Friday, January 25, 2013

The Secret Marriage of Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn

A composite image of King Henry VIII by Hans Holbein and Anne Boleyn by an unknown artist. Image by Inor19 on Flickr.

On this day in Tudor history in 1533, King Henry VIII secretly wed his longtime love, Anne Boleyn, at Whitehall Palace.

In the eyes of the Roman Catholic Church, King Henry VIII was still legally married to his first wife, Catherine of Aragon; Henry was awaiting his annulment (which would be granted by Archbishop Thomas Cranmer on 23rd May, 1533) to make his marriage to Catherine, his brother's widow, null and void. Anne Boleyn, who had resisted consummating her relationship with Henry VIII for so long, was now pregnant with his child after their trip abroad to Calais; it was imperative that they be married so that their child,which they both expected to be a boy, would be legitimate upon its birth. The child would not be the long awaited male heir; the child would be the future Queen Elizabeth I of England.

A detail from a portrait of the Princess Elizabeth Tudor from 1546, at thirteen years of age. Portrait attributed to William Scrots. Picture acquired through Wikimedia Commons. Image public domain.