Did Henry ever speak of Anne?

[faq answer]

4 thoughts on “Did Henry ever speak of Anne?”

  1. Nasim says:

    I think the only ‘certain’ mention of Anne made by Henry after her death was his comment made shortly after the execution itself. Although Henry intended to marry Jane, foreign candidates were still put forward either in the vain attempt to persuade him to form a new alliance, or because they were unaware of Henry’s intentions. A French candidate was mentioned and Henry retorted that he was tired of women with French ways. This must have been a reference to his former wife who was raised in France and whose marriage to Henry coincided with (and promoted) a pro-French alliance.

    Interestingly there is some debate amongst historians regarding whether Jane Seymour either did defy Henry whilst married, including whether she actually stood up to the king regarding the dissolution of the monasteries (rejection of the idea that Jane was particularly conservative is discussed by Pamela Gross and David Loades in their respective works). Thus there may have been no occasion in which Henry needed to remind Jane of her unfortunate predecessor.

    There is another story claiming that Henry mentioned Anne during his marriage to Anne of Cleves. I believe the story is either mentioned in Alison Weir or Antonia Fraser’s work on the six wives. The story, first mentioned by the Italian historian Leti, states that Anne of Cleves had asked for Elizabeth to come to court after the girl had written to ask for a meeting. Henry, rather in a poor mood owing to the failure of his current marriage, replied that Elizabeth’s mother was so different from his current queen that she should be glad not to know her. However I believe the historian in question was writing in the seventeenth-century, did not frequently state his sources, and has something of a reputation when it comes to devising stories. Furthermore I don’t think there is any evidence that Anne of Cleves was particularly keen on seeing Elizabeth at first – whilst she liked the young Edward she certainly was not thrilled to meet Henry’s eldest illegitimate daughter (probably owing to Mary’s status), so it is questionable that she would have wanted to see the equally illegitimate Elizabeth. Fortunately Anne would later get on extremely well with her former stepdaughters.

    1. Renee b says:

      That comment about Anne of Cleves being so unlike Anne Boleyn is actually referenced in The Boleyn Inheritance by Philippa Gregory. 🙂

      1. tanya says:

        I truely believe that Henry did love and still loved ann. His intense passion and removing everything that reminded him of her to the point where Elizabeth was kept away from him due to his orders was guilt. He was weak and his advisors had more control than he did.

  2. daphne constantine says:

    I woke with a start last night and for some reason was thinking about Henry VIII and the execution of Anne Boleyn. I have no idea where that came from! It came to me very strongly that Henry has been heavily misinterpreted by history. In fact he loved Anne passionately right to the end. Ok he had been spoiled and was indulged so he had a few mistresses but not nearly as many as most kings before or since. he liked admiration and to flirt. He was desperate for a son. I have heard that when the news of Anne’s infidelities was brought to him he went white. In that moment a huge rage must have risen within him and I feel sure this anger precipitated the kneejerk reaction to punish her lovers and execute Anne. He lashed out thinking that the world was laughing at him. I am sure Cromwell invented the whole thing but there must have been sufficient persuasive information to be believable even in those times. Henry being sensitive anyway as a man and a king and having no further sign of any pregnancy in Anne must have been in despair and fury at the news. I am certain that once she was dead and after Jane Seymour died he must have thought of Anne many times and questioned whether she had behaved as accused. I don’t condone his signing of her death warrant but in those few moments last night I felt I understood how he had felt and why things happened as the had.

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