Anne Boleyn, Hunter or Hunted?

People often ask; how did Anne, a Knight’s daughter manage to get the King of England to set aside his wife of 24 years radically changing the country’s religious governance in the process? Amongst other theories there are two main schools of thought in relation to Anne’s involvement with Henry. Either she is described as…

Wife, Spinster or Nun…?

Anne Boleyn lived in a time when there were few defined choices for women. Those born into royalty or great families were either married, remained childless spinsters or took religious orders. The notion of an independent woman would have been thought of as ridiculous and unnatural. Daughters were lawfully the property of their fathers until…

Lady Anne Will Be My Queen

When Anne Boleyn joined Henry VIII’s court in the early 1520s she wowed the English with her style, dress and mannerisms. The contemporary observer Lancelot de Carles was quoted as saying ‘no one would ever have taken her to be English by her manner, but a native-born Frenchwoman’. Another unnamed source said “…and everyday made…

Image, Spin & Tudor Style…

In the 16th century there was a growing trend in social mobility with a merchant class rapidly emerging. This meant that for the first time there was a vein of English society that could afford to import luxurious and expensive cloth, materials, jewels and finished goods from abroad. As these items were previously only accessible…

Anne Boleyn & The King’s Proposal

Historian David Starkey and Anne Boleyn’s biographer Eric Ives both state that Henry VIII’s romantic interest in Anne Boleyn began in earnest during the winter of 1524/25. According to George Cavendish who was a Gentleman Usher of Cardinal Wolsey the King was engaged at this time in a ‘secret passion, not known to any person’….

Henry & Anne – Devoted Lovers

In the 16th century it was customary for royal ladies and members of the nobility to have their own prayer books. They were commonly referred to as a book of hours. The quality and opulence of these manuscripts was dependant on the rank and wealth of the owner. A book of hours owned by a…

Anne Boleyn – Wicked Stepmother or Historical Scapegoat?

In last week’s blog I explored how Henry VIII and Katherine of Aragon’s daughter Mary Tudor was affected by her parent’s martial breakdown and the King’s eventual marriage to Anne Boleyn. Much has been made of King Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn in particular being responsible for Mary’s frequent bouts of stress related ill health….

Lady Mary & The King’s Wife

Princess Mary Tudor (later Mary I of England) was the daughter and only surviving child of Henry VIII and his first wife Katherine of Aragon’s 24-year marriage. She was styled and titled Princess Mary up until the Archbishop of Canterbury; Thomas Cranmer declared her parent’s marriage invalid in May 1533. After this date her mother, previously…

Heartbreak at Hampton Court Palace

The 1533 Christmas season at Henry VIII’s court was by all accounts a merry affair. Everything seemed to be going according to plan. After 6 years of waiting King Henry VIII had officially married Anne Boleyn in January 1533. She had been publicly acknowledged and prayed for as Queen at Easter and in June a…

A Woman Like No Other

Why did the woman who returned to England from France in 1522 manage to so captivate the whole English Court with her looks, her style, her wit and charm? By 1522 Anne Boleyn was approximately 22 years of age and had been in royal service abroad for 9 years. Anne’s father Sir Thomas Boleyn was…

1535 Summer Progress

Henry VIII did not go on summer holidays, as we know them today. So in order for the ordinary English people to see their ruler, he would go out into the Kingdom on an annual summer progress and be openly seen by his subjects. Aswell as the need to be seen there were many other…

An Unexpected Visitor

….as anxiety begins to get the better of me I lift my skirts and run the short distance between our entrance hall, the heavy portcullis and the drawbridge. My imagination is running rampant and with every false alarm I return inside only to imagine the sound of the King’s nearest guard, The Band of Gentlemen…