- Gift Vouchers
Glass Dome Pendant with 56cm Chain
Free Postage Australia & NZ
Anne Boleyn was the daughter of Sir Thomas Boleyn. She returned from France in 1527. As early as 1515, she had been sent over to that kingdom to be attendant on the Princess Mary, the wife of Louis XII. On the death of this monarch, and the return of his widow to England, Anne entered the household of Queen Claude, in whose palace she remained till she was seventeen. At this time Margaret, Duchess of Alençon, the sister of Francis, became deeply attached to her, and on the demise of the queen she was taken into her family. Here she probably remained till the marriage of that princess with the King of Navarre in 1527, an event which, as it took her protectress from Paris, seems to have occasioned her return to England, where she immediately became one of the maids of honour to Catharine.
It was the fashion of many writers of the Roman Church to represent Anne Boleyn as having led a singularly profligate life in her early youth, but there appears no grounds for such slander. That the education of a youthful and beautiful female in one of the most corrupted courts of Europe should produce austere or reserved manners was not to be suspected, but no evidence deserving of a moment's credit has been adduced to prove the slightest impurity of life; the tales against her being evidently the after-coinage of those misguided zealots who, by destroying her reputation, imagined they were performing a service to religion.
When she first appeared in court she was a lovely young woman in her twentieth year. She is described as possessing a rare and admirable beauty, clear and fresh, with a noble presence and most perfect shape. Her personal graces were enhanced by a cheerfulness and sweetness of temper which never forsook her, and her education had secured to her all those female accomplishments which were fitted to dazzle and delight a court. She danced with uncommon grace, sung sweetly, and, by the remarkable vivacity and wit of her conversation, retained the admiration of those who had at first been only attracted by her beauty. On her arrival at court, Anne was welcomed by the homage and adulation which her youth, her loveliness, and accomplishments inspired; and there seems some ground for believing that Henry became enamoured of her almost immediately. But he concealed, it is even said he struggled with, his incipient passion.
Dissimulation, however, with his majesty was now at an end. Henry had never been taught to restrain his passions; his past life, though outwardly decent, had not been remarkable for constancy; his love of pleasure, and his frequent opportunities of meeting the beautiful Anne at court, exposed him to perpetual temptation; and he at length declared himself, with the confidence of a monarch who felt that he had only to make known his predilection, to be accepted as a lover. But in this he was mistaken; for, although compelled to listen to his solicitations, the lady fell upon her knees and made the following answer: "I deem, most noble king, that your majesty speaks these words in mirth to prove me; if not, I beseech your highness earnestly to take this answer in good part, and I speak it from the bottom of my soul. Believe me, I would rather lose my life than give encouragement to your addresses." Henry, however, declared that he would live in hope; when his perseverance drew forth this spirited reply: "I understand not, mighty king, how you should entertain any such hope. Your wife I cannot be, both in respect of my own unworthiness, and also because you have a queen already. Your mistress, be assured, I will never be."
On the morning of the day which was to be her last, Henry went to hunt in that district, and as he breakfasted surrounded by his train and his hounds under a spreading oak, he listened from time to time with a look of intense anxiety; at length the sound of a distant gun boomed through the wood. It was a preconcerted signal, and marked the moment when the execution was completed. "Ah ha, it is done!" said he, starting up; "the business is done; uncouple the dogs, and let us follow the sport." On the succeeding morning he was married to Jane Seymour.