The Scandalous and Corrupt Anne Boleyn?

Posted By on October 11, 2011

Apologies for the absence of Anne Boleyn articles recently but I’ve been busy immersing myself in Letters and Papers and the Calendar of State Papers for Spain trying to find something that has been bugging me for the past few weeks. When something bugs me, I’m like a dog with a bone and I just cannot let go until I’ve found the answer…grrr!

A few weeks ago, I read Alison Weir’s new book “Mary Boleyn: The Great and Infamous Whore” (or “Mary Boleyn: Mistress of Kings” to give it its US title), and in it Alison Weir repeats something which she referred to in her earlier book, “The Six Wives of Henry VIII”, her idea that Anne Boleyn had been corrupted by her time in France.

Here is what she says in “Six Wives”:-

“There is some later evidence that she was perhaps not so virtuous during her years in France as has hitherto been supposed. Brantôme tells us that ‘rarely, or never, did any maid or wife leave that court chaste”, and in 1533, Francis I confided to the Duke of Norfolk, Anne’s uncle, that she ‘had not always lived virtuously’. More tellingly, Henry VIII told the Spanish ambassador in 1536 that Anne had been ‘corrupted’ in France, and that he had discovered this when sexually experimenting with her.”

This is repeated in “Mary Boleyn: The Great and Infamous Whore”:-

“But Anne, too, risked becoming the subject of scandal at the French court. In July 1535, King François was to confide to Rodolfo Pio ‘how little virtuously she has always lived, and now lives’; he may have been referring to Anne’s later reputation, but in 1536, Henry VIII himself would reveal to Eustache Chapuys, the Imperial ambassador in England, that it was only after he had begun having sexual relations with Anne that he found out she had been corrupted in France. After her death, when offered a French bride, the King insisted ‘he had too much experience of French bringing up and manners’ – a clear reference to Anne Boleyn. Evidently Anne was discreet and clever enough to ensure that barely a soul knew of these early falls from grace.”

So, according to Alison Weir, a clever Anne Boleyn was able to hide her sexual experience and rather muddied past from Henry VIII and pass herself off as virtuous and Queen material. But what’s the evidence for Weir’s conclusion? Well, she does give references but they are not at all helpful: “L&P” for the King François quote and “S.C.” for Chapuys. Now, L&P, or Letters and Papers, Foreign and Domestic, Henry VIII, has 21 volumes covering 1509 to 1547, and some of them are split into two parts, and S.C., or Calendar of State Papers, Spain, has 13 volumes, so it is difficult to find the evidence cited when an author or historian does not reference it properly. The norm, in history books, is to say precisely which document in which volume you are referring to, e.g. LP xv.25, making it easy for the reader to check it.

Anyway, I managed to find the first source that Alison Weir was referring to, the one about Anne Boleyn not living virtuously. Weir is wrong in “Six Wives” when she attributes the words to Francis I confiding in the Duke of Norfolk in 1533, but is correct in “Mary Boleyn” when she attributes them to Francis I confiding in Rodolfo Pio, Bishop of Faenza, who then repeats it in a letter to M. Ambrosio on 4th July 1535:-

“Francis also spoke three days ago of the new queen of England, how little virtuously she has always lived and now lives, and how she and her brother and adherents suspect the duke of Norfolk of wishing to make his son King, and marry him to the King’s legitimate daughter, though they are near relations.” LP viii.985

The Chapuys reference has been more problematic but, with the help of the wonderful Clare Cherry (fab researcher and definitely a Captain Hastings to my Poirot, or perhaps it’s the other way round!), I think I’ve cracked it. Alison Weir says that the King confided in Chapuys in 1536 that Anne Boleyn had been ‘corrupted’ in France and that a report of these words can be found in the Calendar of State Papers, Spain. Well, I have gone through every document written by Eustace Chapuys in those records in 1536 (L&P, Calendar of State Papers, everything!) and other years and cannot find any reference to Henry VIII saying that Anne had been corrupted in France. I have however found the reference to Henry VIII not wanting to marry a French woman after Anne Boleyn:-

“The King replied that she was too young for him, and that he had had too much experience of French bringing up and manners, alluding to the late concubine, to take her to wife.” ‘Additions and Corrections’, Calendar of State Papers, Spain, Volume 5 Part 2: 1536-1538, Additions and corrections to No.61, 6th June 1536

This was in reference to the idea that Henry VIII should marry “Madame Magdelaine”, Madeleine of Valois, Francis I’s daughter. I think it is reading far too much into Henry VIII’s words to read “bringing up and manners” as referring to sexual experience!

However, Clare thinks, and I agree with her, that Alison Weir is actually basing her theory on Paul Friedmann’s interpretation of Henry’s words. Friedmann, Anne Boleyn’s 19th century biographer, writes:-

“After the death of Anne a courtier told Chapuis (so Chapuis reports) that Henry had refused the hand of the daughter of Francis I [Madeleine of Valois] because she was too young and because in the said concubine he had had too much experience of what the corruption of France was.”

Friedmann cites “E.Chapuis to N. de Granvelle, June 6, 1538, Vienna Archives” but this does not exist and is actually 6th June 1536, the same letter I quote above, mentioning “French bringing up and manners”. Not quite corruption, although Friedmann makes the point that it depends on how the original French is read and whether the word used is “nourriture” or “pourriture”, “food/fare/nourishment/nurture” or “decay”. Henry had either had too much experience of the French bringing up or the French “decay”. However you read it, you are reading Friedman’s interpretation of Chapuys’s interpretation of Henry’s words and, in the case of the book “Mary Boleyn”, Alison Weir’s intrepretation of Friedman interpreting Chapuys interpreting Henry!! Aaaggghhh! A bit of a game of Chinese Whispers or Telephone, I feel.

In Letters and Papers, we have the letter that Eustace Chapuys wrote to the Emperor on the 6th June 1536 and the only reference to Anne in that is:-

“He further told me that the bailiff and the other ambassador, his colleague, had proposed the marriage of the eldest daughter of king Francis to this King, but it was lost time altogether, for king Henry would never marry out of his own kingdom. Having then asked him what reason he (Cromwell) had for making such an affirmation, he stated one which, in my opinion, is futile and weak enough, namely, that if he ever marries a foreign princess of great blood and high connexions, should she misbehave herself he could not punish her, and get rid of her, as he had done of his last wife.”

Again, it makes no mention of Anne Boleyn’s alleged corruption at the French court.

It is annoying that Alison Weir’s shaky referencing and her use of inverted commas, “Henry VIII told the Spanish ambassador in 1536 that Anne had been ‘corrupted’ in France”, lead the reader to believe that there is evidence to back up Weir’s theory that Anne Boleyn was sexually experienced before she met Henry VIII. In my opinion, the evidence is lacking and it is pure supposition. What do you think?

Don’t get me started on the whole Elizabeth Boleyn and her “dubious reputation” theory, that’s another story!

Notes and Sources

  • The Six Wives of Henry VIII by Alison Weir, Chapter 7 “Mistress Anne”
  • Mary Boleyn: The Great and Infamous Whore by Alison Weir, p76 (Jonathan Cape UK paperback edition)
  • LP viii.985
  • Additions and Corrections, Calendar of State Papers, Spain, Volume 5 Part 2: 1536-1538, Additions and corrections to No.61, 6th June 1536
  • Anne Boleyn: A Chapter of English history 1527-1536 by Paul Friedmann, p318 in Appendix Note A
  • Calendar of State Papers, Spain, Volume 5 Part 2: 1536-1538, no. 61, Eustace Chapuys to Emperor, 6th June 1536

94 thoughts on “The Scandalous and Corrupt Anne Boleyn?”

  1. Susan Bordo says:

    What a great piece of research you’ve done Claire!!! I read the Weir book last week and was troubled by exactly the same thing, but hadn’t gotten the chance to dig into it. Now you have saved me the trouble!
    Thanks so, so much! Your work in keeping the historians honest is really wonderful. I will be referencing it often in my book. Susan.

    1. Claire says:

      Thank you, Susan, you are so supportive of what I do and I really appreciate it, can’t wait to read your book. The whole Thomas Boleyn the Younger issue has left me questioning everything that Weir writes, and also what other historians/authors write, and I have found the Mary Boleyn book particularly bad for sweeping statements and theories with no real basis. I get the feeling that Weir was rushed but I just don’t know.

  2. Courtney says:

    Wow…so glad that you do what you do…have to admit…Alison Weir really “urks” me sometimes…

  3. Meghan says:

    Ive always found it hard to believe Alison Weir, theorys. because their just that. Speculations. I just don’t think shes credible. My own opinion though.

  4. T. J. Banks says:

    Weir is famous for taking things out of context. There is, if I remember correctly, a “Special Features” interview with her on the “Elizabeth R” DVDs: in it, she talks about little Elizabeth being shown naked to the ambassadors and goes off on a tangent about how distressing this must’ve been for a child. Well, if she’d done her homework more carefully, she would’ve discovered that Elizabeth was actually an infant during the time of the Distressing Incident and would’ve had no memory of it! That it was the equivalent of those old naked-babies-on-the-rug photos people used to take. Aargh — some people will make a point/issue out of nothing!

  5. Tamar says:

    Yes, I’ve had problems with Weir’s take on Anne in Six Wives–she’s very hostile and evidently does not do pristine research.

    1. Claire says:

      I could overlook it if it was just in “Six Wives” as it’s such an old book now but she is repeating the same info in this new book. I also noticed that she is still saying that “the evidence for incest rested chiefly on the testimony of Rochford’s wife” when John Guy pointed out that the evidence she used to back up this theory in “The Lady in the Tower” was suspect. It’s all very odd.

      1. Rachel McNeil says:

        You don’t reckon she is just saying all these theories, because it would help make her books seem more interesting to the reader do you? I would find fact far more interesting.

        Good research Claire, as always you do us proud 🙂 x

  6. jennifer says:

    makes me not even want to read it, who wants to read speculation instead of fact? if thats the case we can all theorize about it all day and call ourselves ‘historical authors’, such a gifted researcher you are clair. are there any good mary boleyn you can refer to me thou?

    1. Claire says:

      I’d still say read it but do your own checking and make your own mind up. Eric Ives said to us on the tour that what we know about Mary Boleyn “could be written on the back of a postcard and with room to spare” and I think he’s spot on. Any book on Mary Boleyn is going to be short on facts and full of supposition because so little is actually known about her. The Josephine Wilkinson book on Mary is quite good and I suspect “The Boleyns” by David Loades will be good as he is an eminent historian.

  7. Esther Sorkin says:

    Great detective work! Even if Henry had said what Friedman thought he had said … he would have said something false to justify the execution. After all, Henry also said that Anne of Cleves wasn’t a virgin. So, the idea that someone like Weir …who indicates (in “Lady in the Tower”) that she believes that Anne was innocent … would accept Henry’s words as truth doesn’t fit. However, other works by Weir make me doubt her research.

  8. mariella says:

    Thank you Claire for taking so much trouble in finding out the truth about our beloved Anne.
    Years ago I read Alison Weir’s “The Princes in the Tower” and her prejudice against Richard III irritated me. After that I read “The Six Wives” but then I was myself prejudiced against her, poor Alison…
    Kind regards.

  9. Sharon says:

    Hi Claire,
    I am reading this book at the moment. I read this portion of the book yesterday and I had to stop because I couldn’t believe the things Weir was saying. Especially about Anne being corrupted in France. Thanks for clearing this up. I tried to find out where she was finding her information, but was starting to go cross-eyed reading L&P and SP. It’s good to know you and Clare did not give up.
    This book has me all turned around.

  10. Michelle says:

    I always feel smarter after reading your posts. Thank you so much for what you do. It’s a pleasure coming to this site and actually being informed.

  11. Kate says:

    I don’t know that I would take any “evidence” as fact that Anne Boleyn did indeed live a scandalous and wanton life at any time–because most of the history about her is written by her detractors and most of that, by men. Let’s face it, the first thing a man writes about when describing a woman he dislikes (even to this day) is that she’s a whore, the b-word, or both. Stands to reason a bunch of men would describe her in the same limelight.

    1. Claire says:

      Good point, Kate, particularly when we take into account the fact that Chapuys always referred to her as “the concubine”.

  12. Lexy says:

    Awesome article as ever, Claire! If I can add about the “French breeding”, I’ve studied a collection of novellas from a writer from Francis’s daughter Marguerite’sretinue, and in one novella he explains how a bride to be is talked about her marital intimate life: what’ll happen, and especially how to make it enjoyable and enjoy it herself. French court wasn’t amodel of virtue, I agree, so the “sex education” of girls was maybe more precise and included stuff outside just bedding and breeding. Anne certainly beneficied of it. I think that Henry wanted a chaste wife, untouched even in mind, so he hated marrying a woman who 1)knew what to do under sheets and 2)knew what to expect of a lover, while physically virgin nevertheless.

    1. Excellent point, Lexy, and I think you’re onto something. I wonder how naive HENRY was about sex – he never really had to work for it or had to please a woman or risk losing her to someone who could. I can readily believe him being quite threatened by a woman knowing he wasn’t ‘all that’ in the sack.

      I think he bedded KOA not knowing the difference between a virgin and non-virgin. He never said anything at the time and said she wasn’t a virgin later because that was his grounds for getting rid of her, so he’s hardly an objective witness.

      He was wrong about Anne of Cleves not being a virgin. He was wrong about Kathryn Howard being a virgin.

      And I agree with the thought that Anne could be a virgin while still knowing what to expect and realizing Henry was a dud in bed. He hated that she knew that and told her brother.

  13. Mad_Twinkie says:

    Most works of research and translation more often than not, are interpreted through a filter we make with our ideas and ideals. Which is the reason I like Eric Ives, and The Anne Boleyn Files, you guys put all the evidence found for us to make our own judgement rather than just picking one or two sources of your convenience.

    Great job, I would love to be a part of your team, but alas, I am so far away.

  14. Thankyou for your wonderful research! All that time spent in old dusty tomes. Sounds romantic. I have felt very ambivalent about A.W. over the years. Now with proven good cause. Super post!!

  15. SharonH says:

    I would like to play a bit of the Devil’s Advocate here. It does seem that the French Court was notorious for its licentiousness. That Anne spent part of her formative years there meant that she at least was aware of the goings on involving her sister and other ladies involved with that court. I am on the fence as to whether or not Anne was a virgin when she came to Henry’s attention. Here are my thoughts:

    PRO: Surrounded as she was by the loose atmosphere, she may not have escaped partaking in at least some of the sexual shenanigans. In any case, she may have picked up quite a few tips about flirting and, as the saying goes, “pleasing a man”.

    CON: If Anne were not a virgin, Henry would probably have shouted it from the rooftops after he lost interest in her and began to look elsewhere. Would it not have been brought up (a la Catherine of Aragon) as a huge mark against Anne and included in the accusations against her?

    This is a fascinating line of research. Perhaps we will have to wait for more sources to emerge in order to come closer to the truth of the matter.

    1. Mary R says:

      Henry slept with Anne before he married her. I don’t think he would still have been hell-bent on marriage to her if she had not been a virgin.

      1. Sharon H says:

        I agree that Henry’s enthusiasm would have been greatly dampened if he learned that Anne was not a virgin. But perhaps by the time he discovered she was not a maid (just stating this for argument’s sake), events had already gone so far regarding the religious issue that he was determined to proceed regardless.

        This of course is one thing about Anne that we will never know. I myself believe she was a virgin, which is why I put the thought out there only as a possibility. Anne did have a way of garnering male attention, and I’m sure as a young woman at the French Court, she caught the eye of many men.

        Her sister seems to have made a reputation for herself in France. Anne, who was a very intelligent woman, may have watched and learned not just how to flirt, but also realized the folly of giving in to a man. There are so many “what ifs”, which is why I love historical research so much!

  16. Anne Barnhill says:

    Thanks, Claire! Another great article. I have not yet read Mary Boleyn but hope to. And, I do think certain historians jump to conclusions without much reason. I love that you are actually looking these things up in the original sources. Bravo! I think Anne would have learned by listening and observing–certainly in the court of Francis there would be a lot to see! And, probably her sister, Mary, would have shared information with her, as teenaged girls do. So, she may have known a few tricks but that doesn’t mean she used them. I think we would have more info if she had been infamous at the French court. Thanks again!

  17. Jenny says:

    I always take what male contemporaries of the time say about women with a pinch of salt. Didn’t Chapuys once allude to the fact that Jane Seymour might not be a virgin just because she was twenty seven and had been court for some time before she married Henry. (It seems that men back then really had it in for young women who rose higher than their station, that’s my thoughts anyway!) It’s all just gossip and speculation, how would anyone know what had gone on other than the man and woman involved?

    I’m just praying that Weir doesn’t ever write a book about Jane Seymour, God knows what she’d say. Probably something along the lines that whiter than white, prim little virgin Jane was actually the court slut and had half the men in England, all based on Chapuys comments!

    Great article by the way 🙂

    1. Elliemarianna says:

      Maybe she should write a book about how Jane was in reality… In my opinion she did far worse than Anne did.

      I don’t remember who it was, but someone did say Jane was not a virgin, and that she had slept around, he was a contemporary and not Chapuys.

      1. Claire says:

        I’ve only ever read of Chapuys saying it:-
        “She is over 25 years old. I leave you to judge whether, being English and having long frequented the Court, “si elle ne tiendroit pas a conscience de navoir pourveu et prevenu de savoir que cest de faire nopces.” Perhaps this King will only be too glad to be so far relieved from trouble. Also, according to the account given of him by the Concubine, he has neither vigour nor virtue; and besides he may make a condition in the marriage that she be a virgin, and when he has a mind to divorce her he will find enough of witnesses.”
        L&P x.901, Letter from Chapuys to Antoine Perrenot, 18th May 1536

  18. Edie says:

    Thank you for researching this item and for all your research. I generally take Weir with a grain of salt but I honestly don’t have the patience or time :o( to research like you do! Bless you for doing the hard work and sharing it to the rest of us!

  19. Sylwia says:

    Hi Claire,
    This is the exact thing that I asked you on Facebook 🙂 I came across this information when I purchased Alison Weir’s ‘6 wives of Henry VIII’ and that is where I found this strange information about Anne being ‘corrupted’ in France. I also like to ‘dig deep’ into primary sources and there was just not mention about this ‘courruption’ so I asked you on Facebook. Well, it’s not the first time when Alison Weir provides a wrong information, so I think I will never buy her book again.

    1. Claire says:

      Yes, it was you who got me started on this quest, Sylwia, combined with the Mary Boleyn book. Thank you!

      1. Sylwia says:

        It would be awesome if you could mention me 😉 I always wanted to be mentioned on The Anne Boleyn Files! 🙂
        Best wishes,

  20. Anya says:

    Well actually, Weir makes this mistake in other of her books, in “r Henry the VIII: the king and his court” in Chapter 32 she writes about that King Francis confided in the Duke of Norfolk “how little virtuosly Anne had always live” and again her only reference for this quote in the biobliography at the end is “L&P”.

    I actually e-mail Claire, about this, since I had never heard about King Francis staying that, and to the Duke of Norfolk from all people!. And very nice of her, Claire give me almost the same explanation that she gives in this article.

    Is so sad, how some authors don’t use proper references for what they’re saying.

  21. Cindy says:

    I feel this is the kind of stuff we researchers live for…finding the truth.
    You are so very lucky to be able to live with the history you love so much. This has been a great read and has been fun, I especially have loved reading all the comments.

    I think most authors want to have something new to interest their readers as such there will be infomation that they interprete a different meaning into so it is new information but is also a disservice to the readers.

    I would like to point out what Mad_Twinkie says:

    “Most works of research and translation more often than not, are interpreted through a filter we make with our ideas and ideals. Which is the reason I like Eric Ives, and The Anne Boleyn Files.”

    This is true with many interpretions including the Bible. (I won’t go there!) But remember that no author, who has a book out about Anne Boleyn, has gotten it all correct, so far. The one that comes the closest is Starkey, even Ives has misquotes.

    Thanks for the fantastic read!

  22. jan abraham says:

    I think most historians would say that much of the court gossip was received and repeated by Champuys, was prejudiced at the least, and hardly reliable. Queen Katherine was his concern, and he had nothing to lose to discredit Anne when possible. Henry was no friend to him either. He also had no love for the french court or France for that matter, as King Francois was a known sexual athlete, as well as a hearty lover. On the other hand, it is certainly possible that sexual information was much more readily available to young women at the french court, than the English court, so a more open mind about women enjoying sex could have shaped Anne’s appetite. A lot of speculation also surrounds Anne age at the time she served in France, depending on her birth date, which is still disputed. I have little doubt that Anne had many opportunities for sexual exploration while in Austria and France, but she could still have maintained her maidenhead. As Bill Clinton said” I did not have sex with that woman”. It’s incredibly typical of a man, that when Henry could not resist Anne due to her natural passionate attitude about sex, he then used it against her to accuse her of sexual misconduct and adultery. When that didn’t fly Cromwell had to rely on witchcraft, to me a byline to a passionate female that can overtake a man’s sensibility. Not the devil, hormones. The French were more rational about these proprieties.

  23. Suzanne says:

    Hmmmm…how interesting! Thanks for the research Claire and keeping us informed. I totally agree with the speculations from Weir, although I do have to admit I enjoy reading her books but I remind myself that it is just fiction and quite honestly I take this site as my “fact” reference. Again, thank you Claire for all your hard work and time to report this info to us. 🙂

    1. Claire says:

      This isn’t one of Alison Weir’s fiction books, Suzanne, it’s a straight biography of Mary Boleyn. I’m so glad you like the site 🙂

  24. Conor Byrne says:

    I generally find Weir’s books enjoyable as they are quite light-hearted, but I agree with you Claire – her referencing is awful.

    I apologise because she is talented and hardworking, but to simply footnote something and then write ‘SC’ or ‘LP’ or ‘Warnicke’ etc is just not up to scratch, how are readers like ourselves meant to find, in the original sources or secondary sources, evidence to support the footnote being footnoted?

  25. WilesWales says:

    Once again, I would like to thank Claire for her painstaking research! Weir is beginning to be as much of a joke as Gregory. I also agree with Jan, and Kate under one of your other posts. Henry knew what a virgin was, and Chapuys WAS there in the interests of Katharine of Aragon, who was called and saw Henry not answer her in the trial about coming to him as a virgin, and Anne had to have been as well. Henry knew what a virgin was like not only physcially, but in other ways as well. He certainly did his bout of wandering on Katharine, and as we don’t know about Mary Boleyn, others as well.

    I think if this weren’t true, then he must have been VERY surprised the first time he was with Jane Seymour (I am most sure that the Seymours would have risked NOTHING to jeopardize this union). He was never with Anne of Cleves, and he must have known that Catherine Howards was not (but his “Rose Without a Thorn” was not to be mess with), and Katherin Parr, was a widow. So were all of Henry’s wive not virgin’s, except, of course Anne of Cleves? It’s an interesting hypothesis, but a ridiculous one as well. Only Catherine Howard and Catherine Parr were not.

    It was Chapuys job to put Anne in the most guilty light as possible. Anne’s last hope was when Katharine of Aragon died in 1536. Then the child, and we all know the rest. Even Diana had to be checked by a physician before marrying Charles in 1981.

    I WILL defend Anne Boleyn for what I admire about her. Speculation will always be on her. She bore England the greatest Monarch it ever had Elizabeth I. Weir is a joke, plain and simple. Thank you very much!

    1. Tracey says:

      Isnt Phillippa Gregory a fictional writer?? therefore her books dont really have to be completely truth based isnt that the whole point, its for entertainment and wouldnt the reader expect some bending of the facts?

      1. Claire says:

        Many people are concerned that PG is now calling herself an historian and she says quite clearly in the back of The Other Boleyn Girl that it is based on facts and that Anne Boleyn committed at least one murder and was capable of incest. That is very misleading. She also states that George Boleyn apologised for his homosexuality on the scaffold, he didn’t.

      2. WilesWales says:

        Thank you for the reply, Tracey. Yes, Phillipa Gregory is the laughing stock of “historical” fiction books, if that’s what one wants to call them, but Weir is supposed to be a non-fiction writer, and her sources are inaccurate, her statements questionable, and after reading this from Claires’s painstaking research, makes her a lauging stock of Tudor non-fiction writers. That is the comparison I was trying to make. I am sorry if that has been little fuzzy (and can be) to a lot of people after I thought about it. Thank you for bringin it to my attention. Once again, thank you all again.

        1. Sharon says:

          PG’s latest book, which I have in front of me, claims to be non-fiction. The book, “The Women of the Cousin’s War, The Duchess, The Queen, and The King’s Mother.” It is written by PG, David Baldwin, and Michael Jones. All three authors claim to be historians, including PG.
          If she is going to claim historian status, she should, first of all, have the credentials, and second, she should bring honesty and dignity to what she writes..

        2. WilesWales says:

          Thank you, Sharon. I believe I saw this new book on her site, at which I no longer look, about this book. It was published by Simon & Schuster: Canada. You are so absolutely right about Gregory. She is a fake. The two other authors, which more than likely have sold out for the money, or maybe not are:
          David Baldwin who taught at the Universities of Leicester and Notthingham. He is the author of four other books dealing with people and events of the War of the Roses, including Elizabeth Woodville (also now known widely by Gregory as the White Queen.
          The other author, Michael Jones, did his P.h.D. on the Beufort family, and taught at three or four other universities, is a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society, and wrote “The King’s Mother” about Margaret Beufort, which shortlisted the Whitfield Prize (also known widely by Gregory as the Red Queen).

          Now for Gregory to put herself as an equal to these two men is not only laughable, horrible, lying, and deceitful to anyone who actually buys this book. As I said in the beginning though, every man has his price, and can you imagine when she came to those two men with Simon & Schuster and all that money to agree be UNDER her name, must have been a pretty nice package for these two professors (who, as knowing myself, have to write to keep their jobs) that they lapped it up like dogs. How many of would or wouldn’t.

          They can still keep their dignity as not many, but the few of us (I know from being on here and the TudorWiki that there are a lot of us, but nothing compared to the amount of people who read her trash), only know the real story.

          It’s sad. Thank you so very much.

  26. Velvet says:

    Hello Claire!
    Perfect nonsense in Weir’s books regarding Anne’s behaviour in France. I’ve been reading every book I find listed on your site, and many more, and am amazed at how many authors ape each theory over and over. Reading ‘Threads’ by Nell Gavin recently. She puts forth a new, and plausible theory, that Anne may have been compromised against her will, or raped at some point. In women’s history worldwide and throughout time, this is, unfortunately, not uncommon. It may have been the case. I reject the notion of Anne having loose moral standards, however. It doesn’t fit with her character. Throughout time, strong, intelligent women are often maligned by jealous, vengeful men. This has stuck in popular culture.

  27. Linda Crane says:

    Ditto to Suzanne’s remarks about this site being my “fact’ reference. Thanks for all your hard work, Claire.

    Linda in Louisiana

  28. RxPhan says:

    It’s amazing what once charmed and intruigued Henry then became what he seemed to despise about her the most. Anne was charming, flirtatious, and she , of course, learned this at the French court. She most definitely learned how to “promise everything and give nothing”. Corrupted, nah! Influenced, absolutely ! But I wonder if it made the charge of incest easier to believe?
    Great research, Claire.

  29. Ceri C says:

    Thanks for carrying out such thorough and detailed research. This does seem like very flimsy evidence to hang confident statements on!
    I also tend to think that if Anne had been guilty of indiscretions in France, then there would be more contemporary evidence – these sources are all from much later on. When Henry became interested in Anne, I’m sure that the gossips in France would have enjoyed parading their inside knowledge and having a laugh at her expense, even if those on Henry’s side of the Channel had remained discreetly silent.
    I suppose all historians have their weaknesses, silly mistakes and prejudices, even if they strive for impartiality, but AW is starting to look very flawed.
    I wonder whether she is following these debates. I can’t imagine she would be very pleased!

  30. Jennifer says:

    Thank you for bringing this up! I am currently reading the book now and have been bothered repeatedly by assertions AW makes without any supporting evidence. The supposed corruption of Anne in France is just one of many sticking points for me.

    Please, get started on the poor reputation of Elizabeth Boleyn!

  31. Michelle says:

    To be honest, ever since I became fascinated with the history of the Tudor dynasty, my opinions of Anne have been back and forth. Unfortunately we will never know the whole truth about Anne and who she truly was but at least we have some writings and evidence but we always have to remember not all people write the truth or they write with their opinions so we will never truly know what papers in history hold the complete truth. I don’t wish to make anyone angry with all I say but maybe just hear me out and think about it. But as for the part about Anne being a virgin when she was with Henry, in all honesty I doubt she was a virgin. One because of knowing what the French court was like and I think it would of been very very hard to come out the way you went in. Lol And also so just to think of the time period and how if you were ever involved in being in the kings courts things could get pretty wild. But only Anne herself truly knows the absolute truth so we will always have to think and wonder.

    1. Claire says:

      I think it’s far more likely that Anne was a virgin because she served the very strict Queen Claude who was more often at Amboise and Blois rather than at the main French court. Anne would have been expected to guard her maidenhead and her reputation with her life and would have known that a lapse would wreck the chances of a good marriage and bring scandal to her family. If Anne had played around at the French Court I’m sure that Francis I would have told Henry VIII with glee.

      1. WilesWales says:

        Thank you once again, Claire! Yes, I am with you on the “Francis I would have told Henry VIII.” Males were that way then, and they still are today. There are some things in history that don’t change (and that’s not to say all men, but as a generality). Thank you very much.

      2. margaret says:

        yes i agree francis would have told henry and also henrys “people”im sure would have tried to find out any thing at all that would have put anne in a bad light ,so obviously anne did nothing wrong at all in france.anne was at worst just a flirt and knew how to get the males of the time very interested in her ,i dont believe she did anything wrong at all

    2. margaret o sullivan says:

      sorry in advance for saying this but i do not think anne was all that innocent .she knew exactly what she wanted she held back from having relations with henry for supposedly six years because if she had given in to henry earlier she could have possibly just stayed his mistress like her sister mary but as we will never know her we cant be sure ,but she was strongheaded not meek and mild and knew what she wanted ie the crown ,she was manipulated by her family but again what noble family wasnt back then no, she was not that innocent

      1. Claire says:

        Hi Margaret,
        Anne may not have been an angel – who is? – but she was completely innocent of the charges laid against her. How do you know that she held out for six years because she knew what she wanted and was aiming for the crown? Wouldn’t it have been more likely that Henry would have moved on to an easier conquest? How could she ever have known that it would lead to her being queen? It was not the norm for a King to put aside a wife and marry a lady-in-waiting. It is also more likely that she was hanging on to her virtue because it was important to have your virtue intact and to have a good reputation if you wanted to marry well. Just my opinion but I think Anne is often judged using hindsight when she could have no clue as to what would happen when she said “no” to the King.

        1. margaret says:

          yes i totally agree she was innocent of all charges against her and should not have had the horrific end that she did,but but she did not sleep with henry until her time in france correct me if im wrong ,early 1533 ? i think she and henry did just about everything else though,i dont for one minute believe that henry could hold out that long for sex when he couldnt even be faithful to anne when she was pregnant.

  32. lisaannejane says:

    I really admire your research and all the time and effort that it must take but I finally think that little bit by little bit we are finding out the truth of the real Anne Boleyn. You are becoming quite a detective and quite good at bringing in other people to help you solve a mystery. This is how you make a case for something that happened so long ago. You examine the primary sources, know who wrote them and what their bias was, and know what the history of the time was like. I am really impressed by what you have done. That was no easy task.

  33. miladyblue says:

    I wonder how much the gossip rags, such as the Star, the National Enquirer, and whatever their equivalents are in the rest of the world would pay Eustace Chapuys for some of his exclusive “inside information”? The more I read of the stuff he sent to Emperor Charles, the more I am beginning to wonder if perhaps Eustace Chapuys was a bored town gossip wearing a nobleman diplomat’s clothing.

    Then, too, there are historians who seem to be trying out for the Olympic “Jumping to Conclusions on Shaky Evidence” team, aiding and abetting this guy in his smear campaign.

    Finally, we have Henry Tudor, better known as Henry VIII, King of England, who established himself as SUCH an expert on virginity and chastity:

    At first, he believed Anne Boleyn a virgin, then decided she had had a hundred lovers before and during their marriage. Believed her chaste during all the time he was pursuing her, then allowed her to be destroyed by her enemies as an infamously unfaithful harlot.

    Then, we have Anne of Cleves, whom he believed was NOT a virgin, due to the “looseness” of her breasts and belly, yet who had her virginity “miraculously” restored to her during the annulment proceedings, since Henry had “proof” he had not been able to make love to her.

    Finally, Kathryn Howard, whom he believed a virgin when they first made love, only to find out later she had consummated at least one affair prior to their marriage (Francis Dereham) and became convinced she had one during their marriage (Thomas Culpepper).

    1. WilesWales says:

      miladyblue, you should be a humorist for an historical column on him! I don’t think many people would put in such a way as to make it that funny, and I agree with you 100%. Thank you again.

  34. Sarah says:

    I no longer trust Alison Weir as a historian. Her sources are almost always wrong or unreliable.

    1. WilesWales says:

      I am to the point where I think my fingers would turn to fire or be shocked until my hairs stands up straight before I would ever consider reading Alison Weir again. I used to be on TudorWiki, and this was discussed. But this site, thanks to Claire, has made her “untouchable.” Thank you again.

      1. Claire says:

        I don’t want to make her books “untouchable” as I think she is a wonderful writer and I value her books, I just think she’s made some mistakes in a few of them and that these need to be addressed.

      2. margaret says:

        well sorry to disagree here but i think alison weir is a good writer and i like her books ,and i think she get “bashed” a lot on this site ,how does anyone know what anne boleyn was really like ,no one can say what are true facts or not so no point jumping on anyone who has a different opinion of anne boleyn and sometimes a more realistic one .

        1. Claire says:

          WilesWales is no longer on this site, Margaret. I emailed him regarding comments he’d made on another article which I believed to be defamatory, and he took offence at this.

          I disagree with various things Weir has said and I found a mistake she made in her recent book on Mary Boleyn, which I emailed her about and drew attention to, but I would certainly never “bash” another author or historian. Disagreeing and pointing out errors is different to “bashing”. Nobody is perfect, but Weir’s referencing is not very good and historian John Guy has questioned her use of sources, as have other historians, and these mistakes have affected people’s views on her and, as I said, in my recent article, debate can get very emotional.

          I don’t police comments here, I prefer to step in and calm things down or email the person concerned, as in the case of WilesWales.

  35. Memory Gargiulo says:

    Hello Claire,

    I started reading this book today after a long battle with myself on if I actualy wanted to read it! I have always found Weir’s research to be a little sloppy as well. Thanks for this wonderful research!

  36. Lori says:

    Ms. Weir should make sure she has her facts straight otherwise her books will have to be looked at as fiction.

  37. Tracey says:

    Im fascinated by all the replies to this piece of research, and it must be painstacking and time consuming and I applaude the dedication it must take, but and Im sure I will upset someone here i find it a little disturbing that people are willing to critise and possibly ruin a career without the lady herself being able to defend herself, has anyone given AW a chance to explain or discuss her research? Again I apologise if this is not a popular opinion but thats how I see it, and at the end of the day, no amount of reasearch will actually give us the whole truth about what happened over 500 years ago.

    1. Claire says:

      I’m not criticising Alison Weir as a person or her work as a whole, I’m questioning and challenging this theory. The whole point of writing a history book is to present your findings and theories for people to review and debate. I emailed Alison over the mistake she made regarding Thomas Boleyn the Younger’s tomb and although she is editing the second edition of the book slightly she is still defending that position, even though it doesn’t make sense. And even though historian John Guy pointed out mistakes she made in “The Lady in the Tower” she repeats them in this book. A mistake is a mistake and should be challenged. When I write on here, a public forum, I expect what I write to be challenged and discussed. That is the point of putting your work out there. I like Alison, I respect her and I use her books regularly, but we need to check sources and references for ourselves and not rely on what an historian or author says.

  38. Sheena says:

    I just started reading this new book, and cringed when I read the portion of her book where she talks about Thomas Boleyn, who she claimed died in 1520 (based on the funeral brass) after the research that you have done on the “Lost Boleyns,” contacting the experts on funeral brass monuments, and all the research that you have done delving into primary sources really does epitomize the old saying, “trust, but verify.”

    It takes a long time (as I know you are well aware) the research and really dig in to the primary sources. You have to be part historian, part foriensic psychologist, part literary major in order to fully formulate your findings. You also have to allow your reader the same access you have, so they to can travel on your train of thought. You and Clare have done an amazing job, and I applaud you two for sticking with it, and not giving up. As you know, I have been researching the “Hangman of Calais” for some time, and wish I had your tenacity and energy to keep digging.

    Bravo ladies!

  39. Dawn says:

    The english language, the context and meaning of words has changed so much over the centuries that what was spoken then could mean something completely different now. A prime example of this is the word ‘gay’, meaning in the past, happy and carefree, now it is mainly used to describe a homosexual.
    Therefore, when Henry spoke of Anne as being corrupted in France, to me it means that her English ways in her manners, dress, knowledge etc had been replaced by ways of the French. Though I am sure she learnt much about sex, by watching what went on around her, and hearing what was said when about the court, and when chattering in the chambers she shared with other females at the court. She may well have had some different ideas on the art of love making and ‘pleasing a man’ to Henry’s, but that doesn’t mean she put them into practise before she became Henry’s passion. And its a possibility she introduced them into their love life, one of the ways to keep the King interested, after all his attension span was rather short after he got what he wanted.
    He didn’t seem to mind her different ways, in or out of the bed when besotted with her, and her refined ways certainly enhanced her above others. Sadly when he wanted rid of her, her French corruption, as he put it, repulsed him and became another of his reasons to dispose of her. He turned it upon her. As for the Frenc King’s comment, there could be an element of ‘sour grapes’ there… the one that got away.
    I agree with what Michelle says above, although we have papers written at the time which historians can use to refer to as to get an accurate theory as possible about the times and people in it, there will be an element of personal interpretation of the people who wrote them, even when trying to be as truthful as possible, nothing from the past can be taken as 100%, except for eventful dates maybe, births, deaths, battles etc, but even some of those have been questioned.
    As for being put off reading A.Weirs books, that would be wrong, ok it may not be completely accurate, or some of the reseach lacking, but if we start getting too nit-picking we will miss out on some good books and good writers. With this site at our disposal we can always find out if in doubt.

    1. Louise says:

      Henry didn’t say Anne had been corrupted in France. That inaccuracy is what Claire wrote about in the above post. Weir got it wrong.

      1. Dawn says:

        Sorry, the sentence should have read’ ‘if Henry had spoke of Anne as being corrupted in France’.
        Weir may have got it wrong by interpreting her vague reference work as she sees it, and using punctuaion to insinuate that there was more to her so called ‘corruption’ than there actually was’ who ever said it and to whom. .
        It seems that Weir has a different concept about Anne’s character than most of us who visit this site, which is her perogative.
        Personally I don’t agree with her on this matter, but I will still read her books as she is a good author.

  40. Susan A says:

    In any event, detecting virgins was obviously not one of Henry’s talents. Years later, he decided Catherine of Aragon had not been a virgin and he apparently still could not tell the difference by the time he married Catherine Howard. (he also decided that Anne of Cleves was not a virgin)

  41. Christy says:

    I’m reading “The Lady in the Tower” right now and she gives the same information in quotes. So glad you looked into this since Anne is unable to defend herself and clear her own name. I hope desperately to join you for the Anne Boleyn tour next year.

  42. Larissa says:

    So… you guys actually believe that Anne Boleyn was virgin before she met Henry?

    1. Claire says:

      In a time when women guarded their maidenhead then it is more probable that she was, particularly as no scandal was associated with her in France and that she had been a member of the strict and virtuous Queen Claude’s household. Losing her virginity would have wrecked her chances of a good marriage and she could have found herself being sent to a nunnery.

      1. margaret says:

        mary boleyn was not sent to a nunnery over her loss of virginity ,and anne i dont think ended up with what anyone could call a good marriage .

        1. Claire says:

          I think Anne would have viewed her marriage as “good”. She became queen and was able to use her influence to further reform and to change things.

  43. Charlie says:

    Certainly as they were so concerned with virginity, the idea of corruption being sexual experience does make sense. But then we have the fact that Henry moaned that Anne had taken too much of a part in places she shouldn’t have (I’m thinking of the way she wrote to Wolsey and Henry wrote something underneath that suggests perhaps a persuasion from Anne, and the small parts she played in the reformation and the divorce). So it could be either really, but because of the reasons given for her downfall and execution, we’re likely to think of sexual experience first. Difficult one, but I think I agree with your conclusion more than I’d rate the other possibility.

  44. David says:

    Wow…..what debate and input over this new book….I guess I am going to have to read it so I can make a substantiated response…the crusade goes on to clear the names of Mary and Anne Boleyn, as well as, King Henry and members of his family and those noble families that surrounded him…..I think we all have a great task ahead of us, where to begin…?? I guess a good start is to force some of these history writers to stop putting untruths and non-backed up facts into their books……Once the multitude of readers out there read all of this the task becomes double difficult to turn around….Someone needs to write a book based on “FACT” alone. How refreshing would that be to the readers of the world interested in this era of time…..we are behind you all the way Claire!! So I guess I am going to have to purchase this book and see for myself, not that I do not trust in you all. Any of you think I might be wasting my money????

    1. Jillian says:

      Henry’s criticism of a French ‘upbriging and manners’ doesn’t necessarily imply sexual misconduct.

      Isn’t it equally, if not more, likely that Henry thought that Anne’s experiences in France had made her opinionated and argumentative?

  45. Louise S says:

    Hi Claire,

    What an intriguing piece of research!

    I think that what Lancelot de Carles says about Anne’s upbringing in France is very interesting in this context. He describes her education in music, dancing and other accomplishments in the household of Queen Claude. He also describes her beauty and particularly mentions the power of her eyes over men. But there is no suggestion of improper conduct on her part. Indeed on her return to England she is described as follows:

    Estant ainsi de tant de biens remplie,
    D’honnestete, & graces accomplie…

    This could be translated something like, ‘Thus being filled with so many good qualities, excellent in noble character and graces…’

    I am quoting here from page 5 of the facsimile f the 1545 edition on the Gallica website:

    These comments are very hard to translate into modern English because of the technical courtly vocabulary, but ‘honnestete’ , which I have translated roughly as ‘noble character’, is especially important because it combines ideas of respectability, virtue and nobility, rather like the Latin ‘honestas’.

    Further he says about her after she exercised the power of her eyes over the king:

    O que tenuë elle estoit a l’honneur
    De France, qui luy causoit ce bon heur:
    O quel honneur, quelle obligation
    Elle debuoit a la perfection
    De ceulx de qui elle apprint tant de biens
    Qui l’ont depuis faicte Royne des siens
    Heureuse estoit, mais encor’ plus heureuse
    S’elle eust suiuy la voye vertueuse
    Et du chemin eust bien tenu l’adresse,
    Que lui monstroit sa prudente Maistresse…
    (Ibid., pp. 5-6)

    Again this is only a rough translation:

    If only she had held to the honour of France, which caused her this happiness: O what honour, what obligation she owed to the perfection of those from whom she learned so many good qualities which afterwards made her Queen of her countrymen. She was happy, but she would have been still happier if she had followed the virtuous path and observed the direction of the road which her prudent Mistress had shown her…

    I think that Lancelot de Carles has been a bit misunderstood in all the discussion about Bernard’s book, perhaps because the rough English paraphrase in the Letters and Papers does not at all give an accurate impression of how sympathetic to Anne his poem is. He is clearly shocked and distressed by what has happened. From what he says he probably believes her guilty as that is what his informants have told him, but he is really not in a position to know anything more himself, especially as he probably did not speak English. (Georges Ascoli in the same book in which he prints Lancelot de Carles’ poem has a very interesting chapter on how few people outside England learned English at this date.) On the other hand, de Carles would have been in a very good position to know about Queen Claude and what Anne’s experiences at the French court would have been like. He is very clear that she had a careful and virtuous upbringing there and he dates her fall to the law prescribing the death penalty for anyone who slandered her and the licence it granted her. Again this inference on his part is probably more due to what people were saying at the time rather than any special inside knowledge that he possessed.


  46. Louise S says:

    Another thought:

    I thought I would check out Friedmann’s footnote (Vol. 2, p. 318, n. 1) on the question of the reading ‘nourriture’ versus ‘pourriture.’ It looks to me as if from the footnote that the correct reading should be ‘nourriture.’ According to Friedmann both his (Friedmann’s) copyist and the historian J.A. Froude read ‘nourriture’ but he feels the “stronger expression’, that is ‘pourriture’, to be the ‘true reading” and so that is the one he refers in the text when he speaks of corruption. However since the editor of the Letters and Papers, vol. x, letter 1070, clearly has seen ‘nourriture’ as well because it is translated there as ‘bringing up’, Friedmann’s reading seems to be mistaken. In addition since it is Henry himself who is reported to have made this reply to the French ambassadors after Madeleine has been offered to him, it seems unlikely that Henry would use so offensive an expression in reference to François’ daughter. Even ‘nourriture’ is quite offensive in the context.

  47. chris s says:

    I am sorry but don’t you think this is all getting a bit petty about Alison Weir? If it wasn’t for her I would not be reading anything about the Tudors so rightly or wrongly, I have a lot to thank her for. You all remind me of the daytime programme on the telly presented by women for women! sexist petty drivel.(There’s a lot of anti-men stuff out there. I wouldn’t normally care, but it feels great having a go back!) Love the website, hate the childish chit-chat. (I know, I know, don’t read it then, but you can’t help it!)

    1. Claire says:

      This is not about Alison Weir personally, it is about accuracy and applies to all historians/authors. If you’re putting forward an argument in an academic paper, book, lecture…whatever, then you should back it up with accurate citing of sources, otherwise you really have nothing to rest your case on. I don’t understand your sexist comment at all. Weir is a woman but what’s that got to do with it?

  48. lynn says:

    Ihave to think that Anne was not all that virtuous nor do I think she was she a virgin when she met Henry. Let’s face it folks she went after a married man.
    Doesn’t say much for her morals. So of course she would have been thought of a the”scandal of all Christendom!” Today she would be known as Angelina Jolie! Lol

    1. Claire says:

      Lynn, there’s no evidence that “she went after a married man”, all the evidence points to him going after her and I’m not sure a woman had much choice when the man chasing her was the King. She withdrew to Hever Castle, she refused to become his mistress, I’m not sure what else she could have done. We cannot really put today’s standards on things that happened nearly 500 years ago when women were chattels and belonged to their father or their husband. Angelina Jolie, Brad Pitt and Jennifer Aniston all had choices.

      1. margaret says:

        i believe anne had no choice regarding henry wanting her but she held out for as long as possible ,she was by all accounts a lovely perhaps beautiful young woman and he did become obsessed with her but unfortunately the honeymoon with them didnt last long henry needing an heir so badly and although they had healthy elizabeth he really yearned for his little prince and that just didnt happen and he became very discontented with his lot in life ,a man who could have anything and anyone .anne meanwhile waits by and watches as henry shows his dissappointment with her failure to produce a son and then the man she thought she had forever casts her aside as he did with katherine of aragon .the fear and jealousy she must have felt would have been horrendous as she watched henry go towards jane leaving her behind with all hope gone for her.

  49. Vivien says:

    I am so pleased to have discovered your site, which I did, believe it or not, by typing, “corruption of Anne Boleyn in France” into Google! I had just such a reaction to Alison Weir’s work as many here seem to have had, wondering where her information came from regarding the “corruption.”

    I can well believe that Henry was fine with others appreciating Anne as long as she was seen as an extension of himself, a pretty, well-read consort who did him proud. But it seems pretty obvious that Henry liked to be the center of attention–he was fond of insinuating himself into pageants and such and then “unmasking” himself, just so that everyone could make a fuss over him–and he wanted someone who stroked his ego.

    Anne had an ego of her own, which I think was really her undoing. Her ego was at first fueled by Henry chasing after her, going to such lengths to win her, and making her Queen.

    Then, once they were married, their mutual goal was the same: get a male heir to the throne.

    But when that didn’t happen and Elizabeth was born, their egos started to clash.

    Henry got more frustrated by the lack of male heir, and started to feel sorry for himself. Instead of coddling and reassuring him, Anne berated him for taking mistresses while she was pregnant. While Anne was obsessed with ensuring Elizabeth took precedence over her rival’s daughter, Henry was laying all his hopes on a son. He valued his daughter for reflecting well on him and being a pretty, well-behaved baby. But he didn’t want to share Anne with Elizabeth; he wanted them both to dote on him.

    Also, I don’t think Henry had anticipated Katherine of Aragon being so stubborn about the divorce proceedings and he was still worn out from all that. But Katherine was at least careful to give the appearance of a dutiful wife too in love with Henry to let him go. She absolutely frustrated him, but she did not berate him. Somehow, Katherine managed to always keep that modest demeanor. In contrast, Anne was was outspoken and challenged Henry outright. Her lack of diplomacy also meant that she had few at court willing to champion her to the King.

    Henry thought immodesty and outspokenness unfeminine. Though he and Anne had been through much and I think any of us could understand her occasionally losing her temper, Henry was a product of his time. He wanted a biddable wife who would accept that her husband, and King, knew best.

    And Henry was never a fan of the King of France. Blaming Anne’s behavior on her time in the French court and its influence on her meant it had nothing to do with him, and gave him a convenient excuse to refuse to take a French bride later.

  50. juliane says:

    What Anne did. Would we ever know, if those alive at that time didn’t? Chapuys didn’t want to like Anne for reasons of his own, and other vultures were hovering too. In my opinion, Anne was both French and English in different ways. Her downfall was due to her lack of control over what was so quickly happening towards the end.
    Time was up, perhaps?

  51. kim says:

    i’m skimming the lady in the tower and you’re right. i first noticed that wikipedia siad that anne was in claude’s household and she had a strict one but weir makes no mention of it. instead, she writes that anne was brought up in the licentious french court. plus l & P is not how you cite anything. I didn’t even know what that met!

    1. Claire says:

      The referencing of Weir’s work is impossible to use because she just puts “LP” and there are over 20 volumes of Letters and Papers with thousands of documents in each. I like to be able to check an author’s source so I get very frustrated.

  52. BanditQueen says:

    Correct me if I am wrong, but is this not repeated by other authors who are obviously making the same shakey assumption about what the sources actually say. It is true that we often see and read things that are not really there as we want to see something and assume it to be true. It is a common hunan flaw, and when someone has heard something third hand they are more likely to see what they want to into a drama or document. Having said this, very well researched as it is most annoying when sources are veiled almost as if authors are writing in code to protect state secrets. Weir has obviously made an error in what the source said and then seen what she wants into the document and taken it as read that Anne was corrupted in France. Having said this, it is not impossible that Anne did not have sexual experience in France and seems rather odd that she did not. There is one saving grace that may point to her not having an active sex life in France and that is the court of Queen Claude. If Anne transferred to the household and school of Queen Claude is it not true that this Queen was so pruddish and virtuous that she dismissed anyone who broke her strict rules of conduct even for the smallest offense?

    Historians love the idea of Anne having lovers in France that I am sure they allow their imaginations to do the research rather than their eyes and brain. I am not convinced that Anne had an active sex life in France; she may have had one or two lovers that she kept very secret for a short time; there is no evidence either way; nor am I convinced that Mary was the great whore that she was made out to be. Again, she may have had a couple of lovers in France and then came home to be married, before becoming the mistress of King Henry. All we have to go on are the boasts of King Francis who made a bold claim that he called her his mule as he road her often; and a veiled reference in these letters and papers and a gossipy ambassador. Well these bold claims are nothing but puffed up airs and I believe both Anne and Mary were much more modest in their behaviour than authors like to believe. I do believe Anne had lovers at the English Court; and that Thomas Wyatt was one of them but that ended when she realised Henry was serious about her. She was not free with her affections other than this and was not unfaithful to him as mistress or queen.

  53. Carol Hornby Clements says:

    I have only just got round to reading this book. It tool me awhile reading through so many facts and comments such as he says she says type of thing. The only phrase that bothered me was that Anne was corrupted at the court of Francois. I have just googled it and here I am. Thank you for correcting this error.

  54. Bocraeder says:

    Years of searching for Anne. Your site and information are the most reasonable content I’ve encountered. Why can’t we let Anne go? Perhaps for the prurient but for me it’s the idea of her and so many women who didn’t fit the mold and whose true stories are yet to be told. Sincerest appreciation for your information and efforts.

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