There are all kinds of theories on this:-
- Anne Boleyn was Rhesus negative (Rh-) meaning that her body would reject all Rhesus positive babies after the first pregnancy, causing miscarriages. This is a theory put forward by Retha Warnicke to explain Anne's miscarriages following her first successful pregnancy. This would happen if Henry was Rhesus positive.
- Stress - Anne was under an incredible amount of pressure to "perform" and deliver a son. She had also had quite a difficult pregnancy with Elizabeth so I can only imagine the stress and anxiety she felt. Also her final miscarriage is thought to have happened shortly after Henry's jousting accident when he was unconscious for 2 hours and thought to be dead.
This must have been a shock for Anne. It is also said that on hearing of Catherine of Aragon's death, Anne suddenly became paranoid that she also would die and so was obviously worrying about her pregnancy and the birth.
Another stress would have been fears for her position as Henry's wife and Queen with Henry's infidelities.
- Syphilis - One theory, which has pretty much been debunked now, is that Henry had syphilis and that this venereal disease could then explain his ill health, Catherine's miscarriages, still births and infant fatalities, and Anne's miscarriages. However, Henry was not treated with mercury, the standard syphilis treatment of the time and he also did have three healthy legitimate children and at least one illegitimate child.
- Tudor times - Anne may just have been a victim of her times - A time when there was not much known about prenatal care.
- Just one of those things - Many women suffer miscarriages and Anne may just have been unlucky.
- Witchcraft, adultery and sin - Not a theory I give any credence to but people of the times believed that deformed babies, like the one that Anne was said to have lost in her final miscarriage, were due to the sexual sins of the parents. Obviously Henry didn't sin (splutter splutter!) so therefore Anne was an adulteress and witch.
- Poisoning - Some will have you believe that Anne was poisoned by the Cantrella of Borgia (secret poison) and that Wolsey, More and Seymour caused her miscarriages even though Wolsey and More were dead!

So, those are the main theories regarding Anne's miscarriages.


91 thoughts on “Possible reasons for Anne Boleyn’s miscarriage?”

  1. Julia says:

    I doubt More woiuld have poisoned her, even if he was alive at that time. He seems to have been too gentle and holy for that. Not sure Jane would either, though her family might well have I can’t believe Henry, ad two wives executed for adultery, when you consider how many mistresses he had. SOOOOO hypocritical!!! By his own his own laws he should have been deposed long before.

    1. Julianna J Ciano says:

      I realize these are old comments but would like to just say though I agree that Moore would most likely not have poisoned Anne, I completely disagree with your reasoning. Moore was anything BUT gentle having burned half the “heretics” in England alive. I realize these times were much different and religion was their life but seriously a man that can stand their and watch another burned alive because of a different opinion is anything but a gentle man regardless of whether he truly thought he was doing the right thing or not.

      As for Jane. It seems you also think she is also too docile , innocent or gentle herself to par up to this task?? I also disagree with this notion that Jane was this Godly, demeer, sweet , innocent woman in stark contrast to Anne’s more abrupt, feisty, stand my ground and stand up for myself , “don’t mess with me” manner. Jane knew darn well what she was doing behind the scenes luring Henry in while he is “freshly” married, while his wife is still fertile and actively delivering children, delibertly playing a false game trying to mimick a “game” that Anne is accused of playing, false and fake, stood there and knew that Anne was coming down and played dress up preparing her wedding while another woman was being murdered in cold blood. I am sorry but this woman knew full well what she was doing. Evidence proving she was coached by Carew on how to “win” Henry and knowing full well she was working with Anne’s enemies to bring her down behind the scenes. She was being coached to “poison” Henry’s ear against Anne at all the right moments and “that the people all detest the marriage”. This woman is anything BUT sweet and innocent and I despise her even over 500 years later. Many will try to say that Jane only did what Anne did to Katherine but that is false. Katherine if Aragon and Henry’s marriage was already at an end. So many kings before her called on the Popes for annullments and got them.Henry honestly had more trouble with it than most. Kings that did not have an heir “males” definitely were usually able to get an annullment in a fairly reasonable amount of time. The other huge difference is the fact that Anne did in fact try to push Henry away in the beginning . And obviously no it wasn’t because she had her heart set on a crown. Would she really have thought from the beginning she would gain a crown by pushing Henry away. Sorry but that is not even a realistic notion. It can be said now because we know that Anne did eventually gain a crown but in the beginning that was surely hardly a point for thought. Surely, she was protecting chastity and had enough respect for herself to tell Henry NO without any prospects. I don’t understand why that is such a hard concept to grasp. That everything Anne did with Henry must have had a win win motive but nothing is ever considered that she did it for herself and had respect for herself. I think eventually fell in love with Henry and their love together free though. Jane completely different story.

      i honestly never even considered the possibility or notion of poison but when you truly think about it … It wouldn’t be that hard to do especially if you were her lady in waiting. Surely, they had tonics that could cause unwanted pregnanies to fail. Surely, minimal amounts added to drink and food would cause the miscarriage .Obviously, even something that was meant to kill someone applied in smaller amounts daily or ever so often would cause a miscarriage and damage to a fetus. Killing someone by poison would be more obvious but causing a miscarriage would not have been as obvious .

      1. Cindy Araya says:

        Jane was an absolutely innocent party. That BS Baloney about her being “coached” is a load of horse manure. I despise Anne Boleyn, and she got what she deserved. Jane barely had an education, and yet she knew full well what she was doing, while a supposedly “innocent” woman was about to be executed? Not Jane’s fault. She didn’t “lure” the fat pig that was Henry the Monster to anything, he pursued her, just like he did with that trollop Anne Boleyn. Yes, Anne the trollop lured him away in the beginning, but that still doesn’t take away the fact that she continued to pursue him, even though she knew fully well that he was a married man. Chastity? Hardly.Respect for herself? Yeah right! As for the poison BS, why would a lady in waiting do anything as risky as put poison in the Queen’s drink, knowing that they may end up being imprisoned, tortured to confess, and then summarily executed? I think not. No matter the amount, it would’ve been fatal not only to the fetus, but to the breeder as well.

        1. Shannan says:

          Wow! That is some intense hatred for someone who you’ve never met! What is it, exactly, that is so loathsome? What did she do to deserve execution, exactly? All history buffs have their favorite but I don’t know if I’ve ever encountered anyone with that kind of vitriol towards a historical figure who isn’t a mass murderer or similar. Hitler? Deserves our hatred. Anne Boleyn, whose worst “crime” was not birthing a son and being a bit mouthy? Nope. We are all familiar with the historical record. What evidence do you have that she committed any crime, let alone high treason.

        2. Christine says:

          How can you say Anne got what she deserved, all she did was marry a king who for some years was trying to get out of his first marriage anyway, granted she wasn’t no saint, she was ambitious and hot tempered, many years of frustration regarding the divorce turned her into a shrew, yes she made enemies along the way, but she tried with the princess Mary who rebuffed her offers of friendship time and again, Mary insulted her on a number of occasions until Anne gave up and decided the harsh treatment was what she deserved, she was loyal to her friends and family and she loved her baby daughter very much, you say Anne persued Henry, what do you base this on! All the sources point to him chasing her, she tried to elude him for a year then when he offered marriage having decided he wanted her to be his queen she accepted, no other man could have her whilst Henry was interested and so she could either take him or be alone for the rest of her life, she was in fact in a very unenviable position, she never chased him and she wasn’t no trollop either, she was known for being an extremely pious woman who hated foul language and demanded the utmost chastity in her ladies, she forbade the men in her household to attend brothels, she was an intellectual who relished intelligent conversation and was interested in reform, she wasn’t no man chasing bimbo, she was innocently done to death along with five other men on the most ludicrous of charges, most of the charges can be discounted as Anne was no where in the places she was said to have been when she allegedly committed adultery, on one occasion she was lying in after her baby’s birth and intercourse was specifically forbidden until she had been churched, the very swiftness of her arrest along with the trial and execution all point towards a frame up, and the swordsman had already been ordered before the verdict, it’s not rocket science to work out why the executioner was on his way before the verdict was given, people who knew her and even the common people all smelt something wrong in the air, even her enemies Chapyus for example did not believe she was guilty, I suggest you read some books on Anne that will give you a better insight into her true character and you may find you will end up if not exactly liking her, admiring her if for nothing else but for her very bravery and extrodinary courage she showed at her dreadful ending.

        3. Jaylee Leto says:

          Holy heaven what a lashing & a torrent of anger has been placed at the feet of Anne Boleyn.
          How misunderstood Anne Boleyn is in that raging portrayal of her.
          Anne showed no interest in King Henry VIII when she first met him.
          She was betrothed to young Percy when she had her first encounter with King Henry.
          Anne was exotic, cosmopolitan, feisty, intelligent. Unlike any of the other women that King Henry VIII had seen, or met before, in his court.
          She captivated him with her vivacity, energy & youth.
          Anne was practically a mirror image of himself.
          It was the ambitions of her Uncle & Father that put her in King Henry’s pathway.
          No doubt King Henry fell deeply in love with the spirited Anne. She was a challenge.
          The more she refused, & ignored him in the beginning, the more interested & determined he became in having her.
          Eventually she, herself, let down her guard & developed an interest, with feelings, in King Henry.
          It was a power & mind game that went on. Fire met fire.
          It was intoxicating & exciting.
          Requiring a great amount of nerve in its eventual culmination of a promised son, & heir, to Henry upon his divorce from Queen Catherine of Aragon.
          Resulting in the eventual marriage to Anne Boleyn.
          Queen Catherine had become old in King Henry’s eyes.
          She could no longer give him the heir he so desperately wanted.
          That was the driving force, & goal, for King Henry in his mad obsession.
          Anne was under enormous pressure & stress to deliver that longed for son & heir.
          King Henry expected Anne to make good on that expectation.
          So much upheaval, breaking away from the Catholic Church, & Pope, had been undertaken in that driven quest.
          The divorce from Queen Catherine was hard, long, & drawn out.
          Catherine did not give up easily.
          She had the love of the people, & her powerful Spanish Royal Family, on the side of the Pope & church.
          It all started falling apart after the disappointing birth of his daughter, Elizabeth.
          There would be no son & heir for King Henry with Anne.Boleyn.
          All the fire & brimstone came to an end. The high octane, adrenaline rush of the pursuit.
          The many changes in the country’s laws, & religion, had been hammered through. It took an enormous toll.
          The execution & defiance of King Henry’s friend, Thomas More.
          The downfall of Cardinal Wolsley – all had played a part in King Henry’s obsession for a son & heir.
          The more stressed Anne became in trying to fulfill Henry’s insane wish for a son. The more unattractive Anne became in King Henry’s eyes.
          She turned into a desperate, nagging, weeping, terrified wreck.
          Gone was the vivacious, feisty, exciting & spirited Anne.
          They lashed out at each other.
          Tearing each other apart with all the emotions, disappointment, & anger they now had for each other.
          The interest & the love died.
          King Henry’s, ever wandering eye, fell upon the demure, pious Jane Seymour.
          He was most likely worn out with all the drama of the events, that had taken place, during the years he was involved with Anne.
          Hence, the reason for his interest in Jane Seymour.
          Another woman, & pawn, to be used for the ambitions of her brothers & family to attain power & wealth in an advantageous marriage with King Henry.
          King Henry still wanted that son & heir. But he wanted it with a woman who would not be as fiery & as challenging as Anne.
          How ironic, that the longed for Tudor son King Henry craved, did not sit on the throne for long.
          Instead King Edward VI succumbed to an early demise.
          It was Elizabeth, his daughter with Anne Boleyn, that inherited King Henry’s Tudor throne.
          She became the powerful Monarch, King Henry always hoped, & longed for.
          Bringing wealth & prosperity to England & a new golden age.
          England’s Renaissance.

    2. Tara Lawrence-Stuart says:

      Too gentle and holy? Maybe he would not have poisoned Anne if he had been alive. But he had dozens of “heretics” burned alive and he personally watched them. He had Bilney and Bainer racked in his cellar. I read this in both Ayckroyd”s and Marius’ biographies of More, and they were far kinder than other biographers. He was canonised by old white Catholic men for being willing to be martyred. He was a cruel, judgmental man who may have been a great intellectual but was so fanatically religious and devout a Catholic that he would burn and torture men’s and women’s bodies (thou shalt not kill?) to save their souls. He was a high official who reveled in watching his cruel work on people.

    3. Thomas More was neither holy nor gentle. When he was Lord Chancellor he was a cruel, sadomasochistic torturer (often in his home) and lashed himself, wore a dirty itchy hair shirt, while avidly hunting down and tortured men before having burned alive dozens of “heretics” he had systematically hunted down. Otherwise I agree with you, Julia. Pressure on Catherine and even more especially on Anne (in her case mixed with fear) to have a male heir, especially with a desperate despot like Henry, would be a major factor. Maybe it was Henry’s blood type. But the biblical superstitions of those times and the fact that Catherine and Anne had only healthy daughters, maybe males were weaker of blood and females were strong. But I may be reaching. But his illegitimate sons Henry Fitzroy and Edward (later the Sixth by Jane Seymour) didn’t live past their teens.

    4. Fritzi says:

      I believed in a gentle Thomas More for decades, thanks to one of my favorite movies, seen countless times since I was a child, A Man for All Seasons.
      Turned out it wasn’t More I loved, it was the one invented by playwright Robert Bolt, played so powerfully & endearingly by Paul Scofield.
      The actual Sir Thomas More had “heretics” burned alive.
      So I doubt he was too gentle or holy to do that, tho I’m confident he was too wise to so utterly betray his king

  2. Claire says:

    So hypocritical, I agree, but that was expected of a King in those days – the French monarchs were just the same. It’s funny how it is said that Henry viewed Anne’s miscarriages as a punishment from God but that it was a punishment for Anne’s wrongdoings not his own – mmm, double standards me thinks!

    1. Giselle says:

      But it follows the line of thought that the woman was responsible for the sex of the child, too. I’ve always wondered why the boys were sickly and died young, though. Perhaps they were coddled TOO much?

      1. Leslie K Wyatt says:

        Knowledge of certain substances and their effects on an unborn fetus were unknown .Wine was consumed routinely. Also, water was not filtered & prepared as it is today. Simple thgs cld have caused unfortunate miscarriages & stillbirth. Now, a young prince was priority in those days. He would been kept from other children and people. He would’ve been kept in solitude to fend off germs & sickness. At the same , this wldve made him more volunarable to simple common virus later. His immunity wld not have been developed well leading to illness and death more quickly

      2. Sherry Blackwood says:

        The male fetus is less strong than the female fetus. That is why there are more
        women than men in the world. Male premies have poorer outcomes than female. It has nothing to do with “coddling”. I am a therapist who works with developmentally delayed
        babies. I have far more male babies on my caseload than females.

        1. Fritzi says:

          Excellent point.
          But I wouldn’t dismiss the “coddling” factor.
          Even in today’s U.S., big-pharma-driven AMA cult does, I think,
          somewhat more harm than good.
          In Tudor era, medical intervention did overwhelmingly more harm,
          & who got as much medical attention as pregnant consorts?
          Especially Henry’s.

      3. Renee Lee says:

        pretty sure it’s always been a biological fact that boys have a harder time surviving than girls. Don’t think it was over-coddling. They could just have weaker immune systems.

  3. sharlene says:

    It seems all Henry’s wives 1st pregnancys were born healthy. Even his mistress had a healthy baby. I believe he was rh positive, How ironic,,,it was not the womens fault at all. It was Henry;s!

    1. RH incompatibility doesn’t work that way. It’s only a factor with a negative mother and a positive father, so that the BABY also has negative blood.

      What happens is that at birth, some maternal and fetal blood mix. If there is an RH incompatibility, the mother’s blood generates antibodies against the positive blood types. This means that an RH Pos fetus can’t come to full term.

      If the baby has RH neg blood (can happen, even with two RH pos parents, if they have secondary negative! I am living proof) then this is not an issue.

      1. Linda says:

        I’m RH negative and I had a positive baby, so no problem since the first one would not be in danger but my doctor gave me a shot (had to be within 24 hrs so he had to come back to the hospital to give it) in case I got pregnant again with a positive baby. But he also told us I could have a negative baby and there would be no danger ( if I remember correctly)

        This was in the 60’s so I’m sure things may be handled different now. I’m pretty sure that both of my parents were positive.

        1. Brooke W. says:

          Not as different as you might think (between 60s and now). I know even as late as 1986 they were still doing that as I’m positive but my mom is negative. Apparently they even had to give her a shot while still pregnant because her body was having an immune reaction from me in the first place.

        2. Tanya says:

          Not Diffrent at all had to have a rogam shot with every pregnacy. If o hadn’t switched doctors I might have lost my first one thou because our blood was Diffrent . I guess it don’t happen that way to much but my new doctor double check and a good thing too!

        3. Annette says:

          My mother was O neg and my dad A pos. My sister was ok but they were worriedwhen my mom became pregnant with me 11 years later by accident (she had been told not to have more children after my sister).

          This was in the 1950s, before the Rhogam shot was invented in 1968.

          I was one of the babies called “miracle babies” bc we rarely survived. I was in an incubator due to high bilirubin levels caused by the Rh disease, and was left hearing impaired bc of it.

    2. Alexandria says:

      Actually they didn’t. Catherine of Aragon had several failed pregnancies before her first “successful” one when she bore a son who lived a couple of months, and Mary was the result of her probable 5th or 6th pregnancy.
      Anne Boleyn had a successful first pregnancy but perhaps 2 failures later.
      Bessie Blount only had one child by Henry in any case, as did Jane Seymour likewise, and we do not know what would have happened had she lived. His final three wives never seem to have been pregnant by him. We do not know definitely of any other children of Henry, but even if you accept Mary Boleyn’s two as being fathered by Henry, she had two successful pregnancies.
      The Rhesus factor may have been the cause of Anne Boleyn’s problems, but is not likely to have affected any of his other relationships. The majority of people are Rhesus positive (about 15% are negative), and a positive mother will have no problems with a negative father, nor will two people who are both negative, so only a small proportion of couples encounter the problem.

      1. It is more likely that the one compatible pregnancy that did occur, Mary, produced an RH- child which would also explain why Mary went on to have the same conception issues as her mother did.

        1. Claire says:

          It is thought that Mary suffered with phantom pregnancies though.

  4. Abby Lyn says:

    Well, one of the many reasons I’ve heard were that she became hysterical, another was that one of the many who were plotting against her, was actually one of the cooks, so he dabbed a little poison into her wine,and which did no harm to her, but even the slightest drops of poison could harmt he baby. Another one was that she was under far to much presssure, and with being queen, it was to much and it poisoned the baby. but hey, that’s what i’ve heard…

    1. Helen says:

      Who knows. Maybe it was the Rh factor with Catherine of Aragon and then a ton of stress with Anne Boleyn, especially with the family she had around her. They only seemed to place constant stress and demands on her for their own benefit and what they could get in material things from her liason and later marriage to the King. Then add into the mix that Anne was not born royal and would not turn a blind eye to Henry VIII’s womanizing as Catherine of Aragon did and you have more stress. Anne Boleyn also supplanted Catherine of Aragon and she lived with the fear that as long as she did not give Henry VIII a living son the same thing could be done to her.

  5. David says:

    Henry’s using God for an excuse was an easy out for him. That God would cause Anne to miscarry as punishment upon King Henry is really well playing on the ignorance of the times. The church was a potent force in those days and the poor little street person, totally uneducated was bound to believe anything the King would say, let alone the church. I completely agree once again with Claire that physical factors most likely did play a role and I firmly believe that the enormous amount of stress that Anne was living with all of the time it seems since the relationship began played a big part with the miscarriages. When you think about it, it was probably a lucky thing Elizabeth was born and born healthy yet. The saddest event for Anne was that she miscarried a son which happened because she loved Henry so much that the news of his jousting accident was the straw that broke the camels back causing her to miscarry. I could just take Henry by the lapels and say, “Stop always blaming the women in your life for everything that happens to you!!”

  6. kirby says:

    I really like the Rh factor theory. It seems to fit very well, as she quickly had a successful birth and nothing but disaster afterward. I wonder, what would this theory mean for the incest theory? If we accepted that she was Rh negative, would that mean that the incest theory would be discredited? Or could it lend more credence to the theory?

    1. christina says:

      henrys wives including jane and the mistress all had healthy 1st babies but none other-granted jane died but still-this seems medically plausible..

      1. Lauren says:

        That’s not true that the first babies were always healthy. Catherine had several stillbirths/miscarriages and one boy that lived almost 2 months before Mary was born.

        That said, I do think the similarity between Catherine’s and Anne’s pregnancies is too strong to be coincidental. Add to that to the fact that neither of Henry’s sons lived past their teenage years, and he had one brother that didn’t either, I think there had to be something wrong with Henry genetically, and probably with all the Tudor males from Henry VII on.

        1. margaret says:

          this definetely sounds right about the fault being on henrys side with only 2 girls healthy and no healthy boys .

        2. Giselle says:

          I’ve wondered about that, too, and I think the boys were too closeted, too protected. They had no chance to build up the natural immunities that come with everyday life so the first really bad disease had free reign with no resistance. The girls? Nah, not so much.

        3. Helen says:

          Henry VIII father and sister Mary and brother Arthur and son Edward and his son Henry Fitzroy all died from Consumption, better known as TB. His sister Margaret died from a Cerebral Aneurysm which is the only genetic aneurysm known to medical science. They believe that his daughter Mary died from Uterine Cancer.His mother died just after giving birth and he had Deep Vein Thrombosis, that is what caused the ulcer on his leg, and they also believe that he had type 2 Diabetes and heart and liver problems due to his excessive weight. The only thing that really fits for all of the miscarriages and still births and even his son Henry dying when he was not quite 2 months old is the Rh factor.

        4. Callie says:

          Giselle: it kinda makes sense too about Tudor boys’ (heir) having low immunity, when you take into acct that H8 was the “spare” and wad raised by his mother who was very hands on. It wasn’t until after Arthur died that H7 went overboard and basically locked his “spare” up. But I’ve also heard podcasts explaining the Rh factor and making a strong case for it, albeit with no explanation as to why KoA was able to have Mary after several still born or miscarried babies, with the weird factor being that her stillborns were very very late term, but not full term so they were early births or late miscarriages. So interesting!

        5. Shannan says:

          There may have been something going on with Henry that lead to weak children but the pregnancies of Katherine and Anne were very different from an Rh perspective. Katherine had various pregnancies that progressed beyond what would be seen in the second (and so on) pregnancy if it were the rh issue…some full term and a bit longer than. Anne, on the other hand, was never able to carry out of the second trimester after Elizabeth.

    2. Alex says:

      I don’t think the Rhesus factor has any relevance at all to the incest question. They did not know about it, so it would not have entered into any consideration of whether Anne could, for example, get a Rh- child with her brother. Brothers and sisters can have different Rh factors, my ex and his sister did, he was group A negative and she was group A positive, which as their doctor said, was just as well! A Rh- mother can safely have an Rh+ child, so Elizabeth could have been either, but any subsequent children will likely be miscarried or stillborn if they are Rh+ and there is no medical intervention.
      Although I don’t believe that the Tudors’ survival rates are out of kilter with the rest of society at that time, and so do not indicate any genetic fault in the line necessarily, this is always a possibility. In that period as many as half of all people died before they reached the age of 20, and the upper class were by no means immune. Indeed, the idea of proper nutrition at the time was really dangerous, and to be a middle class person would probably have been healthier.
      I think that a factor in both KoA and Anne’s reproductive histories could be that they were hurried from one pregnancy to another without proper time for recovery between. Added to a diet deficient in iron and vitamins, this could mean that later pregnancies were never properly supported. I think (I may be wrong, I can’t recall off the top of my head) that Mary was born alive after KoA had quite a long break between pregnancies. It has been suggested that breast-feeding acts as a natural contraceptive and allows the natural spacing of babies, but of course noblewomen were discouraged from doing anything of that sort, and one reason for the discouragement was that it tended to delay the next conception, and husbands wanted their heir and spare asap.

  7. Nita says:

    Thomas More was not that mild and gentle. He was humble, but he did burn heretics. That takes a strong stomach. He also wasn’t deceitful or sneaky. I think if he’s had any kind of direct evidence against Anne, he would have brought it to the king.

    Even though she did survive her bout of “sweating sickness”, it could have weakened her. That combined with her difficult first pregnancy and the constant stress she was under could have contributed to the miscarriages.

  8. Sarah says:

    I’ve wondered for a long time if the inability of Henry’s first two wives to have healthy babies after the first was due to prolonged stress, knowing that they had, literally, to deliver.

  9. Natalie says:

    While Rh blood group antigens are rather common and they can cause hemolytic disease of the newborn there is another blood group antigen that is more likely to cause fetal demise especially after one exposure to the antigen. This antigen is the Kell antigen first described by doctors in the 1940’s. Note: not all preganancies from a Kell positive father will produce a Kell positive infant who will in turn cause the mother to make antibodies that attack the infant’s blood cells. There is a good article about Henry the VIII and the likelihood that he was a carrier of the antigen:
    There is also discussion about other symptoms of the Kell antigen, and an associated syndrome (McLeod syndrome described in 1961) that may be related to the symptoms that Henry had later in life. Additionally, and I have not seen this written about in literature, I suggest that Edward also carried the Kell gene (only males can get McLeod syndrome due to it’s X-linked inheritance) and it contributed to his death; I have read articles saying that McLeod syndrome can cause symptoms as early as age 10 and death is usually 5-10 years after symptoms are first seen, Edward died at 16. – Edward died with cough, lung problems, and swollen legs all of which are symptoms of dilated cardiomyopathy which can be a complication of Mc Leod syndrome.

    1. Cyd says:

      what do you get when you mix an OB/NICU nurse with a Tudor nerd? Me—someone who is ecstatically happy to read these kind of articles!!! Special thanks to Natalie (above) for her links—who knew other people thought about this stuff?

    2. Thanks for your interesting comment about Henry VIII and the possiblitiy that he had Kells Syndrome. I have reviewed other articles that supports this theory. In one of the articles the researchers wanted to try and obtain permission from our present Queen to exhume, the body of Henry Vlll and take samples from it and have it genetically tested for Kells.The requested was turned down. It would have been very intreresting if they had been able to do so.

      I think poor Anne Boleyn would have been under so much stress not only from her own family but Henry as well. He probably thought that he gave her everything and her role was to give him a son and a spare. When she failed then Henry did what he did best and moved on and she paid the ultimate price with her life.

  10. Alex says:

    I can’t believe I never thought of her being RH negative! I am RH negative and had to get those nasty shots when I was pregnant. Too bad they didn’t have those in that time…

    Another thing I thought of would possibly be endometriosis. It causes issues with fertility and causes cysts and fibroids (I actually think Mary might have had it on top of the uterine cancer)

    1. Alexandria says:

      Hi Alex – I have just realised that I have been posting under the name of Alex, and am likely to get confused with you. Sorry! I will start posting under the name of Alexandria to avoid confusion.

  11. Joanna B. says:

    Anne may just have had pregnancies with problems, as have many of us, and miscarriages were nature’s way of saying the baby would not have been well. i was pregnant seven times and we had three beautiful children, but did lose four. it’s heartbreaking, but it’s the way things end sometimes. still, regardless of her horrible conduct in the marriage of Catherine and Henry (as well as his!) my heart always went out to her, to be under such pressure to have a son, back then they did not know the man determined the child’s sex!!

  12. Anna says:

    It has nothing to do with Henry’s wives but talking about medical condition of the Tudor family members: isn’t it striking that Prince Arthur and both Henry’s sons, Edward and Henry Fitzroy, died as teenagers due to poor health? I know that muscoviscidosis was suspected but we probably will never find out anyway.

  13. Sarah says:

    The RH negative theory is interesting, I myself am a RH negative baby (my mother’s second child) and managed to reach full term without receiving any treatment (doctors werent aware) although I went into distress at the end and had to be delivered by c-section.

  14. Rachel McNeil says:

    Hello Everyone,

    I remember reading an article in one of my BBC History Magazine’s, it put forth a theory that Henry suffered from a disease which attacked the white cells within the feotus. This theory logically explains the reasons why Katherine of Aragon (who had 7 pregnancies overall), and Anne Boleyn (who had 3) were having miscarriages, and stillborns.

    Katherine of Aragon was from an extremely fertile family, the pomegranate being used as the familes emblem, was symbolism to their great fertility.

    I will have a hunt through my magazines, in order to find the source, and then will put it up for anyone who is interested in this theory.


  15. Boleyn says:

    I kind of toyed with the idea, that Anne was given Hemlock in a drink and that helped to induce a miscarriage. Although who might have given her it I’m still trying to figure out..

  16. CindyL says:

    Many thanks to Noel and Natalie. I too am a nurse (worked in OB as well) and was about to comment about that Rh theory, which is incorrect.

    Natalie in particular… thank you so much for posting that about the Kell antigen! For many years, I have said that’s what I believed the infant problem to be, though I admit I had not considered Henry’s later behavior as being part of that. DUH! I can’t believe it never occurred to me.

    That only seems to prove that theory even more.

    1. Omaira says:

      wait, why do you say the Rh theory is wrong?

  17. Karen Solt says:

    I just found this website and am enjoying it tremendously. The only thing I can add to the interesting comments above is that Anne was in her 30’s (33?) when she gave birth to Elizabeth. Not ancient, but certainly older than usual for a first baby. Her most fertile years were “wasted” in the waiting game. Couple that with the aforementioned stress and it can’t have been easy at all.

  18. kate says:

    i think the RH theroy could easily be true, although to be honest i don’t understand it that much 😛 i think she was really stressed out, and didn’t they use to drink wine a lot of wine and ale back then? i don’t think drink alone could cause miscarrige but it couldn’t have helped. and thank you for all this infomation i’m really enjoying it!! 🙂

    1. margaret says:

      but something could have been put into that drink !

  19. Linda says:

    It is believed Henry VIII had at least 6 children to several mistresses. Sir John Perrott
    who was beheaded in the Tower, was just one, and so on.

  20. Phoenix Risng says:

    Some very interesting posts – fascinating reading! The medical side is certainly plausible, but I wonder at the timing of her last miscarriage. It seems to e perhaps more than a little co-incidental that this was on the very same day that her one time rival, a woman who had all her life maintained that she was Henry’s wife in God’s eyes and the rightful Queen of England, was being laid to rest in Peterborough Cathedral.

    But who might have committed such an act, and why?

    Well, there was at the time considerable anti-Anne Boleyn feeling in the country as a whole. Whereas Katherine had been much beloved of the general populace, Anne was not, and of course there was the split with Rome, the ‘Mother Church’ that had held sway in England fore centuries. Surely then it is not inconceivable that a person who was perhaps still loyal to Katherine, perhaps even someone as close as one of Anne’s own ladies in waiting, could have either been working on their own or as part of a wider conspiracy. After all, we know that Cromwell and Eustace Chapuys (the ambassador of the Holy Roman empire) were at least on speaking terms if not more, and Chapuys was also close to both Katherine herself and to Mary, her daughter.

    Remember, Mary had suffered greatly because of Anne Boleyn coming onto the scene. She lost her title, all contact with her mother (until she would acknowledge Anne as Queen, which she never did), her household and all her staff. From the heights of a Princess she was taken down to a lowly ‘lady’, a lady in waiting to the new infant Princess who had even supplanted her in the order of succession.

    Is it possible that someone decided to ‘right the wrong’ in a way that would be as vindictive and venegeful as possible, or that Mary herself, who called Anne ‘Harlot’ and ‘whore’ and who hated her with a passion (yet never took this out on the child Elizabeth oddly enough), was behind the plot to bring her down?

    As always history clouds us with more questions than answers, and I don’t suppose we will ever know for sure – but its fun to speculate, isn’t it?

  21. Lesley says:

    Off topic but the comment “regardless of her horrible conduct in the marriage of Catherine and Henry” riled me.

    I don’t think we’ll ever know the whole truth about these events, but sounds to me like Henry was the ultimate stalker and Anne didn’t want to become another discarded mistress. Who would? Just saying.

  22. ashley says:

    I can’t help but wonder, if their attire contributed to this as well, those tight corsets couldn’t possibly be good for the growing belly, plus they did drink a decent amount unknowingly to the effects that it would have on a growing fetus

  23. whitley says:

    I feel bad she lost her baby but i also think she did ugly things like meaning meam to mary mostly henery and she did do nice thing but god doesnt like ugly and i don`t think she deserved a boy she got a blessing with a elizabeth brith.

    1. Roseamnund says:


  24. Sandra says:

    All good theories, with the rhesus factor incompability the most likely one, I think.
    How about Fetal alcohol syndrome? It may cause miscarriages or stillbirths and I could imagine doctors not knowing anything about it and instead telling women (esp. at court where they had more access to it than poor peasants) to drink wine cause it was definitely ‘cleaner’ than regular water.

  25. Rarrkel says:

    Stress does NOT cause miscarriages. Only health problems with the mother or the development of the fetus are reasons for miscarriages to occur.

    1. Bellaluna says:

      I beg to differ. I have suffered 2 miscarriages along with a stillbirth and stress was determined to be the prime reason. The stress induced high blood pressure, cramps, violent bouts of nausea; all after-effects. Nothing was wrong with both fetus or my little girl. Stress can cause a lot of strains on a body and the medical complications/conditions were results of it.

      The Kells theory is definitely very plausible.

    2. Alex says:

      It depends when you think Anne was born – dates anything between 1501 and 1512 have been suggested but most authors seem to go for either 1501 or 1507. If 1501 she was 32 when Elizabeth was born, if 1507 then she was 26, both older than average for that period. However, Bess of Hardwick’s successful career as a mother and her long life has been put down to not having her children too early in life – I think she was about 27 when she had her first. Doctors were aware even in those days that early childbearing was bad for a woman’s health, as was too frequent childbearing, and Anne did go from one pregnancy to another with little opportunity to recouperate between, understandable in her situation and very hard to avoid in those days, but not helpful. That alone might explain her record – she was successful with Elizabeth because she started off in reasonably good fettle, but after that she never really recovered her health and strength.
      The rhesus factor has a lot to commend it – it can’t be the case with KoA, because her surviving daughter was by no means her first child, but it could with Anne. As someone points out, the problem only arises if the child is Rh+ but the mother is Rh-, a negative child would be unharmed, and as Rh+ is dominant Rh- can appear in the children of two Rh+ parents. However we don’t know if this was the case, it is perfectly possible for all the children conceived to be Rh+ if Henry VIII was homozygous for Rh+, that is he had no Rh- factor to pass on.

  26. Rarrkel says:

    I have a theory – alcohol consumption. Pregnant women are not supposed to drink alcohol but that was all they ever did drink in the medieval period. I imagine that may have definitely had something to do with the stillbirths and miscarriages the Queens were experiencing…

  27. Carolyn says:

    Has anyone suggested that the last deformed miscarriage could have been caused by Anne Boleyn’s diet? From what I have read, the Tudor Court under Henry the VIII consumed large quantities of meat. This diet would be highly acidic without enough fruits and vegetables to balance out that acidity. The description that Philippa Gregory gives in “The Other Boleyn Girl” of Anne’s last miscarriage is of a baby with a flayed back and a large head. I believe that the flayed back could be from a lack of folic acid in her diet during the first month of pregnancy. A few servings of broccoli would have fixed that problem (94 mcg of folic acid). Folate is responsible for proper cell division and DNA synthesis as well. We all know how some Royals and even Presidents have foresworn broccoli. The overgrown head may have been hydrocephalus or water on the brain. There are too many causes to know which factor could have caused this problem. Extreme stress could also cause higher acid levels during pregnancy. Inflammation is a leading cause of the five major diseases including heart disease, diabetes, arthritis, cancer and Alzheimer’s. I remember reading that Queen Mary (Catherine’s daughter) died of breast cancer. Too much meat! Not enough fruits and veggies. Henry might have been able to live a healthier life if he had eaten less venison and pastries and more fruits and veggies. He might have avoided the diabetes and the leg sore that did not heal. I really like the RH factor theory too though, but this does not explain why so many different wives had stillborn babies.

    1. Mimico says:

      The book the ‘the other bolyen girl’ is extremely inaccurate and remember its fiction no fact. In real life there is absolutely no contemporary evidence, both reliable and unreliable, that even suggest that Anne miscarried a deformed child, much less a child with a flayed back and montrous head. Even Eustace Chapuys the imperial ambassodor who loathed Anne only describe the baby as a foetus of 3 and a half months. But i do agree that the Tudors lifestyle would have increased the chance of miscarriages or stillborn babies. Hopefully you dont think Anne as the witch of a queen she is portrayed as in the other bolyen girl. Whenever reading phillipa gregory always remember that she is a fiction writer (and the most inaccurate one), not a historian.


      1. Carolyn says:

        Thanks Mimico,

        Yes Philipa Gregory says that her book is a novel rather than non-fiction or history. I wondered why I had never heard of the other two miscarriages that she describes in “The Other Boleyn Girl”, or that the last one was a monster. It seems very unfair that people of that era blamed the mother for a miscarriage and assigned superstitious attributes like sin or witchcraft to what is already a grave tragedy. No I do not think of Anne Boleyn as a witch. She seemed to be an extremely well educated woman for her time, who was maligned by the court around her. She was a musician like me and there is even a piece of music attributed to her called “O Death Rock Me Asleep” (c.1536) Here is a sound recording of the haunting piece. I have no idea if Boleyn actually composed this piece and it was later published posthumously or if someone else composed it. I do know that there is music attributed to Henry the VIII th including “Greensleeves,” but again it is nearly impossible to verify the authenticity of pieces that are over 450 years old. Henry ran a very musical court, and I think that Anne’s talent as a singer and musician was part of his attraction to her as well as her education and intelligence. I suspect that she played a large role in England’s becoming Protestant, but that is a complicated matter. What I am really upset about is the movie version of “The Other Boleyn Girl”. I just watched it recently, and found it to be violent and dark. Ok we all know she is going to get killed in the end, but why drag incest and rape into to mix? I know that the court accused her brother of incest, but I doubt there was any proof of this. They just wanted to bring down the entire Boleyn family so killing George was a way to end the Boleyn line. I see it as a political move rather than something based on fact. How do you read his death?

        1. Tara Lawrence-Stuart says:

          Philippa Gregory wrote at the end of her book The Other Boleyn Girl (or in an an interview said) that in Retha Warnicke’s nonfiction biography she mentioned an early deformed fetus. At the end of the book TOBG, in Acknowledgements, she highly praises Warnicke as one of her historical sources. I find the deformed monster fetus theory implausible. Also, the title of Gregory’s book is based on Mary Boleyn, not Anne. Iles’ bio is to me the most reliable.

    2. Alexandria says:

      There is actually no reliable evidence that the foetus was deformed in any way, and even if there were, since it was lost at a comparatively early stage it would not have resembled a baby and might well have appeared to have a monstrous head to an inexperienced observer. The diet might have affected it, but not in the way suggested. Although the diet of the period was heavy on meat and a bit light on fruit and veg, pregnany women and anyone ill were discouraged from eating meat and encouraged to follow a diet high in carbs and dairy. This resulted, for young women especially, as they lost blood during periods and childbirth, which often began far too early, in a very common condition of anaemia, known at the time as greensickness, and a common killer of young married women.

  28. Heather says:

    I’m O negative so also have the Rhesus factor. It was the first thing I thought of when I read about Anne losing her baby at birth. I’m glad they gave me the injection after my first pregnancy because my next child took her father’s blood which was positive. Science has changed this type of ignorance in favour of us women but it must have been a nightmare for women centuries ago who had enormous pressure on them to deliver healthy sons.

  29. Sigrid says:

    It’s not only her fault it’s also Henry’s because he was a part of it too and just because he was a king dosen’t make him less human and think about how great a queen Elizabeth became, she was loved by the people in England, it was like she was the male child that he always wanted ♥

  30. Sheileen says:

    Hi Claire, I’ve been recently binge watching The Tudors for the first time, and as I have a special affinity for English History, as well as psychology, I often find myself pausing the series to seeking out fact vs. fiction. Your site has been most helpful in this regard!

    I do have a question and comment for you. The first, I can’t seem find any reasoning or discussion for, as this certain convention is simply stated as fact…Maybe it’s the ingrained, modern feminist in me, but I have hard time understanding how a medieval King was encouraged and expected to be unfaithful to his wife, (especially while practicing catholicism!) while a Queen not only had to be virtuous/virginal before marriage, but could risk imprisonment and or death for cheating on her King. I find that the 2 extremes mind-boggling. Can you shed some more insight on how this glaringly hypocritical way of thinking came to be accepted in the royal court?

    Secondly, It seems Henry the 8th was rather superstitious, and took certain happenings as a direct sign from God. I find it interesting that he always finds away to use these ‘signs’ to support his whims, rather than use them to self-reflect or as a deterrent. For example: I’m not sure as to the validity of Henry asking for Jane’s favors before his jousting accident, (episode 2×08) however, one would think that almost dying would have certainly been a ‘sign’ that cheating on Anne was indeed wrong. However, the smile on the King’s face after he pulls the Jane’s favors from his armour, seems to suggest that he either believed she saved him, or that him pulling through meant that they were meant to be.

    1. Alexandria says:

      The hypocritical attitude whereby the man can be as unfaithful as he likes but the woman has to be chaste before marriage and faithful after it is extremely common in human society. It probably originates in the paternity of children – in a patriarchal society a man does not want to rear children who are not or may not be his own. The man cannot bring an illegitimate child secretly into the family in the way a woman can. Men were also encouraged to display dominant behaviour, and the law until comparatively recently allowed men to think of their wife as their property. After Katherine Howard, Henry actually made it law that a woman could not marry the king if she were not a virgin, but of course he had to change it again to marry Katherine Parr. Presumably the idea that there has been no other man encourages his feelings of possession. Even now, some men do not like to think of their wife or girlfriend having been with others, and this is told in mitigation for many attacks and even murders. The law actually stated that for a wife to murder her husband was a form of treason, since she was a rebel against authority, and thus it was a more serious crime than for a man to kill his wife.
      Henry was indeed very superstitious and always looking at events for signs of God’s approval or disapproval, and he did indeed interpret things his own way. I think that kind of thinking was very common, and still is. It is helpful to the person being able to persuade themselves of their own virtue, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it is dishonest. It’s a question of psychology.

  31. Cindy Hosman says:

    I formed an opinion as a teen in the early 1980s, that Henry had no long-lasting progeny for a reason. His grandmother killed the princes in the tower, not Richard III. That was my theory. Whoever did that nasty deed aside, Henry had enough sins to his roster to damn him to progeny-less-ness. Yes he had kids, both legitimate and illegitimate. But where has that lineage ended up? Not on England’s throne after 1603. I felt then, that that was why first Catherine, then Anne had such trouble, and remember, Jane died soon after Edward’s birth and he died young. My theory made a lot of sense to a teen of my time. Now? I think it was the stress, and the Tudor court lifestyle. Vegetables were considered peasant food and wine was drunk like water, which was not clean enough to drink. I’ve seen descriptions of the food they lived on. No wonder Henry had gout….

    1. Alexandria says:

      Although it is true that Henry VIII’s direct line dies out in 1603 with the death of Elizabeth, James I and VI was a descendant of Henry VII in both lines. His mother Mary Queen of Scots was the granddaughter of Henry VIII’s sister Margaret by her first husband, and his father was her grandson by her second husband. The current royal family are descended from her via James I’s daughter Elizabeth. So the revenge for the tower princes did not extend to all Henry VII’s children. The line of Henry VIII’s younger sister also continues, albeit not on the throne.

  32. Susan A says:

    I always thought that Anne had an incompetent cervix since the first child, Elizabeth, was born in about two hours (highly unusual for a first child) and the rest slipped from her as soon as they started moving (the quickening, as it was called then). Anne was probably 33 when Elizabeth, her first child, was born.

    It also seemed to me that Jane Seymour must have had puerperal fever or a hemmorage. Although she was quite well directly after the (truly difficult) 3 day delivery, she, not surprisingly, suddenly took ill afterwards. Jane Seymour (at the age of 29) appears to be the last woman who became pregnant by Henry.

    As for Catherine, that’s more problematic. Perhaps the cancer was already in her body during her pregnancies. She seems to have had her last pregnancy in 1518 at the age of 33 which seems early. (Note, this would be about seven or eight years before Henry started pursuing Anne.) Catherine died of cancer in 1536 at the age of 51. Her daughter also died of cancer at 42.

    If you want to look at the sort of birthing statistics that occurred in even royal houses in those days in those days, you can look at the life of the contemporaneous scoliotic Claude of France who birthed seven children before dying at the age of 25, or even Anne (1) of Great Britain two centuries later who had fifteen pregnancies and miscarriages. Most of the children born to her did not live beyond the first two years, some for only a few minutes. The only exception is the son who lived to the age of 11. Her sister, Mary, had no children.

    Henry had two leg wounds in almost the same place over the course of his life, neither of which seemed to heal very well. The latter, one result of the jousting accident of 1536, festered for ten years until his death in 1547 when he was 55. The other result of the 1536 accident is believed to have been a traumatic brain injury (he was unconscious for two hours afterwards). Whatever was eating away at him over those final years was certainly also driving him mad.

  33. Karen says:

    Becoming pregnant so quickly after a live birth or a miscarriage was undoubtedly the cause of so many miscarriages and/or stillbirths. Poor nutrition and poor sanitation were also factors in infant mortality. For interesting and factual information read any books by Alison Weir.

  34. Whitley says:

    . What I meant was she lucky she got with Elizabeth for her first time in child brith and
    she braged about it being easy to produce children without ever having a child before Eizabeth and even then reading books about her and David Starkey say in his bio of her that her carveing for Apple` s was ploy to show her fertility vs coa barrenss. I love anne bolyen I admire intelligence and courage but I think she went over board with henery anne vs Catherine thing she just come off as down right mean ( I know she was human like the rest of us)

  35. eve says:

    This is all so fascinating – theories I never considered. I’m still curious as to the syphillis factor with Henry. So many wives – so many miscarriages! Is it possible that venereal disease could play a part, specifically syphillis? Needless to say the lack of pre-natal care & medical knowledge available today speaks for itself. I’m naive in this area but look forward to anyone’s take in this area.

  36. Susan says:

    tThese are all interesting theory’s but I can’t agree with Ann being poisoned !! King and queen would have had someone to taste there food and drink for them I thought every one knew that !! The stress factor to me is a good theory pressure was awful on all women back then but what about time factors between pregnancies we al, know your not allowed sex for 6 weeks after having a baby but they didn’t !! Ann and especially Katherine seemed to get pregnant very quickly did they give there bodies time to recover and sometimes after a miscarriage not all the foetus leaves the body I was admitted to hospital after my loss for a D&C scrape a good clean in case of infection ! Could this be the reason for still births I’m no medical expert this is just my opinion !! We know so much more these days back then they knew nothing really . Iv often wondered why Kathene Howard never got pregnant considering she was supposed to have been having sex with 2 men ? I don’t know the history of Howard women how fertile they was perhaps she couldn’t have children there must have been some reason as she was defiantly having sex with Henry .all these theory’s such a shame we will never know the truth as for Ann perhaps she would have had more of a chance to have a boy if 7 yrs had not passed She would have been much younger and had more time who knows !! You can’t lay all the blame on the Queens poor women couldn’t do nothing right men was such terrible Hypocrites back then not an easy life for a women that’s for sure !!!!!

    1. Giselle says:

      But what if a poison only effected a fetus? What if the taste tester had cramps a few days later but no other ill effects since he was unlikely to be female or pregnant? There are herbs long used to terminate pregnancies. Used on a male–no effect. Used on a woman–miscarriage. I don’t necessarily buy this theory, mind you, but one has to be aware that different poisons have different effects.

  37. I agree with regards to the Rh factor theory; I find it very interesting and find it to be a likely factor. Another point to make it that nutrition comes into play. How much healthy food did ANYONE back then really get? That will definitely affect a pregnancy. The level of stress on Queen Anne was most likely high after giving birth to Princess Elizabeth. The King was getting older and getting more and more anxious to leave a male heir for the kingdom. Back then, pregnancy, birth, and even gender of the child was believed to be influenced somehow by the pregnant woman. So if she was not able to successfully carry a child to full term and give a health birth, she WAS found at fault. With the stress, lack of proper nutrition, lack of proper pregnancy care and high levels of stress, I’m not too surprised that the Queen was not able to successfully give birth, not to mention the Rh factor theory.

  38. Jordyn Marie says:

    I do believe that Anne was under a lot of stress because she did promise to give Henry many sons. It is also said that Anne would have periods of hysteria, whether it was regarding the late Queen Catherine, Princess Mary, other women of court, or her husband himself. And although in our eyes adultery is wrong, a king was expected to take a mistress, it was a “tradition” (to say the least). Kings took mistresses not only for sex and pleasure, but the Catholic Church easily made people believe that parents could harm their unborn child if they were to have sex while the mother was pregnant. I also strongly believe that during her time of pregnancies that Anne was very much intimidated by the other women in court, knowing fully well who her husband was and what he was known for.

  39. Cheryl says:

    I can’t help but to wonder if it wasn’t lead poisoning from the pewter dinnerware. Lead poisoning can cause miscarriages etc.and Ann was not the only one that had difficulty carrying a baby full term.

    1. Giselle says:

      Pewter was commonly 85-99% tin. She would have had to be eating a plate or two per meal.

  40. Brandy B says:

    I read that they believe Henry was kell-positive and it traced back to his great grandmother and this could be the reason for a healthy child and then the rest born stillborn or miscarried. With Catherine they believe that mary was possibly kell-positive which made it possible for her to survive her mothers antibodies…I hope I just said that all right…lol. I think it had something to do with their blood as well.

  41. kimberly zhuo says:

    not stress. “Most causes of miscarriage are either unknown or beyond your control. More than half of miscarriages in the first trimester are thought to be random events caused by chromosomal abnormalities in the fertilized egg. This usually means that the egg or sperm had the wrong number of chromosomes, so the fertilized egg couldn’t develop normally. (Read more about miscarriages and what might cause them.)

    “That said, extreme stress – from a divorce, severe financial problems, or the death of a close family member – can affect a developing baby’s health. According to a 2008 Danish study of more than 19,000 pregnant women, those with a high level of psychological stress had an 80 percent greater risk of stillbirth than women who had an intermediate level of stress during pregnancy.

    Other researchers have found that high stress levels can result in premature birth and low birth weight, and even lead to allergies and asthma later in life.”

  42. Sheila says:

    I’m not inclined to agree with the theory of ‘stress’ because I think this is a rather more modern concept which has gained credence even in my lifetime. I never heard my grandmother, who lived through two world wars, and buried two husbands and two children, mention stress. Today she would probably have been offered counselling, but she just gritted her teeth and got on with it and I’m sure Anne Boleyn would have done the same. I’m interested in both the Kells theory and the Rhesus theory, but there are so many other possibilities, not least the vagaries of Mother Nature. But fascinating to speculate and thank you to everyone whose comments I have enjoyed reading,

    1. Eleanor says:

      Is that because stress didn’t exist though? Or because there wasn’t a name for it. I see it as an emotion, part of the human condition. I’m sure people felt stressed and anxious (there’s documented cases of hysteria etc) but it just wasn’t recognised or studied in the way that it is nowadays. Thabk god for modern psychiatry!

  43. Philippa Gregory wrote at the end of her book The Other Boleyn Girl (or in an an interview said) that in Retha Warnicke’s nonfiction biography she mentioned an early deformed fetus. At the end of the book TOBG, in Acknowledgements, she highly praises Warnicke as one of her historical sources. I find the deformed monster fetus theory implausible. Also, the title of Gregory’s book is based on Mary Boleyn, not Anne. Iles’ bio is to me the most reliable.

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