This is Part 7 of Esther Hyams’ series of poems on the life of Anne Boleyn, written especially for The Anne Boleyn Files.

The Rise of the Boleyns and the Fall of Rome

Thomas Boleyn (already Lord Rochford) was made Wiltshire’s Earl
Anne was more than his rising star, but a precious pearl.
The Lord of Rochford title would now go to Anne’s brother, George
In the title of ‘Lady Rochford’ Anne Boleyn could now gorge.
From 1529, Anne was pampered with the aid of the Privy Purse
No doubt all this, would make the people swear and curse.
Yards of purple velvet were sent to Anne, by orders of the King
Crimson satin, furs for dresses, fine linens he would also bring.

From 1530, payments were made for hunting gloves and games
All this done by King Henry, his passion for her would be to blame.
Because of Anne’s insecurity and Queen Catherine’s jealousy
A lot of things were to change for all of England to see.
A new centre would be built for King and government to call
Henry and Anne’s joint project, now to be called Whitehall.
It was Wolsey’s York Place given to the King at his downfall
Anne was brought here secretly to help see and plan it all.

Holbein Gateway, Whitehall
Holbein Gateway, Whitehall

At Whitehall there would be no jealous Spanish queen
The King and his lady could hold their own court, proud and seen.
Europe was divided; Spain opposed this accursed obscene dance
Oxford and Cambridge supported the King as did parts of France.
In July 1530, Henry exploded at the Pope’s decisions so mild
The hope was hesitating, treating King Henry like a child.
But the King was considering a new radical solution
That would bring the death of Catholicism in England – dissolution.

In December 1530, the Pope ordered that Anne be removed from Court
And in January he told Henry he must not marry until the verdict was brought.
The King was furious that the Pope would bark at him such orders
Henry was not a child, but a King, with a right to control his own borders.
How dare the Pope order him: the King, like a naughty child!
Such supremacy and control over him drove him into a temper so wild.
Thomas Cromwell helped the King to bring the clergy into submission
For the King had had enough for continuously asking for Papal permission.

A clergy Convocation was convened in Jan 1531, where they did frown
Charges of praemunire against them, this had first brought Wolsey down.
They had to accept King Henry VIII’s new title, which was most grand
“Supreme Head of the Church and the Clergy of England.”
Bishop Fisher protested, this would mean a break from Rome
But Henry said a King must be master in his realm and home.

By Esther Hyams

Click here to read the next poem in the series.