Anne Boleyn: The Most Important Consort.

A love letter written by Henry to Anne.

A love letter written by Henry to Anne.

Thomas Cramners account of the coronation of Anne written in letter to Mr. Hawkyns, English Ambassador at the court of the Emperor, Charles V 

The Thursday next before the Feast of Pentecost, the King and the Queen being at Greenwich, all the Crafts of London thereunto well appointed, in several barges decked after the most gorgeous and sumptuous manner, with divers pageants thereunto belonging, repaired and waited all together upon the Mayor of London; and so, well furnished, came all unto Greenwich, where they tarried and waited for the Queen’s coming to her barge; which so done, they brought her unto the Tower, trumpets, shawms, and other divers instruments playing and making great melody, which, as is reported, was as comely done as never was like in any time nigh to our remembrance. And so her Grace came to the Tower on Thursday at night, about five of the clock, where also was such a peal of guns as hath not been heard the like a great while before. And the same night, and Friday all day, the King and Queen tarried there; and on Friday at night the King’s Grace made eighteen knights of the Bath, whose creation was not only so strange to hear of, as also their garments stranger to behold or look upon; which said knights, the next day, which was Saturday, rode before the Queen’s Grace throughout the City of London towards Westminster Palace, over and besides the most part of the nobles of the realm, which like accompanied her Grace throughout the said city; she sitting in her hair [i.e. her hair flowing down], upon a horse litter, richly apparelled, and four knights of the Five Ports bearing a canopy over her head. And after her came four rich chariots, one of them empty, and three other furnished with divers ancient old ladies; and after them came a great train of other ladies and gentlewomen; which said progress, from the beginning to the ending, extended half a mile in length by estimation or thereabout. To whom also, as she came along the City, were shewn many costly pageants, with divers other encomiums spoken of children to her; wine also running at certain conduits plenteously. And so proceeding throughout the streets, passed further unto Westminster Hall, where was a certain banquet prepared for her, which done, she was conveyed out of the back side of the Palace into a barge, and so unto York Place, where the King’s Grace was before her coming, for this you must ever presuppose that his Grace came always before her secretly in a barge as well from Greenwich to the Tower as from the Tower to York Place.

Now then on the Sunday was the Coronation, which also was of such a manner.

In the morning there assembled with me at Westminster Church the Bishop of York, the Bishop of London, the Bishop of Winchester, the Bishop of Lincoln, the Bishop of Bath, and the Bishop of St. Asaph, the Abbot of Westminster with ten or eleven more Abbots, which all revestred ourselves in our pontificalibus, and, so furnished, with our Crosses and Croziers, proceeded out of the Abbey in a procession into Westminster Hall, where we received the Queen apparelled in a robe of purple velvet, and all the ladies and gentlewomen in robes and gowns of scarlet according to the manner used beforetime in such business; and so her Grace sustained of each side with two bishops, the Bishop of London and the Bishop of Winchester, came forth in procession unto the Church of Westminster, she in her hair, my Lord of Suffolk bearing before her the Crown, and two other Lords bearing also before her a sceptre and a white rod, and so entered up into the High Altar, where divers ceremonies used about her, I did set the Crown on her head, and then was sung Te Deum. And after that was sung a solemn Mass, all which while her Grace sat crowned upon a scaffold which was made between the High Altar and Choir in Westminster Church; which Mass and ceremonies done and finished, all the assembly of noblemen brought her into Westminster HaIl again, where was kept a great solemn feast all that day; the good order thereof were too long to write at this time to you.

But now, Sir, you may not imagine that this Coronation was before her marriage, for she was married much about St. Paul’s Day last, as the condition thereof doth well appear by reason she is now somewhat big with child. Notwithstanding it hath been reported throughout a great part of the realm that I married her, which was plainly false, for I myself knew not thereof a fortnight after it was done. And many other things be reported of me, which be mere lies and tales.

"This morning she sent for me, that I might be with her at such time as she received the good Lord, to the intent I should hear her speak as touching her innocency alway to be clear. And in the writing of this she sent for me, and at my coming she said, ‘Mr. Kingston, I hear I shall not die afore noon, and I am very sorry therefore, for I thought to be dead by this time and past my pain.’ I told her it should be no pain, it was so little. And then she said, ‘I heard say the executioner was very good, and I have a little neck,’ and then put her hands about it, laughing heartily. I have seen many men and also women executed, and that they have been in great sorrow, and to my knowledge this lady has much joy in death. Sir, her almoner is continually with her, and had been since two o’clock after midnight"  - Written by Anthony Kingston the morning of Anne’s execution May 19th 1536.

"To us she appears inconsistent—religious yet aggressive, calculating yet emotional, with the light touch of the courtier yet the strong grip of the politician—but is this what she was, or merely what we strain to see through the opacity of the evidence? As for her inner life, short of a miraculous cache of new material, we shall never really know. Yet what does come to us across the centuries is the impression of a person who is strangely appealing to the early twenty-first century: A woman in her own right—taken on her own terms in a man’s world; a woman who mobilized her education, her style and her presence to outweigh the disadvantages of her sex; of only moderate good looks, but taking a court and a king by storm. Perhaps, in the end, it is Thomas Cromwell’s assessment that comes nearest: intelligence, spirit and courage."  - Eric Ives speaking on Anne.

The execution speech of Anne Boleyn. 

Good Christian people, I am come hither to die, for according to the law, and by the law I am judged to die, and therefore I will speak nothing against it. I am come hither to accuse no man, nor to speak anything of that, whereof I am accused and condemned to die, but I pray God save the king and send him long to reign over you, for a gentler nor a more merciful prince was there never: and to me he was ever a good, a gentle and sovereign lord. And if any person will meddle of my cause, I require them to judge the best. And thus I take my leave of the world and of you all, and I heartily desire you all to pray for me. O Lord have mercy on me, to God I commend my soul.

Written by Henry to Anne in 1527. 

I beg to know expressly your intention touching the love between us. Necessity compels me to obtain this answer, having been more than a year wounded by the dart of love, and not yet sure whether I shall fail or find a place in your affection.

A replica of the ornate clock given to Anne by Henry.

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A letter to Henry from Anne, roughly dated around the late summer/early autumn of 1526. 

It belongs only to the august mind of a great king, to whom Nature has given a heart full of generosity towards the sex, to repay by favors so extraordinary an artless and short conversation with a girl. Inexhaustible as is the treasury of your majesty’s bounties, I pray you to consider that it cannot be sufficient to your generosity; for, if you recompense so slight a conversation by gifts so great, what will you be able to do for those who are ready to consecrate their entire obedience to your desires? How great soever may be the bounties I have received, the joy that I feel in being loved by a king whom I adore, and to whom I would with pleasure make a sacrifice of my heart, if fortune had rendered it worthy of being offered to him, will ever be infinitely greater. 
The warrant of maid of honor to the queen induces me to think that your majesty has some regard for me, since it gives me means of seeing you oftener, and of assuring you by my own lips (which I shall do on the first opportunity) that I am, 
Your majesty’s very obliged and very obedient servant, without any reserve, 
Anne Bulen.

Love letters written by Henry to Anne.  

Mine own sweetheart, these shall be to advertise you of the great loneliness that I find here since your departing, for I ensure you methinketh the time longer since your departing now last than I was wont to do a whole fortnight:  I think your kindness and my fervents of love causeth it, for otherwise I would not have thought it possible that for so little a while it should have grieved me, but now that I am coming toward you methinketh my pains been half released….  Wishing myself (specially an evening) in my sweetheart’s arms, whose pretty dukkys I trust shortly to kiss.  Written with the hand of him that was, is, and shall be yours by his will.


No more to you at this present mine own darling for lack of time but that I would you were in my arms or I in yours for I think it long since I kissed you.  Written after the killing of an hart at a xj. of the clock minding with God’s grace tomorrow mightily timely to kill another: by the hand of him which I trust shortly shall be yours.

Henry R.

My mistress and friend:  I and my heart put ourselves in your hands, begging you to have them suitors for your good favour, and that your affection for them should not grow less through absence.  For it would be a great pity to increase their sorrow since absence does it sufficiently, and more than ever I could have thought possible reminding us of a point in astronomy, which is, that the longer the days are the farther off is the sun, and yet the more fierce.  So it is with our love, for by absence we are parted, yet nevertheless it keeps its fervour, at least on my side, and I hope on yours also:  assuring you that on my side the ennui of absence is already too much for me:  and when I think of the increase of what I must needs suffer it would be well nigh unbearable for me were it not for the firm hope I have and as I cannot be with you in person, I am sending you the nearest possible thing to that, namely, my picture set in a bracelet, with the whole device which you already know.  Wishing myself in their place when it shall please you.  This by the hand of

Your loyal servant and friend

H. Rex

Two portraits of Anne which currently are at her childhood home Hever Castle.