Anne Boleyn’s Final Miscarriage

Anne Boleyn, attributed to John Hoskins

On the 29 January 1536, Anne Boleyn miscarried.

The details appear in Chapuys’ dispatch to Charles V dated February 10:

‘On the day of the interment the Concubine had an abortion which seemed to be a male child which she had not borne 3½ months, at which the King has shown great distress. The said concubine wished to lay the blame on the duke of Norfolk, whom she hates, saying he frightened her by bringing the news of the fall the King had six days before. But it is well known that is not the cause, for it was told her in a way that she should not be alarmed or attach much importance to it. Some think it was owing to her own incapacity to bear children, others to a fear that the King would treat her like the late Queen, especially considering the treatment shown to a lady of the Court, named Mistress Semel, to whom, as many say, he has lately made great presents. The Princess’s gouvernante, her daughters, and a niece, have been in great sorrow for the said abortion, and have been continually questioning a lady who is very intimate with the Princess whether the said Princess did not know the said news of the abortion, and that she might know that, but they would not for the world that she knew the rest, meaning that there was some fear the King might take another wife. The Princess is well. She changed her lodging on Saturday last, and was better accompanied on her removal and provided with what was necessary to her than she had been before. She had an opportunity of distributing alms on the way, because her father had placed about 100,000 crowns at her disposal. It is rumoured that the King, as Cromwell sent to inform me immediately after the Queen’s death, means to increase her train and exalt her position. I hope it may be so, and that no scorpion lurks under the honey. I think the King only waited to summon the said Princess to swear to the statutes in expectation that the concubine would have had a male child, of which they both felt assured. I know not what he will do now. I have suggested to the Princess to consider if it be not expedient, when she is pressed to take the oath, if she be reduced to extremity, to offer that if the King her father have a son she will condescend to his will, and that she might at once begin throwing out some such hint to her gouvernante. I will inform you of her reply.’

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  1. I am a little confused about Anne’s final miscarriage, as above it states that she was only three and half monthes pregnant but in some writings suggest that she seems to be further into her pregnancy, and the baby being stillborn and no doubt it was a boy. Which is correct?

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