The Mariage of Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn
Several modern historians suggest the wedding was in London on the 25th January 1533.
However, the Tudor chronicler, Edward Hall, says:
“The king, after his return [from Calais] married privily the Lady Anne Bulleyn on Saint Erkenwald’s Day, which marriage was kept so secret that very few knew it, till she was great with child, at Easter after.”
When, in your opinion, would a woman who gives birth early in September be deemed to be ‘great with child’?
Ives points out that St Erkenwald’s Day was the day after the couple returned to Dover, Thursday the 14th November 1532.
Protestants preferred this date, as it meant that Elizabeth, born 7th September 1533, was conceived within marriage.
A birth on 7 September would imply a conception in December. What are the parameters here?
A wedding date of the 25th January would mean a gestation of only some 7 months, presuming conception took place immediately. Even Nicholas Sanders dates Henry and Anne’s marriage as the 14th November, so Ives wonders if Henry and Anne made some kind of formal commitment in November, prior to another wedding ceremony in January.
It is said that ‘At the wedding on 25 January 1533, we have William Brereton, recently married to Elizabeth Somerset, the widow of Sir John Savage, younger sister to Henry Somerset, 2nd earl of Worcester. Sir John Savage’s sister, Anne Savage, lady-in-waiting and companion to Anne Boleyn, attended the wedding and carried the bride’s train.’ William Brereton’s recently acquired brother-in-law, Henry Somerset, 2nd earl of Worcester, who was not present, had married Elizabeth Browne as his second wife (before 1527), and although Elizabeth Browne was a lady in waiting, she was not invited either. It was Elizabeth Browne’s evidence regarding Anne’s alleged promiscuity which would later destroy most of the people present.
In your opinion, are these details fanciful? Do we know anything at all about the January wedding?
[Previous related thread linked below. - Lara]