If you know Anne Boleyn’s story, you will know that she was found guilty of treason of adultery and treason by a court of 26 noblemen and sentenced to death by burning at the stake or by being beheaded, whatever the King decided. You will also know that her life was cut short on 19th May 1536 when her head was cut off in one stroke by a French swordsman from Calais – a mercifully quick death if you compare it with the likes of Thomas Cromwell and Margaret Pole.

Beheading of Anne Boleyn
Beheading of Anne Boleyn

So, the question I pose today – a rather controversial question – is whether Henry VIII actually showed love and mercy (and possibly guilt) when he decided on beheading by sword for Anne Boleyn.

Anne Boleyn – An Innocent Woman

Historical sources and evidence prove to us today that Anne Boleyn was an innocent woman. I’ve written about it before, about Thomas Cromwell conspiring to get rid of Anne because she was a threat to him and his plans for foreign policy, and we know that a court today would find Anne Boleyn innocent of all charges. The evidence was completely “cooked up” and flimsy at best. Just how could Anne be with the King and be in bed with another man at the same time? Plus the only man to confess was Mark Smeaton, a man we’re pretty certain was cruelly tortured.

See “Was Anne Boleyn Innocent?” and “Why was Anne Boleyn Executed?” for more discussion on this.

Henry VIII – Victim or Perpetrator?

However, it’s hard to know how involved Henry VIII was in the conspiracy. Did he order the plot? Did Cromwell share it with him? Or was it all Cromwell’s doing? Was Henry VIII a paranoid innocent bystander who was led to believe, through his paranoia, that his wife had been unfaithful to him and that she was a witch? We know that Cromwell fed lies to Henry about Anne and this, combined with the temptation of Jane Seymour being thrust at him by the Seymour/Anti-Boleyn faction, was enough to make the King doubt Anne and his marriage.

It’s hard to know where Henry fits into it BUT I cannot believe that he really thought that Anne was guilty, but perhaps Henry let events run away with him.  As Ives says, perhaps Henry “had taken a step which he could not reverse, even if the rage and suspicion which had tipped him ove rthe edge were to seem more questionable in the cold light of reflection.” Perhaps Henry found himself in an impossible position and could not be seen to back down.

A King’s Mercy

Henry VIII showed no mercy to Anne while she was imprisoned, instead he ordered the French swordsman from Calais (and this must have been even before her trial – hmmm, I smell a rat!) and got on with his romance with Anne’s replacement, Jane Seymour. He seemed indifferent to Anne’s plight YET he did step in and instead of letting her be burned as a heretic, or the usual beheading of a female traitor, he chose death by sword – a death that was swift and seen to be merciful.

Eric Ives, in his biography “The Life and Death of Anne Boleyn” comments that:-

“The warrant for Anne’s execution actually states that the king, moved by pity, was unwilling to commit her to the flames. “

and lists his source as London Public Records Office. So, are we to believe that Henry’s mercy stretched to giving her a “merciful” death, but not actually preventing her execution?

What we do know is that Anne Boleyn’s executioner was an expert swordsman who had experience and expertise in using a heavy continental executioner’s sword to behead a prisoner kneeling upright. We also know that he charged £23 6s 8d for Anne’s execution. Anne’s death was over in seconds, her head being cut off while her lips were still moving, saying “To Christ I commend my soul!” A “mercifully” quick death when compared to others who had crossed the King.

The Not So Merciful Executions

Margaret Pole – Margaret Pole, or Lady Salisbury, was executed as a traitor on 27th May 1541 at the Tower of London. Her only sin was her claim to the throne and being the mother of Cardinal Reginald Pole. Henry VIII had always been paranoid about challenges to the throne and the Pole family were the last of the Plantagenets, who had survived the War of the Roses and had a claim to the throne of England. Her death was anything but merciful. Depending on what account you believe, she was executed by an inexperienced axeman whose first blow hit her shoulders and then either she got up and ran, being pursued by the executioner who struck her 11 times before she died, or it took 11 blows at the block to kill her. Whichever account you believe, her execution was slow, painful and terrifying.

Thomas Cromwell – Another messy execution! Cromwell finally got his “come-uppance” when Henry VIII blamed him for the Anne of Cleves marriage fiasco and council members turned against him. Cromwell was arrested, kept alive until the King’s marriage to Anne of Cleves could be annulled, charged as a traitor and heretic by an Act of Attainder and then executed on 28th July 1540 at the Tower of London. He came to an awful end:-

“so paciently suffered the stroke of the axe, by a ragged Boocherly miser which very ungoodly perfourmed the Office” – Edward Hall, contemporary chronicler.

If you have seen “The Tudors Season 3”, you will understand that meaning and, if you haven’t, then all I will say is that the executioner was incompetent and the execution was badly botched – horrific!

Burning at the Stake – Anne Boleyn could easily have ended up being burned at the stake as a female traitor, heretic and witch, but let’s be thankful that she didn’t end up with this style of execution. Burning at the stake is a slow and painful death, and death could take anywhere from 30 minutes to two hours. Click here to find out more about this method of execution that was meant to mimic the fires of Hell.

So, does Anne’s execution method give us a glimpse into the King’s psyche? Did Henry VIII order a skilled French swordsman out of mercy, guilt or love, or for another reason. What do you think? Afterall, Catherine Howard was executed by axe, as was Henry’s great friend Thomas More. What was different about Anne?

Related Post

49 thoughts on “Was Henry VIII Merciful to Anne?”
  1. You’re right, I think that somehow, executing her by sword was supposed to be a more merciful and respectful death. I think that he had Catherine Howard and Thomas More executed by axe because at the time, he believed they were truly guilty of their crimes and that was a deserveable punishment.
    So if he chose for Anne to be executed by sword, long before her trial was even over with, I think that means that he never really believed she was guilty. He may have had suspicions because we know he was overly overly paranoid, but I don’t think he ever really believed she was guilty of all her crimes. It seems like he wanted to be rid of her and got caught up in the whirl-wind of Cromwell’s lies and plots, and once in too deep, he couldn’t go back. I don’t think that Henry would have ever executed her; I think if it was really up to him and with no influence, I think he would have sent her off to nunnery and be rid of her. I think it’s strongly influenced by Cromwell, and Henry just kind of went along with it. So I guess…. he did show mercy… in a very indirect, strange way. If he was full of hate and malice, he would have burned her and any other horrible things he could come up with. Deep down, he always loved her, just like Catherine of Aragon, but in the end, he had his duty of king and got rid of them.

    Sad to see how expendable women can be.

  2. I think it was a matter of publicity frankly–Anne was crowned queen at his behest, so I think he was cognizant of what the nation and other monarchs would think, to a very minor degree. He was already unpopular for throwing off Katherine for Anne, after all.

    If there was any mercy, and I’m disinclined to think there was, then it perhaps could be compared to how one squashes a bug instantly to rid oneself of the pest, rather than toying with it by pulling its legs off one by one.

  3. I concur that she was a crowed Queen, Henry offered the sword because she was Royalty. I wouldn’t vouch for whether he felt guilty or not, I don’t think he had many feelings at all except for his instant gratification. Regardless of his advisors opinions, whom he chose to listen to, Henry VIII will never garner sympathy from me!

    1. Well, on the contrary, so was Katherine Howard. Maybe Henry still loved Anne just a tiny bit in his cold heart. K, I’m off to go write a YA novel about this!

      1. Katherine betrayed king Henry because she asked for more wealth so i would think she was the only one needed to be beheaded

        1. Which Katherine? Three of Henry’s wives were called Katherine and I’ve never read of any of them asking for more money. What do you mean?

  4. Can anyone clarify this? I always thought that after Henry resolved that Anne would die by beheading rather than burning, that it was SHE who requested that a sword be used. I can see that I am wrong here, but where did that idea come from?

  5. Claire

    I like what Cynthia had to say “If there was any mercy, and I’m disinclined to think there was, then it perhaps could be compared to how one squashes a bug instantly to rid oneself of the pest, rather than toying with it by pulling its legs off one by one.”

    In his own way he might have thought he was being merciful. Again, it baffles me that one could so easily rid yourself of one that was your ” sweetheart” and in such a manner. Even though in other posts I’ve explained why I think Henry executed Anne from a psycological viewpoint. I still do not understand it from an emotional viewpoint.

    I agree with what Christina said in her post that Henry got caught up in the moment and then couldn’t turn back. He had to show his courtiers, the country, the world who was boss. Again, all about the ego. Henry was a bully of a man and after Wolesley and Thomas More there was no one to keep him in check. Henry ran wild with power.

    If he had been merciful would he have not done the vile and despicable things he did to Katharine and Mary. If he was merciful would he have done what he did to Anne ? Wouldn’t he have treated her better in not only the type of weapon used in her execution but in her final days in the Tower. Henry would also have ensured Anne that Elizabeth would be well cared for. Would he not have offered her life in a nunnery instead of death (personally I don’t think that Anne would have been able to tolerate a nunnery).

    Henry was not merciful to Anne. Anne was a means to an end just like Wolesley, Thomas More, Thomas Cromwell etc., When your usefulness was over than you could be eliminated. Anne was just a mere woman who couldn’t produce a son.

    Something changed in Henry some where between the beginning of Anne’s and his relationship and the beginning of the ill treatment of Katharine and Mary. His personality took a 360 degree turn. Henry became omnipotent, cruel, mean and vengeful. But maybe he was always like that it just took time to show up.

    I like Marie would never give sympathy to Henry VIII. On the other hand studying Henry and his narcisstic personality is interesting. Henry VIII was actually quite shallow.

    1. I agree with many of the points made on this page, but I also believe that Henry’s jousting accident caused him some irreparable brain damage. I believe that his progressing voilent, volitile and paranoid behavior stems directly from that. I believe he was capbable of mercy and grace, in his younger years, he was regarded as that. I believe the politcal propaganda, and the web of conspiracies and betrayals by his closest men also took a toll on him. They played him for a fool often times, and were always devising ways to encroach or maniuplate him and his rule. Wether it be relgion, politics, romance, etc. As powerful and capable as he was, there were still people closest to him that always tried to ease their designs upon him to their desire and will. He was a broken, lonely, sickly man who watched himself downspiral physically and mentally. I believe he also had much guilt for many of the things he did, although, as King, he could not admit or attest to such for appearing weak. He had to keep all of that bottled up inside, with noone to trust and confide his deepest thoughts to. He was bound to the ways of the times….where an heir was most important, and women were expendable…he saw his lineage and family line basically come to a halt, with no control over it whatsoever. While I don’t agree with most of his mind set, or the actions he allowed to play out, I do believe that there was a huge part of him that was a pawn, just like everyone else around him. He was a desparate slave to his ego, and to his passions. HIs declining health and constant pain did not help matters, I am sure. He was most certainly suffering from great mental dispair and depression. No way out. I feel sorry for him….most of the people he had loved and trusted betrayed him, as well. My heart aches for Anne, she did not deserve her fate, nor did her daughter, Elizabeth…a murdured mother, and a father who wanted a son. I feel for Katherine of Aragon…the pain and betrayal she must have gone through. It was a hard world and a hard life, one that I could not imagine living. There were many victims in Henry’s world, including himself.

    2. I’m not sure what your saying something changed between the beginning of
      his relationship with Anne.

      The only change I see is in this period is that he wanted a son at all and any cost
      and would kill to gret one. He was tired of waiting. If Anne had given him a son
      he wouldn’t have killed her.
      The only change was him not wanting another long wait and drawn out battle with
      Anne like he went through with Catherine.

  6. I think he had Anne executred by sword because he was showing how merciful he could be by having his QUEEN executed sword, after all it was his fault she was executed at all, i think it was to show his people that he could still be kind; even to a woman he professed to hate, thus ensuring their love and loyalty

  7. Hi Sarah,
    Eric Ives says “A death in the French style may have been requested by Anne herself; it was certainly intended as an act of grace towards her, to add to the kindness of a deat by beheading, instead of the accustomed fire of the female traitor” (page 351) – so perhaps Henry was “kind” in allowing her request. There does not seem to be any firm evidence that he acted on a request from Anne but it could have been Anne who asked for it.

  8. I have to agree with most of the comments here. It does seem a strange way to prove kindness for a person when you have ordered their death. I feel sure for Anne at least it was quick, so in that way perhaps kindness could be found somewhere in it. There are many terrible bungled executions with the axe including as shown Thomas Cromwell and at a later time the Duke of Monmouth in Charles II day. The problem often was that it was difficult to find someone to do the work (for want of a better word) and often the headsman was drunk. I cannot imagine the terror of those moments.

  9. Ew! I can definitely see Henry VIII as the kind of man that liked pulling the legs off insects! No, it wasn’t mercy that made him change her sentence, I agree with those of you who have said it was more about appearances. Other countries must have been aghast at Henry’s actions, killing his own wife and Queen, but at least he could explain that even though she was a traitor he had still shown her mercy by making her death quick.

    Norma, I had forgotten about the butchery involved in the Duke of Monmouth’s execution – makes me shudder. For those of you who don’t know the story, go to http://www.icons.org.uk/theicons/collection/tower-of-london/features/a-place-of-execution-in-progress and scroll to the bottom under “Bungling Jack Ketch”. Don’t read it while eating though!

  10. Thanks Claire for clearing that up about Anne’s request. So maybe it was that way, after all.
    Of course, I then had to go and read that article you listed about Monmouth’s execution. The bit that amazed me was the final sentence:
    ‘Monmouth’s family then retrieved the body, and had his head sewn back on so that he could have his portrait painted.’
    It just begs the question, why couldn’t they have done his portrait before his execution? It would have been a lot less bother, and a little more pleasant for the artist, too!
    ‘Bizarre’ is never going to be the right word to describe the Tudor universe, is it!

  11. I laughed at that final sentence – how macabre! I can just picture them saying to the artist “Can you just ignore the big stitches on his neck”! At least his head wasn’t boiled like Cromwell’s!

  12. Of course she was unlawfully executed. Henry wanted Anne out of the picture so he could get on with his life and “sire” the long desired son. She was a pawn in the politics of the era, used by her family to further their means. Anne’s lasting legacy was Elizabeth, the greatest Tudor Monarch and the beginning of a new age.

  13. That was a great article, very well thought out about and I just have one more comment about the whole messy executions discussion…

    Remember the execution of Mary Queen of Scots? On the first stroke the executioner struck the side of her neck and she cried out. On the second stroke he cut off her head, but when he held up her head her wig fell off revealing her short grey hair. Grisly!

  14. if henry felt so guilty for killing anne then why didn’t he give her a proper coffin to be buried in and why was he announcing his engagement to wife number three the next day after anne was killed? seems to me henry only thought of moving on after he realized anne was not the woman or wife he thought she was

  15. Hi Natalie,
    Thank you! Oh, yes, poor Mary Queen of Scots and don’t they say that after she was executed her skirt stirred and her little dog, who had been hiding there, crept out – poor thing!

  16. Yes, by the time Anne was executed Henry was indifferent to her plight and had moved on to Jane. I still can’t get my head around how someone can do this and I don’t think I’ll ever understand Henry’s psyche.

    1. Understanding Henry’s psyche, or attempting to do so, has really twisted my own in some way. I don’t think I will ever understand it. Anne was an amazing woman in my opinion, and to tear someone down, in the way that he did, is just unimaginable to me. Perhaps the normal-thinking person tries to understand what he did, to give themself some peach. But it was hideous, and peace will never come, for those of us who recognized the quality Anne posessed. Perhaps today, when women have more rights, the tearing down of a strong woman, is just mortifying to the contemporary mind.

  17. I think before we completely write off the concept that Henry VIII may have believed Anne to be a sorceress and to have enticed him into marriage and crowning her Queen…Let’s consider this.

    People, even people respected as very learned, believed in witches and in the power of witchcraft at that time. There are still regions in the world today who believe in witchcraft and actively persecute, torture, and murder/execute persons accused of witchcraft. There are volumes of records describing in lurid detail the investigations, trials, “confessions,” and executions of “witches” throughout European history.

    Now, let’s take a look at Henry VIII. The man is an absolute monarch with at least some sociopathic tendencies. He is ALSO deeply religious (recall that, had his eldder brother Arthur not died, Henry likely would have taken holy orders.)

    Before his involvement with Anne Boleyn, it’s reasonable to say Henry led something of a charmed life. He and his wife seem to have had genuine affection for each other. By all accounts he dearly loved their daughter, Mary. He enjoyed success on the battlefield, popularity with his people, led a glamorous court, won praise from the Pope as a “Defender of the Faith.”

    If his fancy happened to stray to an attractive female, attaining the lady’s favors was no problem. His affectionate wife thoughtfully looked the other way and the common people praised their Bluff King Hal for his virility and success with the ladies.

    All life is not a bed of roses, though. He has no Prince of Wales to follow his reign, and neither he nor Katherine are getting any younger.

    Now…he encounters and desires Anne Boleyn in his middle years. Despite his romantic persuit, Anne eludes him. In a world where everyone capitulates to the King’s slightest wish, she goes out of her way to elude him. He’s entraced….and interested. Eventually, to attain Anne, he turns all of England upside-down, a political and societal mess littered with betrayals, heartbreak, intrigue, lost friendships, threat of war, religious upheaval and excommunication. The process entails an enormous body count.

    And Anne gives birth to a beautiful, healthy, baby girl.

    Suddenly, Henry is looking all around him. Some of his closest, most trusted friends and advisors are no longer present — he’s either exiled or executed them. He is estranged from his beloved daughter and has imprisoned a woman who loved him and shared his life for over two decades. The Holy Church, of which Henry was a devoted son and had been raised in his early years to serve, is now his enemy. Relations with other countries are strained due to his scandalous upheaval of his nation.

    And still, he has not the coveted prize — a male successor. In fact, his bastard son is dead. He’s not only no better off than he was prior to his marriage to Anne, he’s worse off.

    Keep in mind some of the common beliefs held by people in this era:
    1. Witchcraft was a real offense, punishable by law.
    2. Misogyny and sexist attitudes towards females. Respectable married men did not “stray” from their marriage beds; they were “enticed” and “seduced” by “whorish” women. Female rape victims were often blamed for their fate, somehow “enticing” their assailants to assault them. This was an era when having a pretty face, sex appeal, force of personality, or any kind of attraction at all was a potential “crime” in a woman.

    I don’t find it at all far-fetched that Henry may have honestly believed Anne enchanted him. It was easer — and much more gratifying — to view himself as the victim of a witch than as a common spooney who’d gone too far to get what he thought he wanted.

    If he did believe in the witchcraft charge, though, I do wonder why he did not pardon the men executed as her lovers. Would they not have also been “victims” of her “witchcraft?” Or were they more impervious to Anne’s enchantments than the King?

    The bottom line is that Henry had to enact extreme changes in his nation as well as his own life in order to marry Anne, that her child, Elizabeth, might be born in legitimacy. I’m not positive that, even if Anne’s firstborn had been the longed-for male, that Henry would not have ultimately turned against Anne (although he might have avoided trying and executing her.) To his mind, Anne was a pleasure for which he’d paid far more than she was worth.

    In modern times, I’d compare the relationship to a couple where one partner makes extreme changes and/or sacrifices to accomodate the other partner.

  18. I think that Anne Boleyn was executed in such a clean way for two reasons: she was a queen, and that she was willing to give in to the annulment of their marraige. The latter made it easier for him to marry Jane Seymour. Also, that she was willing to even call her own child a bastard just to appease the king probably had something to do with it.

  19. Some of you think Henry had Anne executed by the sword for appearances. But, what did other countries think of the execution of Anne Boleyn? She was a crowned Queen after all, and was she not close to Francis I and the French court? Did any monarch say something about the whole thing?

  20. I wonder why Henry didn’t play Anne’s game with her? After all he was the King and he must’ve known that the world considered him to be quite a catch (at least at that time). Why didn’t he say to Anne “Ok, if you want to play hard-to-get I can play it too. There are plenty of women out there that would love to have me.” Her ambition would’ve reacted somehow.

    It’s an old game of cat and mouse and Henry just didn’t play it well. What originally attracted him to Anne was what he later couldn’t stand… her intelligence. And she, being a strong opinionated person didn’t know how to continue her game by being demure and submissive and manipulating him quietly.

    Tudor England should’ve taken some lessons from the French. Didn’t they use a guillotine to make sure the execution was done correctly? Or was the guillotine in existence at that time?

  21. Considering the fact that King Henry ordered the swordsman before Anne was even tried I can hardly think that it was merciful on his part. At the end of the movie Anne Of The Thousand Days( starring Richard Burton ) it shows that at the end he is with Cromwell about to sign the warrant when he hesitates. Cromwell says that Anne betrayed him. He remembers all his times with Anne but comes to the conclusion that she betrayed him so she must die. I believe that he had no feeling except for himself when you remember that the day after Anne was killed he got engaged to Jane Seymour and wedded her 10 days later.

  22. Supposedly a land of gentlemen how can anybody agree so, when such cruelty was imposed till as recently as the 1700’s when some of our recent forefathers lived

  23. Henry was not being at all mercifull to Anne he was a womenizer and was arrogent and ladies and gentleman by the time he was with this young 30yrs old women , he was near 50 more then 300lbs 5 stone with goat in his upper left leg that smelled profusly he wasn’t a catch in my mind other then like the royal family today he had bucks and that why the country was head over heals with this fat ugly redhead .Do I believe he took her for a witch most defently she enchanted him with her spell because she had more brains then her sister Mary then fall on her back for the pig she wanted something in return she was intllgent gold digger and she played the oldest trick in the book hard to get and it got her what she wanted , unfortunatlly like her dughter Bess she has a big mouth in an era when women were suppose to keep they’re mouths shout and do as they were told and that was what got her in hot water her not knowing till it was to late to shut her mouth . Thank God that she had enough common sense by trail and error that she kept her mouth shout during her excuation speech which was mandatory as submissive apology to keep her reputation in tact and that of her infent dughters life out of danger , Henry did get his son in Edward but he also got a son out of Annes older sister Marry named Henry Fitzroy which in galic means son of the king, who when Elizabeth was Queen herself gave favor as her step brother and cousin and he lived to adulthood like Elizabeth and died just a few years before her the only problem was Mary unlike Anne wasn’t married and Henry Fitzroy was illgement thus a bastard so he could not inharit any titles from his father. But going back to this subject of small mercies he did in the fact she wasn’t burned alive but not cuz she still was beheaded and better by the soward because its fast the axe takes 4 or 5 or even 30 blowes to sevre the neck depending on the axemans accurcy , they were drunk cuz they were secard and had to get the courage up ! the coin the paid them was to make fast excution unfortunatly it wasn’t always accurat .

    1. Henry FitzRoy was not the son of Anne’s sister Mary. Henry Fitzroy was the son of Henry’s mistress Bessie Blount. Bessie Blount was Henry’s mistress while he was still with Katherine of Aragon. Henry FitzRoy also did not live to long adulthood dieing just a few years before Elizabeth. Henry FitzRoy died very young (16 years old) in July 1536 shortly after the execution of Anne Boleyn. You must be thinking of Mary’s son Henry Carey who some say could be Henry’s son.

    2. Henry FitzRoy was not the son of Anne’s sister Mary. Henry FitzRoy was Henry’s bastard son (only one recongnized by Henry and made 1st Duke of Richmond) with his mistress Bessie (Elizabeth) Blount born while still with Katherine of Aragon. He did not live to long adulthood and did not die a few years before Elizabeth I. He died at around age 16 in July of 1536 shortly after the execution of Anne.

  24. This may have already have been said but since Anne loved France so much and had brought much of the french fashion with her, could he have gotten the swordsman as a poke at her such as ” Since she loved France so much i’ll take off her head with a French sword. ” he seemed to be the cruel type to do just that.

  25. I do not believe that it was an “act of mercy”. Anne had prided herself on being very “French”. In a way, I think it was an act of ridicule and defiance on the part of Henry VIII. Since she was proud of her mannerisms and had always been considered “pro-French”, then he would “allow” her to die in the French manner, rather than the English way with the ax. Politically, I do not believe that Henry VIII would have taken the risk of having her executed via burning at the stake. Many of the people who had previously hated Anne, now saw her as another of Henry’s victims. If it was an “act of mercy” it was indeed an act, as Henry VIII needed the people to see him as something other than a monster who executed his wife to marry another woman.

  26. howard was guilty of adultery and henry was probably jealous as wel as resentful of the man she slept with. at least henry didn’t hang draw and quarter him or mark smeaton. i sincerely doubt he loved her when he executed her. even if henry did not want to back down, he could’ve just shut her in Kimbolton like Catherine.

  27. Henry sent the swordsman from France as executioner because Anne had spent the early part of her life in the French Court and he felt that as she was accustomed in the french way of life she should have a french executioner…I think he was being rather ironic doing this..he did not care for Anne at all. He was not being merciful..nor did he love her.

  28. I read Norah Lofts biography on Anne Boleyn and she thinks an agreement had been made between her and Henrys ministers to ensure she didn’t suffer the dreadful death of burning and the men the equally dreadful death of hanging drawing and quartering, Miss Lofts says Anne may have agreed to sign a document saying she had never been lawfully married and therefore her child was a bastard, for this she and her so called lovers would have a merciful death, it could well have been but I doubt even Henry would have condemned her to the flames, signing or not signing, Miss Lofts also says that Henry may have been brutal but he could never watch his sentences being carried out and the term sadist is misplaced, I agree with her she also thinks that had Catherine Howard been able to plead with him he may well have spared her life as he had a deep sentimental streak, when you consider the dreadful bungling of many of the be headings that occurred Anne was incredibly lucky to have a skilled swordsman to do the job, ironic as it seems to us today.

  29. Henry was a sex addict and a pedophile to boot. Like most, they have a parasitic attention span. Ever hear of a rapist and/or pedophile with one victim? They get off on the number of women and children they prey upon. This worm had no boundaries with another man’s wife even. Look at Anne’s sister Mary who bore his children while married to another man. Henry did not pay child support for his son he had with her. In fact, he was a stingy SOB that could care less. To boot he was a psychopath that murdered women he was done with. It has been said he threatened her to disappear after he had her brother and sister murdered. In my opinion, he will always be a disgusting pig. According to Dante, he would reside at the very bottom of hell…if there were such a place.

    1. Hi Rachele,
      Thank you so much for your comment and I always love hearing other people’s points of view, but what are you basing your theory regarding Henry being a sex-addict and paedophile on? Also, we don’t know when Henry VIII slept with Mary Boleyn, only that they did it at least once, so there’s no evidence that her children were fathered by Henry. The son he did acknowledge was very well looked after, as was his mother. Henry VIII was actually a very generous man, rewarding those who were his friends and servants with grants, titles, offices and money.
      Who are you talking about when you say that he “murdered women he was done with. It has been said he threatened her to disappear after he had her brother and sister murdered.”? Anne Boleyn? I do believe that he was behind Anne’s fall and there is no excuse for that and the falls of the five men. He committed some monstrous acts, but I’m not quite sure what you’re talking about. Please can you explain some more and also explain what’s behind your views – the sources and evidence. Thanks so much.

    2. Henry wasn’t a paedophile so I don’t know where you got that idea from, he lived in an age where people were more sexually advanced than us and were married much younger than the average age of today, he certainly didn’t chase ten or twelve year olds round the herb gardens and in fact the liaisons he is known to have had were all with women much his age, the popular myth of Henry V111 is that of a big red bearded lustful man groping his wives along with the kitchen maids and that he married six times because he was sex mad, all of this is way of the mark, his life as a young man was closely monitored as when his elder brother died he was then heir apparent, his father had him jealously guarded, when he married Katherine of Aragon he could well have been a virgin himself, he was also said to be quite prudish as he was a poet at heart and loved to sing the praises of women, he had some mistresses after he and Katherine had been married a few years and these are recorded but he certainly was not a rake like the king of France who in fact died of syphilis, he was always very chivalrous towards women as his behaviour towards Anne Boleyn testifies, he never forced himself on her and showed remarkable restraint when you consider how deeply he wanted her, this shows a respect for women and was in keeping with his chivalric attitude towards them, you cannot put yourself in the mind of Henry V111 or understand him or the times he lived in, he was the head of a dynasty that was new, it had come to the throne through usurpation and bloodshed, more than anything he needed a son to keep the country safe from the threat of war and rival claimants, it was bad luck that his first two wives didn’t give him a son and it was those failures that was the catalyst for his future marriages, he certainly was not a psychopath and shed bitter tears over his fifth wife’s betrayal and after her execution sunk into a deep depression that lasted for well over a year, he also was very generous to the people who pleased him and made sure his acknowledged son was looked after, there is no evidence that Mary Boleyns children were fathered by him but there’s a possibility her daughter was, and if so her husband was given a generous grant which could well be a suggestion that she was, he didn’t like sending people to the block and in fact it was only years later after he had suffered a very bad injury that he became ill tempered which made him more prone to be less merciful towards any of his subjects who he thought had erred towards him, he never got of raping women or killing them as you put it, only Henry himself knew what agonies he went through over the executions of his second and fifth wives and of Sir Thomas More Bishop Fisher and others, to compare him with a rapist and some one like say Jack the Ripper is really quite laughable.

    3. He wasn’t a paedophile! If you remember his grandmother was 12 years old when she conceived with her only child, 12 being the permissible age. But because the birth had damaged her body, she made sure any one connected to her waited until at least 16yrs.

  30. He was trying to make it look like he was a
    merciful wronged king. He knew darn well
    she was innocent. I think in his own twisted
    way he was trying to get more sympathy by
    faking sympathy. Also the very fact that he
    tried to make it look like he was being merciful
    shows he knew she was innocent. Look what he
    did to Kathryn Howard.
    He knew she was innocent. He was responsible
    for her murder period.

  31. He was trying to make it look like he was a
    merciful wronged king. He knew darn well
    she was innocent. I think in his own twisted
    way he was trying to get more sympathy by
    faking sympathy. Also the very fact that he
    tried to make it look like he was being merciful
    shows he knew she was innocent. Look what he
    did to Kathryn Howard.
    He knew Anne was innocent. He was responsible
    for her murder period.

  32. Henry VIII was never satisfied with just one wife. He was a poor excuse of a Husband.

    I think he was a wimp. He could have divorced Anne Boleyn and sent away to France
    to live out her days. He was a murdered. He just wasn’t man enough to kill her himself.

    He didn’t care about his daughters Mary and Elizabeth. All he cared about was a male
    heir. He got a son off of Jane Seymour. Sadly she died after Edward was Born. The
    Young King died at the age of 15.

    The Old goat married a Child Bride when he married Katherine Howard. He could have
    sent her into exile instead of having her killed. If I had been Jane Seymour, I would have
    told my Father and Brothers to take me away from Henry VIII if they would have to take
    me away from England. Princess Anna of Cleves was the wisest of Henry VIII’s wives.

    Sadly she was sold out by her own Brother. At least she didn’t go away empty handed.
    If the Old Goat wanted out of the Marriage, I would have taken him for everything he
    had. I would have cleaned house, and taken Elizabeth and Mary away from him. Edward

  33. The Old Goat didn’t show any mercy to Anne Bolyen or Catherine
    Howard. He had them killed. It’s as though he should have swung
    the sword or the axe. He wanted the dead. Out of the picture so,
    that he could easily marry another wife without getting a divorce.

    If he had shown mercy to them, he would have sent them to a
    Convent, or shipped them to another country. He could have sent
    Anne back to France or Brussels.

    No the “Old Goat” had Anne killed so he could quickly marry her
    Lady in Waiting, Jane Seymour. Poor Jane died following giving
    birth to a son who had poor health.

    The Old Goat dumped Princess Anna of Cleves when he saw young
    Katherine Howard. Princess Anna had a good head on her shoulders.

    Great, that she took the annulment. She got money, shelter, food,
    and clothing. Great deal for a Princess, that got dumped.

    The “Old Goat” could cheat all he wanted to, but if you married him,
    keep your mouth shut, and turn your your head the other way or
    get killed. Mess up like young Katherine Howard, and the “Old Goat”
    would have you killed like his cousin, Margaret, Lady Salisbury.

  34. Henry VIII had no mercy. He believed lies about Anne Bolyen. Face
    it, the man was a womanizer. One woman wasn’t enough for him.
    He had his friend Thomas More killed, because he wouldn’t accept
    Anne as the rightful Queen. He wanted a Male heir. He couldn’t
    make Henry Fitzroy his heir, because he was born out of adultery.
    Poor Catherine gave him a daughter, but Mary wasn’t good enough.
    Ann’s daughter Elizabeth wasn’t good enough either. She was the
    Greatest ruler for her time.

    Henry had no mercy or forgiveness about him. Look he had a
    Child bride executed. Katherine Howard. He could have sent her
    and lady Jane in exile. The man was a murder. He might as well
    Killed Lady Margaret Pole himself. No mercy. She got hacked to
    Death. Butchered like a lamb.

    Face it Henry VIII was a murder.

  35. Henry showed “mercy” in the fact that he commuted the sentence of Anne from burning at the stake as a female traitor would normally be to beheading with a sword. It was swift and clean. However, if he wanted to really show mercy to an innocent woman, he wouldn’t have accused her of made up crimes in the first place and would have annulled their marriage.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *