St Erkenwald’s Day 1532 – The Marriage of Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn?

Although we know that Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn officially tied the knot at a secret wedding ceremony on the 25th January 1533, the Tudor chronicler, Edward Hall, records that the couple actually got married on Thursday 14th November 1532, St Erkenwald’s Day:-

“The kyng, after his returne [from Calais] maried priuily[privily] the lady Anne Bulleyn on sainet Erkenwaldes daie, whiche mariage was kept so secrete, that very fewe knewe it, til she was greate with child, at Easter after.”1

Eric Ives, in his book, “The Life and Death of Anne Boleyn”, points out that St Erkenwald’s Day was the day Anne and Henry returned to England after their successful visit to France.

Nicholas Sander, the Catholic recusant who wrote of Anne Boleyn during the reign of her daughter, Elizabeth I, also recorded the marriage date as the 14th November and Protestants latched onto this date, rather than the January date, because it meant that Elizabeth, who was born on the 7th September 1533, was conceived within wedlock. It may be that the couple got married in January 1533 but that they made some kind of formal commitment on St Erkenwald’s Day, so much so that Anne Boleyn finally allowed Henry to consummate their relationship and Elizabeth was conceived.

Happy St Erkenwald’s Day and perhaps also a Happy Wedding Anniversary to Anne Boleyn and Henry VIII.

Notes and Sources

  1. Hall’s Chronicle, Edward Hall, p794

P.S. Also, on this day in history, 14th November 1501, Catherine of Aragon married Arthur, Prince of Wales at St Paul’s Cathedral. You can read more about Arthur and the wedding in my article “Arthur, Prince of Wales”.

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9 thoughts on “St Erkenwald’s Day 1532 – The Marriage of Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn?”
  1. Thanks for the reminder Claire and all I can add is how ironic life can be in Henry and Anne marrying on the anniversary of the wedding of Arthur and Catherine.

    Is there a chance the choice of date was an accident, or was there a purpose in Anne and Henry deciding on that date…or perhaps it just innocently happened that way? There always seemed to be some type of symbolism involved in what those two often did, so I can’t help wondering.

  2. It would be like Henry to marry on the same day that ARthur married Catherine…just a sort of sibling rivalry, skewer the ex wife sort of thing Henry would at least be aware of. Something must have happened at that point for Anne to have yielded after so long a time!

  3. We took my daughter back to uni after lunch (last week was reading week). We always have to go past Buckden, Kimbolton Castle and Peterborough Cathedral – I couldn’t stop thinking of Catherine. Both of these Queens were betrayed by their horrible husband.

  4. Thanks for this. Very interesting.

    I’m also amused that you chose a picture in which the bride and groom are all tumbled and askew atop the wedding cake. Very fitting for Henry and Anne, considering the eventual fate of their marriage! LOL

  5. Oh no Claire, I put the 24th in my book as the day they married but through all my research I have a tendency to believe the rumor that they married on November 14, 1532. Too bad it could not have been a successful marriage after all they both went through to make it happen. Not to mention those who gave their lives because they did marry!! So, anyway, Happy Anniversary Henry and Anne!!

  6. It’s sad that, after all the time, effort and bloodshed these two put into their marriage, Henry and Anne couldn’t make it work. She had a temper and a slandered reputation, whereas he had too many issues to name. In my opinion, it’s a marriage that shaped the world (Elizabeth! The Reformation!), regardless of how it ended.

  7. I think their may be some truth to this date.

    I just find it hard to believe that after holding out so long from Henry and saying her maidenhead belonged to her husband that she would then bed him out of wedlock, even if she felt safe that marriage would soon follow.. No proof to back this up, just my opinion


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