Thursday, November 20, 2008

Question from Nicole - Anne and Henry's love letters

Does anyone have any theories on Anne Boleyn's stolen love letters from Henry VIII? I'm just curious as to what others believe.. such as who stole them and what not.. Also, what exactly was the Vatican hoping to find in the letters? Proof that Anne and Henry were lovers? If so, what would that have mattered?

Thanks everyone for any and all your answers!


Bearded Lady said...

It mattered a lot. If the Church could show that Henry was seeking a divorce only to marry Anne then he had much weaker case. Whoever stole them was trying to prevent Henry from getting his divorce from Catherine.

But it’s a great question because I would love to know if anyone has any information on exactly who stole them.

Lara said...

I'm glad this question came up because the letters ending up in the Vatican archive is something I've always been curious about but have never gotten around to looking in to. I'd love to know more about it.

Anonymous said...

Henry is known as King Enrico in Italy and his letters to Anne are held in the Vatican Library and are not on permanent display in the Vatican Museum, but I have seen facsimiles of his signature for sale in certain of the Museum shops.

He and his wives are represented amongst the portraits of famous people that hang high on the main corridors of the Uffizi in Florence - all the women are given the title of Queen, with the exception of Anne Boleyn.


Foose said...

If a Papal spy stole the letters, the motive might have been twofold. In the first place, the exact nature of Henry's relationship with Anne mystified many people, especially abroad. The Pope and his agents may have been looking for evidence that the pair were already sleeping together, which might have been useful for propaganda purposes, or conversely that they were not sleeping together, which meant that the situation had to be reassessed more carefully. Perhaps the goal was also to get more of a fix on the personalities involved -- not much was known about Anne Boleyn. Her perceived domination of Henry invited considerable speculation.

Which leads into the second motive -- to find out exactly how far Henry and Anne were involved in believing in, and promoting, the Lutheran heresy. If the Pope could be assured that England would remain Catholic, he might be able to come down on the side of Queen Catherine more quickly and avoid trouble with the Emperor. On the other hand, if there was evidence that Henry would actually embrace Lutheranism in order to get his divorce, the Papacy would have to either delay the matter, persuade Catherine to back down, discredit Anne with the king, or adopt some other line of policy.

In the event, I don't think the letters revealed anything about the religious leanings of either Henry or Anne. Regarding the relationship, once the Pope had "pretty dukkys" translated into Italian, he must have realized that the affair had not progressed beyond a certain stage.

Anonymous said...

In total Henry vIII wrote Anne 17 love letters during their courtship. I don't know how many times Anne replied back because as far as I know only one letter from Anne dating 1527 survives.
The letters were stolen by the vatican.At the time there must have been someone working as a spy for the vatican who was aware of Henry and Anne's relationship and also probably a catholic. someone at Hever castle or Hampton court stole the letters from Anne.
Henry's first letters to Anne were in french then after he started writing to her in english.
I also think whoever this person was was probably trying to prevent Henry from getting a divorce and also make the vatican aware that he had a new love interest.The spy was probably a supporter of Queen Catherine of Aragon.
After all the aim was to keep Henry married to Catherine and away from Anne Boleyn.If he had just wanted her to be his misstress I dont think the catholics would have minded but when they new that there was more to it than that they had to act and think quickly prevent what was to come.

Bearded Lady said...

I believe the authenticity of Anne's surviving letter has always been questioned. Let me know if someone has more information.

(also I could have sworn there were 18 letters?)

Anonymous said...

There was only 17 letters written by Henry vIII to Anne Boleyn and that is a fact. There was never 18.