Anne Boleyn Crowned Queen of England

Although this post should be about Anne Boleyn, considering that she was crowned queen on 1 June 1533, my mind always turns to the OTHER living Queen of England who could only weep helplessly while the woman she believed “stole” her husband now “stole” her throne as well; Katherina of Aragon.

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I have explain, at length and possibly ad nauseum, that Anne Boleyn did everything she possible could to escape Henry VIII’s attentions, and that she only capitulated to his suit under duress, but just as my proofs frequently fall on deaf ears today the reality of whom-pursued-whom was elided in the sixteenth century as well. Katherina of Aragon hated, and I mean hated, Anne Boleyn because it was all that strumpet’s fault Henry wanted an annulment.

Part of this is normal human psychology; it is harder to hate someone you love and Katherina still love Henry. A wife who is being cheated on frequently convinces herself that her husband only strayed because the other woman made it too easy or too tempting for him to resist. A wife who loves her cheating husband will come up with a multitude of excuses for his immoral betrayal, and those excuses usually center on the ‘real’ culpability of the woman who ‘stole’ him. We’ve all seen this phenomenon on the world stage –  Jennifer Anniston clearly blamed Angelina Jolie for the dissolution of her marriage to Brad Pitt – and closer to home, either personally or for a friend.

Anyone who loved Katherina likewise hated Anne for her sake, much as I have castigated anyone with whom a good friend’s significant other has had an affaire. The sniping from the ladies at court, most of whom were both loyal to the first queen and unhappy at the idea a wife could be replaced with a younger model on a whim (in an age where a woman had no other security but what a man gave her, being securely married was of utmost importance), must have been hellish for Anne. Even her own relatives were happy to slut shame her, either behind her back or subtly to her face. Katherina’s friend and the Imperial ambassador, Eustace Chapuys had begun to refer to Anne as “la putaine”, or “the whore”, in his letters by 1533, and even after Katherina’s death in 1536 he would still refer to Anne as the “English Messalina”.

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Worse for Anne, the first queen was still immensely popular with the common people both home and abroad. Londoners were calling Anne a “naughty paikie”, which was a very coarse and vulgar word for a prostitute, a word that made “whore” seem tame in comparison. A paikie was not a semi-classy brothel worker; this was a woman who serviced men sexually for alcohol while standing against a wall near the docks. The English also mocked “Nan Bullen” and jeered at the king’s affection for this jumped-up hussy. In Catherina’s home country Henry’s new love was so reviled that to this day there is a demon by the name of Ana Boleyna in Spanish mythology. Almost everyone was on Katherina’s side of the argument.

Yet in the face of all this opposition Henry still married Anne and had her named his queen.

Did it make things easier for Katherina to know that the “false” queen was so universally despised? Or was it a meager and cold comfort when the evil whore who seduced Henry was crowned as her belly bulged with a child that would possible supplant Princess Mary? Did Katherina pray that Anne’s baby would not be a boy? Did she lower herself to hope the baby would die, as her own children had perished? Could any mortal woman not wish catastrophe on Anne from Katherina’s vantage point?  After all Katherina had suffered, after the Pope declared her Henry’s true wife, her husband was still putting the crown that was rightfully hers on Nan Bullen’s unworthy brow. How could the unfairness of it all not eat away at Katherina’s soul? How could she not be bitter? Was this bitterness, and an acid stomach that often accompanies great stress, the reason Katherina became unable to eat anything but the most bland fare?

I don’t think Anne was to blame for Henry’s actions, but it is impossible to dwell on Katherina of Aragon’s intense emotional suffering without great sympathy for her hatred of Anne. The coronation of Henry’s second queen, a day of triumph for Anne Boleyn, may have been the absolute nadir of Katherina’s life, which was already filled with unspeakably tragic losses and pains. It is no wonder Princess Mary would one day rejoice in the judicial murder of the woman whom she saw as the well-spring of her mother’s agonies.



5 thoughts on “Anne Boleyn Crowned Queen of England

  1. Please Anne was Motivated by Power and Greed. She was not the damsel in distress being persued by a leacher. SHe saw her opportunity and she took it devil may care! She didn’t care who she hurt or plowed over to get the crown. Case in Point her treatment of the Princess Mary. SHe did not have to go that route but chose to.

    1. First, how does one demonstrate greed by actively running away for more than a year and hiding and sending “let’s just be friends” letters? What could she have done, other than suicide, to convince either you or Henry VIII that she wasn’t interested? It was only when it became clear that he was divorcing Katherina one way or another that she gave up the fight. Secondly, she tried multiple times to help Mary or make peace with her … and after Anne’s death (which Mary was gleeful about) Mary’s life got WORSE until she finally caved into her father’s will and signed away her own birthright. It was Henry, not the dead Anne, who was willing to threaten his daughter’s life.

      1. Anne Boleyn’s letter to Henry VIII summer 1526:

        It belongs only to the august mind of a great king, to whom Nature has given a heart full of generosity towards the sex, to repay by favors so extraordinary an artless and short conversation with a girl. Inexhaustible as is the treasury of your majesty’s bounties, I pray you to consider that it cannot be sufficient to your generosity; for, if you recompense so slight a conversation by gifts so great, what will you be able to do for those who are ready to consecrate their entire obedience to your desires? How great soever may be the bounties I have received, the joy that I feel in being loved by a king whom I adore, and to whom I would with pleasure make a sacrifice of my heart, if fortune had rendered it worthy of being offered to him, will ever be infinitely greater.
        The warrant of maid of honor to the queen induces me to think that your majesty has some regard for me, since it gives me means of seeing you oftener, and of assuring you by my own lips (which I shall do on the first opportunity) that I am,
        Your majesty’s very obliged and very obedient servant, without any reserve,
        Anne Bulen

        Is this the letter of a virtuous lady who rejects a king?. Many historians have supposed Anne held back from sexual relations with Henry until he agreed to make her his queen, but Bernard believes that it was Henry, not Anne, who held back, on the grounds that he wanted their children to be his legitimate heirs. The Catholics and many European courts, Katherine’s relatives, did not recognize Anne Boleyn as Queen of England. Anne Boleyn hated Katherine and Mary. I’m sure she wanted to humiliate them as revenge. Anne Boleyn tried two times to help Mary but with the condition that Mary recognized her as Queen of England. It was to admit that her parents’ marriage was not valid and that she was a bastard. Anne was not generous with Mary, it is blackmail. Anne is often called “the most influential queen of England” but she had not influence over Henry’s actions. ¿Anne was a submissive queen?

        1. Is she supposed to insult the king, a man who has absolute power over her father and brother, who are also at court? Is she supposed to be ungrateful for his gifts? And that letter does not negate her fleeing to Hever Castle or her repeated insistence she was ONLY his servant. And it was Henry’s insistence, maintained long after Anne’s murder, that Mary declare herself a bastard. Was Anne supposed to go against the king and her own child to help Mary? Wasn’t it enough that she repeatedly tried to warn the girl, and NEVER encouraged Henry to do something awful to Mary, whom Anne probably believed was a bastard since Henry and his council declared that she was? Anne was by no means submissive, but she never chased Henry, or egged him on in his petty cruelties toward KoA or Mary, and on more than one occasion she tired to break up with him but could NOT escape the pressure of family and monarchy. Contrast that with Jane Seymour’s lingering around the king and occupying rooms next to his during Anne’s pregnancy. It is simply not the same. One was real reluctance, and the other a show of token resistance.

          1. Anne Boleyn, like human, was not perfect. She had a positive and negative. We will never know how they were because we are not time travelers. For pro-Boleyn historians she is a perfect woman incapable to make mistakes and Katherine of Aragon a boring wife, fanatical, liar, cruel and stubborn. For others Anne Boleyn was ambitious, vengeful, manipulative and fanatical reformist. Anne Boleyn disdained Henry at times and removed herself tactically to Hever Castle to increase the love of the king and become queen. Anne Boleyn never manipulated Henry against her enemies like Wolsey, Fisher, More, Katherine or Mary? Really? Like Jane Seymour, Anne enjoyed her own rooms at Greenwich next to Henry when Katherine of Aragon lived at court. Henry kissed Anne in public and she behaved like the queen when Katherine was absent.

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