Tuesday, March 19, 2013

#Tudor Troubles: Playing with a King's Heart

A portrait of Anne Boleyn by Wenzel Hollar (1607-1677)

March 18

Tudor Troubles
Anne's Greatest Sacrifice

We return to our Tudor Troubles series on an important day of the year. It seemed only befitting to return to our series on the unusual March holiday of Supreme Sacrifice Day. Supreme Sacrifice Day occurs every year on March 18. A supreme sacrifice is a sacrifice where the petitioner offers their own lives to gain their goal. Modern day heros such as the military, police, EMS, and firefighters do this on a daily basis in order to protect other lives. 

King Henry VIII had first taken notice of Anne Boleyn sometime after she had arrived to England from France. We do not know exactly when King Henry VIII's attentions swayed from Mary to Anne. As previously noted, Mary Boleyn had been King Henry's mistress from 1520 - 1525 AD. Mary had been considered the more beautiful of the two sisters. Some at court had described Anne as pretty but not beautiful for her eyes were dark and her long hair was raven. Hostile chronicles deemed Anne as having a mole on her face and an extra finger on her hand. She was quick tempered and spirited. 

King Henry VIII had ordered Cardinal Woosely to end Anne's relationship with Henry Percy in hopes that he would be able to persuade Anne to become his mistress. Yet Anne had been so distraught over losing the man she loved she avoided the king, all his gestures of romantic interests, and continued to rant against Cardinal Woosley. The king had hoped a few months in the country would settle his distraught beloved so he ordered her father to send her away to Hever Castle. King Henry VIII visited Anne Boleyn several times at Hever Castle. The English king was paranoid of being assassinated so he traveled with a locksmith who would change the bedroom locks of wherever the king stayed the night. He would them remove the locks when the royal party left. 

King Henry had to seduce Anne but she dismissed all of his sexual advances because she did not want to become his mistress. She had learned her lessons from her sister's experience at court. She denied any gift he gave her, no matter how elegant or extravagant the gift was. Anne was not going to settle for any position less than Queen of England. It was a very dangerous game for Anne to play and it would be this game that would later convince King Henry VIII that she had bewitched him. No matter how many times she denied the king's attentions he would continue to declare his love for her in letters. King Henry did not like to write letters and there are so few of his handwritten letters that still exists. Seventeen romantic letters written by King Henry VIII to Anne Boleyn are housed in the Vatican City. It is believed these letters were stolen from Anne's possessions and sent to the Pope in order to provide evidence against the English king. You can read these letters at http://www.theanneboleynfiles.com/resources/anne-boleyn-words/henry-viiis-love-letters-to-anne-boleyn/

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