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Anne Boleyn

(1507—1536) queen of England, second consort of Henry VIII.


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(c. 1507–36),

2nd queen of Henry VIII. Sir Thomas Boleyn, Anne's father, descended from London merchants, was a courtier and became gentleman of the bedchamber to Henry VIII. Anne spent several years at the court of France. Returning in 1522 she was given a post in the household of Catherine of Aragon. The king's interest at this time was in her sister Mary, who became his mistress. Anne was dark‐haired, with large eyes, composed, and cultivated. By 1527 Henry was initiating annulment proceedings against Catherine, but not until 1532, it seems, did he and Anne become lovers. Anne was made marchioness of Pembroke in September 1532. Early in January 1533 Anne knew she was pregnant and was married privately to Henry on the 24th. The birth of a princess, Elizabeth, on 7 September 1533 was a disappointment, but more ominous was a miscarriage in September 1534. The king was already beginning to look elsewhere. Publicly, Anne's position was strong—the Princess Mary had been declared illegitimate, and Anne's marriage was protected by a new Treason Law. But in January 1536 Catherine of Aragon died, opening up the possibility of another marriage free from any dubiety. Anne was once more pregnant but at the end of the month, she gave premature birth to a dead son. Henry was now paying marked attention to Jane Seymour, one of Anne's ladies‐in‐waiting. At the end of April 1536, Anne was accused of adultery with several men and incest with her brother George. On 2 May she was taken to the Tower, and after a trial presided over by her uncle Norfolk, she was executed. Her daughter Elizabeth was deprived of her rank, but succeeded to the throne 22 years later.

Subjects: British History.


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