Queen Anne Boleyn : Facts, History, Biography, Timeline, Death, Execution, Ghost

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Anne Boleyn was the second wife of King Henry VIII of England. When she came to court, she wore a French hood. Since the King took a fancy to her, the French hood became immediately fashionable. She was a powerful woman in Tudor England. Not only for her influence on English fashions, but more because she had the King's ear.

Anne Boleyn's sister Mary Boleyn was a mistress of Henry 8 during his first marriage to Catherine of Aragon. Mary was later married off to one of the nobles. Anne did not want to end up like her sister. and insisted on becoming queen. Henry VIII courted Anne Boleyn for 6 years.

Henry needed a divorce from his first wife, Catherine of Aragon, to marry Anne which became known as the Kings Great Matter. Cardinal Wolsey who run the government in every thing but name fell from favor because he could not get the divorce Henry wanted so badly

Thomas Cromwell, who succeeded Cardinal Wolsey as Lord Privy Seal, obtained the means for Henry VIII to divorce Catharine.

Anne Boleyn Time as Queen

On May 23, 1533 the marriage of Catherine of Aragon and Henry VIII was null and void and contrary to divine law - granted and dispensed by Thomas Cranmer.

portrait of anne boleyn french hood

Henry VIII married Anne Boleyn secretly on January 25, 1533, in the King's private chapel at Whitehall Palace. She was pregnant with Elizabeth I

On May 28, 1533, Thomas Cranmer announced that Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn's marriage was good and valid.

After Anne and Henry were married, Anne insisted that all of Henry's subjects, especially the Bishops, take an Oath saying that they acknowledged Anne as their true Queen and Henry as the head of the English Church not the Pope. This resulted in the execution of Thomas More who previously was a close friend of Henry.

greenwich palace queens house pictureAnne Boleyn's Coronation Day was June 1, 1533. The English people were not happy about their new Queen. They called her a whore and a witch. She was outspoken and spoke freely which irritated Henry 8 greatly. Women in the 1500's were subservient to their husbands in all matters.

Anne made many enemies at Court because of her arrogance and belligerent attitude.

Not one person was burnt at the stake or otherwise executed for Heresy while Anne was Queen. This fact was quite an achievement for any Queen. She also was generous to the poor. She had her ladies in waiting sewing clothes for the poor and she gave generous amounts of money (alms) to the poor in Tudor England.

When Anne was pregnant with Elizabeth, Anne ensured Henry that the baby was a boy.

Upon the birth of Elizabeth, Anne fell from favor. Henry thought he was cursed. Only one thing would keep Anne from being arrested for treason, and that was to give birth to a son. Anne managed to get pregnant again.

Anne had a total of 3 miscarriages after the birth of Elizabeth.

During Anne's last pregnancy, Henry fell from his horse. Anne miscarried a boy shortly after his fall. It was thought that Henry's accident triggered the miscarriage.

Soon afterwards, Anne was arrested for treason accused with adultery with 5 men of the court, including her brother George Boleyn. These men were tortured into making confessions of their crime. George Boleyn's wife, Lady Rochford, falsely testified against him. Later, Lady Rochford was executed along with Katherine Howard who was Anne's cousin and Henry's 5th wife. Note: Some accounts say that Anne and her brother were guilty. Read The Other Boleyn Girl.

It was treason for a queen to commit adultery because if the Queen became pregnant, the child might not be the offspring of the king but a bastard of another. This would cause problems with the succession because the legitimate heir to the throne had to be sired by the king or if he had no children a close relative in order to keep the blood pure.

Anne was also accused of being a witch having bewitched the King into marriage. Henry acted crazy in love with Anne in the beginning of their relationship. It is said Anne had 6 fingers on one hand (a birth defect) which then was the mark of the devil and proof enough of witchcraft. She also had moles on her body. Moles, skin tags and other lesions were thought to be witch's teats that suckled demons.

Anne Boleyn as Prisoner of Tower of London

queens house tower of london pictureAnne Boleyn in the Tower of London was asked to sign a paper denying her marriage to Henry was legitimate which would declare Elizabeth a bastard. She refused because in doing so Elizabeth would not be heir to the throne.

Anne Boleyn stayed in the Queens House before her execution on Tower Green. It has been reported that the Ghost of Anne Boleyn has been seen outside the window of the room where Anne spent her last days.

Thomas Cranmer heard Anne's confession and believed she was innocent of the charges against her. He pleaded with Henry to spare her life.

Anne Boleyn was executed on May 19.  Anne requested a sword from France instead of the ax and Henry granted her request. The men who were condemned to death with Anne were executed 2 days earlier on Tower Green within the Tower of London. Anne was forced to watch. Anne's execution was delayed because the executioner from France was delayed.

Rumors circulated that after beheading Anne Boleyn, the executioner held Anne's severed head up as customary, her eyes rolled around and Anne's mouth moved as if speaking giving strength to the accusation that Anne was a witch.

It is said that Anne Boleyn ghost haunts the tower of London and is often seen outside the Queens House.

The real reason Anne was executed: Anne had a daughter and not a son.

 Eleven days after Ann Boleyn was executed, Henry VIII married Jane Seymour

Henry 8 wanted rid of Anne so he could marry Jane Seymour and father a son. Henry used the excuse that his marriage was cursed because he had married his brother's wife, Catherine. and had his ministers find a reason to divorce Anne.

Hever Castle was the childhood home of Anne. After her fall, the Castle was confiscated by the crown and later given to Anne of Cleves as part of her divorce settlement.

Picture of  Chapel of St Peter ad Vincula where Anne Boleyn is buriedGrave: Chapel of St Peter ad Vincula where Anne Boleyn is buried, ironically she is buried near Thomas More and Bishop Fisher who she had greatly influenced their executions.

Common Questions and Answers:

Question: what child did Anne Boleyn have? Answer: Elizabeth 1st.

Question: Where is Anne Boleyn buried? Answer: Chapel of St Peter ad Vincula in the Tower of London

Anne Boleyn movie

an excellent movie Anne Boleyn Henry viii story is Anne of a Thousand Days. Richard Burton plays Henry the VIII.


Weir, Alison, The Six Wives of Henry VIII,  Grove Press (April 2000)

Weir, Alison, Henry VIII: The King and His Court Ballantine Books; Reprint edition (October 29, 2002)


Hever Castle Anne's family home

Visit Hever Castle, Anne Boleyn's childhood home

Hotels near Hever Castle: