Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Question from Jane - Anne's possible pardon, etc.

Being quite a Tudor fanatic I have devoured everything I can get my hands on, both fictional and historical, to do with the Tudor era and though stories differ from author to author it is fairly easy to discern truth from fiction/heresay however I have come stuck at one point....

In the fictional 'The Other Boleyn Girl' novel by Philippa Gregory the storyline tracts around Anne's execution at the end but also of Henry's possible pardon of her to her sister Mary. I have searched and searched and searched but I cannot for the life of me find anything to suggest that Henry even contemplated such a thing (why would he when he had Jane Seymour lined up in readiness to warm his bed?) but it is something that has puzzled me.....does anyone know whether Anne may have been expecting Henry to pardon her or is it something that the author threw in for a more dramatic end to an already dramatic life?

Also, is there any evidence to suggest that Anne and Henry were intimate with each other after her miscarraige in January 1536?

I am hoping someone on here can put my mind at ease!


  1. I think if you read of the "pardon" in a work of bold-faced fiction (a Philippa Gregory novel) and were unable to find any mention of it whatsoever in any factual resource that you checked, then you have your answer already.

    Rest easy. Henry certainly never contemplated such a pardon. Whether or not Anne was foolish enough to expect it is not recorded and is therefore a point point.

  2. I cannot find any mention in any biographies or historical texts of Henry considering such a pardon. I think that this was just Philippa Gregory showing the love between the sisters and was not based on any historical fact. When we read these books we always have to take them with a pinch of salt - they are inspired by history and are not historical accounts.

    Although Anne may have hoped for a pardon, I think her fate was sealed even before her trial. Cromwell and the catholic conservatives needed her out of the way and Henry had tired of her and had fallen for the meek and mild Jane Seymour. Anne was not needed or wanted.

  3. Yes. Anne and Henry were reported as being "happy" together at court as far as April of 1536 (As per Eric Ives Biography) I have been reading quite a bit about this, and to be honest, I have been very surprise to learn about her last months, because I kind of realized that perhaps the whole breaking up with Henry (and her subsequent execution!) kind of broadsided her.

  4. While Henry VIII never personally express a wish to pardon Anne, there was those people who believe that he would. While Anne was in the tower awaiting execution, she recieve a visit from Cranmer, who ask her to sign the annulment bastardizing Elizabeth. After Cranmer's visit, Anne told her ladies that she would be sent to a nunnery in Antwerp. No one knows if Anne was wishful thinking, or if she told that she would be sent to a nunnery.

  5. According to Wikipedia, Alison Weir has written a book on the last months of Anne Boleyn's life, which will be published later this year. However, although Google showed she's given talks on this topic, her website mentions another upcoming book, but not this. It would be interesting if this was true, as her fall is still shrouded in mystery. I'd liek to see this investigated by a historian who'd really dig through obscure archives though, I don't know if Weir will find anything new.

  6. Check the News section of Weir's webpage, it has the most up-to-date information:

    Also, the Events page has information on upcoming talks:

  7. Thanks for all your comments guys, I really appreciate it :) I had a hunch that there was something missing from the history that we're all familiar with though I do agree that fictional novels are not the best way to obtain historical information!

    I will be keeping an eye out for Alison Weir's new book though....I don't always agree with her opinions but she does present good information.

    Many thanks again xx


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