have been a mill that belonged to distant cousins of hers.
Just a quick question: what proof is there that Anne finally consummated her relationship with Henry in 1532?
I love anne she was a gr8 friend… its sad tat she is dead now RIP sister! much love from the pilipines we luv u anne come bak pls, i read this to fall asleep because it warms my heart… i miss u anne, elizabeth is crying. look at you’ve done.
me 2 sistah
brilliant time line, but wolsey died on the was to london to trial on the charge of praemunire, and wasnt actually arrested
Wolsey was arrested and died while he was being escorted back to London to face charges – see https://www.theanneboleynfiles.com/29-november-1530-death-cardinal-thomas-wolsey-leicester-abbey/:
“Wolsey had been arrested for high treason at Cawood Castle, his home in North Yorkshire, on 4th November and taken into custody by the Earl of Northumberland and William Walsh. He bade farewell to his household on 6th November as he, Northumberland and Walsh set off for London. They travelled from Cawood to Pontefract and Doncaster, and then to Sheffield Park, home of the Earl of Shrewsbury, arriving there on the 8th. By this time, Wolsey had been taken ill with dysentery and so the group stayed at Sheffield until 24th November. In the meantime, Sir William Kingston, Constable of the Tower of London, had been dispatched from London to escort Wolsey to the Tower and he arrived at Sheffield on 22nd.
When Wolsey had recovered enough from his illness, the group travelled on to Hardwick Hall and then Nottingham. By 26th November, Wolsey’s health had taken a turn for the worse and when they arrived at Leicester Abbey Wolsey allegedly told the abbot, “Father abbott I ame come hether to leave my bones among you.” He spoke the truth. On the morning of the 29th November 1530, after making his last confession, Wolsey said his famous words:
“I se the matter ayenst me howe it is framed, But if I had served god as dyligently as I have don the kyng he wold not have geven me over in my grey heares.”
In his last hours, Wolsey was worried about the heresies he felt were taking root in England, so before he died he asked Sir William Kingston to advise the King to act against them. He then lapsed into unconsciousness and the abbot performed the last rites. He died at around 8am. His body was laid out in his pontifical robes for people to see before he was buried at the abbey, where he still rests today.”
Surely the 12th May event is the Grand jury sitting to decide whether the indictment represents a true bill? Prosecution witnesses need to be examined and the indictments considered with a majority verdict > 12 required. The indictments were only drawn up on 10 and 11th May!
If the grand jury returned a true bill what happened to the trial of the accused and preparations for their defence etc?
It all sounds very irregular. As described this is judicial murder, there is no justice.
I’m working on my fifth book and the one is about the Tudor Dynasty. Your sight has been without a doubt my best reference.
That should be This instead of the, and site instead of sight. My auto-correct is possessed.
me gusta mucho leer libros en esta temporada de pandemia les recomiendo leer libros ahora que estamos enserrados y poder salir mas al aire o puedes leer debajo de un aorbol al aire libre!!