Category Archives: Henry VIII

On this day in 1509 – King Henry VIII married Katherine of Aragon

Following the death of Prince Arthur Tudor Katherine of Aragon returned to London and her future was left undecided. Henry VII did not want to send her home to Spain but equally he did not want her to remarry, Henry was still arguing with Katherine’s father, Ferdinand, over Katherine’s dowry and did not intend to return it. After 14 months Henry VII decided that Katherine could marry his other son, Prince Henry but they would have to wait until Henry was old enough to marry.

On 23rd June 1503 a marriage treaty was signed and the two were officially betrothed on 25th June. It was decided that the couple would marry on Henry’s 15th birthday on 28th June 1506 giving the two countries enough time to get the papal dispensation required as Katherine and Henry were related in the first degree of affinity. In 1504 the Pope was willing to grant the required dispensation and sent it to Katherine’s mother, Isabella, in Spain but she died shortly after receiving it.

With Spain no longer as strong as they were with the death of Isabella Henry VII believed that the alliance was not as attractive to England as a country and so began persuading Henry to declare that he did not want to marry Katherine. The evening before the marriage was meant to be solemnized Henry declared that he wanted it called off and so Prince Henry was now free to marry who he wanted and Katherine was now about to lead a life in virtual poverty.

Upon his deathbed it was said that Henry’s dying wish to his son was that he married Katherine, whether this was true or if Henry truly loved Katherine enough to marry her is debatable and so one of Henry’s first acts as King was to declare his intention to marry Katherine. On 8th June 1509 the Archbishop of Canterbury, William Warham, issued a marriage licence.

The couple were married in a private ceremony in the chapel of the Franciscan Observants at Greenwich on 11th June 1509, there were two witnesses to the ceremony; Lord Steward Shrewsbury and groom of the privy chamber, William Thomas. Katherine was 23 years old and Henry was on the verge of turning 18.

The wording of the ceremony was;

Most illustrious Prince, is it your will to fulfil the treaty of marriage concluded by your father, the late King of England, and the parents of the Princess of Wales, the King and Queen of Spain; and, as the Pope has dispensed with this marriage, to take the Princess who is here present for you lawful wife?

The King answered: I will

Most illustrious Princess, &c. (mutatis mutandis)

The Princess answered: I will”

The couple went on to be married for 24 years before Henry divorced her to marry Anne Boleyn.Henry and Katerine

King Henry VIII and Katherine of Aragon

On this day in 1536 – Second Act of Succession passed by Parliament

The Second Act of Succession was passed by the English Parliament on 8th June 1536. It had two names at the time ‘An Act concerning the Succession of the Crown’ and ‘Succession to the Crown: Marriage Act 1536’.

The Act was introduced to Parliament following the execution of Anne Boleyn and the new marriage of King Henry VIII to Jane Seymour that had all happened within the previous month.

The new act replaced the First Act of Succession, which was passed in March 1534. In this act as well as Mary still being illegitimate it also declared Elizabeth to now be illegitimate and both were ruled out of the succession. Both girls lost the right to be called Princess and had to be referred to as Lady. Any children that Henry would have with his new Queen, Jane would be the rightful heir to the throne.

The Act however, left Henry with no legitimate children for the time and therefore no heir to the throne. The Act did cover this by declaring that it gave Henry ‘full and plenary power and authority’, which meant that if he still had no legitimate child when the time came to write his will then he could name his successor in letters patent or in his last will and testament.

As well as dealing with the line of succession it also made it an offence to any person who said that either of Henry’s first two marriages to Katherine of Aragon or Anne Boleyn were valid or even if someone said Mary or Elizabeth were legitimate. It was also punishable if anyone criticised the sentence passed on Sir Thomas More who was executed for refusing to take the previous oath regarding the succession. If an offense was committed then that person could be charged with high treason and punished.

The Act also required subjects to take an oath to uphold the Act and again it was treason to refuse. Any one accused of treason was not able to seek sanctuary and therefore had nowhere to hide. If accused and convicted of treason then the death penalty could be passed.

Henry and Jane were delivered a son, Edward, in October 1537 and this act meant that he was, from birth, the rightful heir to the English throne.

Henry VIII and familyKing Henry VIII surrounded by his children.

On this day in 1520 – the Field of Cloth of Gold began

The Field of the Cloth of Gold began on 7th June 1520 and lasted for 17 days. It was a meeting between King Henry VIII of England and King Francis I of France. It was arranged to unite the two countries after the 1514 Anglo-French treaty. It was held just outside of Calais at Balinghem, an English territory. King Henry VIII and his first wife, Katherine of Aragon left Dover on 1st June 1520 and crossed the channel heading to Calais, they stayed here for six days before setting off to meet the French king. Hall’s Chronicle described the meeting as; “Thursday 8 June being Corpus Christi day, Henry and the French king Francis I, met in a valley called the Golden Dale which lay midway between Guisnes and Arde where the French king had been staying. In this valley Henry pitched his marquee made of cloth of gold near where a banquet had been prepared. His Grace was accompanied by 500 horsemen and 3,000 foot soldiers, and the French King had a similar number of each. When the two great princes met proclaimations were made by the herald and officers-of-arms of both parties, to the effect that everyone should stand absolutely still – the king of England and his company on one side of the valley and the king of France with his retinue on the other. They were commanded to stand thus, completely still, on pain of death whilst the two kings rode down the valley. At the bottom of the valley they embraced each other in great friendship and then, dismounting, embraced each other again, taking off their hats. Henry’s sword was held, unsheathed, by the marquess of Dorset whilst the duc de Bourbon bore the French king’s sword similarly all the while. On Friday 9 June the two kings met up at the camp where a tiltyard had been set up with a pretty green tree with damask leaves nearby. On Saturday two shields bearing the arms of the two kings were hung upon this tree and a proclamation made to the effect that anyone who intended to attend the royal jousts and compete in feats of arms – such as the running at the tilt, fighting tourneys on horseback and fighting on foot at the barriers with swords should bring their shields of arms and have their names entered into the records kept by Clarencieux and Lancaster, officers-at-arms. On Sunday 11 June the French king came to Guisnes to dine with the Queen of England and was graciously received by the Lord Cardinal, the Duke of Buckingham, the Duke of Suffolk, the Earl of Northumberland and various other noblemen, together with a large number of ladies and gentlemen all richly dressed in cloth of gold, velvet and silks. That day too the French king was himself magnificently dressed in tissue-cloth set with precious stones and pearls. When dinner was over, some time was spent dancing in the banqueting hall. Before he started to dance, the French king went from one end of the room to the other, carrying his hat in his hand and kissing all the ladies on both sides – except for four or five who were too old and ugly. He then returned to the Queen and spoke with her for a while before spending the rest of the day dancing. At the same moment King Henry was dining with the French Queen at Arde where he spent the time in a similar manner until seven o’clock in the evening when he returned to Guisnes and the French king likewise returned to Arde. On Monday 12 June both kings and their men-at-arms met at the aforementioned camp. Also present were the Queen of England and the Queen of France, wife of Francis I with her ladies-in-waiting – all riding in litters and sedan chairs covered in sumptuous embroidery. Some other ladies also arrived mounted on richly decorated palfreys. Then the two kings with their teams of challengers and their sides entered the field, every one fully armed and magnificently dressed. The French king started the jousts and did extremely well, even though the first lance was broken by King Henry, who managed to break one on each charge. The French king broke a good number of lances but not as many as Henry. Thursday 15 June saw Henry in the field again, fully armoured and challenging all comers. Opponents that day included two French noblemen with their men-at-arms, all well-mounted and finely dressed, who acquitted themselves well. On Friday 16 June there was no contest at the camp because of a tremendous gale. On Saturday both kings entered the field and King Henry’s armour-skirt and horse-trapper were decorated with 2,000 ounces of gold and 1,100 huge pearls, the price of which was incalculable, the Earl of Devonshire also appeared that day wearing cloth of gold, tissue-cloth and cloth of silver, all elaborately embroidered, with his retinue wearing the same uniform. When the French king and the Earl of Devonshire charged at each other, so fierce was their encounter that both their lances broke. In all they ran off eight times, during which the French king broke three lances while the earl broke two lances and the French king’s nose. On Saturday 23 June a large and well-appointed chapel was set up on the grounds, decorated with ornate hangings and filled with statues of saints and holy relics. Later the lord cardinal said mass in the chapel – which had been built and fitted out entirely at King Henry’s expense. During the service the chaplains of both kings took it in turns to sing the refrains, which was heavenly to listen to. The mass completed, the kings and queens, proceeded to the gallery beside the chapel to dine in great style.” Henry and Francis were always in competition with each other and the Field of the Cloth of Gold was no different each camp tried to outshine the other. In the English camp a temporary palace was erected covering nearly 12,000 square yards. The palace was separated into four blocks with a central courtyard. The base of each block was brick that stood at eight feet high and above this the walls were made of canvas or cloth attached to timber frames and painted to look like brick. Oiled cloth was painted to give the impression of a slated roof. In the central courtyard stood two fountains that flowed red wine for everyone to enjoy, it is believed that over 2800 tents were erected around the palaces for lesser visitors. The following days of the meeting saw many tournaments, banquets in each camp where the kings entertained each other’s queens. Other entertainment included wrestling, although the kings had not competed against each other due to carefully established rules Henry challenged Francis to a wrestling match but promptly lost. The Field of the Cloth of Gold came to an end on 24th June when the two kings departed the political reasons for the meeting was not resolved and in fact relations began to break down soon after.

Field of the cloth of goldField of the Cloth of Gold

On this day in 1536 – the wedding of Henry VIII and Jane Seymour.

On 30th May 1536 just 11 days after the death of his second wife, Anne Boleyn, King Henry VIII married Jane Seymour. The couple were married in the Queen’s Closet at York Palace. In preparation for the service the former Queen’s falcon emblems were quickly replaced with a phoenix and Jane’s initials laid over Anne’s, it was done in such hurry that if you look carefully at Hampton Court Palace you can still see some A’s under the J’s.

According to David Starkey the wedding vows would have been spoken by the King first followed by Jane and they would have been similar to the following;

“I, Henry, take thee to be my wedded wife, to have and to hold from this day forward, for better for worse, for richer for poorer, in sickness and in health, till death do us part, and thereto I plight thee my troth.”

Jane’s vows would have been the same but with the added line promising to be ‘bonny and buxom in bed and board.’

The wedding remained secret for a few days and Jane was gradually introduced as the new Queen.

Sir John Russell wrote to Lord Lisle;

“On Friday last (2nd June) the Queen sat abroad as Queen, and was served by her own servants, who were sworn that same day. The King came in his great boat to Greenwich that day with his privy chamber, and the Queen and the ladies in the great barge.”

Henry granted 104 manors in four counties along with forests and hunting chases. He also gave his new wife a Hans Holbein designed gold cup that combined the King and Queen’s initials along with Jane’s motto of ‘bound to obey and serve.’

Jane was the only wife to give Henry the one thing that he desired, a son. Although it cost her her life in doing so.

marriage deed                               The marriage deed for Jane Seymour and Henry VIII

On this day in 1536 – Lady Mary writes to Thomas Cromwell

With the execution of Anne Boleyn a week earlier on the 26th May 1536 the Lady Mary wrote to her father in order to repair their relationship. Mary had always blamed Anne for the breakdown of her parent’s marriage and the treatment of her mother and herself after the divorce. Mary wrote to Thomas Cromwell asking for him to intercede on her behalf. The letter is badly damaged and only fragments of it now survive but some of it reads as follows;

“Master Secretary,

I would have been a suitor to you before this time to have been a mean for me to the King’s Grace to have obtained his Grace’s blessing and favor; but I perceived that nobody durst speak for me as long as that woman lived, which is now gone; whom I pray our Lord of His great mercy to forgive.” Is now the bolder to write, desiring him for the love of God to be a suitor for her to the King, to have his blessing and leave to write to his Grace. Apologises for her evil writing; “for I have not done so much this two year and more, nor could not have found the means to do it at this time but by my lady Kingston’s being here.

Hunsdon, 26 May.”

The letter to Cromwell did not work as Mary planned and Henry VIII continued to be hostile to Mary until she the oath that declared Henry the Supreme Head of the Church and that the marriage between Henry and Katherine of Aragon was never valid.

Mary

On this day in 1533 – Archbishop Cranmer ruled that Henry VIII and Katherine of Aragon marriage was annulled.

On 23rd May 1533 Archbishop Thomas Cranmer declared that the marriage between King Henry VIII and Katherine of Aragon was annulled and they were never lawfully married. With convocation already ruling on the matter in March and the King already married to Anne Boleyn it feels that this was just a formality in proceedings.

Archbishop Cranmer issued the following statement after his trial into the annulment at Dunstable Priory, Bedfordshire;

“Notification of the sentence of divorce between Hen. VIII and Katherine of Arragon pronounced by archbishop Cranmer. Dated in the monastery of Dunstable, 23 May 1533. Present, Gervase prior of the said monastery, Simon Haynes, S.T.P., John Newman, M.A., and others.

The matrimony between the King and the lady Katherine being dissolved by sufficient authority, all pactions made for the same marriage are also dissolved and of none effect. That is, the jointure shall return again to the King’s use, and the money paid to him by her friends shall be repaid to her. The matrimony being dissolved, the lady Katherine shall return to the commodity and profits of the first matrimony, and the pactions of the same, made with prince Arthur, and shall enjoy the jointure assigned to her thereby, notwithstandingany quittance or renunciation made in the second pact. For as these renunciations were agreed unto for a sure trust and hope to enjoy the commodities and pactions of the second marriage, which now she cannot enjoy, unless without fault she should be deprived of both, equity and right restore her to the first. This, we think, by our poor learning, to be according both to canon and civil law, unless there are any other treaties and pactions which we have not seen.

For the more clear declaration hereof, we think that when a matrimony is dissolved, if there is no paction of a further bond, then by law the money paid by the woman or her friends shall be restored to her, and the jointure return to the man and his heirs. In this case there is an especial pact that she shall enjoy her jointure durante vita, so that the said jointure is due to her by the pact, and the money paid by her and her friends by the law.”

Henry VIIIKatherine of Aragon

On this day in 1536 – Henry VIII and Jane Seymour formally betrothed.

On 20th May 1536 King Henry VIII and Jane Seymour became formally betrothed. The Imperial Ambassador Eustace Chapuys wrote in a letter to the Seigneur de Granvelle;

Has just been informed, the bearer of this having already mounted, that Mrs.Semel came secretly by river this morning to the King’s lodging, and that the promise and betrothal was made at 9 o’clock. The King means it to be kept secret till Whitsuntide; but everybody begins already to murmur by suspicion, and several affirm that long before the death of the other there was some arrangement which sounds ill in the ears of the people; who will certainly be displeased at what has been told me, if it be true, viz., that yesterday the King, immediately on receiving news of the decapitation of the putain entered his barge and went to the said Semel, whom he had lodged a mile from him, in a house by the river.”

With Henry receiving the news of his former wife’s execution he headed straight to Jane Seymour’s lodging to officially propose marriage. By waiting until Anne Boleyn was dead there would be no question of the legitimacy of the marriage or any children that would be born as a result of the marriage.

The rumours of the King’s involvement with Jane Seymour had been spoken around court for some time before the betrothal took place so it probably came as no surprise to the court.

Henry VIII and Jane Seymour

On this day in 1536 – The execution of Queen Anne Boleyn

Queen Anne Boleyn was sentenced to death at her trial but it was left up to the King to decide how she would die. The normal death for a female traitor was to be burned at the stake; however King Henry VIII had decided to change this to beheading but at the hands of a French swordsman instead of the typical axe. With the manner of her death decided the date of her execution was set for the 18th May 1536.

Anne was prepared to die at 9am on the 18th May. John Skip, the Queen’s almoner arrived at 2am to pray with the Queen, they were still praying when Archbishop Thomas Cranmer arrived to perform mass and hear the Queen’s final confession. Anne also took the sacrament and swore twice in front of the Constable of the Tower, Sir William Kingston that she was innocent of all charges.

Eustace Chapuys reported to the Holy Roman Emperor that;

“The lady who had charge of her has sent to tell me in great secrecy that the Concubine, before and after receiving the sacrament, affirmed to her, on the damnation of her soul, that she had never been unfaithful to the King.”

When 9am passed and no one came to collect the Queen to deliver her to her fate she called for Sir William Kingston again to try to learn what the cause of the delay was. However, Kingston had already been told not to inform the Queen that the execution had been delayed until the following day until the Tower was emptied of any diplomats. Instead he tried to comfort Anne about her upcoming execution and that it would not be painful. It was reported that Anne responded that; “I heard say the executioner was very good, and I have a little neck.”

Anne was informed after midday that her execution had been put off until the following day.

John Skip arrived at Anne’s room once again to perform mass and to offer the sacrament and at 8am Kingston informed the Queen to prepare herself as the time was approaching for Anne to climb the scaffolding to her death. Anne was already ready having dress herself in a ermine trimmed grey damask robe and a crimson kirtle, instead of her usual French style hood she wore an English style gable hood. Her outfit was planned to show her status as Queen as well as that of being a martyr.

Anne took the long walk to the scaffold where she climbed up to address the crowd that awaited her. Instead of protesting her innocence she simply followed what was expected of her in order to protect her daughter. She said to the crowd;

“Good Christian people, I have not come here to preach a sermon; I have come here to die. For according to the law and by the law I am judged to die, and therefore I will speak nothing against it. I am come hither to accuse no man, nor to speak of that whereof I am accused and condemned to die, but I pray God save the King and send him long to reign over you, for a gentler nor a more merciful prince was there never, and to me he was ever a good, a gentle, and sovereign lord. And if any person will meddle of my cause, I require them to judge the best. And thus I take my leave of the world and of you all, and I heartily desire you all to pray for me.”

Anne-Boleyn-Execution-German-Engraving

With her final words Anne paid the executioner his fee and her ladies approached to remove Anne’s hood and placed her hair within a linen cap. She knelt down in front of the executioner and one of her ladies covered her eyes. As Anne waited for her fate she began to pray by saying;

“O Lord have mercy on me, to God I commend my soul. To Jesus Christ I commend my soul; Lord Jesu receive my soul.”

The swordsman approached Anne and with some misdirection from an assistant he struck the Queen’s neck and Anne died.

With the execution over Anne’s ladies wrapped her body and head in white cloth and transported her body to the Chapel of St Peter ad Vincula for burial. As no coffin had been provided a guard found an empty chest that once stored arrows. With this the Queen was committed to the ground and buried. Henry was now free to move on to his next wife and Anne was free to be at peace.

Grave Marker of Anne BolelynDSC_0076Above – A German engraving of Anne Boleyn’s execution

Middle – The plaque to mark Anne Boleyn’s body in the Chapel of St Peter ad Vincula, Tower of London

Below – The monument to commemorate those who were executed within the Tower of London’s walls

On this day in 1536 – Giles Heron announced their was sufficient evidence to charge Queen Anne Boleyn

On 10th May 1536 Giles Heron, the foreman of the Grand Jury of Middlesex announced that they believed that there was sufficient evidence that Queen Anne Boleyn, George Boleyn, Sir Henry Norris, Sir Francis Weston, Sir William Brereton and Mark Smeaton could all stand trial on the charges of treason.

Anne Boleyn was accused of adultery with the co-accused, including her own brother, conspiring to have the King killed and marry one of her lovers. Each of the men accused were charged with adultery with the Queen and helping her to plot against the King’s life.

Giles Heron announced that the six should be indicted and sent to trial and wrote down his thoughts and the alleged evidence in his indictment;

“Indictment found at Westminster on Wednesday next after three weeks of Easter, 28 Hen. VIII. before Sir John Baldwin, etc., by the oaths of Giles Heron, Roger More, Ric. Awnsham, Thos. Byllyngton, Gregory Lovell, Jo. Worsop, Will. Goddard, Will. Blakwall, Jo. Wylford, Will. Berd, Hen. Hubbylthorn, Will. Hungyng, Rob. Walys, John England, Hen, Lodysman, and John Averey; who present that whereas queen Anne has been the wife of Henry VIII. for three years and more, she, despising her marriage, and entertaining malice against the King, and following daily her frail and carnal lust, did falsely and traitorously procure by base conversations and kisses, touching, gifts, and other infamous incitations, divers of the King’s daily and familiar servants to be her adulterers and concubines, so that several of the King’s servants yielded to her vile provocations; viz., on 6th Oct. 25 Hen. VIII., at Westminster, and divers days before and after, she procured, by sweet words, kisses, touches, and otherwise, Hen. Noreys, of Westminster, gentle man of the privy chamber, to violate her, by reason whereof he did so at Westminster on the 12th Oct. 25 Hen. VIII.; and they had illicit intercourse at various other times, both before and after, sometimes by his procurement, and sometimes by that of the Queen.

Also the Queen, 2 Nov. 27 Hen. VIII. and several times before and after, at Westminster, procured and incited her own natural brother, Geo. Boleyn, lord Rocheford, gentleman of the privy chamber, to violate her, alluring him with her tongue in the said George’s mouth, and the said George’s tongue in hers, and also with kisses, presents, and jewels; whereby he, despising the commands of God, and all human laws, 5 Nov. 27 Hen VIII., violated and carnally knew the said Queen, his own sister, at Westminster; which he also did on divers other days before and after at the same place, sometimes by his own procurement and sometimes by the Queen’s.

Also the Queen, 3 Dec. 25 Hen. VIII., and divers days before and after, at Wesminster, procured one Will. Bryerton, later of Westminster, gentleman of the privy chamber, to violate her, whereby he did so on 8 Dec. 25 Hen.VIII., at Hampton Court, in the parish of Lytel Hampton, and on several other days before and after, sometimes by his own procurement and sometimes by the Queen’s.

Also the Queen, 8 May 26 Hen. VIII., and at other times before and since, procured Sir Fras. Weston, of Westminster, gentleman of the privy chamber, etc., whereby he did so on the 20 May, etc. Also the Queen, 12 April 26 Hen. VIII., and divers days before and since, at Westminster, procured Mark Smeton, groom of the privy chamber, to violate her, whereby he did so at Westminster, 26 April 27 Hen. VIII.

Moreover, the said lord Rocheford, Norreys, Bryerton, Weston, and Smeton, being thus inflamed with carnal love of the Queen, and having become very jealous of each other, gave her secret gifts and pledges while carrying on this illicit intercourse; and the Queen, on her part, could not endure any of them to converse with any other women, without showing great displeasure; and on the 27 Nov. 27 Hen. VIII., and other days before and after, at Westminster, she gave them great gifts to encourage them in their crimes. And further the said Queen and these other traitors, 31 Oct. 27 Hen. VIII., at Westminster, conspired the death and destruction of the King, the Queen often saying she would marry one of them as soon as the King died, and affirming that she would never love the King in her heart. And the King having a short time since become aware of the said abominable crimes and treasons against himself, took such inward displeasure and heaviness, especially from his said Queen’s malice and adultery, that certain harms and perils have befallen his royal body.

And thus the said Queen and the other traitors aforesaid have committed their treasons in contempt of the Crown, and of the issue and heirs of the said King and Queen.”

Anne Boleyn

On this day in 1536 – Anne Boleyn wrote a letter to Henry VIII from the Tower of London

On 6th May 1536 a letter was sent to King Henry VIII allegedly from Anne Boleyn, the letter was found amongst Cromwell’s belongings after his execution. It is unsure whether the letter was in fact from the Queen or someone else. The controversy comes from the fact that the letter was not in Anne’s handwriting, which is documented elsewhere. There are many arguments for and against whether the letter came from Anne herself. It could easily be explained away that Cromwell had made a copy of the letter and that the letter was different in tone as Anne was bargaining for her life. Others believe that the letter was a forgery and written during the reign of her daughter, Queen Elizabeth I.

Anne’s letter read as follows

To the King from the Lady in the Tower

Sir, your Grace’s displeasure, and my imprisonment are things so strange unto me, as what to write, or what to excuse, I am altogether ignorant; whereas you sent unto me (willing me to confess a truth, and so obtain your favour) by such a one, whom you know to be my ancient and professed enemy; I no sooner received the message by him, than I rightly conceived your meaning; and if, as you say, confessing truth indeed may procure my safety, I shall with all willingness and duty perform your command.

But let not your Grace ever imagine that your poor wife will ever be bought to acknowledge a fault, where not so much as thought thereof proceeded. And to speak a truth, never Prince had wife more loyal in all duty, and in all true affection, than you have found in Anne Boleyn, with which name and place could willingly have contented my self, as if God, and your Grace’s pleasure had been so pleased. Neither did I at any time so far forge myself in my exaltation, or received Queenship, but that I always looked for such an alteration as now I find; for the ground of my preferment being on no surer foundation than your Grace’s fancy, the least alteration, I knew, was fit and sufficient to draw that fancy to another subject.

You have chosen me, from a low estate, to be your Queen and companion, far beyond my desert or desire. If then you found me worthy of such honour, good your Grace, let not any light fancy, or bad counsel of mine enemies, withdraw your princely favour from me; neither let that stain, that unworthy stain of a disloyal heart towards your good Grace, ever cast so foul a blot on your most dutiful wife, and the infant Princess your daughter.

Try me, good King, but let me have a lawful trial, and let not my sworn enemies sit as my accusers and judges; yes, let me receive an open trial, for my truth shall fear no open shame; then shall you see, either mine innocency cleared, your suspicion and conscience satisfied, the ignominy and slander of the world stopped, or my guilt openly declared. So that whatsoever God or you ,ay determine of me, your Grace may be freed from an open censure; and mine offense being so lawfully proved, your Grace is at liberty, both before God and man, not only to execute worthy punishment on me as an unlawful wife, but to follow your affection already settled on that party, for whose sake I am now as I am, whose name I could some good while since have pointed unto: Your Grace being not ignorant of my suspicion therein.

But if you have already determined of me, and that not only my death, but an infamous slander must bring you the enjoying of your desired happiness; then I desire of God, that he will pardon your great sin therein, and likewise mine enemies, the instruments thereof; that he will not call you to a strict account for your unprincely and cruel usage of me, at his general judgement-seat, where both you and my self must shortly appear, and in whose judgement, I doubt not, (whatsoever the world may think of me) mine innocence shall be openly known, and sufficiently cleared.

My last and only request shall be, that my self may only bear the burthen of your Grace’s displeasure, and that it may not touch the innocent souls of those poor gentlemen, who (as I understand) are likewise in strait imprisonment for my sake. If ever I have found favour in your sight; if ever the name of Anne Boleyn hath been pleasing to your ears, then let me obtain this request; and I will so leave to trouble your Grace any further, with mine earnest prayers to the trinity o have your Grace in his good keeping, and to direct you in all your actions.

Your most loyal and ever faithful wife

Anne Bullen

Anne Boleyns letter