by Heather R. Darsie, J. D.
By February 1528, Henry and Anne’s romance was in full swing, judging from his seventh letter. A far cry in some ways from the first letter, Henry tries less to appeal to Anne Boleyn’s sympathy and outright addresses her as his beloved when Henry VIII writes,
By the British School, before 1626; via Wikimedia Commons.
“Darling, these shall only be to advertise you that this bearer and his fellow be despatched with as many things to compass our matter, and to bring it to pass as our wits could imagine or devise…”
Here Henry is working hard toward ending his marriage with Katharine of Aragon, his first queen and the mother of his only child, the future Mary I of England.
“…which, brought to pass, as I trust, by their diligence, it shall be shortly, you and I shall have our desired end, which should be more to my heart’s ease, and more quietness to my mind, than any other thing in the world…”
Laying it on a bit thick there, but who could blame him? Henry had his eye on Anne Boleyn as early as 1525, but certainly by 1526. Why shouldn’t he be hopeful for a union with her by early 1528?
“…as, with God’s grace, shortly I trust shall be proved, but not so soon as I would it were; yet I will ensure you that there shall be no time lost that may be won, and further can not be done; for ultra posse non est esse [one cannot do more than the possible].”
Given how long the romance had endured by this point, Anne Boleyn’s fear of never making a good match or bearing children could have been eating away at her. Further, depending on the year in which Anne was born, she may have been increasingly aware or fearful of her biological limitations. Anne was born in either 1501 or 1507, making her between 20 and 27 or so at the writing of this letter. Henry himself was close to getting on in age, being almost 37.
“Keep him not too long with you, but desire him, for your sake, to make the more speed; for the sooner we shall have word from him, the sooner our matter shall come to pass.”
Henry is assuming that his annulment is close at hand; little did either Henry VIII or Anne Boleyn know that they were years away from achieving their romantic goal.
“And thus upon trust of your short repair to London, I make an end of my letter, my own sweet heart.”
Someone cannot wait to see Anne!
“Written with the hand of him which desireth as much to be yours as you do to have him. H. R.”
Click here or the link below for the eigth love letter.
Love learning about the Early Modern period? Are you interested in Tudor history or Women’s history? Then check out my book, Anna, Duchess of Cleves: The King’s ‘Beloved Sister’, a new biography about Anna of Cleves told from the German perspective!
Sources & Suggested Reading
- Luce, John W. and Company, with designs by Florence Swan (1899). Love Letters of Henry Eighth to Anne Boleyn. Pp. XVI-XVII. Boston and London: John W. Luce & Company (1906).
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