In this latest edition of my Fan Q&A series for the Anne Boleyn Files and Tudor Society YouTube channel, I’m answering Jessica’s question “Did Anne Boleyn bring French fashion to court herself or were others involved?”

Anne Boleyn spent six years in France and was described by a contemporary as “native French” in her ways, but did she bring French fashions, such as the French gown and French hood, to the English royal court?

Find out in this video…

Note: On closer inspection, she’s actually wearing a crown in the coronation seating plan. Sorry! However, the queen, which Roland Hui believes to be Anne Boleyn, is wearing a gable hood in the image below. Find out more at

If you’re interested in asking a question, all you have to do is record a video selfie of yourself asking up to three questions and then send it to me. Find out full instructions and how to send the video at

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6 thoughts on “Did Anne Boleyn bring French fashion to court?”
  1. Anne appeared on the English scene having newly arrived from France, and her dark looks magnificent eyes and incredible stylish clothes caused many an admiring glance from the gentleman and it is safe to say she ruffled a few feathers from the English ladies, the NPG portrait featured in the video does show her dressed in French fashion and she certainly does look stylish, black is always striking when accompanied by jewels and the ivory lustre of the pearls round her headdress and round her neck are a perfect foil for the darkness of her outfit, the neckline is square always more flattering than the high collared gowns that many of the English women wore, compared with the portrait of Jane Seymour who looks flamboyantly dressed in russet and gold which only appears to make her look rather too pale, Anne looked the epitome of chic, on her sleeves are fur which looks a shade of burgundy red but Claire says is brown, then as now France set the fashions and England adopted the latest trends so the French hood was worn by some women, the charming portrait of the kings sister the Princess Mary shows her wearing a French hood and we can see it is more flattering than the gable hood which covered all the hair, it was probably more popular than the gable hood, but on special occasions Anne after she became queen did choose to wear the latter, like at her execution, she was an English queen she was saying to the watching crowd, and she will die an English queen, she did not set the trend at court but she may have had some influence over the way some ladies chose to dress, women tend to look at very chic fashionable women and try to copy them, Anne also had a willowy body so clothes fitted her well, there is a myth that she was conscious of her extra nail and wore long flowing sleeves to hide it, again these were already in vogue and when many years later, her looks were spoken of rather disparagingly by Nicholas Sander, when he said she had a goitre on her neck or mole and to hide its ugliness she wore a jewelled collar, in the many portraits of Anne her neck is bare so that is also another myth, she was dark skinned Sander called her complexion sallow, of course he never knew her but it is thought he had access to those who had once served in her household, it was probably olive toned, such skin to day is envied as it tans easily, when her daughter was born it was surprising how fair she was having a mother with dark colouring, but Elizabeth inherited her fair skin from her father, along with his strawberry blonde hair, when Anne was queen she did have an influence over her ladies fashion because queens do set the trend, they were after all the First Ladies of the land, and in her household the women wore the French hood of which she was so fond, however, when Jane Seymour became queen she forbade her ladies to wear it and so out went the French hood and in came the gable hood, this could have been Jane’s doing knowing that Henry V111 wanted every vestige every memory of Anne gone, and she herself would hardly want any reminder of her dead mistress around, there is a portrait of Anne’s sister Mary Cary wearing the gable hood and she is one of the few women who looks very attractive in it, she has the round face that can carry of such attire, Anne also is wearing the same hood in the medal that was struck in her honour, which is the only contemporary likeness of her we have, the one of her visibly pregnant seated in gold is merely a sketch, but that to is contemporary and therefore just as precious, Anne sometimes wore stylish little hats with a feather in, when ladies went horse riding they wore hats and it was noted at her trial, Anne wore a little hat with a feather in, in Blickling Hall on the wide staircase there is a statue of her wearing such a hat, we do not know what colours she favoured but she probably loved rich jewel tones that complimented her vivid colouring, at her coronation she would have looked stunning dressed in white and gold and ermine, the fur that was reserved exclusively for royalty, amongst all the women at court when she first made her debut in 1526 she must have seemed to many like an exotic bird of paradise, her incredible sense of style combined with her lilting French accent, her gracefulness and her wit won her many admirers including the king himself.

  2. Anne isn’t painted here as Anne Boleyn she is painted as Queen Philippa, wife of Edward iii who started the Order of the Garter. Like most Medieval Queens, Philippa was constantly pregnant and her own portrait might have reflected a triumph. Henry Viii was as obsessed with knights of the round table as Edward iii and had such a table made which hangs in Winchester. Winchester was regarded as the English Camelot and the Tudors fiercely identified with this place, with the birth of Prince Arthur taking place there, for example. Henry wanted to be Edward iii and Henry V, the only two Kings who actually achieved something in France. The Order of the Garter was formed as a brotherhood, to encourage the nobles of the realm to band together and to have the same high ideals, to practice their fighting skills and to want to conquer France. Henry never achieved anything more than owning a couple of towns and getting within 16 miles of Paris, but it didn’t stop him from dreaming. He wanted his Queen to reflect that ambition as well.

    Anne may well have seen herself as a Philippa and now on pregnancy no two, the year after Elizabeth was born, there wasn’t any reason she shouldn’t go on to have a male child and follow with more children. I think that because we think of Anne having her head removed, we sadly forget that for two years Henry and Anne had a successful marriage. We need to look beyond the 19th May 1536 and back to the start of their married life. Anne had given birth to a healthy child and was pregnant again, possibly as early as Christmas that year. That proved that she was fertile and so was Henry. Like Katharine, she at least had no problem conceiving early in her marriage. So the King and Queen were sleeping together regularly. The bloom of love had not yet faded. But look again and here is another reason Anne saw herself as this Queen.

    Anne wasn’t content to put her feet up and just drop babies. She wanted to share in political power. Anne had her say on most things and had views on her husband’s politics. She could be quite pushy, but within reason and at this stage, Anne, like Philippa was advising her husband on matters of state. Whether Henry was as prepared to put up with it as Edward iii is a different matter. However, there is evidence that they worked together earlier in their marriage and a pregnant Queen might well get away with most things. Even if the image is merely symbolic it tells us that Anne shared her husband’s ideals and his political sense. She is here the Lady of the Garter, supporting his ambition and his dreams.

    The lady in the portrait is very pregnant and at least for several months, certainly up to the end of July 1534, Anne was described as having a goodly belly. The lady has spread her legs, the symbol of motherhood and fertility and looks as if she is preparing for a birth. Her gold dress doesn’t hide her swollen belly. She looks relaxed and regal and triumphant, almost defiant. Anne was all of those things. Of course AR is Anna Regina. This is a book of both propaganda and personal art. Its not a coin or weapon of state as coins were. If one was showing the Queen, why not use her name? The English gable hood was worn by Anne on serious ceremonial occasions and especially at her execution. On that sad occasion she was saying look I am a true and anointed Queen of England and chopping my head off doesn’t change that fact. Maybe she thought back to this image and chose to remind Henry of it. Anne, as we know didn’t introduce the French hood, but she certainly made it popular. Katharine of Aragon, Anne of Cleves, even Jane Seymour wore it and no, she didn’t ban it. She merely discouraged its wearing but it was worn during her short reign. It was worn by Mary Queen of France and a host of other ladies before and after Anne’s time. The gable hood has golden threads, not hair showing. It is unlikely to be Jane Seymour and Henry’s public display as a golden Knight had passed away by then. However, in 1534, he was still fit enough to joust and still anxious to be seen as a fit and active warrior. Anne is displayed as a lady from legend and history as a counterbalance to his portrait as judge and warrior King. She is grace and mercy and plenty.

    Anne knew it was her duty to provide Henry with a son and this would have been a time of triumph and anticipation for her and the King. She was pregnant with his son and heir and this was a way of celebrating the event. It was also a way of sharing the news and the message that Anne was the true Queen and had been blessed with bounty. She looks radiant and secure. Anne was a happy mother. Now the miracle was happening. She had every chance of having a healthy son. Why not celebrate it with a commemorative painting in the Black Book of the Garter? We should also take claims that Henry Viii ordered every image of Anne destroyed. Which contemporary documents say that please? He gave orders around the Palace to remove her badges and symbols and so on as he did his other wives and probably not to speak her name. There is no such order to destroy her portraits or images in personal or ceremonial books and so on. Even if he did, quite a few things were missed.

    Unfortunately, in 1534 Anne didn’t have a son or even another daughter. Very strangely there is simply no record of what happened to her pregnancy after July. We don’t know if she gave birth and the child died soon afterwards or was stillborn and no miscarriage was recorded either. Anne may have merely shown the symptoms of pregnancy and may have believed she was pregnant, such was the pressure to produce a living male heir. Her belly still would have swollen and believe it or not her breasts would swell and produced milk as well. The lady in the Black Book of the Garter looks naturally pregnant. I think Anne was heavily pregnant here and sadly lost her baby almost full term. The shock and despair were such that no mention was made and for a long time afterwards Anne felt as if she couldn’t conceive. Anne was acting very strangely and made threats against Mary and Katharine. I believe she suffered from post traumatic stress disorder and post natal depression. The loss of her child changed her and put severe pressure and strain on her marriage to Henry. Anne would become pregnant at least once more, but the loss of that child would ultimately lead to the loss of her own life..

  3. Yes her second pregnancy is a mystery and it might have been just a phantom pregnancy, her need for a son was so great and sometimes the mind can trick the body into believing it is expecting a child, the swollen belly tender breasts and morning sickness are the typical symptoms of pregnancy, but how deflating to realise it is nothing of the sort, Mary 1st twice believed she was with child but sadly she was not fated to have children, because we don’t know anything more about this child of Anne Boleyn’s no information telling us she had sadly miscarried we can only speculate, she had a ‘goodly belly ‘ we are told and then nothing, I am thinking she could well have miscarried which would explain Henry’s need to get rid of her so quickly, it would explain also the deep disappointment and grief over the last miscarriage she had, surely she was allowed one, but to have two miscarriages in a row would explain Henry’s total rejection of her afterwards, this after all was what he had endured with Katherine, she could have been suffering from ptsd and /or post natal depression, sadly those illnesses were not recognised at the time, the only help she would have got was sympathy from her ladies, some of whom had maybe lost a child and knew what she was going through, I think Anne truly believed she was invincible, the fates had endowed her with intelligence and charisma, she had captured a king and because everything was going well for her, she must have thought she would be able to give the king a son to, but Mother Nature is a fickle lady and was not on her side, sadly Anne like Katherine before her, was destined to only have one surviving daughter, there is a theory that Anne belonged to the rare blood group of Rhesus negative, such women can only give birth to one healthy child, and then her antibodies see any other child in the womb as an invader and gather together to destroy it, Henry V111 was not lucky with his first two wives yet they were both fertile women, and fell pregnant easily, but the deaths of so many infants down the years must have seriously depressed him, and we have to remember that he was also just a man himself, and had grieved so many times just like his wives did with the deaths of their babies, his first born Henry Prince of Wales would have been a young man by now had he lived, he would have been ready to rule when his father died and Henry V111 may have been the king who had just one wife not six, the deaths of his children are a mystery which led to the rumour of him having contracted syphilis when young, but we know he never was a sufferer of it, children of a syphilitic parent can be born blind have a host of other problems and die young, none of Henry’s children were born with any defects, and both Mary and Edwards deaths were caused by illness, in Elizabeth’s 1st’s case it was possibly age related, children have always died young, rich and poor throughout the ages, sudden infant death syndrome or cot death as we call it has never been explained by the medical experts, little Prince Henry may have been born with no complications and being Prince he had the best of care, he had a wet nurse and his nursery was filled with capable women who looked over him, they made sure he was cared for to the best of their ability, yet he suddenly died and that was the beginning of the pattern that was to tragically occur for his parents down the years, it was to end his parents marriage and led to the king marrying Anne Boleyn and then Jane Seymour, royal children were doubly precious as they held the fate of the country in their tiny bodies, the first born at least, and there have been many theories why both Katherine had several miscarriages, her last child a daughter was born dead and some infants only survived a few weeks, Katherine is thought to have had an eating disorder, and she also fasted for long times due to her religion, she would pray for hours go on long journeys, pilgrimage’s to pray for a son, and she may have all unknowingly put her own health at risk rendering her body incapable of bearing a healthy child, Elizabeth of York lost several children and her last child died shortly after birth, followed by her mother, fatalities did occur but Katherine of Aragon suffered more than most, with cot death today, , a smoking household is not considered good for a baby and sleeping on their back or the front, (cannot recall which) is not considered good either, too many covers over the child can suffocate them and I’m wondering if the swaddling of the child they used in Tudor times could have contributed to their deaths, maybe they were bound too tightly and therefore could not breathe properly? The royal infant would be sent to the country to the fresh clean air to escape the pollution of the city, the nursery was scrubbed clean and all care was taken for the little bundle sleeping in the cradle, now if Anne Boleyn did belong to the rhesus blood group that would explain her obstetric history but then why was Katherine so unfortunate with her children? Was there a fault in the Tudor genes? The lack of male heirs always troubled Henry V111, he said waspishly to Chapyus ‘ am I not a man like many others’, he was also very superstitious and must have thought that no sons meant God was not pleased with the Tudor usurpation of the throne, yet his father had sired several sons and he had lived to inherit his throne, in Tudor times and long before that and some time after, a woman was always considered responsible for her baby, the sex of the child was thought to be caused by the mother, the foods she ate, even her moral behaviour was called into account if she gave birth to a deformed child, Henry V111 would have baulked at the knowledge that the male sperm determines the sex of the baby, some families have more sons than daughters and others have mostly girls, we know such a lot today that was unknown in early times, and people just relied on old wives tales, the wise woman of the village, kings had their own physicians but they knew not much more than the wise woman, and really they just quacks, most of their remedies for many ailments was blood letting and the application of leeches to the body, another factor in cot death is drinking alcohol it is known that children born of mothers too over fond of the drink can have babies underweight, they did drink regularly in the early days but it was not strong like today, there were no spirits, just ale and weak wine, the water was not drinkable, so they had no choice, Edward V1s birth was very complicated and sent his mother to her early grave, yet he was robust and thrived yet sadly fell ill when a teenager and died, all his fathers hopes had been on him and the faff over his second marriage making it legal then trying to undo it, was all for his existence and yet it was all for nothing, because he died before he reached his potential as a ruler, and it was a tragedy for England, six people had died so his father could have a son, yet England was fated to have three queens after his death, one of them ended up on the scaffold, the Tudor dynasty which had meant so much to Henry V111, and for which he had repudiated his first queen for, and sent his second to her bloody death, was in the hands of his two daughters, not his longed for and cherished son, the Tudors certainly were a brilliant charismatic family, particularly Henry V111 and Elizabeth 1st, who ruled the longest but Mary 1st like her siblings had a cultured upbringing, they were also scholarly and very musical, Edward was said to have been a child prodigy, all bi lingual they could read and write in French and Latin, and I think Greek also, but there was some weakness in the Tudor men or their wives that was to render their dynasty short lived, Henry V111’s line died out, but his two sisters had no trouble producing heirs who all married and had children themselves, the queen is a descendant of his eldest sister Margaret of Scotland, it seems Henry V111 whose birth of a son meant so much to him, was just tragically so unlucky in the fertile department.

  4. Yes, Anne’s strange obstetrics history is very weird but the Rhesus negative syndrome theory sounds as if its a match. I recall doing some research on this and having an excellent discussion on this platform. It certainly fits the unfortunate pattern suffered by Anne.

    The Queen was in a dark and warm comfortable room, but she had to stay there for several weeks. Its not as if she could go for a walk outside. She was made comfortable with her ladies but she was in her chamber for a long time. She could walk around, had everything she wanted, but fresh air was limited to one small window. This wasn’t good preparation for pushing a baby through a drain pipe of a hole. She must have suffered from stiffness and cramps as well and if she wasn’t in the best of health it certainly would be dangerous for her and her baby. Pregnancy and childbirth can cause milk leg syndrome in which a thrombosis forms in the thigh and it swells to the extent that the body cannot cope. It can get much worse and lead to a heart attack and more dangerous clots. Anne could easily have suffered this and been in grave danger. Childbirth was extremely dangerous with more than one third of all deaths in women being because of complications during childbirth. The room was also hung with rich tapestries with calming themes, even though shocks are unlikely to cause miscarriage as we know today. However, that was a thing back then and it was taken seriously. The mother was wholly responsible for her child, she must not think anything that could emotionally damage her child, she must be serene and not upset in any way. She must not do anything and even sexual activity during pregnancy was forbidden. Food was prescribed to encourage the serenity and good health of the child. Certain foods could even guarantee a boy or girl and affected the temperament of the unborn child. Miscarriage was high. It was a delicate and dangerous time.

    I agree about the history of miscarriage and stillbirth, infant death which Henry suffered with Katharine deeply affected him and probably the way he saw the same history repeating itself with Anne. Both him and Katharine had shared their grief and they had mourned together. Henry never actually blamed Katharine the way he finally blamed Anne. Maybe that was because there was always hope for another child. Then the hope ran out and so did the promise of a male heir. Yet it was another six years before Henry looked at the reason his marriage wasn’t blessed by God. Around 1524 to 1526 Katharine went through her menopause and Henry realised that he could not now have sons with her. At the same time he sought answers in the Scriptures and the words in Leviticus came to haunt him. A man was condemned and cursed if he slept with his brothers wife and the verses said they would be childless. Now this might mean wife or widow but Henry and his advisors took it to mean widow. Katharine had been married to his older brother and then to Henry. He now convinced himself that was the reason why he was without a male heir. His marriage was cursed and therefore not legally valid. Then he met and fell for Anne Boleyn.

    Katharine saw everything quite differently. She swore that her marriage to Prince Arthur was never consummated and given their ages and health, it is highly probable that it wasn’t. To Katharine her marriage to Henry was good and they had been blessed with their lovely and very talented daughter, Princes Mary, Henry’s Pearl. Mary was his heir and was in fact treated that way. She was sent to Ludlow in 1527 to rule with her own Council and Court in the unruly Marches of England and Wales. Katharine couldn’t understand what Henry saw in this strumpet who had so taken her husband’s heart and mind. She thought Henry would see sense but he demanded an annulment and Katharine fought him tooth and nails until she finally lost her crown. Katharine was Henry’s true wife and she wasn’t going to give in without a fight.

    Henry was absolutely desperate for a male heir, like his contemporaries he believed a woman didn’t have the capacity to rule and the security of his realm depended on him having a son. The Tudor Dynasty was young. Henry was only the second Tudor and his father the first King to successfully hand over the crown to his son since 1422. That was the infant Henry vi whose disastrous reign led to the Wars of the Roses and half a century of conflict. Henry was obsessed by his real need for a male heir by the time he married Anne after a seven year struggle to end his first marriage. He was completely changed as a man and King and he was madly in love with another woman. Anne had caught his eye back in 1526 and he fell under her spell. When she refused his advances, she made him want her more. Anne and Henry began a relationship, he wrote her many passionate love letters and they fell in love. Then Anne did something really dumb. She literally promised him sons, if he married her. So Henry now had a reason for an annulment and an alternative Queen in mind. He became totally convinced his cause was just but so did Katharine. The English Church wasn’t giving him his wish and Cardinal Thomas Wolsey had to find a way forward. The Pope was asked to rule but claimed it wasn’t possible as the armies of Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor and nephew to his wife, Katharine were parked on his doorstep, having raped and burnt and killed their way through Rome for three days. This caused another delay and Henry’s patience was wearing thin. A Court was set up at Blackfriars in 1529 and the Pope sent a representative to sit with Wolsey and try the marriage. Katharine made a passionate plea before her husband and the case was adjourned to Rome. However, it took too long and with Anne’s help Henry found a way to threaten the clergy, get himself declared Head of the Church of England and break from Rome. The way was clear for him to marry Anne, who was carrying his child, whom everyone said was a son.

    However, it all went wrong. The longed for son was a daughter, but Henry and Anne remained optimistic. Anne was in her 30s and Henry was now in his 40s. Time was running out for both of them and Henry must have believed that Anne could not have many years of childbirth ahead of her. Henry watched history repeat itself with a heavy heart. All of her other pregnancies ended in tragedy on at least two occasions, possibly three. Both Anne and Henry were saddened and devastated by the loss of their children, as Henry had been with Katharine. Anne was disappointed and desperate for a son, she knew her role was to provide him with a much needed son and heir, that her daughter couldn’t rule. Elizabeth may have been loved and adored but she was most valuable in the marriage market. She was only Henry’s heir until she had a brother. Henry took all of the signs at the start of their marriage to mean that this time they would succeed, that they would be blessed. The lost babies must have broken his heart as they did Anne’s but at some point he suddenly saw he may never have a son with Anne. I think she broke her promise in his eyes in January 1536 when she definitely miscarried a son. This pregnancy was the turning point, something inside Henry broke that day and he was never the same afterwards. This time he blamed Anne, she had failed him, she had killed his son. In his eyes Anne was the cause of her miscarriage, not his fall from his horse in the joust. Recriminations followed. Anne said her heart broke when she saw him love others and he was to blame not her. Henry shouted that he saw that God denied him sons and stormed out. This was the last chance. Henry told one friend that he wouldn’t have any more children with Anne, that he was cursed, bewitched and he would take another wife. Anne was doomed. It was only a matter of time and how she was to be removed. She was vulnerable now to her enemies, just as Wolsey had been to his. Anne was Queen for another four months but all the time she was sitting on a ticking clock. All those who hated her came together to form an alliance of factions around a common goal. Most of them supported Princes Mary and they wanted a Queen who would favour the King’s true born daughter. Henry wanted a new wife and this alliance would ensure he chose a lady that they knew would achieve their goals as well as his own. Jane Seymour fitted that bill quite well. She was well disposed towards Mary, came from a good and fertile family, was Conservative and apparently could handle the King while being compliant to his will. She was willing to cooperate in turning Henry away from Anne and she was up to the job of replacing her as Queen. Jane was also the one to finally keep her promise and give Henry his much needed male heir. Sadly it was at the sacrifice of her own life.

  5. It was not a clever move of Anne’s to promise Henry sons, no mother has any say over what sex their child will be, and by stepping into Katherines shoes meant all the pressure was now on her to give him a male heir, she had been dazzled by the thought of queenship it would dazzle any woman and I do not believe she was actually thinking straight when she agreed to marry the king, one minute this autocratic monarch was pleading with her to slip between the sheets with him, then he was promising to marry her and make her queen, he was her devoted slave and in a sense she had him twisted round her little finger, no wonder the power went to her head, she was thinking only of wearing an ermine robe and wearing a consorts crown on her head, of sitting beside him on the chair of state of snapping her fingers and issuing orders, of seeing the great and good bow and curtesy before her, she was not thinking how different the role would be as Henry’s wife, the transition from demanding cherished mistress to a servile child breeding queen, also a woman can fall into the trap of thinking an ardent beau will stay that way forever, some do and yet many a man can fall out of love easily and so can women, I do not believe Anne ever loved him but she grew to be very fond of him, he had given her the world after all, she bartered her body with a crown and foolishly promised the king sons, but that power was not in her hands and yet she
    deceived herself into thinking she could, I think she was also very foolish in thinking that Henry would be able to divorce or annul his marriage to Katherine easily, others kings in history had received annulments from the pope and the set aside wives did not cause a fuss, so she must have thought it would be quite easy maybe take a few months, and then she would be able to marry Henry and all’s well that ends well, this belief shows she was rather naive on the political situation of the age as well, the king was married to a daughter of powerful Spain, Charles V was Henry’s queens nephew and he held the pope in a vice, the pope did not wish to upset Charles and then there were Henry’s lawyers and Cardinal Wolsey, all who must have tried to persuade the king from what they must have perceived was political suicide on their kings part, the English populace to did not wish to see her replaced by a younger model, there were many hurdles placed in their way in the beginning, Henry sent Wolsey to plead for his case quoting the paragraph in Leviticus as a legit reason to end his marriage, meanwhile Katherine was still going around calling herself Queen and she was still referred to as such, the people in the streets still called her your majesty, it was just Henry and Anne locked in their own little world who believed one day they would be married and she would be queen, they did marry eventually but only when the king realised he would have to break with Rome to do so, Anne was pregnant so that hurried it all up, in doing so he risked excommunication and England drifted along in a sea of purgatory in the Catholic world, one set back yes was the sacking of Rome where the pope was taken hostage by Charles V, so that made the situation of the king of England’s divorce rather delicate, in fact it made it virtually impossible for his holiness to rule in Henry’s favour, all the time Katherine was refusing to budge and Princess Mary like most daughters do, come down on the side of the wronged parent, this also meant disaster for her because she was Henry’s legal heir, now she was just as unimportant as her half brother Henry Fitzroy because he was now effectively saying she was merely his bastard with no claim to anything, she was devastated and was torn between them because she loved both parents dearly, so Henry had a demanding mistress on one end who refused to sleep with him until she had a circlet of gold on her head, a stubborn wife and daughter on the other end with a frustrated worried pope, an angry populace and the threatening shadow of Spain in the background, the words of love spoken by a king maybe in the moonlit gardens one summer evening were to have devastating consequences for the world he live in, another setback was the trial at Blackfriars where both the king and queen were called to give evidence of the validity and invalidity of their marriage, Katherine obviously for and her erring husband against, it was unprecedented like many other events in Henry V111’s reign, the popes mouthpiece Cardinal Campeggio
    had travelled from Italy no easy feat because he was elderly and suffered from gout, really Henry underestimated Katherine because she walked straight across the hall towards him and knelt at his feet, she appealed to his conscience she declared, she begged for justice she mentioned their dead children, which must have torn at his heart strings, it must have been very uncomfortable for the king because in front of all the clergy and the lawyers she reminded him of their wedding night he knew she had been a virgin she said, most men including the kings must have felt their cheeks burn, she then stood up declared she did not accept the jurisdiction of the court and she appealed direct to Rome, finishing her speech she walked out ignoring the calls from the heralds who called after her to come back into the court, Campeggio had no choice but to agree, that delayed it for a whole year, both Anne and Henry were furious and Anne especially began to lose trust in Wolsley who had promised everything would run smoothly, Anne suspected he was actually working against the divorce, Anne had completely underestimated Katherine as well, the lady was not for turning, she would fight to her dying breath to save her position as Henry’s rightful queen, and she was every bit as tough, and tenacious and possessed the same amount of staying power as she, both women locked horns and Henry was caught in the middle, Anne realised then that it was not going to be an easy ride to become queen, when finally the impossible became possible she still carried on as if she were the kings mistress still, she argued with Henry if she caught him flirting, she connived with her brothers wife to have his latest mistress sent from court, she bad mouthed the ex queen and his daughter who merely called her Madame Pembroke, a reference to when she was bestowed with the title Marchioness, she was not popular except amongst her friends and supporters, worse she had failed to give the king a son, the stress of knowing that great gift was expected of her and for which she had won a crown for must have had some bearing on her behaviour, she was bad tempered a trait which is often caused by fear and stress, she was suspicious of Cromwell who once had been her friend they clashed over the dissolution of the monasteries, and she feared his influence over the king, she lost two babies after Elizabeth and the last one was a male, Henry sadly by this time had fallen out of love with her, he must have wondered what he had once found so enchanting about her, he must have felt deceived and betrayed by Anne, by being elevated from a gentlewoman to a queen Anne had her fair share of glory but with such a powerful position comes enemies, and she was thus made more vulnerable than if she had been content to merely be the kings mistress, she had fared no better than Katherine in giving the king a prince, she must have thought of that as she had lain in the Tower preparing for death, the glorious crown for which she had waited so long for, must have seemed to her in her last days as merely being a crown of thorns.

  6. Katharine was the daughter of the Reyes of Spain and she wasn’t going to take the annulment of her marriage laying down. Henry had been married to her for 18 years and should really have realised that and never underestimated his wife and Queen. Anne, of course made the same mistake but her own arrogance pushed Henry on and made them both careless. Everything they did was known to Rome which allowed for a counter measure from the Pope and the Empire. Henry and Anne were in their own world and thought they were absolutely right and everything would just fall into their laps. I don’t believe that they honestly thought Katharine would be so robust and that she would hold out to the end. Henry thought she could be persuaded once it seemed inevitable that he would marry Anne and he sent people to ask her to commit her case to him, offering her a good settlement. No way. Katharine was crowned Queen and that’s the end of it. She was the true Queen and Anne the scandal of Christendom. Katharine was going nowhere and she was still in place in 1531, making her husband’s shirts as she had always done, much to the anger and disappointment of Anne.

    This was the point at which Anne despaired for the first time in two years since her courtship with Henry. Not since the end of the Court of Blackfriars in 1529 had Anne felt like this. Even then she warned that Katharine would never give in and she complained about the lack of commitment of Wolsey. Now as with then Anne told Henry she was going home and she had wasted her life and her youth. She had lost her chance to have many sons, a woman’s greatest joy and she should have been married long ago and so on. She wasn’t going to stay around while Katharine remained on the scene and off she went home. Henry had to beg Thomas Boleyn to bring her back and then he promised that when the Court left on its progress that Summer, Katharine would be told to leave. The Court did leave, Katharine was given one month to pack and go and Henry abandoned her with Anne.

    The problem was that Katharine was still Queen, even though Anne and Henry now loved it up at Court and lived in their own world with Anne acting as if she was Queen. Anne took her place at his side, she held audiences as if she was Queen, she took her place at the banquet and entertainment and it was as if she were already Queen. Of course it took another two years but 1531 was the real breakthrough. Henry was able to force the clergy into submission and begin the path to breaking from Rome in 1532. That left only one thing, foreign support. September and October 1532 saw Anne and Henry acting as a married couple in France and seeking the promise of support from King Francis. It was here that they consummated their union and within months they were married, pregnant and crowned.

    However, Katharine was still there. She refused to accept her marriage had been declared null and void in England and she hung around Henry and Anne’s necks like a bad penny. Anne was too busy to see that Katharine ironically was her security. Henry would never return to Katharine but her death made Anne’s own position more precarious, especially while no son was forthcoming. Her promise was very rash but she saw the crown glittering and couldn’t resist. She forgot the main purpose of a Queen and the pressure that would put on her of she failed to deliver. Anne was triumphant for a moment, she hoped it would be forever, but without the birth of a live baby boy who would thrive, all of those dreams and fantastically ideas would be for nothing. It must really have hit home, when she lost her own babies, just how Katharine must have felt. Her moments of triumph would soon turn darkly to dust. Henry wasn’t going to remain faithful to her and unlike when Katharine was pregnant, he wasn’t that discreet either. Anne trued to control who slept in his bed, but she couldn’t stop him falling in love with someone else. Her time was up in January 1536, even though she tried to regain her political powers, she had made too many enemies and they did what people do when they have had enough, they allied together to bring her down.

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