I read somewhere a long time ago that Henry VIII, before his death, expressed regret at having Anne Boleyn executed and admitted her innocence. Is this true or just a fanciful tale? I wish I could remember where I saw it--it is not in any of the books I have, so I don't remember if it was an old magazine article or something I read on the internet.
There's some strange account that Henry said, on his deathbed, that he was sorry that he had the innocent Anne executed. Highly unreliable I say.
Anyone else know this story, and the source?
It sounds like something he would have said while being shriven (if he actually did say it. Then perhaps someone at his deathbed not bound by the seal of the confessional heard it and told others.
I have never heard this.Is there any evidence to back this up? Nobody really knows what Henry VIII's last words were before he died.I know he obviously would have wanted his son Edward VI to suceed him.As it says in his will and last testement before he died this is the only last document of his that survives.I have also heard of another tale regarding Henry and his two wives Anne Boleyn and Catherine Howard.The story goes that the heads of his two wives as I have mentioned were kept down in the cellar an the king would go down and look at the heads.I don't know how true this is though.I think that this is made up by someone with an imagination.Because I can't see how Henry would do something like this.and he got rid of them by execution because he didn't like them anymore.Anne because she didn't produce a healthy living son.An Catherine Howard because she was seeing other men behind the king's back.so if he did do this it would have only reminded him of them and angered him again.Angered him more.
I have never heard,nor read in any of the history book that Henry VIII ever express regrets over Anne's death. The only thing that I read that he had regrets over was not finding a suitable husband for Mary. Henry VIII often viewed himself as a victim, so I doubt it.
It might seem likely, as the years went on, and Henry became a sickly old man, in chronic pain.
Then the whole embarassing situation with young Catherine Howard might have made him see who had really been loyal, and who had not. I'm sure that he also felt guilt for his poor treatment of Catherine.
I don't think this is true, for Henry VIII had ordered a coffin for Anne that was too small for her body. This obviously shows that Henry did not regret his executing of Anne. It is possible, however, that on his death bed, Henry regretted Anne's execution, but this is unlikely.
In her book "Anne Boleyn" Joanna Denny cites this, stating that on his deathbed he "confessed the many injustices of his reign and allegedly was truly repentant, and among other things, on account of the injury and crime committed against the said Queen (Anne Boleyn)".
Her source is D'Aubigny - The Reformation in England (1962-3). Not a primary source though, so it's still a question!
Myreah, he didn’t actually ‘order a coffin’ at all. No provision had been made whatsoever for Annes corpse and her ladies eventually found an old arrow chest which -hardly surprisingly- was too small, but they just had to make do. This farce in itself demonstrated just how little Anne’s fate meant to Henry. His whole attitude to her execution and indeed the execution of others who had been close to him was basically ‘Out of sight out of mind’.
If my memory serves me correctly, Cramner- a reformer and close friend of Anne’s ( it was she who was largely responsible for his rise to power and status) was Henry’s death bed confessor. By the time he arrived at Henry’s side however, the King’s condition had declined to the extent that he was no longer capable of speech, so Cramner asked Henry to squeeze his hand if he wished to be forgiven for his sins, which Henry did.
Is it possible that in later years Cramner may have tried to do Anne a final service to clear her name by claiming or inferring that Henry had admitted her innocence? Maybe. He may also have been trying to advance the Reformist cause by assuring Anne’s status as a protestant martyr.
I have been doing a lot of research on henry, anne and the rest of the wives as well as Elizabeth. A fryer by the name of Francisco was one of the few people at Henry's bedside the last remaining days of his life. It was this fryer Francisco who was to of been the person to report this.
Hello, do you have a source for this Friar Franciscos claims?
I honestly believe he did. I think Anne was the love of his life. The thought of her being unfaithful is what I believe made him impulsive. In his rage, he didnt think, only about his own pride and embarrassment. This is a man who went to great lengths to marry a woman and not just any woman, a woman who refused to sleep with him. Given his history with women, particularly during his marriage to Cartherine, why go to such great lengths other than being completely in love?
It is my theory that Anne is the only woman Henry could and would ever love. His hatred for her was simply heartbreak.
His people used his all his flaws against him and unfortunately allowed him to make the worse mistake of his life.
I personally believe Anne was the great and only love of his life. I totally agree with the above comment aerostone85.
Henry was impulsive and the people around him set Anne up and subsequently Henry as well. I feel like he acted impulsively and believed at the moment that she did betray him and did what he did out of hurt and anger. To act the way he did, he had to have have felt pain and believed the crap before he rationally thought it out. After he calmed down later, I know he regretted what he did though he may never have expressed that regret to anyone obviously. It's quite possible at some point he did confide that to Cranmer or someone at his bedside before he died or later down the road in life.
It's hardly conceivable to think this man didnt love Anne. He waited close to a decade to marry her and was willing to break his whole country apart to do it. That love didnt just dissipate in 2 years nor because she didnt birth a son fast enough.
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