Henry VIII and Anne BoleynAt just before dawn1 on 11th October 1532, Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn, Marquis of Pembroke, set sail on the King’s ship, the Swallow, from Dover. They arrived at their destination, Calais, at 10 o’clock in the morning and were greeted by a “greate peale of gonnes” and procession which included the Mayor of Calais, the Lord Deputy and various knights.2 They were then taken to the Church of St Nicholas where they heard mass before retiring to their lodgings at The Exchequer. The couple stayed together there until 21st October when Henry left Anne to meet Francis I and travel on to Boulogne.

Henry VIII was still married to Catherine of Aragon at this point, but Anne acted as his consort on this trip. He had raised her to the title of Marquis of Pembroke in preparation for this trip and had also presented her with a collection of jewels.3 According to Eustace Chapuys, the imperial ambassador, the King had also demanded that Catherine of Aragon hand back her royal jewels so that they could be given to Anne. Catherine said that “it was against her conscience to give her jewels to adorn a person who is the scandal of Christendom, and a disgrace to the King”, but “if the King sent expressly to ask for them, she would obey him in this as in other things.”4 The King sent for them so Catherine gave them up.

The main purpose of this trip was for Henry and Anne to gain Francis I’s public recognition and approval of their relationship. Henry wanted Francis to then meet with the Pope and push the case for the annulment of Henry’s marriage to Catherine of Aragon. Francis was able to assure Henry of his support and so confident was Henry that the annulment would be granted that he started co-habiting with Anne on their return to England. In the end, Anne actually became pregnant before Francis I had had chance to meet with the Pope, so Henry VIII had to take things into his own hands. He had married Anne in secret in January 1533 so in May 1533 Archbishop Cranmer pronounced the validity of that union and the annulment of Henry’s marriage to Catherine. Anne Boleyn was crowned Queen at Westminster Abbey in 1st June 1533.

Also on this day in history…

  • 1521 – The title of Fidei Defensor, “Defender of the Faith”, was conferred by Pope Leo X on Henry VIII. This was a reward for Henry VIII writing his pamphlet Assertio septem sacramentorum adversus Martinum Lutherum (“Declaration of the Seven Sacraments Against Martin Luther”), defending the Catholic Church against the works of Martin Luther. You can read Henry VIII’s Assertio Septem at http://archive.org/details/assertioseptem00henruoft
  • 1537 – Solemn procession at St Paul’s to pray for the Queen, Jane Seymour, who was in labour, a labour which lasted over 30 hours. Charles Wriothesley wrote of how the procession was made up of “all the orders of friars, preistes, and clarkes… the major and aldermen, with all the craftes of the citie” and that it was “donne to pray for the Queene that was then in laboure of chielde.”
  • 1542 – Death of Sir Thomas Wyatt the Elder, poet and diplomat, at Sherborne in Dorset. He was laid to rest at Sherborne Abbey. His plain tomb can be found in the Wykenham Chapel of the Abbey. See Sir Thomas Wyatt the Elder for more information on Wyatt.
  • 1549 – Arrest of Edward Seymour, the Duke of Somerset, Lord Protector of the Realm and Governor of the King’s Person. He was brought in front of Edward VI, who summarised his charges as “ambition, vainglory, entering into rash wars in mine youth, negligent looking on Newhaven, enriching himself of my treasure, following his own opinion, and doing all by his own authority, etc.”

Notes and Sources

  1. The Maner of the tryumphe of Caleys and Bulleyn states 5 o’clock in the morning whereas chronicler Edward Hall says 3 o’clock.
  2. The Maner of the tryumphe of Caleys and Bulleyn and The noble tryumphaunt coronacyon of Quene Anne, wyfe unto the most noble kynge Henry VIII, Wynkyn de Worde, p6-7. This can be read at archive.org
  3. The list of jewels delivered to Cornelius Hayes, the King’s goldsmith, for alteration in September 1532 included “20 rubies and 2 diamonds reserved for my lady Marques”. See LP v. 1376 for the full list.
  4. LP v. 1377

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18 thoughts on “11 October 1532 – Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn Set Sail for Calais”
  1. I have a question, not on the present topic but maybe someone knows about it. Portraits show people in heavy elaborate clothing,head dresses, long hair, even the men. They couldn’t launder these clothes or dry clean them so the clothing would have absorbed body odor especially as they had no antiperspirants and couldn’t have showered every day. I’m sure their hair didn’t get washed that often either. Or their linen changed everyday. So what I’m wanting to know is what on earth did they smell like? How could they stand one another. Did they have other lighter clothing for ordinary use?

      1. If you go to a country where some of these conditions still exist you quickly find out. It can be sour, and make you eyes water… since we are not accustomed to this smell any longer in some countries it can turn your stomach… But if you stay long enough it becomes less…. annoying LOL.

        1. I worked on a sewage works for nearly 10 months. I soon learnt the difference between the incoming sewage and the different stages of the process to the clean effulent which was discharged.

          Over 15 yrs later, i could still spot the differnce in smells when I went on a school tour of our local sewage works..

          You soon learn to ignore familiar but safe smells in your environment while being able to discern scents that are unfamiliar in thta setting.

    1. Its a myth that they smelt or were dirty. It’s true one could not wash clothes as often but they were laundered.

      Women actually wore a cap and hat over their hair so it didn’t actually get that dirty but they combed it clean. They would wash their hands in water with herds and flowers, which actually had antibacterial properties. They did wash their linens, worn under their clothes to absorb the sweat and they used perfume. People were not able to bathe as water was contaminated. Urine was used in the laundry in a processed state and bleached linens clean. To dry dishes they put them in the sun, which as we know the ultraviolet acts as a natural protection. However, a few privileged people were lucky enough to have clean water and even hot and cold running taps, otherwise it was boiled. I am sure people working with the animals or in very poor conditions or living in squalor probably did smell and had a hard time keeping clean.

  2. This is a really nice portrait. She looks more beautiful here than I’ve ever seen. And look at the way Henry is gazing at her.

  3. Elizabeth – the upper classes (and likely others also) carried ‘pomanders’ – which were usually oranges or similar fruit studded with cloves or other spices and were carried by their owners everywhere for a sniff of relief from the ‘odoriferous masses.’ Some pomanders were encased in elaborate cages of gold and studded with jewels.
    This (B.O.) was also the reasoning behind the creation of perfumes, which were especially popular in France.

  4. So not the best ship then! I have also read that the sister and other female relatives of King Francis refued to attend her and that she was left behind and could not proceed to the main meeting with the two kings in France. She may have been at Calais and English France and there are dances and masques and so on; but she was still not important enough for the French ladies to meet her and pay homage to her as Henry’s consort and future Queen. No matter how carefully Henry planned all this party and official visit he could not command the ladies of the French Royal Family. Very interesting and Henry must have had to bite his lip in frustration. Still they made the best and the story is that they were not able to return to England at once due to a storm and this is when she and Henry consumated their union. Had he not been royal and not already married this for ordinary people would have counted as a marriage and been seen as the same thing. It was not quite formulated from on high as yet. But of course he was married and Francis could not keep his promise once Anne was pregnant and caused a scandle in Christendom. He could speak up for her but asking for an anullment was now out of the question as Anne had jumped over the bush. They would have to make their own dicorce, which is of course what they did. What a carry on!

  5. Just a quick comment on the picture of Henry and Anne in this article. It is totally my most favorite picture of them both. You can see the love in his eyes and “that something special” in hers. He may have tired of her for her lack of giving him sons, but he looks truly enamored of her in the picture.

  6. Do you make the jewelry? I would love to have a picture of 11 October 1532 – Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn Set Sail for Calais on a ring. Are you able to do that? If not where can I find it?

    1. Hi Gladys,
      I could ask Tiffini if the painting could be used in a ring but it might be hard to see the detail on such a small thing when there are two people in the painting. Do you want me to ask her?

  7. Hey! I know this is kinda off topic but I was wondering which blog platform are you
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  8. Just wondering if anyone knows the date of this painting. many of the paintings are done at a much later date, so the portrait likeness is very different. Anne looks very beautful in this painting, but much different than others.

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