Meet the Wives Handbook: Anne Boleyn

Why Choose This Wife?

Anne had initially caught the king's eye in 1525 after his affair ended with her older sister, Mary Boleyn. By the spring of 1526 Henry was completely captivated and begging Anne to be his mistress. His passion for Anne is evident in the love letters he wrote to his beloved -- 17 of which survive in the Vatican. In one letter, Henry promises Anne "if you... give yourself up, heart, body and soul to me... I will take you for my only mistress, rejecting from thought and affection all others save yourself, to serve only you." The king, accustomed to easy conquests, was surprised at Anne's rejection: "Your wife I cannot be, both in respect of mine own unworthiness, and also because you have a queen already. Your mistress I will not be." Anne made her point: it was to be marriage or nothing.

Anne knew that Henry was desperate to have her, but more importantly to have a male heir. Henry's queen, Catherine of Aragon was past her childbearing years. The king, therefore, set out on a campaign to have his marriage declared invalid. Thanks to Catherine and her powerful allies, it would not be an easy task. All throughout the long divorce proceedings, Henry treated Anne as if she were his queen, giving her extravagant presents and even a title of her own -- Marquess of Pembroke. But Anne would not yield to Henry fully until it was certain she would be queen. Only in 1532 when the king's divorce was imminent did Henry and she consummate their relationship -- a full six years after their romance began. On January 25, 1533 Henry and Anne were secretly married and in June, Henry would honor her with a lavish coronation ceremony.





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