Anne Boleyn’s Story and Historical Significance
Anne Boleyn is not just an ordinary woman of history. She is one of the most famous and scandalous queen England had even though she served for only three years. The first things that come up with our minds when we hear Anne Boleyn are the words beautiful, fine, most happy, adulterous and concubine. Aside from these prejudgments, it is prudent to present and discuss her important accomplishments and contribution to the English history.
Anne Boleyn’s birth is not clearly recorded in history: she probably was born in the castle of Hever in the Weald of Kent or in Norfolk and probably on 1507 or 1509. She was a daughter of Thomas who was the eldest son of Sir William Boleyn of Blickling and of Elizabeth who was the daughter of Thomas Howard, the earl of Surrey (Ives 3). Anne spent some of her childhood years at the court of Archduchess Margaret and then transferred to the household of Henry VIII’s sister who was the wife of Louis XII of France. When Louis XII died, Anne remained in France to attend the new French queen, Claude. She developed a subtle taste for French music, poetry and fashion as she learned to fluently speak French. During her stay, she had a chance to mingle with Henry VIII and the new French king by then, Francis I (tudorhistory.org).
Anne Boleyn is described pretty but not the stereotypical image of being beautiful: she had olive-colored skin, thick dark brown hair, dark brown eyes and numerous moles. Her attractiveness to the noblemen of Britain is odd and it must be her wits and taste to aesthetics that made her charming. She had many admirers and became secretly engaged to Henry Percy, earl of Northumberland. King Henry VIII and his great minister, Cardinal Thomas Wolsey, allegedly plotted a way to separate Percy and Anne through providing a better match for Percy but Percy insists his right to choose and Anne’s suitability as his wife. They did not end up together and Percy married other woman (Ives 64). Henry VIII was originally attracted to Mary, Anne’s elder sister. Mary was one of the king’s mistresses in the early 1520’s and as a gift; her father was promoted as viscount of Rochford in 1525. Mary was attractive and flirtatious and probably this was where Anne’s social life was patterned from. Anne’s first years at court were spent in service of Katharine of Aragon, Henry VIII’s first wife. With the presence of Anne Boleyn in his court, Henry VIII’s love for Katharine eventually faded and the reasons were not exactly sure: maybe the more desirable characteristics of Anne over Katharine or he was bewitched. When Henry VIII found out the invalidity of his marriage to Katharine and consumed with his desire to have an heir (which Katharine could not give), he planned for an annulment (englishhistory.net).
There was a rise in the number of enemies Anne Boleyn has and they used Jane Seymour, the newfound fancy of Henry VIII. Henry became disappointed with Anne because she can not give him an heir so he devised a plot with Thomas Cromwell. Before Anne Boleyn’s execution due to adultery (shown to be with Anne’s brother George) and treason, some friends and families of Anne were additionally killed. Anne Boleyn was executed in Tower Green in May 19, 1536 through cutting his head (tudorhistory.org).
Anne Boleyn was known for hiring many maids while teaching them things that would empower them as women. She has this legacy of enriching the lives of the servants of the courts. She once saved French radical Nicolas Bourbon from being sentenced to death through appealing to the French Royal Family. Indeed, Anne Boleyn was very good at conversations that she was able to pursue her ideals and protect the interests of her kingdom. During her time, the Bible was translated into English because Anne wanted to enrich the religious lives of Englishmen. She also was a patron of charity; sewing shirts with her ladies for the poor, distributing alms and funding educational foundations. The odd way that she wanted for royals to project power and importance of monarchy to the people was to wear extravagant clothes and accessories and to build majestic structures (Warnicke 234-236). The lives of her people were enriched not only by jobs but also through aesthetics, spirituality and humanities.
“Anne Boleyn.” 2 November 2008. English History.net. 8 March 2009 <http://englishhistory.net/tudor>.
“Anne Boleyn: The Most Happy.” 1 December 2008. Tudor History.org. 8 March 2009 <http://tudorhistory.org/>.
Ives, Eric William. The Life and Death of Anne Boleyn. Blackwell Publishing, 2004.
Warnicke, Retha M. The Rise and Fall of Anne Boleyn. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1991.