Anne Boleyn

Second Wife of Henry VIII of England

1507 – 1536 A.D.

Anne Boleyn, second wife of Henry VIII, was born in 1507, and was the daughter of Sir Thomas Boleyn, by Elizabeth Howard, daughter of the Duke of Norfolk. She spent some three years at the court of France, and soon after her return to England was wooed by Lord Henry Percy, and by king Henry himself, who in 1522 began to shower wealth and honors on her father, and who ere this had dishonored her sister Mary. Not till the king’s divorce from Catharine of Aragon was set afoot, does Anne seem to have favored his addresses; but long before Cranmer pronounced the divorce, she was Henry’s mistress. They were secretly married in January, 1533, and Anne was crowned the following June. Her daughter, the famous Elizabeth, was born on September 7 of the same year.

Anne continued to be much loved by the king until 1536, when the disappointment caused by the birth of a still-born son alienated his affections. On the next May day, the king rode off abruptly from a tournament held at Greenwich, leaving the queen behind, and on the morrow she was arrested and brought to the tower. The story runs that his jealousy was kindled by her dropping a handkerchief to one of her lovers in the lists below; anyhow, a special commission had been secretly engaged in examining into charges of Anne’s adultery with her own brother, Lord Rochford, and others, including Mark Smeaton, a musician. Only Smeaton made any confession; but they were all convicted of high treason and met death, Smeaton was hanged, and two days later on Tower Green, Anne submitted her slim neck to the headsman’s axe. Henry, the next day; married Jane Seymour.

It was through the influence of Anne Boleyn that the translation of the Scriptures was sanctioned by Henry VIII. Her own private copy of Tyndale’s translation is still in existence. She was a woman of highly cultivated mind, and there still extant some verses composed by her, shortly before her execution, which are touching in the extreme by reason of the grief and desolation they express.


Reference: Woman: Her Position, Influence, and Achievement Throughout the Civilized World published by the King-Richardson Co. in 1903.