Did Henry VIII have an affair with Anne Boleyn’s mother?

Translation: I have read recently about Elizabeth Howard, the mother Anne Boleyn, a lady with Elisabeth of York and later said to have been at Catherine of Aragon. It was also speculated whether she had an affair with Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn had been possible, perhaps even an illegitimate daughter of Henry VIII. I wanted to ask if you are now, if there is something to it, because I have read so for the first time?
It was rumoured that Henry had bedded Elizabeth Howard and that Anne may even have been his daughter. In Philippa Jones’ “The Other Tudors”, Jones talks of how Lord Herbert of Cherbury’s book, “Life and Raigne of King Henry VIII” 1649 (his spelling not mine!) quotes judge and author William Rastall as saying that the young Henry had an affair with Elizabeth Boleyn when Thomas Boleyn was away in France and that Anne was conceived. Jones points out that this could just about be believable if Anne had been born in 1507 but not if her birth date was 1501 when Henry was 10! Eric Ives thinks that there may have been confusion between the names Elizabeth Boleyn and Elizabeth Blount. When Henry was confronted with the rumour of his involvement with Elizabeth Howard Boleyn and Mary Boleyn, he confirmed his relationship with the “sister” but said “Never the mother”. There is no evidence that a young Henry was involved with Elizabeth Howard, just vicious rumour which probably started as someone mishearing the name.

Es gab Gerüchte, dass Henry Elizabeth Howard Bett hatte und dass Anne kann auch seine Tochter gewesen sein. In Philippa Jones ' "The Other Tudors", zitiert Jones Gespräche, wie Herr Herbert Buch Cherbury's, "Leben und Raigne von König Henry VIII", 1649 (seine Rechtschreibung nicht von mir!) Richter und Autor William Rastall mit den Worten, dass der junge Heinrich hatte eine Affäre mit Elizabeth Boleyn, als Thomas Boleyn war in Frankreich und dass Anne konzipiert wurde. Jones weist darauf hin, dass dies nur über sein könnte glaubwürdig, wenn Anne war im Jahre 1507 geboren, aber nicht, ob ihr Geburtsdatum war 1501, als Heinrich 10 war! Eric Ives glaubt, dass dort gewesen Verwechslung der Namen haben könnten Elizabeth Boleyn und Elizabeth Blount. Als Henry mit dem Gerücht von seiner Beteiligung mit Elizabeth Boleyn Howard und Mary Boleyn konfrontiert wurde, bestätigte er seine Beziehung mit der "Schwester", sagte aber "niemals die Mutter." Es gibt keine Hinweise, dass ein junger Henry war mit Elizabeth Howard beteiligt sind, nur böse Gerüchte, die begann,


15 thoughts on “Did Henry VIII have an affair with Anne Boleyn’s mother?”

  1. Ruth Holecek says:

    There is a book on the Protestant Reformation written from the Catholic point of view. I have the book at home. Bishop Fisher (who was later executed) stated it was known and believed that Anne Bolyen was Henry the VIII’s daughter…it was “the reason” so credible that the Vatican refused to grant the divorce to Katherine so Henry could marry Anne. The book states that even the British Parliament was aware of this. Anne’s mother was quoted to protest the relationship because “You should be able to figure it out…she is your daughter…you can’t marry her.” (not exact quote). It would also go along with why Anne was shipped off to Austria when she was so young when she had a sister. Could her father not stand the sight of her? Anne’s father was very ambitious and needed an “in” to rise in power his station did not inately provide. It was customary to give your wife to buy “position.” Henry was quoted to respond “My child or not…i will to marry her.” (not exact quote…from memory). I was reading in another book about Elizabeth…at Queen Mary’s funeral…a clergyman gave a jaw gabbing speech. It was about Mary’s long line of genetic ligitimacy supporting her unquestionable right to the throne….Elizabeth’s was “like” a word that implied she was granted the right not by ligitimacy. He would have be a direct colllege of Bishop Fisher. Also my grandmother’s name is Blount. Sir Blount and Fisher were the ones that told Katherine of Aragon Henry wanted a divorice….and Elizabeth Blount was mother to Henry Fitzroy planned heir apparent to the throne…because both Mary and Elizabeth had been made bastards by annulment/divorice etc. He was the richest in England next to the King. He witnessed Annes beheading but died at 18 yo or TB. Fisher implied there was documentation at the Vatican.. I have not yet found it. If you e-mail me I will get the titles of the 2 books for you. I was surprized but not shocked to read this info. but it really doesn’t seem that outrageous a theory. Geneological research deems these people lived in very close political quarters. It was all about who you knew, slept with etc. essentially it was about family survival at any cost. By the way Bessie Bount was more beautiful than Anne …they is a little ditty that was sung by the commomn folk comparing them. The Blounts were not the most important but moved well within the circle. Shakespeare wrote about how Sir Blount died wearing the Kings colors. I never thought about him knowing the about the “real people” depicted in his plays. A will left items to him and to members of our family…so he got the stories from the horses mouth and not to many generations off. Ruth Holecek 5501st@gmail.com

  2. Hus says:

    I think it’s a fascinating ‘what if’ but highly unlikely as fact.

    Henry was many things, but incestuous? No. There wasn’t even a hint by sources or even Protestant enemies of Henry’s that he molested either Mary or Elizabeth, or that they- or Anne Boleyn- were deformed in any mental or physical way- a result of interbreeding?

    The reasons for Anne’s exile and the papal objections were just as we traditionally think they were, with no deep and disturbing revelations?

    It was an age of propaganda and counter-propaganda.

    1. Frances says:

      Just a small note that inbreeding increases the chances of mental and physical abnormalities, but it is not a necessity. Kings and Queens married their siblings for hundreds of years, and their line wouldn’t have lasted beyond 2 or 3 generations if a deformity always happened.

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  4. Dorene says:

    Actually Anne boleyn had 6 fingers I believe and a long neck. I believe the king was incestuous he slept with underage girls and servants any vagina he wanted he obtained. No wonder his soul is running endlessly through the halls of the court. Evil bastard.

    1. Frances says:

      Age of majority, and age of consent are new constructs. It is a little bit odd, if not unfair, to hold people of 500 years ago to today’s standards.

      Also, sleeping with underage girls and incest are two different things.

  5. Ashley says:

    Anne’s bones were dug up & inspected. There was no sixth finger seen. Even so, the rumors of an extra nail and/or finger I’m sure were probably false because I highly doubt the king would of been with her if that was the case. In fact, back then abnormalities were seen witchcraft-like, either from the person or of a parent. Also, I highly doubt she had a long neck because she was worried about the execution going wrong due to her small neck. After her bones were examined, Anne Boleyn is estimated to be a smaller women, around 5′ – 5’3″ tall.

    I agree with Hus, that the “what if” of Henry being with Anne’s mother is fascinating. It’s probably unlikely, but not 100% unlikely. He bedded Anne’s sister before her, so anything is really possible.

    While it’s true that he slept with underage girls, in the 1500’s they were often “women” at 15/16. We cannot compare 2013 to 1500’s by any stretch of the imagination, as far as culture goes. We are a totally different society now.

    Henry Viii seemed like a adulterous pig, killing his wives for the very same things he did. However, given that, it’s really along the same lines of adulterous politicians; celebrities and athletes. It’s just back then, women weren’t allowed the same freedoms as they are today – nor were they truly able to stand up for themselves.

    Again, has a lot to do with culture & sociology differences from what I’m able to gather.

  6. Christine says:

    If anyone done their research properly they would know that the tale of Anne being Henry V111s daughter is very stupid and rather laughable because she was born around 1500-1c, Henry was then ten years old! An impossible feat even for him!

  7. Brenda says:

    I don’t believe Henry VIII was Anne’s father BUT he could very well have slept with both her sister and mother. The argument that Anne would have been conceived when he was 10 years old and so it couldn’t have been him is questionable simple because though now we recognized that 10 is young, there are 10 year old children even now having sex and having children, it is physically possible though not common. And while its POSSIBLE, its unlikely that Henry fathered Anne. Henry himself sent a letter to the Pope for his divorce and he stated why he needed the papal dispensation to marry Anne. That is how we know he slept with Anne’s sister Mary. It would have been a sin for him not to get that papal dispensation for sleeping with Anne’s mother as well and at that moment, Henry was still a believer in the Catholic faith and would have abide by its rules and regulations so when he said “Never the mother” he was squashing the rumour that was obviously present even then. While in their society is was acceptable to marry a cousin or though rarely, an uncle/aunt to marry a niece/nephew, the Church frowned upon a father/mother to marry their child. I don’t believe Henry would have been spiritually okay with marrying a woman who he knew was his possible child. In fact, he was very discreet about who he slept with, and while it is likely he probably had many affairs, he actually may not have simply because he was discreet about it.

    1. shane cheney says:

      I am from the Cheney lineage with Sir Lawrence Cheney and Lady Elizabeth Cokayne being my great grandparents by x times removed.. The mother of Anne Boleyn, Elizabeth is my 1st cousin with Anne 2nd cousin by x removed, I think your findings are highly unlikely. The family was wealthy living in Hever Castle and thru their great grandmother Lady Elizabeth Cokayne are direct descendants of Charlemagne and Queen Eadigfu of Wessex..Overall the ladies had class and intelligence.

  8. hayley says:

    Ann was thought to have polydadyly which does grow a extra flap of skin on the hand .
    It is quite possible that Henry did sleep with Ann’s and Mary’s mother, he was always a lover of the female even as a younger man. But there was never a chance that Ann or Mary could have been his children. It was common that incest was a factor to who had the right to be king/queen, the royal family tree show the in (plain to see from Egypt )
    Marriage and the royal lineage was arrangements with countries and nothing more,
    If the throne was won through battle then a male air would keep that Dynasty on the throne, and Henry himself had seen first hand that a crown could be easily taken by another family who could have a claim to the throne. And as Henry was never ment to rule he became obsessed with the male child he needed to strengthen the claim to the throne, which was won in battle of the Roses.
    It is said that after he hurt himself while in a joust, and after he woke 3 days later he had changed, from the Henry who loved sport, hunting and a handsome man, to a bad tempered unpredictable tyrant renowned for the many wife’s he had. When Henry was again looking for his next wife a princess was asked to which she stated she could not as she had just two heads one for the king and one for herself. I think if Jane Seymour had not have died then maybe the other poor women who he married, might not have been famous now!

    Maybe they would have been happy with each other as he was with kathreen. Untill Ann came onto the seen.the other important men of the time wanted Ann out as she had control of the king. And therefore the men was losing a lot.

    They say that everyone can be linked to a royal person, I myself comes from Richard the lion heart Robert the Bruce, to name just a couple of an ancestors of mine.

    1. Angela says:

      It is Anne. Not Ann.

    2. Lesley A brett says:

      If the throne was won through battle then a male air

      A male ‘air? Surely you mean HEIR?
      Or did you mean a male fart?

      So much for a ‘learned opinion! Ha ha

  9. Rick Daniels says:

    Anne boleyn was my 14th grandmother .and related to Henry viii on my dad’s side some how.

    1. Angela says:


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