In my latest video, I’m exploring a question asked by my YouTube follower Suzanne Paul: Did Henry VIII regret Anne Boleyn’s execution?

One 16th century Frenchman claims that he’d heard that Henry VIII, in his dying days, had spoken of his regret for executing his innocent second wife, Anne Boleyn, but just how reliable is this source?

Join me as I look into this question, and please do share your views…

Notes and Sources

  • Burnet, Gilbert (1643-1715) The History of the Reformation of the Church of England, The Third Part. Being a Supplement to the Two Volumes Formerly Publish’d, published 1733.
  • Cardozo, M.D.S. (1944) ‘Some Remarks Concerning André Thevet’, The Americas, 1(1), pp. 15–36. doi:10.2307/978333.

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4 thoughts on “Did Henry VIII Regret Anne Boleyn’s Execution? Unravelling the Enigma”
  1. Hum…., interesting! I feel really that Henry V111 regretted ever meeting Anne in the first place and holding him spellbound for many years, I believe he regretted breaking with Rome as he was at heart a Catholic and the misery his first queen and daughter endured, the execution understandably of More who had been a loyal friend of his and servant for many years, and the turmoil he had put his realm through all on the promise of a son ! It is very hard to imagine if he did regret her murder as murder it undoubtedly was but here we have to remember that this king was a master of hypocrisy, and always reassured his conscience that what he did was always for England, I do think he was behind her fall as Alison Weir writes in her novel about Anne’s last days in the Tower, Cromwell would not have dared move against her without the kings permission, faced with the so called evidence he told himself she was a vile wicked woman who was totally unsuitable to be his queen, and the only punishment was death, he ignored that the dates of her so called adultery did not tally with her whereabouts at the time, or those of her so called lovers, he wanted her gone, and yes I do believe that his near fatal injury made him evaluate his position more, when one is faced with death it makes one realise how fleeting life is and what the situation would be he he died suddenly, still without an heir? Cromwell had given him a way out of his marriage but he could have done it without bloodshed, wether this thought ever niggled him down the years we will never no, as we have no reliable source to go on, and the Franciscan friar whose name I am unsure how to spell, was thought of as one prone to embroider things, as he prepared to meet his maker, his mind possibly did flit back to the past and as we know, this man had the deaths not just of his second queen, but his fifth to who had been just a girl when she lost her head, amongst many others on his conscience, there was Robert Aske who I feel was a decent man caught up in Henry V111’s blood lust, his cousin Lady Margaret Pole who certainly did not deserve to die and as Claire mentions Henry Stafford the Duke of Buckingham, we could go on and on, the Carthusian monks all suffered a horrific death, who can understand Henry V111 and his complete lack of mercy, if this king ever did regret sending his second queen to the block, it was I feel because of his daughter Elizabeth he must have felt perturbed every time she cast those deep brown eyes in his direction…

  2. I totally agree with you, Claire and Christine! Henry regretted nothing. He was a man who believed himself beyond reproach. Everything he did in his life was more to benefit himself than anyone else. It makes me wonder if Henry could legitimately be called a narcissist.

    This was an excellent video and a great follow-up comment! I learn so much from this website!

  3. He certainly regretted Mores death who told him he could not sign the act of supremacy as it went against his conscience, and what annoyed the king was his was heart felt and sincere, unlike his own as he used his as a mere convenience, according to the sources he was playing cards with Anne when the news was brought to him of his old friend’s execution, he abruptly left the room but not before blaming his death on Anne, I feel the rot had started to set in then, their relationship was not the same as before they were married when his hopes were high of having a son, he had just murdered a man he had known since boyhood, a man who had been a loyal friend a mentor as well as a servant, a man who was admired throughout Europe for his learning, alone with his private thoughts he pondered if the ‘chaos’ had all been worth it, and he blamed the person who was the cause of it all, the dark eyed lady who was rapidly becoming a thorn in his side, he also expressed regret at Cromwells death but he still threw him to the wolves, Cromwell had written him a letter begging for mercy, he penned the word three times beseeching him for his life, but Henry V111 ignored his pleas, only afterwards he declared how much he regretted listening to those who had spoken against his faithful servant, yes he regretted his death as Cromwell had helped him out of his marriage with Anne Boleyn, I also believe he was saddened at Wolsey’s death, and after he began to hate his second queen he recalled those who had been his dear friends and companions whom because of HER he had destroyed, and because of his very nature he absolved himself of blame telling himself it was all the devils work, he had been under a spell, none of it was his fault, it was a very childish trait Henry V111 possessed and very dangerous for those who lived alongside him.

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