Happy Anniversary?

The idea that Henry VIII wed Anne Boleyn in a clandestine ceremony on November 14, 1532, which was St. Erkenwalds/Earconwalds/Erconwalds day, is not a new one. Edward Hall’s chronicle, which was first  published in 1548, claimed that Henry and Anne had married on that date

“The kyng after his returne, maried priuily the lady Anne Bulleyn, on sainct Erkenwaldes daie, whiche mariage was kept so secrete, that very fewe knewe it, til she was greate with child, at Easter after.”

Other historians would later dispute this, pointing out that the couple had just arrived in Dover from English occupied France and would have had very little privacy to do such a secret deed.

Personally, I think Anne and Henry were married either on that day or shortly thereafter. Why? Because Anne Boleyn was sincerely devout and very determined to only give up her virginity in lawful (or at least semi-lawful) wedlock. Queen Elizabeth I was most likely conceived in early or mid December. The second, better known, ‘secret’ wedding of Henry & Anne took place on January 22, 1533 … about the time Anne would have started to suspect she might be pregnant. Henry would have wanted everyone to know that his soon-to-born son was legitimate.

The son-to-be, of course, was no such thing. Their daughter Elizabeth was born on September 7, 1533. That is, coincidently, the feast day of St. Regina, a 3rd century virgin and martyr who had chosen death over marriage, and the day before the putative birthday of the Virgin Mary.  

Fitting for the Virgin Queen, no?

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