Did Henry VIII really love Anne Boleyn is a question I’ve been asked many times since I started researching Anne Boleyn’s story fifteen years ago, and I’ve even handled it in a video before, but it’s something that I’ve changed my mind about as I’ve dug deeper and deeper.

Was Anne Boleyn Henry VIII’s greatest love or was she simply an obsession?

Join me as I unravel the layers of their relationship, from courtship to marriage, and analyse the historical context that shaped their tumultuous romance…

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4 thoughts on “Obsession or Love? Unravelling the Enigma of Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn’s Relationship”
  1. Real love does endure it moves mountains, and yes it is everlasting, couples really in love never look at another and stay together all their lives, and when one of them dies the other is grief stricken, the way Henry V111’s feelings for Anne Boleyn seemed to fizzle out over the three years of their long waited for marriage does suggest to me that it was indeed really only an obsession, I have often pondered that it was mostly due to Anne’s spurning of his advances that spurred his interest, he was used to clicking his fingers and people fell over themselves ready to do his bidding, women dared not say no to him wether they desired him or not, he was king he was the golden prince people had fawned over him since birth and he could well have been his mothers favourite, this Bonny pink and white baby with golden red hair was adored and fussed over, as he grew older it was said he had a magnetism and excelled at sports and dancing as well as being learned and cultured, then here was this young lady who had arrived from France and suddenly she was saying non to him, she was different from the other women at court, she was very slender gracious and elegant, she had a pretty French accent and it was said she surpassed them all by her sheer eloquence, her dancing and her musical ability, and she was very chic possessing that style that many women on the continent to this day possess, he must have eyed her flitting about as she was one of his queens ladies and possibly just thought how attractive she seemed, he addressed her and her lilting tongue and deep brown eyes must have enchanted him, he possibly forgot about her for some time but then the dart of love pierced him, and he found he could not get her out of his mind, he wanted to bed her and she told him she was not that sort of girl, that intrigued him astonished him, and as Starkey commented, he found it wildly exciting, thus his fancy turned into an obsession, it is easy to become obsessed when what one desires is out of reach, it really is amazing that it lasted so long and I feel that after their marriage because Anne was now his, she lost that excitement for him, that appeal that sense of the unattainable, Anne had been like a Will o the wisp elusive and beautiful, and now he finally had her, the obsession started to fade, and he had then started to dislike her heartily which I feel was in part because he felt he had been played, he was the king and he had torn his realm apart for her, she in a sense had made him look a fool, feelings of deep genuine love do not switch of suddenly for one, caring comes into it, and tenderness and forgiveness, but Henry V111 displayed none of those emotions towards Anne and he executed her without any qualm at all, I agree he thought at the time she was his great love, but Henry like so many, confused feelings of sexual attraction for love and that feeling does not last, it was her indifference that flamed his ardour and he realised that, too little to late, tragically for Anne she was the one who suffered more because she lost her life.

  2. Hi Claire! I think your view regarding Henry’s obsession with Anne is right on target! If he truly loved her, he wouldn’t have just turned his love off as soon as he got tired of her. It does seem that he turned from “love” to “hate” very quickly. If it was obsession rather than love, this would be entirely possible. I also think Henry was a Narcissist and only cared about himself. It does make one wonder how much he actually “loved” any of his wives.

    1. A kings wife was a necessity she had to bear children mostly sons but daughters were good bargaining tools, a king need not love his wife and the wife knew this, their unions were made to cement alliances but it was a bonus if the couple found they loved each other, what made Henry V111 unique is that he married his mistress and rejected Anna from Cleves because she was repulsive to him, he did not care about upsetting her native country and brother who had helped to arrange it, then he rushed into marriage with a girl young enough to be his granddaughter because he found her irresistible, in all he acted most unkingly! Faced with the truth of her infidelity he blubbered like a schoolboy, his personal feelings guided his actions and the effect of his feelings for Anne Boleyn had a cataclysmic effect on his country.

  3. Many authors of historical fiction like to think that Henry V111 and Anne Boleyn had a deep and abiding love, that Anne after many years of waiting finally gave in because she had fallen in love with him, but I don’t feel she ever did, a fondness yes and esteem for the regard he held her in, elevating her from mistress to queen, but I doubt she ever truly loved him, she could have no other, the king had ruined her chances with other men and so in a sense she was irrevocably bound to this mercurial king, such a union based purely on his lust and her luke warm affection which for the two of them, soon gave way to irritability and disillusionment meant this longed for marriage was doomed, a prince would have given Anne’s position some security but sadly it never materialised.

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