This is Part 22 of Esther Hyams’ excellent series of poems on the life of Anne Boleyn.

Acts of Supremacy and Succession

New Year 1534, Queen Anne Boleyn gave King Henry a great gift
A golden table fountain she hoped would make his spirits lift.
But the present Henry really wanted from her was a son
A golden age for his people, for the battle to be finally won.
Providing a son and heir was a duty believed by all to be hers
If she could not, Anne Boleyn would be thought of as a curse.
Anne must have felt such relief when at the turn of the year
She was pregnant again, hopefully this time with a son so dear.

8th March-8th April work on the royal nurseries at Eltham had begun
Would the battle of the coming of a prince finally be a victory won?
As princess, Elizabeth was to have her own independent household
She would be cared for by the Lady Bryan, a woman clever and bold.
This order came from the King, for his passion for Anne was renewed
Anne had captivated her husband again, with finally no more feuds
March 1534, the Pope finally found for Catherine, but it was too late
Emperor Charles was busy with battles to help change Catherine’s fate.

Eltham Palace
Eltham Palace

A brand new tide of legislation, the ‘Act of Supremacy’ was introduced
Henry was head of the Church of England, Catholic anger was induced.
On 23rd March, 1534 was the third reading of the ‘Act of Succession’
This would formally declare the King’s marriage to Anne (his fierce obsession).
This also declared that Anne and Henry’s issue had the right to succeed
With the title ‘Princess’, the King’s daughter, Mary could no longer proceed.
The Lady Mary had to pay her respects to the newborn Elizabeth, her half sister
To many she was the child of the concubine, damaging Mary like a festering blister.

The Lady Mary’s health began to suffer and she had felt so humiliated
Devoid of her previous household, living in Elizabeth’s she felt suffocated.
May 1534, at Buckden, Catherine was brought by nobles the oath to swear
But of course Catherine refused strongly, but with regal grace and care.
Any others who refused would suffer imprisonment until their last breath
And denying King Henry as the Head of the Church would bring them death.
Over the next few years by the dreadful axe, many would depart and perish
Even those that Henry Rex, as a red haired youthful king had cherished.

By Esther Hyams

Click here to read the next poem in the series.