Anne Boleyn Letters
Here is the letter that some people believe that Anne Boleyn wrote to Henry VIII from the Tower of London, after her arrest. It is said to have been found in Thomas Cromwell’s belongings which probably means that it never made it into the hands of the King:-
” Sir, your Grace’s displeasure, and my Imprisonment are Things so strange unto me, as what to Write, or what to Excuse, I am altogether ignorant; whereas you sent unto me (willing me to confess a Truth, and so obtain your Favour) by such a one, whom you know to be my ancient and professed Enemy; I no sooner received the Message by him, than I rightly conceived your Meaning; and if, as you say, confessing Truth indeed may procure my safety, I shall with all Willingness and Duty perform your Command.
But let not your Grace ever imagine that your poor Wife will ever be brought to acknowledge a Fault, where not so much as Thought thereof proceeded. And to speak a truth, never Prince had Wife more Loyal in all Duty, and in all true Affection, than you have found in Anne Boleyn, with which Name and Place could willingly have contented my self, as if God, and your Grace’s Pleasure had been so pleased. Neither did I at any time so far forge my self in my Exaltation, or received Queenship, but that I always looked for such an Alteration as now I find; for the ground of my preferment being on no surer Foundation than your Grace’s Fancy, the least Alteration, I knew, was fit and sufficient to draw that Fancy to some other subject.
You have chosen me, from a low Estate, to be your Queen and Companion, far beyond my Desert or Desire. If then you found me worthy of such Honour, Good your Grace, let not any light Fancy, or bad Counsel of mine Enemies, withdraw your Princely Favour from me; neither let that Stain, that unworthy Stain of a Disloyal Heart towards your good Grace, ever cast so foul a Blot on your most Dutiful Wife, and the Infant Princess your Daughter:
Try me, good King, but let me have a Lawful Trial, and let not my sworn Enemies sit as my Accusers and Judges; yes, let me receive an open Trial, for my Truth shall fear no open shame; then shall you see, either mine Innocency cleared, your Suspicion and Conscience satisfied, the Ignominy and Slander of the World stopped, or my Guilt openly declared. So that whatsoever God or you may determine of me, your Grace may be freed from an open Censure; and mine Offence being so lawfully proved, your Grace is at liberty, both before God and Man, not only to execute worthy Punishment on me as an unlawful Wife, but to follow your Affection already settled on that party, for whose sake I am now as I am, whose Name I could some good while since have pointed unto: Your Grace being not ignorant of my Suspicion therein.
But if you have already determined of me, and that not only my Death, but an Infamous Slander must bring you the enjoying of your desired Happiness; then I desire of God, that he will pardon your great Sin therein, and likewise mine Enemies, the Instruments thereof; that he will not call you to a strict Account for your unprincely and cruel usage of me, at his General Judgement-Seat, where both you and my self must shortly appear, and in whose Judgement, I doubt not, (whatsover the World may think of me) mine Innocence shall be openly known, and sufficiently cleared.
My last and only Request shall be, That my self may only bear the Burthen of your Grace’s Displeasure, and that it may not touch the Innocent Souls of those poor Gentlemen, who (as I understand) are likewise in strait Imprisonment for my sake. If ever I have found favour in your Sight; if ever the Name of Anne Boleyn hath been pleasing to your Ears, then let me obtain this Request; and I will so leave to trouble your Grace any further, with mine earnest Prayers to the Trinity to have your Grace in his good keeping, and to direct you in all your Actions.
Your most Loyal and ever Faithful Wife, Anne Boleyn
From my doleful Prison the Tower, this 6th of May.
(Taken from The Life and Death of Anne Bullen, Queen Consort of England, printed by G. Smeeton, Charing Cross, Britain, 1820 and “Letters and Papers, Foreign and Domestic of the Reign of Henry VIII, ed. J.S. Brewer, J. Gairdner & R.H. Brodie 1862-1932).
You can read more about this letter and the debate over whether it is authentic in my article Anne Boleyn’s Letter to Henry VIII and in https://www.theanneboleynfiles.com/6-may-1536-anne-boleyns-letter-to-henry-viii-from-the-tower/.
Other Letters Written by Anne Boleyn
Letter Written to Henry VIII Summer 1526
It belongs only to the august mind of a great king, to whom Nature has given a heart full of generosity towards the sex, to repay by favors so extraordinary an artless and short conversation with a girl. Inexhaustible as is the treasury of your majesty’s bounties, I pray you to consider that it cannot be sufficient to your generosity; for, if you recompense so slight a conversation by gifts so great, what will you be able to do for those who are ready to consecrate their entire obedience to your desires? How great soever may be the bounties I have received, the joy that I feel in being loved by a king whom I adore, and to whom I would with pleasure make a sacrifice of my heart, if fortune had rendered it worthy of being offered to him, will ever be infinitely greater.
The warrant of maid of honor to the queen induces me to think that your majesty has some regard for me, since it gives me means of seeing you oftener, and of assuring you by my own lips (which I shall do on the first opportunity) that I am,
Your majesty’s very obliged and very obedient servant, without any reserve,
The above letter from Anne appears in various books about Anne and the transcript of it is in the 19th century book “Letters of royal and illustrious ladies of Great Britain” ed. by Mary Anne Everett Wood. Wood cites Gregorio Leti’s “Historia overo Vita di Elisabetta”, Vol II, as her source for the letter, but advises caution due to the fact that she was translating into English something that Leti had translated from English into Italian and the original states that the original either no longer exists or is not accessible. As John Guy has pointed out in the past, Leti was known for making up stories and inventing stories, so it is not known whether this letter is authentic.
Letter written by Anne Boleyn to Cardinal Wolsey, 11th June 1528
MY LORD, in my most hum-
blest wise that my heart can
think, I desire you to pardon me that
I am so bold to trouble you with my
simple and rude writing, esteeming it
to proceed from her that is much de-
sirous to know that your grace does
well, as I perceive by this bearer that
you do, the which I pray God long to
continue, as I am most bound to pray ;
for I do know the great pains and trou-
bles that you have taken for me both
day and night is never likely to be
recompensed on my part, but alonely
in loving you, next unto the king’s
grace, above all creatures living. And
I do not doubt but the daily proofs
of my deeds shall manifestly declare
and affirm my writing to be true, and
I do trust you do think the same.
My lord, I do assure you, I do long
to hear from you news of the legate;
for I do hope, as they come from you,
they shall be very good; and I am
sure you desire it as much as I, and
more, an it were possible; as I know
it is not: and thus remaining in a
steadfast hope, I make an end of my
Written with the hand of her that
is most bound to be
Your humble Servant,
Postscript by Henry VIII
THE writer of this letter would
not cease, till she had caused
me likewise to set my hand, desiring
you, though it be short, to take it in
good part. I ensure you that there is
neither of us but greatly desireth to
see you, and are joyous to hear that
you have escaped this plague so well,
trusting the fury thereof to be passed,
especially with them that keepeth
good diet, as I trust you do. The not
hearing of the legate’s arrival in
France causeth us somewhat to muse;
notwithstanding, we trust, by your
diligence and vigilancy (with the as-
sistance of Almighty God), shortly
to be eased out of that trouble. No
more to you at this time, but that I
pray God send you as good health
and prosperity as the writer would.
By your loving Sovereign and
Letter Written by Anne Boleyn to Cardinal Wolsey 1528
In my most humble wise that my poor heart can think, I do thank your grace for your kind letter, and for your rich and goodly present, the which I shall never be able to deserve without your help, of which I have hitherto had so great plenty, that all the days of my life I am most bound of all creatures, next the king’s grace, to love and serve your grace, of the which I beseech you never to doubt that ever I shall vary from this thought, as long as any breath is in my body. And as touching your grace’s trouble with the sweat, I thank our Lord that them I desired and prayed for are escaped; and that is the king’s grace and you, not doubting that God has preserved you both for great causes known alonely of His high wisdom. And as for the coming of the legate, I desire that much. And if it be God’s pleasure, I pray him to send this matter shortly to a good end; and then I trust, my lord, to recompense part of your great pains. In the which I must require you, in the mean time, to accept my goodwill in the stead of the power; the which must proceed partly from you, as our Lord knoweth, whom I beseech to send you long life, with continuance in honor. Written by the hand of her that is most bound to be your humble and obedient servant,
Letter Written by Anne Boleyn to Cardinal Wolsey 1529
Though you are a man of great understanding, you cannot avoid being censured by every body for having drawn on yourself the hatred of a king who had raised you to the highest degree to which the greatest ambition of a man seeking his fortune can aspire. I cannot comprehend, and the king still less, how your reverent lordship, after having allured us by so many fine promises about divorce, can have repented of your purpose, and how you could have done what you have, in order to hinder the consummation of it. What, then, is your mode of proceeding? You quarreled with the queen to favor me at the time when I was less advanced in the king’s good graces; and after having therein given me the strongest marks of your affection, your lordship abandons my interests to embrace those of the queen. I acknowledge that I have put much confidence in your professions and promises, in which I find myself deceived. But, for the future, I shall rely on nothing by the protection of Heaven and the love of my dear king, which alone will be able to set right again those plans which you have broken and spoiled, and to place me in that happy station which God wills, the king so much wishes, and which will be entirely to the advantage of the kingdom. The wrong you have done me has caused me much sorrow; but I feel infinitely more in seeing myself betrayed by a man who pretended to enter into my interests only to discover the secrets of my heart. I acknowledge that, believing you sincere, I have been too precipitate in my confidence; it is this which has induced, and still induces me, to keep more moderation in avenging myself, not being able to forget that I have been Your servant,
Letter Written by Anne Boleyn to Thomas Cromwell, 14th May 1534
ANNE THE QUENE. By the Quene.
TRUSTIE and right welbiloued we grete you
well. And where as we be crediblie enformed that the
berer hereof Richard Herman marchaunte and citizen
of Antwerpe in Brabant was in the tyme of the late
lorde Cardynall put and expelled frome his fredome
and felowshipe of and in the Englishe house there, for
nothing ells (as he affermethe) but oonly for that that
he* dyd bothe with his gooddis and pollicie, to his
greate hurte and hynderans in this Worlde, helpe to
the settyng forthe of the Newe Testamente in Eng-
lisshe. We therefore desire and instantly praye you
that with all spede and favoure convenient ye woll
cause this good and honeste marchaunt, being my
Lordis true faithfull and loving subjecte, restored to
his pristine fredome, libertie, and felowshipe aforesaid,
and the soner at this cure requeste, and at your good
leyser to here hym in suche thinges as he hathe to
make further relacion unto you in this behalf. Yeven
undir our Signete at my Lordis manoure of Grene-
wiche the xiiijth daye of May.
To our trustie and right welbeloved
Thomas Crumwell squyer Chief Secretary
unto my Lorde the Kings Highnes.
The words “still like a good crystal man” are here obliterated : the pen having
been drawn across them.
(Source: “Original Letters Illustrative of English History: Including Numerous Royal Letters and One or Two other Collections Volume II” by Henry Ellis, Keeper of the Manuscripts in the British Museum (1824))
Letter Written By Anne Boleyn to Thomas Cromwell 1535
Master Secretary, I pray you despatch with speed this matter, for mine honor lies much on it, and what should the king’s attorney do with Pointz’s obligation, since I have the child by the king’s grace’s gift, but only to trouble him hereafter, which by no means I will suffer, and thus fare you as well as I would ye did.
Your loving mistress,
Anne the Queen
(Source of Letters: http://englishhistory.net/tudor/letters.html)
Click here to see poems that are traditionally attributed to Anne Boleyn.