Author Topic: Anne Boleyn  (Read 228988 times)

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Offline Helen_Azar

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Anne Boleyn
« on: July 16, 2005, 02:50:47 PM »
Although Anne Boleyn is not be the most well-liked or admired of Henry's wives, to me she is  probably the most interesting and certainly one of the most intelligent of the six.    
 
In a way, I feel that Anne was just as much a victim as Catherine of Aragon was, even before she was executed. After all, initially she had no intention of going after Catherine's husband, she wanted very badly to marry Henry Percy and just live her life. Henry changed all that, and she was almost forced - indirectly - into the situation she ended up in. I think that she tried to make things as difficult for Henry as possible (at least initially), hoping that he would leave her alone. But he didn't. So finally she may have decided to make the best of her situation... Very often Anne is vilified, and Catherine of Aragon is sanctified, but I think there is a lot more to what happened than meets the eye.    
Recently I visited Hever Castle, where Anne grew up, and it was very interesting to see her room and generally what her life was like when she was young, including some of her embroidery, etc. I was hoping to have a thread here dedicated specifically to discussing Anne Boleyn.    
 
P.S. I want to add that I am also really excited about the Tudors thread - as I love to talk about them!  :D

Offline Prince_Christopher

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Re: Anne Boleyn
« Reply #1 on: July 16, 2005, 04:20:10 PM »
I agree with you, Helen, about Anne being forced into her situation with Henry.

After Elizabeth was born, I think Anne quickly realized what a desperate situation she was in, and probably knew her days were numbered, if she didn't produce a son soon.
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Offline lexi4

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Re: Anne Boleyn
« Reply #2 on: July 16, 2005, 05:36:05 PM »
It was the movie "Anne of 1,000 days" that sparked my interest in English history. I know it a movie and not necessarily accurate, but nonetheless, it sent me to the library. So I have always loved Anne because she started me down a the wonderful road of learning about English history.
If I remember, not sure about this, wasn't Anne's sister pregnant with Henry's child??? Or was she at one time Henry's mistress?? Help me out here. Thanks
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Offline Helen_Azar

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Re: Anne Boleyn
« Reply #3 on: July 16, 2005, 05:47:28 PM »
Quote
If I remember, not sure about this, wasn't Anne's sister pregnant with Henry's child??? Or was she at one time Henry's mistress?? Help me out here. Thanks


Well, Henry's mistress Elizabeth Blount gave birth to a boy who was acknowledged as his son. Anne's sister Mary was a one time mistress of Henry's too, but whether she had a child by him varies from source to source. Some say yes, her first child was Henry's, others say it was her husband's... Either way, Henry never officially acknowledged Mary's child as his. We'll never know I suppose.

Offline Helen_Azar

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Re: Anne Boleyn
« Reply #4 on: July 16, 2005, 05:51:16 PM »
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After Elizabeth was born, I think Anne quickly realized what a desperate situation she was in, and probably knew her days were numbered, if she didn't produce a son soon.

Yes, this is true. Anne also realized that her days were even more numbered when Catherine of Aragon died. At that point, if Henry wanted to get rid of her and marry someone else, nothing would stand in his way. As long as Catherine was alive, Henry had to keep Anne around otherwsie he may be pressured to go back to Catherine. Once Catherine was dead, Anne was fair game... At this time Anne already had a pretty good idea that Henry was involved with Jane Seymour, and only a couple of days after Anne's death, if I recall correctly, Henry and Jane were betrothed.

Offline lexi4

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Re: Anne Boleyn
« Reply #5 on: July 16, 2005, 05:54:28 PM »
Quote

Well, Henry's mistress Elizabeth Blount gave birth to a boy who was acknowledged as his son. Anne's sister Mary was a one time mistress of Henry's too, but whether she had a child by him varies from source to source. Some say yes, her first child was Henry's, others say it was her husband's... Either way, Henry never officially acknowledged Mary's child as his. We'll never know I suppose.

It appears Anne was a little smarter than her sister Mary.
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Offline Prince_Lieven

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Re: Anne Boleyn
« Reply #6 on: July 16, 2005, 05:55:39 PM »
The thing was, Anne's personality was just too volatile for Henry. I think that it in part led to her downfall. Didn't Henry say she would have to endure his affairs 'as her betters had done' (i.e. Catherine of Aragon). Despite her cruelty to Mary, I still can't help but feel sorry for Anne.
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Offline Helen_Azar

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Re: Anne Boleyn
« Reply #7 on: July 16, 2005, 06:05:41 PM »
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It appears Anne was a little smarter than her sister Mary.


Yes, she was, but as Prince Lieven said, this was also her downfall. Henry liked her personality traits when she was the mistress, but once she became the wife, these same personality traits repelled him. He expected her to change overnight and become a docile wife who accepted all his infidelities, etc... Anne couldn't do that, it was not in her nature. So things that attracted Henry to her, also doomed her... I think that yes, there is a lot to feel sorry for. She was mean to Mary more out of desperation than anything else. She was prepared to accept Mary and be nice to her, if only Mary agreed to accept her, which of course Mary wouldn't (and hwo can blame her?), so Anne became desperate and in her desperation cruel. This was a no win situation, for any of these women, and it was created by Henry and his whims. Henry had no regard for any of them, only for himself, and because of that he ruined the lives of both his wives as well as both his daughters, to a certain extent...

Offline Prince_Lieven

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Re: Anne Boleyn
« Reply #8 on: July 16, 2005, 06:11:49 PM »
Ironically, wouldn't Mary Boleyn have made a better wife for Henry than Anne? She might have given him a son (she had two healthy children with William Carey) and she would have been docile and obedient. Then Anne could have been his mistress, instead of vice versa.
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Offline Helen_Azar

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Re: Anne Boleyn
« Reply #9 on: July 16, 2005, 06:27:14 PM »
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Ironically, wouldn't Mary Boleyn have made a better wife for Henry than Anne? She might have given him a son (she had two healthy children with William Carey) and she would have been docile and obedient. Then Anne could have been his mistress, instead of vice versa.


It was like catch 22 though. Henry was really attracted by Anne because of her volatile personality, while Mary bored him. Plus Anne would not be his mistress only his wife, so that wouldn't have worked. Also, I am not so sure that Mary would have been able to have a healthy son with Henry as it seems that all Henry's sons were not very healthy, a few dying at birth or even before birth, the two who survived died very young, no matter who the mother was. While the daughters were pretty healthy, at least for the first part of their lives. It could have been some sort of a genetic disorder that was passed to the males, but not to the females, so Mary may not have managed a healthy son either. She may have met the same fate as Anne or perhaps Katherine of A... But as it happened, after Carey's death, Mary married another man she really loved and was actually happy with him. Turned out she was better off than her sister, although she didn't get to make history...

Offline Elisabeth

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Re: Anne Boleyn
« Reply #10 on: July 17, 2005, 04:24:09 AM »
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She was mean to Mary more out of desperation than anything else. She was prepared to accept Mary and be nice to her, if only Mary agreed to accept her, which of course Mary wouldn't (and hwo can blame her?), so Anne became desperate and in her desperation cruel. This was a no win situation, for any of these women, and it was created by Henry and his whims. Henry had no regard for any of them, only for himself, and because of that he ruined the lives of both his wives as well as both his daughters, to a certain extent...


I agree with you, Helen. Indeed, it's not clear to me to what extent the cruel treatment of Catherine and Mary was really the fault of Anne and how much of it should be laid directly at Henry's door. Just to give one example, Anne supposedly demanded from Catherine of Aragon her daughter Mary's christening robe for Elizabeth's christening. But for all we know, Anne made this demand at Henry's insistence. What is telling to me is that after Anne's execution, Mary's situation, rather than immediately improving, actually worsened, to the point where the Spanish ambassador, Chapuys, feared for her life. It was because the threat of imminent execution hung over her head that Mary finally caved into her father's demands and signed the document proclaiming Henry Supreme Head of the Church of England and herself a bastard. (As I recall the pope gave Mary a special dispensation for signing this document that rendered it null and void in the eyes of the Catholic Church.)

So I am inclined to give Anne the benefit of the doubt in her treatment of Mary. I think Henry showed time and time again throughout his reign that he was an exceedingly cruel man who never hesitated to harm those around him if they became obstacles in his path. I also believe that much of Anne's volatility was not because of her personality but because she had to function under so much stress, first during the six-year struggle for the divorce, and afterwards, during the three-year struggle to produce a male heir. It's not surprising that she failed in the latter attempt. I, too, am convinced that Henry had some sort of genetic problem that made it virtually impossible for him to father healthy sons, but also, given the burden of expectations placed on Anne, it doesn't surprise me that she could not carry a second child to term.
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Offline ilyala

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Re: Anne Boleyn
« Reply #11 on: July 17, 2005, 07:06:49 AM »
i don't know about this genetic disorder... everyone has this impression that edward the 6th was a frail child but he wasn't. he was an active child and took an active role in matters of the state at ages when other children only know how to play (he was indeed a bit too serious for his age...)... apparently he participated to state councils a lot, to the point where he annoyed the regents who didn't know how to get him out of there!

i read somewhere (a book about early tudors - off the top of my head i can't remember the name) that he was actually a healthy kid until he got the illness that ended his life  :-/... am not saying that was it, but i think it was likely...

as for anne, i agree. she was too smart and too proud. jane seymour was smart too but because she wasn't proud she managed to pose as the weak wife. anne wouldn't do that - it was below her. that was her downfall...
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Offline Helen_Azar

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Re: Anne Boleyn
« Reply #12 on: July 17, 2005, 08:56:13 AM »
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i don't know about this genetic disorder... everyone has this impression that edward the 6th was a frail child but he wasn't. he was an active child and took an active role in matters of the state at ages when other children only know how to play (he was indeed a bit too serious for his age...)... apparently he participated to state councils a lot, to the point where he annoyed the regents who didn't know how to get him out of there!

i read somewhere (a book about early tudors - off the top of my head i can't remember the name) that he was actually a healthy kid until he got the illness that ended his life  :-/... am not saying that was it, but i think it was likely...
 


Yes, I remember reading this too, ilyala, and this certainly could well have been the case. Henry Fitzroy, Henry's other son, was also reportedly pretty healthy until the age of about 16, when he succumbed to disease and died. It could have been a coincidence that both Henry's sons died at around the same age from similar conditions (although we don't really know for sure what it was, many historians believe it was some sort of a lung disease). But it could be something genetic, even if it didn't manifest itself until they were teenagers.

Remember Henry's brother Arthur, who also died at about 15 or 16 years old? He too, according to some sources was healthy until that time (although according to other sources he was sickly), and then suddenly died as a teenager. Three cases start to sound like a pattern... Of course we will never know unless their remains are exhumed and studied, but that will never happen.  Fact is that none of Henry's sons survived, from any wife, and he had at least three sons with three different women... and a couple who were not carried to full term. Of course also it could be due to the fact that males, whether fetuses or full term children, are usually weaker than females and have less chance of survival, but it seems like a little more than that in this case. Anyway, just  a theory, no way to prove or disprove it.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 06:00:00 PM by helenazar »

Offline Helen_Azar

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Re: Anne Boleyn
« Reply #13 on: July 17, 2005, 12:20:03 PM »
Just wanted to share a few photos I took when I visited Hever Castle, where Anne grew up and where Henry VIII used to visit. On the outside, the castle is pretty much intact and looks as it did when Anne lived there.  

Hever Castle:
 
The courtyard:



The chapel near the castle which the Boleyn family attended:


The tomb of Thomas Boleyn, Anne's father:


I also have some shots of the inside the castle from a book I bought there, as you weren't allowed to take pictures inside the castle. I can post some of those later if anyone is interested in seeing them...

« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 06:00:00 PM by helenazar »

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Re: Anne Boleyn
« Reply #14 on: July 17, 2005, 01:00:29 PM »
Thank you for posting these!  They are wonderful and let me put pictures to the facts I know!!!!!