Anne Boleyn NPGAnne Boleyn, Queen Consort of England, was executed by a French swordsman at the Tower of London on 19th May 1536, just sixteen months after becoming Henry VIII’s second wife.

So, how did this 35 year-old, spirited young woman fall so dramatically from favour? She had after all caught Henry’s eye in the mid 1520s and moved successfully from mistress (although not in the full sense of the word) to queen. Henry VIII had been so besotted with her that he had waited for seven years for her and bombarded her with letters when she was removed from court, seventeen of which remain today, and yet this was a man who hated writing his own letters. He broke with Rome to have her, he fell out with men who had been his best friends and advisers, he had moved heaven and earth to possess Anne – how can such love and passion turn into a dark hatred which resulted in Henry ordering Anne to be executed?

Why was Anne Executed?

If you google “Why was Anne Boleyn executed?” or ask people, you’ll get all kinds of answers:-

  • She committed treason, adultery and incest
  • She was a witch
  • She had three breasts and an extra finger on one hand
  • Henry had fallen in love with Jane Seymour and wanted rid of Anne
  • There was a conspiracy – Thomas Cromwell wanted to get rid of her
  • Henry needed a son and she had only given him a daughter and had miscarried twice
  • She had hinted at Henry VIII’s impotency and ridiculed him
  • Her sharp tongue had made her many enemies who trumped up the charges
  • She slept with 5 men, including her own brother
  • She was wrecking Cromwell’s plans for foreign policy

But what’s the truth?

Cromwell the Conspirator

One argument put forward by Joanna Denny in Anne Boleyn: A New Life of England’s Tragic Queen is that Thomas Cromwell, Henry VIII’s Secretary of State, needed Anne out of the picture.

Thomas CromwellCromwell had previously supported Anne Boleyn, sharing her Reformist views, but had argued with Anne over the dissolution of the monasteries. Anne was all for reforming the monasteries but only where needed. Moreover, she believed that the money should be used for educational and charitable causes. Some historians also believe that Cromwell felt and felt threatened by Anne’s growing power and influence over the King. Anne seemed to be wrecking all of Cromwell’s plans and policies, including an alliance with the Holy Roman Emperor, and he had shared with Chapuys in 1535 that Anne had told him “that she would like to see his head off his shoulders.” Was it a case of her or him? Cromwell had witnessed Cardinal Wolsey’s dramatic fall.

Cromwell took credit for the plot against Anne in 1536. Eustace Chapuys, the imperial ambassador, recorded that Cromwell had told him that “it was he who, in consequence of the disappointment and anger he had felt on hearing the King’s answer to me on the third day of Easter, had planned and brought about the whole affair.”

But, where was Henry in all of this?

It is hard to know the truth of the matter. Historians like Eric Ives believe that Cromwell was able to take advantage of Henry VIII’s growing paranoia and doubts about his marriage to Anne and that he manipulated Henry VIII into believing that Anne was guilty. However, I have to agree with Derek Wilson and Cromwell’s biographer, John Schofield, who see Henry VIII as the prime mover in the events of 1536. Wilson writes of the illegal and “extremely cumbersome” means used in Anne’s fall, which included extending the treason law in a rather “unwarranted” manner. Wilson concludes that Cromwell would only have gone ahead with such a complicated plot because it was the King’s will. Schofield agrees, painting Cromwell as Henry’s loyal servant who had a duty to obey his King and to do his wishes. I don’t believe that Cromwell would have dared to move against the Queen unless he had the King’s blessing or the King’s orders to do so. Cromwell told Chapuys that “He, himself had been authorised and commissioned by the King to prosecute and bring to an end the mistress’s trial, to do which he had taken considerable trouble”, so he’d done it at the King’s bidding.

To read more about the reasons why I feel that Henry VIII was the prime mover in Anne Boleyn’s fall click here.

The Fall

To cut a very long story short, after Cromwell failed to prove that Anne and Henry’s marriage was invalid because of a former pre-contract with Henry Percy, which Percy denied, Cromwell arrested court musician Mark Smeaton on 30 April 1536. What happened to Smeaton is not known. The Spanish Chronicle states that he was tortured but there is no real evidence to back this up. He may, however, have been put under immense psychological pressure or offered a deal. Whatever happened, within 24 hours he had confessed to making love to the Queen, Anne Boleyn, three times. See Mark Smeaton with the marmalade in the cupboard for more on this.

Over the next few days, four other men – Henry’s friend and Groom of the Stool Sir Henry Norris; George Boleyn, Lord Rochford, Anne’s brother; William Brereton; and Sir Francis Weston – were arrested and taken to the Tower of London. Anne Boleyn, herself, was called before a royal commission consisting of the Duke of Norfolk (her uncle), Sir William Fitzwilliam and Sir William Paulet. There, she was informed that she was being accused of committing adultery with three different men, Mark Smeaton, Henry Norris and a third, and that Smeaton and Norris had already confessed. Anne remonstrated with her accusers but her words had no effect and the royal commission ordered her arrest. Anne was then taken to her apartment until the tide of the Thames turned and then, at two o’clock in the afternoon, she was escorted by barge to the Tower of London – see From Tennis to Tower – Anne Boleyn is Arrested.

On 12 May 1536, Norris, Brereton, Smeaton and Weston were brough before a special commission of oyer and terminer at Westminster Hall and arraigned for high treason. Smeaton pleaded “guilty”, while the others pleaded “not guilty”. All four men were found guilty on all charges – which included committing adultery with the Queen and plotting to kill the King – and sentenced to be hanged, drawn and quartered. Their sentences were later commuted to beheading.

On 17 May 1536, George Boleyn and Anne Boleyn were tried in separate trials in the King’s Hall at the Tower of London. They were tried by a jury of their peers, a jury which can only be described as a hostile jury, and although they both put up a spirited defence they were both found guilty of treason and sentenced to death. George, Norris, Brereton, Smeaton and Weston were beheaded on Tower Hill on 17 May 1536 and Anne Boleyn was beheaded within the Tower of London confines on 19 May 1536.

While the investigations, trials and executions were taking place, Henry VIII was cavorting with ladies and spending time wooing Jane Seymour. The couple got betrothed on 20 May, the day after Anne’s execution.

Was Anne Boleyn innocent?

Yes, I believe so. You can read more about this in my article Anne Boleyn: A Cheat who deserved Death? I don’t think so, but here are a just a few points:

  • The dates of the alleged offences given in the indictments do not make sense. As historian Eric Ives points out, “Investigation… shows that even after nearly 500 years, three-quarters of these specific allegations can be disproved. In twelve cases Anne was elsewhere or else the man was.”
  • Anne’s guilt was a forgeone conclusion – Her household was broken up before her trial, Henry VIII told Jane Seymour before Anne’s trial that Anne would be condemned, the executioner was ordered before the trial, and the jury was a hostile one made up of Boleyn enemies or those who owed Cromwell or the King a favour.
  • Anne Boleyn swore on the sacrament that she was innocent, “deliberately hazarding her immortal soul” if she was lying.
  • There was no hint or gossip about the Queen being unfaithful before May 1536 and none of Anne’s ladies were arrested for helping her, as in the case of Catherine Howard. How did Anne commit adultery with so many men without the help of her ladies-in-waiting?
  • Cromwell admitted that he “had planned and brought about the whole affair”.

Like many historians, I am convinced that Anne Boleyn and the five men were innocent victims of a plot devised to free Henry VIII so that he could marry again and have the chance of a son and heir.

Further Reading

  • The Fall of Anne Boleyn website – This has an interactive timeline of Anne Boleyn’s fall.
  • The Events of 1536 – A page with clickable links for article on the main events of Anne Boleyn’s fall.
  • The Fall of Anne Boleyn: A Countdown by Claire Ridgway
  • The Life and Death of Anne Boleyn by Eric Ives

Notes and Sources

  • Wilson, Derek, A Brief History of Henry VIII: Reformer and Tyrant.
  • Ives, Eric, The Life and Death of Anne Boleyn
  • Calendar of State Papers, Spain, Volume 5 Part 1: 1534-1535, 170
  • Letters and Papers, Foreign and Domestic, Henry VIII, Volume 7, 206
  • Calendar of State Papers, Spain, Volume 5 Part 2: 1536-1538, 61
  • Schofield, John, The Rise and Fall of Thomas Cromwell: Henry VIII’s Most Faithful Servant
  • Denny, Joanna, Anne Boleyn: A New Life of England’s Tragic Queen

Related Post

44 thoughts on “Why was Anne Boleyn Executed?”
  1. I think we can safely say that Anne Boleyn did not have three breasts! In one of King Henry’s letters mentions that he is looking forward “kissing her dukkys” – so, I suspect that it must have been one of the “conspiracy theories” that was the end of her!

  2. I’d like to share some of my thoughts on why Henry actually killed Anne.

    The obvious one of course is that she promised him a son and only produced a daughter with several miscarriages after.

    The most important one I think is that Henry and Anne were competitors. What I mean by that is that they were both musical, creative,extremely intelligent and intellectual, had outgoing personalties. Henry got to the point where he couldn’t afford the competition. He and only he needed to stand alone as the brightest star in the court. The leader. He could not have as a Queen one who shone as bright as him. He needed a back drop not an equal. Henry had become very narcisstic.

    Anne’s usefulness was over. Henry used her to achieve the break from the Church and declare himself Supreme Head of the the Church of England. The history books say that Henry declared that he the break from Rome, ransacking of the monasteries etc., to marry Anne. She was used as the scape goat and the reason why so Henry could have a clear conscience. Henry also used Anne’s counsel and intelligence to achieve the Reformation.

    Anne had a following inside the court and outside in foreign countries that Henry could not afford to keep her alive.

    Henry was obsessed with Anne and as long as she lived he would never be free to wed another. Love and hate go hand in hand.

    The last reason is that Henry had syphillis and had had for years. The disease was slowly turning him into the tyrant that he would become. He was becoming mentally unstable. This could have also been caused by a Narcisstic personality which give him visions of himself being the all powerful. As Wolesley or was it More that said ” Do not tell him what he can do but tell him what he should do.”

    1. All valid points Sherri. I hate that Henry executed Anne. He could have sent her into exile. Clearly, she was a spirited woman at a time when women did their duty and remained mute. I agree with the competitive angle that is mentioned here. But I feel Henry was a dictator who used women – and men – as his personal toys. He expressed regret over the execution of Thomas Cromwell – why go ahead with the execution then? I will forever be an Anne fan!

  3. Hi Sherri,

    Thanks for your great comment and I agree with the majority of what you’ve said. Anne was rather too inteliigent and feisty for her own good wasn’t she?! And yes, she made a good scapegoat.

    As far as syphilis is concerned, that theory is no longer put forward as most modern historians no longer believe that Henry suffered with it. There’s just no real evidence. It is not in his medical records and mercury, the standard treatment for syphilis, is not mentioned in his list of medicines and in any accounts. Also, although Catherine of Aragon did suffer miscarriages and deaths of babies within weeks of birth, and Anne too suffered miscarriages, Henry’s mistresses and Jane Seymour gave birth to babies who were healthy, who went on to be intelligent and who were not in any way retarded or suffering from seizures.

    I guess we’ll never know for sure about the syphilis, but there’s no conclusive evidence either way.

    Thanks again, Sherri!

  4. Henry had Anne executed because he was afraid of she could become, while he put on the facade of her being a witch, an adulterer, his main reason was that they were rivals, she was everything he was.

  5. Hi Bassania,

    Thanks for taking the time to comment! Yes, you’re right, Anne was very much his equal, something that had attracted Henry at first but also something that he probably tired of!

    Claire x

    1. in “Wolf Hall” many people thought Anne would rule for Elizabeth if henry should die. and n o one wanted a boleyn on the throne

  6. Why Anne was executed is a loaded question. If you could put aside the usual cadre of stories, one thought might just be that her family had become too powerful.

    The Norfolks owned more land that Henry, the Duke even had his own ‘army’ identified by its own distinctive livery. Perhaps Henry sought to ally himself with Norfolk in order to remove the threat from within of a possible alliance between Norfolk and the Poles – the last of the Plantagenet line.

    This is not an entirely far flung proposition given that Henry VIII probably never forgot that the first Duke of Norfolk had sided at Bosworth with Richard III and thus did not trust them. Plus Henry made himself very unpopular through his mistreatment of Catherine of Aragon, his daughter Mary and the dissolution of the monastaries. England was still essentially Catholic and the people were very unhappy with the turn of events they were witnessing.

    Plus, the Tudors were considered of mongrel lineage begat in the bed of a lady of Peerage(Katherine of Valois) and her squire Owen Tudor. So even though Henry VII won the battle of Bosworth (1485) – (ostensibly by picking up the crown on the ground next to the severed head of his enemy, putting it on his head and declaring himself King a generation before), the Tudor reign was still shaky.

    Anne was the necessary link between Henry and the Norfolk clan. The birth of a male child by Anne would forever link the Tudors and Norfolks and remove the possibility of Norfolk support for Reginald Pole ever trying for the throne. Why would they when they
    were the family of the future King of England?

    When Anne failed to produce the ‘heir’, it is notable that she was tried by her own Uncle the Duke of Norfolk; but only in that it demonstrated that Norfolk did what ever it took to deflect any undue attention upon him by the King, even if it meant quietly supporting that a Seymour would be raised to majesty – in unusually quick time too. Could it be than Henry was trying to secure the succession before Norfolk had a chance to recoup?

    It might be argued that the birth of his son Edward in 1537 went some way in reassuring Henry of the succession but the first real organised uprising of revolt in the form of the Pilgrimage of Grace also in1537 reminded him of the Norfolk Lancastrian connection.

    Perhaps the execution of Lord Montegue (brother of Reginald Pole) in 1538 and that of their mother Margaret in 1541 was calculated to send a clear message and prevent any new fomentation of an alliance between the Norfolks/Boleyns and the Poles. Norfolk certainly had the military might, Reginald as a Cardinal of Rome had the support of Spain and possibly France and the people of England were certainly willing to assist.

    Henry had not long been King(relatively) when Anne came onto the scene and although it cannot be denied that Henry demonstrated some significant feelings for Anne – it is interesting that very few of her responses to his letters survive, in fact, all that we can glean from material available is that Anne resisted the King.

    I propose that Anne was simply a pawn. The argument that the king had had her sister (and some say ‘the mother’) and tired of her and that is why Anne resisted must be taken with some salt – the king had the right to bed any woman in the land by force if necessary whether virgin, married, single – what ever. In fact it was not unheard of for earlier kings to deflower a young maiden the night before her wedding – any maiden in his kingdom. I propose that Anne resisted because she was never truly considered by Henry until it became absolutely necessary to the survival of his monarchy – in more ways than one.

    Why did Henry behead Anne? She simply became expendable. Henry may have loved her, but he loved power more. Anne simply became expendable.

  7. IMO Catherine of Aragon was the real queen. Through her mother, Queen Isabella of Castile, she was of the house of Lancaster. Queen Isabella had more a claim to the throne of England than did Henry himself.

    This marriage with Catherine of Aragon legitimized the Tudor dynasty. Plus Catherine’s nephew was the Holy Roman Emporer and would have kicked Henry’s behind. The Pope was not under Henry’s control, so Henry created his own national church under KIng control. Henry made church and state one. No separation of church and state under Henry. Henry wanted a male heir to avoid any contention when he died. Henry wanted a continued Tudor dynasty.

    Anne Boleyn did not have anyone outside England to champion her cause. She had no blood right to the throne. So the daughter she had could have married a Howard and then the dynasty would change to another line. So Henry had to get rid of them and/or put fear into them.

    IMO Henry collaborated in this whole scheme, and shoved it off on his underlings to avoid guilt.

  8. Jane Seymour’s baby was not healthy…i wouldnt call king edward healthy would you?
    also henry fitzroy was a weak boy and died young. mary also tended to be sick. only elizabeth seemed to be robust.
    the doctors may not have known he had syphilis…i wouldn’t exactly trust their education or accuracy when they treated people by bleeding them.
    in any case he didnt need syphilis to become mentally unstable…he was psychologically screwed with all the people planting ideas into his head, trying to keep his authority, etc
    we need to look at this from the mind of a person coming from that time…a lot of things he did were considered normal, executions of people who threatened his power, witchcraft was highly believed in and he could easily be convinced that after so many people betrayed him that Anne could have bewitched him. but he was obviously deluded even for that time syphilis or no syphilis…people constantly playing mind games with him

    1. I do agree with much of what you have said but I think the fact that Anne’s daughter Elizabeth whilst declared iilegitimate as was her sister Mary was never recognised by Henry as not being his daughter too. The very fact she was included in the act of succession gives the lie to the suggestion that he believed that Anne was unfaithful because if he believed that how could he be sure his heir was of his blood? The very reason why Queens committing adultery is treason in the first place.

      1. I think we also are overlooking the effects of the significant head injury Henry suffered which would have had an effect on his personality and perhaps made him more susceptible to the things whispered by Cromwell and his other advisors

    2. There is no evidence that Edward was unhealthy as a baby or a child. He died young yes, but there is no evidence of continuous ill health before his fifteenth year. He had tertiary fever when he was about six, which was deadly but survived, proving he was robust and able to overcome such deadly disease. I am afraid like most people, you have your information from the myth mongering of Hollywood.

  9. Dear Claire,

    i love this site! It’s great to know that so many others are interested in the Tudors, specifically Anne Boleyn.
    I was wondering, i’m doing a historiographical task on her, so it’s all about what historians believed etc., do you think you’d be able to help me ?
    you seem to be quite an expert yourself, that’s why i’m seeking your help.
    see firstly, i’m having trouble deciding what to question about Anne ? Her execution is ideal but are there any other really controversial things about her that are constantly argued by historians ?

    keep up the great site !
    awaiting the possbility of a reply =)

  10. Hi Tamara,
    Controversial issues that people argue about include:-

    Whether Anne was innocent or guilty – Although most historians believe she was innocent, historian G W Bernard is bringing a book out in the new year and he believes that there may be grounds for finding Anne guilty of adultery.
    Whether Anne and Henry Percy did consummate their betrothal
    What caused Anne’s miscarriages and how many she actually had
    What Anne looked like – six fingers? A goitre on her neck etc.
    Whether Anne was responsible for the cruel treatment of Catherine of A and Mary
    What the five men were like – Warnicke talks of them as sexual deviants, libertines and people who practised unnatural sexual behaviour.
    Whether Anne was a victim of sexual harassment or whether she was the seductress. Did she scheme to trap Henry and become queen?
    Her date of birth

    Those are just a few off the top of my head! Hope they help.

  11. I’ve concluded, after all of the reading I’ve done, that Henry had Anne executed because he was a killer. Maybe that sounds simplistic, but I don’t mean it to be, as the reasons why he was a killer are no doubt quite complex. But here is my case that Henry was a killer: he is the only British king ever to execute his queen, and he executed “two.” Some people (including, unfortunately, Jonathan Rhys Meyers) may think Kathryn Howard had it coming, but does anyone believe she was the only British queen to that point who had ever committed adultery? He also nearly had his last wife killed for being too Protestant. Since he was happily married for some years to Katherine of Aragon before pushing her aside, I think his killer tendencies emerged later due to degenerative mental illness, whether it was paranoid schizophrenia as The Tudors seems to imply, or bipolar disorder, insanity caused by syphilis, or whatever. The fact is that Henry didn’t have to execute his wives, even to look tough, whether they were guilty or not; he chose to. In contrast, Elizabeth, his daughter, did not execute her ex lover despite his having committed treason, and that human normalcy — not wanting to off someone you used to love — didn’t destroy her reign.

    1. While I agree that Henry was a natural killer, we cannot exclude Elizabeth as being mentally healthy. She did kill Sir Walter Raliegh and her own cousin, Mary of Scots, who had come to her for refuge. This indicates a brutal nature.

      1. Raleigh was executed by James I in 1618. And if everything I’ve read is true, she did not want to execute Mary but was left with no option due to the maouvering of her closest advisors who felt that Mary and her constant plotting was a real danger to Elizabeth’s rule

  12. What a fascinating site! I’ve read all the interesting entries, but noticed that there was one aspect that was not discussed about Anne Boleyn. With Anne being intelligent and influential, it can be argued that she was a “protofeminist”. She had very liberal ideals and did not necessarily see herself as King Henry’s inferior, but his equal. Anyone else consider that perhaps her views placed a great deal of fear in the men in power in her time? During that time and subsequent centuries, any woman that had opinions would be considered to be a “witch”. Wasn’t Anne accused of being involved in witchcraft and sorcery? The theory that Cromwell found Anne to be a threat is beginning to make more sense to me.

    The King had great admiration for Cromwell and left him in charge of a lot of “kingly business” — and Cromwell knew this and took advantage of it. King Henry was very easily manipulated and not just by Cromwell. Henry was very happy to just go along with other people’s ideas as long as it benefitted him , stroked his ego and fed his narcissism. The trick, however, was to make the King believe that the ideas were his brain child. It didn’t take long for others to realize how easily influenced the King can be, for example, how many fathers were able to get their riches by prostituting their daughters to the King? They obviously knew the king had a weakness for women.

    We get a good sense that King Henry would rather leave major decision making up to others. Which finally brings me back to Cromwell. Could it be possible that Cromwell was in fact the puppet master behind Henry’s decision to get rid of Queen Boleyn?

    1. At long last someone has correctly identified Anne Boleyn as a protofeminist! She seemsto have been admirably intelligent, spirited and proud in a dignified way. She could
      Not o

    2. We should remember that Anne was genuine in her initial rejection of Henry. She did not wish to end up pregnant and unmarried like her sister and Henry’s other conquests. She wanted to secure a decent life for herself via marriage to a man of similar status to her own. In fact Anne reminded Henry of this in her final letter to him. Her initial rejection of Henry was very brave indeed and based on sound reasoning. Somehow, however, the charming Henry convinced her otherwise and the rest is history!

  13. I think this article should also mention that, as per David Starkey, Anne’s aprtments were emptied out before she was found guilty, and her executioner was ordered before she was found guilty. I think these two occurances definitely prove that Anne’s trial was a complete joke and only for show. Couple this with there being no actual evidence against her save for confessions obtained through torture and I think we can all rationally agree that Anne was completely innocent. We can even throw in the fact that she was devoutly religious, a true believer, and yet did not confess guilt even after being found guilty and about to be executed as the cherry on top of the sundae. She would have believed her soul to be damned had she not confessed before dying. I don’t see how there can be any shadow of a doubt. Sure it’s a minute possibility that she was guilty, but it’s at about the same level of possibility as Henry having secretly been a hermaphrodite. It’s easy to say that it’s possible, because nearly anything is, but there’s absolutely NOTHING to back it up. It blows my mind that the issue of her guilt is generally considered “not known one way or the other”. Yeah, just like we don’t know if Elvis is alive and living on an island somewhere right?

    I do, however, think it may very well have been possible that Henry BELIEVED she was guilty, due to his infamous obsession with loyalty, deep-seeded paranoia, insecurity, and theatrical tendencies towards self-pity. I think all that would have made him an easy target to go to and whisper in his ear and have someone you don’t like removed from favor, simply by ensuring that that doubt is planted. Add this to Anne’s “tiring personality”, her not having bore him an heir, and Jane being dangled in front of him as a ready alternative, and I think it becomes quite easy to explain Anne’s rapid fall from grace.

    1. I think Henry may well have believed it, and as time went by he believed it more and more. People are very good at persuading themselves of the truth of something they want to believe, and Henry needed to acquit himself in his own mind of having acted unjustly. If Henry ever discussed it with anyone else, they would have assured him he could not have acted wrongly and it was all true, much as Cranmer did in his letter. Once she was dead there was no purpose to be served in anyone doing otherwise.

  14. What comes around surely goes around as old as that saying is, its what I feel happened to Anne & her family (except her sister who was also used by their father to gain stature, power & wealth) All that work she did manipulating her way to the crown. Of course with her Daddy’s Help and her brother because of their greed and ambition not caring how it happened, at what expense or who it hurt in the process. Eliminating all obstacle’s that got in their way to accomplish their goal and secure their positions with the King. Catherine’s & Mary’s suffering & humiliation because of Anne and her Father doings, so many other people who died & where also falsely accused by the Queen in order for her to gain & hold on to that crown. She was also very cunning,, manipulating, greedy, cold, ruthless & a Narcissist. So later on Life, Life turned on her , the tables have flipped on her & her daddy dearest.

    All that work to end up Accused of things that I do believe she was Innocent off but never the less got a taste of her own medicine that cost her her life, she didn’t even get to enjoy being Queen that long after so many years of lying to the King about her past, manipulating and scheming w/her father only to end costing them their life’s.

    King Henry found another Lady to replace her bc she could not give him a Heir a son , Just the same way he replaced Catherine with her because Catherine couldn’t bare him a son either. So What comes around goes around.

    1. I totally agree with Yovania, what goes around sure does come around. Life has a way of balancing itself out in the end, and she sure did get what was coming to her. I also believe that she was innocent of the charges laid against her, but she was not an entirely honest woman. Her years of scheming finally caught up with her.
      What does history about her having three breasts? If that were true, then why would the king have pursued her so tirelessly? She must have surely been a woman of great beauty and intellect, but even that lethal combo of beauty and brains was not enough to save her from her very dismal fate.
      Lesson learnt: Life eventually catches up with you

  15. I once knewA family in PA whose family history said they received their wealth from signing t he agreement to behead Anne Boleyn. Do you have records showing the names of the signers?

  16. For some reason. ANNE BOLEYN has always been my favourite queen. I feel her death was caused by a variety of factors. Henry being a womaniser, just loosing interest when a son wasnt appearing as he planned. Anne being very outspoken and what not, prob lead to people mistaken her behaviour as suspicious etc etc..The tudors makes it out that she hid her past from henry, and was all her father and brothers doing. Everyone was out to get everyone, like her family did to catherine and mary. Its kind of a what goes around…thing. But the specifc accusations I believe were faulse no doubt. However back then people were very supersticious, and henry prob genuienly believed she had tricked him as she promised him a son, which didnt come to pass and then she had miscarriages. So that prob made him come to the conclusion to allow the arrests. He could of just divorced her if he wanted too, other influences at court prob had alot to do with her complete downfall. Poor woman!

  17. That’s the first iv heard that lady Rockford confessed to lying about Ann and George ? I have read so many different accounts of what happened its difficult to know what to believe !! Will we ever know the truth we can only speculate about what happened ! There is just enough missing to keep us from knowing what really happened something that will be topic of debate for many yrs to come !!!!

  18. i think that its the truth of life.. i mean the life itself says that whatever you do comes back to you.. so i think what she did to the previous queen came back to her and that is what happened to other 5 wives.. WELL I MUST SAY I LOVE I AM INDIAN AND NON OF THESE NONSENSE COMES HERE

  19. Thanks guys!!! That REALLY helped me understand why Anne was executed. I am doing some research on King Henry the eighth and all kinds of things on history. So Thanks! xX

  20. Anne had to die as Henry couldn’t risk another divorce, imagine everyone shaking their heads and saying ‘all that for nothing’, Henry would have lost his esteem as a strong ruler and he was very conscious of public opinion, No Anne had to die and it was far easier to have her name blackened then all the legal wrangling of a divorce , it was an easy way out for Henry to get rid of her also people would have been sympathetic towards him for being taken in by such an odious woman, the charges were laughable and wouldn’t stand today but Henry and Cromwell didn’t care, she was all on her own with no powerful Emperor Charles behind her unlike Katherine of Aragon, only Cranmer spoke a word in her defence, it was really what would be described today as a ‘coo’, the fact that she was innocent and the men to made no difference, she was a threat and had to be removed, very very tragic for her and the others and their families.

  21. I have recently been reading about the Morland dynasty and there connections to Henry Tidr (correct and original spelling). After his father did indeed crown himself on the field of battle, the Tudor name was then being enforced. My difficulty has been in keeping the players straight. So many names were repeated, with Mary, Anne, Jane and Margaret being extremely popular. While Edward, Henry, Thomas and William were common male names.

    I have always maintained the Princess Mary was the true and legitimate heir to the throne. That is to say, that Henry 8’s own legitimacy was always a little murky also.

    But with that said, I have always felt that Henry had diabetes, not syphilis as has been widely thought. That would go a long way in explaining the never healing sore on his leg and the sickly children as well as the many miscarriages.

    Of course all of this is conjecture, and none of will ever not the real story. I do find it a shame though that Anne was beheaded instead of divorced.The only thing I can figure is Henry was truly threatened by her existence.

    Great site!!

  22. I think Anne was interesting, intelligent, politically minded, ambitious, talented, and although not beautiful, at least pretty to look at. I also think she was willing to do just about whatever it took to be the Queen; she could be ruthless. But in the end, even if Henry had divorced her, I’m fairly certain she would not have “gone quietly into that good night”. Henry would have surely had run ins with her/her family later. At that time, and in the years before Henry, it was common for Kings to kill or get rid of (poison/people disappeared) persons who might be “difficult” or a liability/threat to their power, goals, future security, etc. If Henry were alive today, I’m sure there would be a long list of people he would want to get rid of. However, he would have to come up with more acceptable ways of doing so since we do not allow beheadings in England any longer…but in other parts of the world, he might feel right at home.

  23. Fascinating topic. It does seem fair that Anne got her just desserts after her treatment of Queen Catherine and Mary. Nonetheless I feel sorry for Anne and the dreadful injustices done to her and the other innocent parties in the end.

  24. I think it was a combination of a lot of factors. I think Henry definitely had some kind of mental disorder. He also was given a lot of power and money fairly young and had no one to reign him in. When these factors are found in the life of a selfish and cruel person, everyone around him tends to get hurt. And Henry WAS selfish. He lavished attention on Catherine of Aragon for years. I do think he loved her in whatever twisted form he was capable of. Even when he initially tried to divorce her, Henry didn’t seem to hold a large amount of antipathy towards her…until she fought back. When she didn’t give him a son, he saw her as something to put aside, and when she refused to let him have his way, he felt he was justified in punishing her. The same pattern can be seen in his treatment of his daughters and later with Anne. With Anne, Henry harassed her for a while before she would give him any encouragement. When she finally did, he was overjoyed. She was different than Catherine, whom he’d known since childhood and who no longer seemed exotic. Henry was already desperate for a legitimate son, so when Anne wouldn’t become his mistress, I think he saw it as the perfect combination of his two desires. After the Church wouldn’t agree to the divorce, Henry’s ego and his desire for Anne refused to let him back down. When it stretched on for years, I think his passion for Anne was kept alive in part by her but also by the idea that she was the prize and his main supporter. She saw how much of a genius he was and how stupid and evil everyone who opposed him was. After Henry won the fight with those who opposed him, she’d be living proof that Henry was more intelligent and more powerful than all others. Maybe if he’d known how long it would take to marry Anne, Henry would have picked a royal woman (I think he still would have divorced Catherine, as he did want a legitimate son). If another royal family would have risked their reputation in the matter, the church may have caved to pressure from two powerful families and risked Spain’s wrath. But Henry initially thought it would be simple to obtain a divorce because who could deny him? And once he’d begun the fight for Anne, well, he couldn’t admit he was wrong or hadn’t thought things through. Henry’s fight for a divorce was very much a fight to prove himself superior to all others. For a while, after he had married Anne, Henry had no reason not to love her. All the things that had drawn him to her were still there. She had fought with him for their marriage and together they’d demonstrated Henry’s might. But then, she couldn’t give him a male heir. All of a sudden, “God’s curse” that had been laid on his and Catherine’s marriage seemed to be present in his and Anne’s. After everything he’d done, Anne was a living example of Henry’s failure. Yes, he’d gotten his new wife, but the process had cost him years of effort and his reputation. If she couldn’t produce an heir, then Henry would be the laughingstock of Europe. I imagine there was a small voice he tried to suppress that pointed out that his only son had been born out of wedlock. Maybe the fault wasn’t with Catherine or Anne, but with Henry. But then his ego reasserted itself. Of course he wasn’t wrong! How could Henry, King of England, be wrong? So to avoid blaming himself, he had to find someone else to blame. And Anne was convenient. She couldn’t give him any alliances or wealth. She wasn’t giving him a son. Almost everything she had Henry had given her. Henry was selfish, and the idea that she couldn’t give him anything but herself would have annoyed if not infuriated him. As illogical as it was, most people blamed women for the lack of children or the lack of sons. The more charitable might have said it was God’s will, but they would have done so looking disapprovingly at the woman. With an already selfish and mentally ill person like Henry, this blame would have been stronger than the vague blame most people would have had. He would have seen it as a personal affront which Anne could control but chose not to. But Anne didn’t stop fighting him on issues or flying into rages at his infidelities. So the things Henry had loved about her now turned him against her. Not only couldn’t she give him what he wanted, not only was the lack of a male heir making him seem like a fool, not only had she cost him countless things, but she kept demanding that he restrain himself for her. Catherine at least had brought him an alliance with Spain. She was politically intelligent, poised, and beautiful. Even though she hadn’t given him a son that made it past childhood, she had looked the other way when he slept with others and had indulged him on many things. Anne wouldn’t quietly fade into the background. She couldn’t give him anything. She was living proof that he was wrong. And worse, he couldn’t divorce her on the grounds he had Catherine. Even if he had divorced her on grounds of adultery, people would have rolled their eyes at him. He’d spent several years fighting to marry her. It would have been embarrassing to divorce her, especially after only three years of marriage. I think that all of these things combined to make Henry hate her. In his mind, she was a nuisance and the only way to free himself from the woman whom he viewed as a useless wife, the only way to save face, and the only way he would get his son was to kill her. Without the connections Catherine had, there was no barrier. Henry had already set himself above the church. Some of the country already hated Anne, placing the blame on her for what had been done to Catherine. It was very easy to arrange to frame Anne for adultery and kill her. And Henry would have had to willingly choose to have her framed. Maybe in the late stages he managed to convince himself that she was guilty; she might have even looked guilty in some cases, but no one would have dared to act against Anne unless they were fairly certain the king wanted to get her out of the way.

Leave a Reply

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