Witty, Sophisticated, Passionate, Emotional, Stylish, Intelligent, Outspoken.
"The Most Happy"
Anne Boleyn is one of the most infamous women in history. She is also probably one of the most misunderstood. Many myths abound, including that she had a mole on her neck, and a sixth finger. This is highly unlikely, as such things were seen as signs of witchcraft, she probably would not even have been allowed in court, let alone be chosen by Henry as a mate- he desired a male heir above all else, and would never have risked a 'bewitched' son.
Anne was the second, possibly third, Boleyn woman to pass through Henry's chambers. Her mother was rumored to have been young Henry's mistress, and her sister Mary was without doubt. As their father, Thomas Boleyn, was a man with more ambition than honor, he engineered both daughters relationships with Henry, and probably did the same with his wife. But Mary Boleyn's relationship with Henry ended with an illegitimate son (probably Henry's), a sad marriage, and the nickname, "the Great Whore".
Anne was engaged to Henry Percy and had no ambitions to join in the family's power games. But as a lady in waiting to Katharine of Aragon, Anne caught Henry's eye, and Henry, had Henry Percy banished from court. Thomas Boleyn missed nothing, and set Anne to seducing Henry.
Anne was charming, witty, sophisticated, and talented in music and dance- all things Henry liked in a woman. She had no trouble bringing Henry to his knees- she knew what he wanted became all the sweeter to him when he couldn't have it. She demanded he seduce her with letters and poems, he sent her royal jewels, and she rebuffed him, refusing to give him her virginity outside of marriage.
Sometime during her father's scheming Anne fell in love with Henry. They resided together in the castle, held court with her in Katharine's throne. He granted her noble title. Finally, after being refused an anullment, Henry divorced Katharine. Henry was excommunicated from the Holy See- the beginning of Restoration.
Anne and Henry wed in 1533, and Anne gave birth so soon to the infant Elizabeth I, it's believed that the two had been secretly married in 1532 in order to consumate their union.
The marriage lasted three years. Anne failed to deliver the promised heir, which Henry saw as a sign from God that his marriage to Anne was impure. His eye was wandering, particularly to Jane Seymour, and Anne, ever so passionate, would not tolerate any straying from her bed. If she had taken the king from Katharine, who had been with him for decades, then her position was just as precarious. She had gotten Henry to declare Elizabeth the one heir by bastardizing Mary, daughter of Katharine, but no one outside of England recognized the child as sovereign heir, refusing Henry's offers of betrothal. That Anne requested the deaths of Mary and Katharine is rumored but not evidenced.
Following the death of Katharine, who had suffered in isolation, Henry became more convinced that Anne was a mistake. She miscarried a few days later, and it was over.
Henry accused Anne of witchcraft, questioned her virginity at the time of marriage, and high treason- adultery. The men of her court were questioned and tortured, the women of her court were largely disloyal- many of them having been in service to the beloved Katharine of Aragon before her- and gladly spoke against her. Anne was imprisoned, and there wrote letters to Henry begging for the freedom of her innocent friends and family (her brother was accused of having relations with her.) and begging for the future of her daughter. It was all for naught- her accused lovers were tortued into admission- even though some of them were quite homosexual- and murdered. Elizabeth was declared illegitimate. Anne saw the beheading of her brother George, her best friend, and probably also homosexual, through the bars of her tower window.
Anne Boleyn was executed May 19, 1536. Laying her head on the chopping block, she repeatedly commended her soul to God, and then, the scandal of christendom, the woman who caused the birth of a new religion, the second wife of Henry VIII, was beheaded.
Henry married Jane Seymour eleven days later.