Friday, October 28, 2016

Question from EBJohnson - Anne Boleyn's 'difficult' pregnancies

Eric Ives, as well as several other historians, reference Anne Boleyn as having a "difficult pregnancy" in 1533, as well as references to a "difficult pregnancies" later on (which ultimately ended in miscarriage). Does anyone know where this information comes from? Scouring through the primary sources and don't see anything that lead me to believe Anne's pregnancies were anything short of normal. Who or what, specifically, detailed her pregnancies as being "difficult"?

1 comment:

Patrick said...

In reference to the "difficult pregnancies" of Queen Anne, there is an old but excellent text called, "The Private Character of Henry the Eighth, published in 1931 by Ivens Washburn of New York. The author, Frederick Chamberlin, seems to know how to use historic documents and cites many sources of this information. He records (from dispatches and documents of the period) four distinct pregnancies of Queen Anne: 1533 with the birth of Elizabeth, followed by three more in 1534, 1535 and the fatal one in January 1536. He distinguishes between the terms of "abortion" (loss of foetus before 5 months); "miscarriage" (loss of held before 8 months) and "premature labor" referring to a stillbirth. The book is obscure but can be found at most good university libraries in America. Modern medical research seems to place the blame of the RH negative factor with either Henry or his wives, which would result in a healthy first birth but miscarriage for subsequent pregnancies.