So you may or may not remember me writing a blog about my hero, Mary I. Tudor Queen and general badass. It got such a great response, and many of you suggested figures for me to write about. My speciality dish is Early-Modern History with just a dash of early 20th Century Europe & America sprinkled in. It probably tastes as bad as it sounds.
Whilst Mary I is, and always will be, love of my life light of my world, I’m going to spend this blog post talking about her step-mum, Anne Boleyn. Although my admiration for Anne isn’t as strong as it used to be, she’s the OG bitch who ignited my love of history. So, forget everything that Phillipa Gregory taught you and get ready for some real facts about my main gyal Anne.
5 Interesting Facts about Anne Boleyn
1. She’s not THAT bad
So, the story goes, the wily minx that is Anne who was fresh from the French Court caught the attention of general #Lad, Henry VII, and he wanted to get in her knickers so bad he divorced Katherine of Aragon – right? Wrong.
Katherine, Henry VIII’s first wife, wasn’t giving him the son he so desperately wanted (BUT she did give birth to Mary I, who we all know is THE ACTUAL BEST), so Henry and his other misogynistic sycophants called the marriage cursed. Katherine was originally married to Henry VIII’s dead brother Arthur, so it was thought that God had cast his disdain upon the couple.
So, long walk for a short glass of frigging water, Henry was already thinking about divorcing Katherine before Anne Boleyn started seducing him, and she was the lucky winner who caught the majority of his attention.
2. She was already pregnant when they wed
Similarly to her child, Elizabeth I, there’s a lot of rumour regarding celibacy when it comes to Anne Boleyn. Famously, she is said to have abstained from bedding the King until he agreed to marry her – which she nearly did. When they were married in January 1533, Anne was already pregnant with their first child. Oops. Although, the divorce process was very long and involved separating from a Church that the country had been tied with for donkeys years, so it’s understandable that Henry’s insatiable appetite couldn’t be curbed for long. He did title her with the Marquis of Pembrokeshire though, so good for her?
3. Well, if you incest
I wish I could apologise for the crudeness of that title but it IS relevant, I promise. For those who paid attention in history class, you’ll know that poor Anne lost her head when it came to her marriage to bad boi Henry (remember: Divorce, Beheaded, Died, Divorced, Beheaded, Survived). She was accused of not only conspiring to kill the king, but of bedding multiple men, including her brother. The rumour about her brother probably holds no merit and was a rumour used against her to gain more opposition to her title as Queen. Whether or not she actually had affairs is another matter that is widely debated, but it’s almost a historical Trump / Melania situation – so you have to feel a bit sorry for her.
4. Don’t trust a dodgy decorator
My favourite place in the world is Hampton Court Palace (which I might actually write a blog post about), as it was where Henry VIII and his court often spent their time. One of the rooms is a giant hall, which, upon his marriage to Anne, Henry had decorated with his and Anne’s intertwined initials with which they often signed their love letters. However, upon her demise, Henry quickly redecorated the room in dedication to his next and third wife, Jayne Seymore. In their haste, the decorators forgot to remove one of the panels and as such, it can be seen in the Grand Hall to this day – and is definitely my favourite part of Hampton Court Palace. If you’re interested in finding out more about HCP – they recently used it for filming The Favourite!
5. The French aren’t to blame here
Again, referring back to our trusty rhyme – Divorced, Beheaded, Died, Divorced, Beheaded, Survived – we can deduct that Anne lost her head. Famously, it was the work of a french swordsman who did the deed, and many consider this Henry VIII’s final act of love for his former Queen, as an axe would have been less ‘clean’. Those people are wrong. It is thought that it would have taken weeks for the swordsman to travel to England and therefore was ordered before Anne was even found guilty – and some historians think it was to cause a bit of a stir. Who knows?
I’m never ever ever going to apologise for that pun, it took me ages to think of! Anne was my first historic love and so I’ll always hold a special place in my heart for her. What do you think – are there some facts in here you didn’t know, or is she still that boring Tudor lady what got her head cut off?