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If Henry claimed Anne had bewitched him why...?
March 9, 2011
2:38 pm
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Nasim
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DuchessofBrittany said:

Just my two cents worth about Henry and Anne having a sexual relationship before 1532, and it's my gut reaction since I have no proof. Everything I know of Anne, I cannot rationalize her risking her future position as Queen, and the legitimacy of her children, to engage in full sexual intercourse with Henry. Anne became pregnant quickly after Nov/Dec. 1532.

Not to say she and Henry did not practice other sexual behaviours, such as coitus interruptus. It was a common practice for centuries. Although not 100% full proof (then what is?), it was in the age before modern contraception.

Anne held out for six-seven years, I am sure she could wait a few months longer. She worked so hard to become Henry's future wife, I doubt she would through it all into jeopardy. Anne, for most of her life, was a woman in charge of her own destiny. I am sure committing to Henry physically would only come when she felt the most secure, and it was truly safe to marry.

I would be interested to know more about Bernard's theory. Any recommendations, Nasim?


DuchessofBrittany – you raise a good point. It is frequently stated in secondary accounts that Anne Boleyn refused to sleep with Henry. It is what I was taught in school, and not something I even questioned before reading Bernard’s ‘The Kings Reformation’.

 

I agree with you that Anne would not have risked the legitimacy of her children. But Bernard was talking about the very early stages of their relationship, arguing that at the start neither considered marriage. Instead Henry pressed Anne to be his mistress, and they subsequently became lovers. Henry’s growing scepticism regarding the validity of his first marriage, his desire to have a male heir and his passion for Anne, caused him to change the nature of their relationship. Now wanting marriage, they abstained from sex, fearing a child born out of wedlock.

 

It is a controversial theory but one worth exploring. Bernard does raise some good points – the lack of contemporary evidence for Anne declining Henry’s advances, the fact that Henry asked the pope for a bull that allowed him to marry a woman he had already had slept with and whose sister he had also slept with, and provides a very different reading of the love letters. It was a theory that I was not willing to accept at first because it challenged the traditional take of events that I was so used to. But when I researched into this I noticed that Bernard had a point about the lack of contemporary sources indicating Anne was refusing to sleep with Henry. A lot of later sources are always raised – and the remarks of Reginald Pole who didn’t exactly have a great insight into Anne and Henry’s relationship. So I think his views are worth considering, even if they sit uncomfortably with the version of Anne we are all so used to. I'm not willing to say I certainly support his views, but I no longer think the idea that Anne said 'no' to Henry is fact.

 

(BTW, my poor description of Bernard's theory is not doing it justice. I recommend his brief discussion of this in The King's Reformation and the longer one in Fatal Attractions).

"Much as her form seduc'd the sight,
Her eyes could ev'n more surely woo;"

March 9, 2011
2:42 pm
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Nasim
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MegC said:

As for whether or not Anne and Henry had a sexual relationship prior to their marriage…I think there's pretty decent evidence to suggest that they did.  If Elizabeth was born in September and human gestation is REALLY 10 months–not nine like we think it is–then Anne would have had to have gotten pregnant in December and Henry and Anne were technically married on January 25th (though David Starkey suggests in The Six Wives that they were actually married before January 25th at some point during their trip to France).  At any rate, if you are to believe that they truly waited to have sex until after they were married, then there would have been absolutely ZERO possibility for Elizabeth to have been born in early September AND have been a healthy baby, which, by all accounts, she was.  


 

MegC – I agree with Starkey that the couple did marry in Nov 1532 as Edward Hall records, so I think the Jan marriage was ceremony number 2. That aside, Bernard’s theory was that the couple started their relationship as king and mistress, but evidently she was a treasured mistress who he proceeded to wish to marry. Their relationship came at a time when the King was doubted the state of his first marriage and wanted a son, causing him to see Anne, who he evidently adored, as a suitable new wife. In fairness to Bernard, he does not state this was something definite, but in his Anne Boleyn book and in The King’s Reformation, he does imply that this was the case. If true, it is an astounding idea. In this scenario, Henry’s passion for Anne was remarkable – he ‘had’ her and still insisted she should be his wife.

"Much as her form seduc'd the sight,
Her eyes could ev'n more surely woo;"

March 11, 2011
12:14 am
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MegC
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I guess my thing about the sexual relationship between Anne and Henry was this:  Why would Anne suddenly jump into bed with him if she had withheld all those years?  The only answer I can think of is that something in their relationship changed.  I tend to find Starkey's argument for a November 1532 wedding convincing, and, if this was indeed their first true sexual encounter, then I consider Anne damn lucky that she got pregnant so quickly.  The marriage might have been the change in their relationship that Anne needed to surrender.  It's just as likely that they arranged the November wedding on the DL just to get the formalities out of the way so they could finally jump into bed together.

Having said that, I, personally, doubt that this was the case.  I have zero evidence to support this.  I think it's equally as likely that Henry got tired of being told No and finally told Anne that unless she gave it up he would call the whole thing off.  I mean, this is HENRY we're talking about.  Or that Anne eventually ran out of excuses.  I mean, seven years is a LONG time and she may have felt that she was losing favor with him.  In an attempt to win him back she could just as easily have relented out of desperation.  Or maybe after one of their arguments their make-up went a little too far.  Who knows?  

Point being, if Jan. 25th was their first wedding, then we all know that Anne was certainly not a virgin on that particular wedding night as she was almost through her first trimester with Elizabeth.  If Nov. was their wedding, I still personally doubt that they had not consummated their relationship.  It's not that I doubt Anne's fortitude so much as I think that Henry was running out of patience with everything and, at times, could be something of a demanding child. 

"We mustn't let our passions destroy our dreams…"

March 11, 2011
11:14 am
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Sharon
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Nasim said:

I agree with you that Anne would not have risked the legitimacy of her children. But Bernard was talking about the very early stages of their relationship, arguing that at the start neither considered marriage. Instead Henry pressed Anne to be his mistress, and they subsequently became lovers. Henry’s growing scepticism regarding the validity of his first marriage, his desire to have a male heir and his passion for Anne, caused him to change the nature of their relationship. Now wanting marriage, they abstained from sex, fearing a child born out of wedlock.


 

Bernard is talking about the beginning years? Can you tell us what years he is talking about?  Sorry, I have not read Bernard, yet.  I don't understand when this sexual affair could have happened in the early years. 

 

March 17, 2011
9:38 am
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Nasim
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Sharon said:


 
Bernard is talking about the beginning years? Can you tell us what years he is talking about?  Sorry, I have not read Bernard, yet.  I don't understand when this sexual affair could have happened in the early years. 

 


 

We are not certain on when exactly Henry VIII became interested in Anne. He was resolved to marry her in 1527, but he had been in love with her for over a year, if not more, than that. His interest in her has been placed from c.1524-6. This is what I meant when I referred to the early years. Bernard proposes that sometime, perhaps as early as 1524, Henry fell in love with Anne and she accepted his affections. He implies it was possible the couple were lovers – so like her sister before her, Anne became the King’s mistress. And, interestingly, Bernard suggests it was likely Henry who later changed this situation by deciding he wanted Anne as a wife not just a mistress, and he subsequently proposed the need to abstain from sex as it was politically expedient for the couple to be seen living godly lives around the time Henry was campaigning the Vatican for an annulment. Plus a pregnancy at the time would have been unthinkable. An early chapter of Bernard’s Fatal Attractions deals with this explanation of their early years together; he also mentions it briefly in The King’s Reformation, one of the best books ever written on the Henrician Reformation.

"Much as her form seduc'd the sight,
Her eyes could ev'n more surely woo;"

March 17, 2011
6:33 pm
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Anyanka
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MegC said:

I guess my thing about the sexual relationship between Anne and Henry was this:  Why would Anne suddenly jump into bed with him if she had withheld all those years?  The only answer I can think of is that something in their relationship changed.  I tend to find Starkey's argument for a November 1532 wedding convincing, and, if this was indeed their first true sexual encounter, then I consider Anne damn lucky that she got pregnant so quickly.  The marriage might have been the change in their relationship that Anne needed to surrender.  It's just as likely that they arranged the November wedding on the DL just to get the formalities out of the way so they could finally jump into bed together.


Certainly a November wedding makes sence if as Starkey suggests Anne wanted to follow the protocol of The Royal Book. Arrive from out of England, mariage and coronation

Item [it provides] when a Queen shall be received out of a strange realm, the King must purvey certaiin lords and ladies of estate to meet with her at the seaside and convey her to the palace where the King be wedded….Also it must be understood whether the King wil be wedded privily or openly…And that done, she must be conveyed unto her coronation to the City of London

 

Six Wives The Queens of Henry VIII by David Starkey page 462.

It's always bunnies.

March 17, 2011
6:42 pm
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Anyanka
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MegC said:

Having said that, I, personally, doubt that this was the case.  I have zero evidence to support this.  I think it's equally as likely that Henry got tired of being told No and finally told Anne that unless she gave it up he would call the whole thing off.  I mean, this is HENRY we're talking about.  Or that Anne eventually ran out of excuses.  I mean, seven years is a LONG time and she may have felt that she was losing favor with him.  In an attempt to win him back she could just as easily have relented out of desperation.  Or maybe after one of their arguments their make-up went a little too far.  Who knows?  

 


It's just as likely too that Anne was fed up and frustrated and decided to throw caution to the wind despite Henry's wishes. She wanted to and he didn't.

Anne had lost a lot more than Henry had ..her reputation, a loss of 2 possible marriages, her best years…She may have to decided since she had the name, let's play the game.

It's always bunnies.

March 17, 2011
6:49 pm
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Anyanka
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MegC said:

Point being, if Jan. 25th was their first wedding, then we all know that Anne was certainly not a virgin on that particular wedding night as she was almost through her first trimester with Elizabeth.  If Nov. was their wedding, I still personally doubt that they had not consummated their relationship.  It's not that I doubt Anne's fortitude so much as I think that Henry was running out of patience with everything and, at times, could be something of a demanding child. 




One of the legal points of the time was that betrothal was as binding as a marriage ceremony after the union was comsumated and could be a short-cut to a legally binding marriage.

It's always bunnies.

March 19, 2011
10:50 pm
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MegC
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Anyanka said:

MegC said:

Point being, if Jan. 25th was their first wedding, then we all know that Anne was certainly not a virgin on that particular wedding night as she was almost through her first trimester with Elizabeth.  If Nov. was their wedding, I still personally doubt that they had not consummated their relationship.  It's not that I doubt Anne's fortitude so much as I think that Henry was running out of patience with everything and, at times, could be something of a demanding child. 



 


One of the legal points of the time was that betrothal was as binding as a marriage ceremony after the union was comsumated and could be a short-cut to a legally binding marriage.
 


Excellent point!  I'd forgotten about the whole betrothal thing–and Henry and Anne certainly weren't trying to hide their relationship.

"We mustn't let our passions destroy our dreams…"

November 19, 2011
1:51 pm
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bree
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Hmmm.  I've been reading the thread.  So, according to my weak historical research, witchcraft was only an ecclesiastical offense when Henry killed AB.  He didn't passs that as a civil offense until 1542, which seems a bit like closing the barn door after the horse is out.  I'm personally going with theory that Henry was unable to distinguish a virgin from a non-virgin (this would have important implications for all the wives) and that bewitchment was the easier slander to make, since it explained awy his willingness to go so far as to be excommunicated by the Catholic church. 

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