Friday, March 13, 2009
Question from Sam - Anne Boleyn's second pregnancy
Sorry in advance if this has been touched upon before... I'd be interested to know what you think about Anne Boleyn's rather mysterious second pregnancy. From what I understand, she conceived within months of Elizabeth's birth and the baby was due the following summer. She was showing a 'goodly belly' in June but after that, all goes quiet until Chapuys reports, in the September, that 'The Lady is no longer to have a child' (or words to that effect). Antonia Fraser's take on it (in '6 Wives') is that royal miscarriages/stillbirths didn't tend to be public news (she uses the end of Katherine of Aragon's first pregnancy as an example- reported only in a private letter to her father some months later) but it doesn't quite hold water for me in Anne Boleyn's case. After all, the eyes of the world were upon her (many of them hostile) almost exclusively in relation to her fertility (or otherwise) especially following the birth of a daughter instead of the long-expected son. So what's the explanation? Was she pregnant or was it wishful thinking? If she did have a late miscarriage/stillbirth why didn't the sex of the child leak out, especially as it did (the boy 'born before term') when she miscarried following Katherine's funeral?