What - if any - were the likely consequences if a woman (particularly an unmarried lady in waiting) refused sexual or romantic advances from King Henry VIII? He certainly seemed to be a man who had trouble accepting "no"! Obviously Anne Boleyn refused him pre-divorce, but on the other hand, she did not outright reject the king but rather implied that her only resistance was due to her reputation and that she would happily romp around with him if he married her. In her case, the refusals seemed to only intensify his pursuit rather than leading to definitive rejection. I'm interested in learning more about what would happen if someone said a firm and obvious NO.
What were the sexual politics and expectations of a noblewoman propositioned by the king? Was she "allowed" to refuse (i.e. without intimidation or consequences), or did she have to "lie back and think of England" for fear of angering or offending Henry? If she could refuse him completely, under what grounds? I imagine refusing based on chastity, reputation or loyalty to the queen might bruise the royal ego less than, "I'm just not that into you, sire." ;-) If there were problems with refusing him, what kind might they be? Exile from court? Family members being refused promotions? Being married off to some guy with a giant wart on his nose? Or just a subtle but menacing undertone of the king's displeasure?
I'll be very interested to hear what people think about this, particularly about the apparent tension between the importance of female chastity vs. the relative lack of power women had next to the king or male nobles. (I'd also love to hear how the same dynamic played out between the unmarried ladies and the various nobles of court, eg Charles Brandon). Is there any truth to the stereotype of an overly powerful king using his power to basically blackmail or force women into bed with him ("I'm king, do as I say") or could women politely tell him to knock it off, they weren't interested?