Anniversary Post: Off With Anne Boleyn’s Head!

Anne BoleynOn this day in 1536, King Henry VIII had Anne Boleyn‘s head chopped off — after less than three years of marriage. She was a vile woman — convicted of adultery, incest, witchcraft… Wait, witchcraft?! Oh, that’s right: she didn’t do any of these things. It was just that Henry wanted to marry Jane Seymour. Boleyn had given birth to the future Queen Elizabeth I. And then she had three spontaneous abortions — all male. And Henry really wanted an male heir. So: off with her head!

What makes the whole thing worse is that Henry’s difficulties getting healthy children born were almost certainly his own fault. It’s either that, or he just had incredibly bad luck. I’ll go with “almost certainly.”

It is hard to see any king, but most especially Henry, as anything but a psychopath. Certainly, he didn’t seem to think that women had a purpose other than to pop babies out for him. But the idea that you would put someone to death just so you can move on to the next baby incubator is truly outrageous. I understand that there was politics going on behind the scenes. But he could have just annulled the marriage like he did with Queen Catherine. He was a monster.

On the plus side, Anne Boleyn: you never had to see him again!

2 thoughts on “Anniversary Post: Off With Anne Boleyn’s Head!

  1. So may films and plays and books about such a bland character. Anne’s sister Mary was much more interesting and certainly more entertaining, so to speak. Henry probably would have done much better with her as his queen especially in the area of offspring. And who can forget the inscrutable Thomas Cromwell’s role in all this? A true backroom wizard whose skullduggery helped keep Henry amused till he eventually wore out his welcome and joined Anne at the block.

    • Yes, it seems that Boleyn wouldn’t have been killed if it hadn’t been for Cromwell. But I think it is Anne’s blandness that makes her such a tragic character.

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