Anne Boleyn: Facts About the Second Wife of Henry VIII

Here are some facts about Anne Boleyn, the second wife of King Henry VIII.

  • Very little is known about the early years of Anne Boleyn’s life. Historians can’t even agree when Anne was born. Some think she was born in 1500 or 1501, whereas others think a year of 1507 to be more likely. She was probably born at Blickling Hall in Norfolk.
  • Apparently, Anne was not particularly pretty. Contrary to legend, she probably didn’t have a sixth finger on one of her hands. She was, however, stylish, intelligent and quick-witted.
  • Anne spent time in the household of Henry’s sister, Mary Tudor, who was married to the French King, Louis XII. Anne learned to speak French fluently.
  • Anne’s sister Mary Boleyn was a mistress of Henry VIII.
  • After Henry VIII took an interest in Anne, it was thought that she too would become one of his mistresses. However, this was not the case, and from 1527 onwards, Henry sought to get his marriage to Catherine of Aragon annulled so he would be in a position to marry Anne.
  • In 1533 Anne and Henry were secretly married. It is thought that Anne was pregnant with Henry’s child at this point. Henry and Catherine were still officially married, but Archbishop Cranmer proclaimed the marriage to be null and void.
  • Henry’s desire to annul the marriage between himself and Catherine in order to marry Anne, led to the break with Rome.
  • Anne gave birth to a daughter, Elizabeth, on August 26th 1533.
  • Anne Boleyn fell pregnant again in 1534 but it either ended in miscarriage or the child being stillborn. In 1535 Anne suffered a miscarriage.
  • King Henry VIII desperately desired a male heir and he started to spend time with one of Anne’s ladies-in-waiting, Jane Seymour.
  • Anne’s enemies at court, particularly Thomas Cromwell, began to plot her downfall. On May 2nd 1536, Anne was arrested at Greenwich, accused of committing adultery, incest and high treason. It was also said that she plotted to kill the King. She was taken to the Tower of London.
  • On Monday 15th Queen Anne Boleyn and her brother were put on trial. Anne was found guilty of committing adultery, despite a significant lack of evidence, and she was executed on the morning of May 19th 1536.
  • Anne’s head and body were placed in an arrow chest and buried in the Chapel of St. Peter ad Vincula.

Find out about Henry VIII’s other wives by clicking here.

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