Part 2 of our Tudor series highlights Henry the VIII's 2nd wife and major whore ............... Anne Bolyne.
Anne spent her formative years with her Sister Mary in the French Court serving Queen Mary (Henry VIII sister) who was married to Louis XI. After Louis died, Mary returned to England to serve Queen Katherine (and became Henry's Mistress) while Anne remained in France to attend Claude, the new French queen. During the 8-10 years she was in the French court, Anne developed a taste for their culture, dress and food, and believed the English were beneath her.
Around 1581, she returned to England to Serve Katherine and awaited details of her marriage to the heir of Ormonde (which never worked out, I have no idea why).
While serving Katherine, Anne had affairs with both Henry Percy (who she presumably loved and would have married had it not been for Cardinal Wolsey) and Sir Thomas Wyatt. She also began flirting with Henry himself, though she would not begin an affair with him because she was on a "Queen or Nothing" campaign. Rather, she and her parents insisted that her sister Mary keep Henry "serviced" so his intentions didn't wander to any of the other Ladies in waiting. It was not long after this that Henry started to seek an Annulment from Katherine, moved Anne into Queen Katherine's rooms, and had Anne assume the role of Queen at all functions.
At some point in 1532, Anne finally gave in and let Henry do the deed, and by December she was pregnant. To ensure the legitimacy of the child, Henry and Anne were secretly married. Although the King's marriage to Katherine was not dissolved, in the King's mind it had never existed in the first place, so he was free to marry whomever he wanted. On May 23, the Archbishop officially proclaimed that the marriage of Henry and Katherine was invalid.
Knowing that she was carrying the future King of England, Anne took to her chambers in the summer of 1533 and on September 7, she gave birth to PRINCESS ELIZABETH. Oppps. Anne knew that it was imperative that she produce a son. By January of 1534, she was pregnant again, but the child was either miscarried or stillborn. In 1535, she become pregnant again but miscarried. The child was reported to have been a boy. It was also reported to have been HER BROTHERS! Yep, that's right. Anne was so desperate to have a son and so sure that Henry couldn't make a son, she was sperminated by her brother George. Desperate times call for desperate measures I suppose. Anne probably suspected that failure to produce a living male heir was a threat to her own life. Anne set a precedent by pushing Katherine aside and introducing the idea of annulment to Henry, and Henry was starting to spend a lot of time with Jane Seymore, Anne's lady in waiting. Ooooops.
Anne's fall was fast and furious. On May 2, 3 years after her coronation, she was arrested at Greenwich and informed that she was charged with: adultery, incest and plotting to murder the King. Almost immediately, 5 men where hanged for Adultery with the Queen. On May 5th, the Queen and her brother were put on trial at the Great Hall of the Tower of London and found guilty. The star witness for the prosecution you ask? Georges Wife! The sentence was to be either burnt at the stake (which was the punishment for incest) or beheaded, at the discretion of the King. I think we all know how that turned out.
Anne was beheaded on May 19, 1536. A few days prior, her Marriage to Henry was dissolved and declared invalid. Jane Seymour spent that afternoon choosing her wedding dress.