Henry VIII & Anne Boleyn: The Early Days – A guest post by Amy Licence

I am delighted to be hosting Day 3 of Amy Licence’s blog tour for her latest book The Six Wives and Many Mistresses of Henry VIII. Today’s guest post is an extract from Amy’s book taken from Chapter 33, “Love Letters” 1526-7.

Be sure to leave a comment after the extract, for your chance to win a copy of ‘The Six Wives and Many Mistresses of Henry VIII‘, kindly donated by Amberley Publishing.

Conditions of Entry

For your chance to win a copy of The Six Wives and Many Mistresses of Henry VIII you must be subscribed to On the Tudor Trail’s newsletter (if you are not already, sign up on our homepage).

Then simply leave a comment after this post between now and 29 October 2014. Don’t forget to leave your name and a contact email.

This giveaway is open internationally.

A winner will be randomly selected and contacted by email once the competition has ended. Please ensure you’ve added natalie@onthetudortrail.com to your address book to avoid missing my email.

Good luck!

The Early Days of Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn

Anne Boleyn’s royal suitor was undergoing a period of transition. The years 1524-6 had been a time of intense personal challenge for the King and Queen, bringing them to the recognition that their relationship had permanently changed. Their hopes of another child had been dashed and the future path of the Tudor dynasty was uncertain. Henry was no longer the “green” young man who had wooed women entirely for pleasure, as sexual adventures and playthings, as parallels for the hart he hunted in the forest, and outlets for his physical needs. After each previous romance, he had returned to Catherine as his wife and equal, whose breeding and position meant that none of his paramours could really offer any competition. By 1526, those days were gone. Henry was thirty-five and his wife was forty. In these years, the King was facing some difficult decisions about his future.

Miniature of Anne Boleyn attributed to John Hoskins

Henry appears to have fallen in love with Anne by early February 1526. At the Greenwich shrovetide jousts, he dressed in embroidered gold and silver, which bore the device of a “mannes harte in a presse, with flames about it,” and the motto “declare, I dare not.” His opponents, headed by the King’s cousin, Henry Courtenay, Marquis of Exeter, were dressed in green and red velvet, decorated with of burning hearts. Over this image was that of a woman’s hand “commyng out of a cloud, holdyng a garden water pot, which dropped silver drops on the harte,” giving relief. This symbolism revealed a new object of affection, the pain of concealed love and the remedy, which was within the reach of the right woman.

During the celebrations, Henry “did service” to the Queen and her ladies. This would have included Anne, to whom his cryptic message was directed. It is likely that, by this time, she was aware of his meaning. Equally Catherine may have seen the signs but not known the identity of her rival: it is impossible to know just how aware she was of the flirtations taking place in her household. However, the joust then took a violent and shocking turn. In an accident reminiscent of that Henry himself had endured in 1524, when a lance splintered against his helmet, Sir Francis Bryan was injured by the “chance shivering of the spere.” He lost an eye and would always wear a patch as a consequence. Such an accident would kill the King of France, Henri II, in 1559. It was another reminder of the fragility of life and that death could strike at any time, even in the royal circle. If the King was to meet an untimely end, the realm would be left in the hands of a ten-year-old girl.

Henry VIII by Hans Holbein the Younger c. 1536

Henry’s embroidered motto may have stated that he dared not declare his love, but this was only in a public arena. He knew the Queen was watching. In private, though, he did not hesitate to make his feelings plain. At some point, early in 1526, he found an opportunity to speak to Anne alone, perhaps as she sewed costumes of silver and gold, or sat reading in a garden or alcove: the scene has been imagined many times by historical novelists. He also ordered his goldsmiths to make four gold brooches that continued the motifs of desire and hope, using the visual symbols of hearts and hands, tongues and eyes, which poets like Wyatt deployed in verse. It was part of the playful romantic games of the age to send symbolic messages in gifts, that represented some virtue or desire, to be decoded by the recipient. Another method was to use the language of flowers, selecting particular blooms for a nosegays or bouquet. As Shakespeare reminds us in Hamlet, there was rosemary for remembrance, pansies for thoughts, daisies for unhappy love, violets for faithlessness. The royal wardrobe in 1532 included a range of such symbols once created as messages before having lost their context: eight separate legs made of silver, a silver hand, a tooth of silver and two silver breasts. Perhaps at some point they had been lovers’ tokens.

Book Tour Schedule

Monday 20th – Olga at Nerdalicious interviews Amy Licence
Tuesday 21st – Claire at The Anne Boleyn Files, with an extract about Henry’s relationship with Mary Boleyn.
Wednesday 22nd – Me!
Thursday 23rd – Lara at www.tudorhistory.org with an extract about Jane Seymour
Friday 24th – Darren at The Tudor Roses with an extract on Catherine Parr
Saturday 25th- Stephanie at www.thetudorenthusiast.weebly.com with a final interview.
Sunday 26th- Amy concludes her blog tour with a post on her blog His Story, Her Story authorherstorianparent.blogspot.com

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  1. Cassandra Welch says:

    King Henry has always fascinated me to think that now a days this would be consider and affair or cheating but to him it was just life another pawn in is quest for an heir to the thorn the treasured boy he always wanted. this article is just to show that his wife ment nothing to him He never really loved He only Lusted! the only one i truly believe he loved was jane and I only think that because she kept her head down her mouth shut and gave him a boy. she didn’t try to rise in power like the others. she already was high in ranks she didn’t need help to go higher. I only wished i could afford to travel there so walk where they walked and to touch what they touched it would just amaze me….

  2. Clau Minnig says:

    I have just started to read ‘In Bed with the Tudors’, and I am really enjoying it.
    It would be nice to have your new book sitting waiting to be read Amy!, it sounds intriguing.

  3. Daniel Gomez says:

    I never cease to enjoy reading about the Tudors!!!!
    While I know quite a bit about Henry VIII’s wives, I know little about the mistresses.
    Looking foward to another good book!!

  4. Daniela Sinatra says:

    I would love to read this book. I’ve read some of Amy Licence’s other books, focused on an individual, but I’m intrigued what this book will have to say, taking a wider view of all Henry VIII’s liaisons, what patterns emerge. Great article too!!!!!

  5. Bertilde F. says:

    I have read many books & websites about the Tudors & the Boleyns & watched many shows, etc, but still discover new things every time. I always find Mary to be intriguing because she was that sister who faded into the background when Anne came to favor & yet Mary survived and endured. And I have found myself wondering what sort of lover Henry was given that he was famously with so many woman. Can’t wait to read Amy’s book and learn more about the man and many woman who changed England forever.

  6. Hernan Schinemann says:

    I love to read about the Tudors – especially non- fiction. This looks like an excellent book who shaped one man’s life and in turn also shaped history.

  7. Carolina Estivil says:

    I have become so addicted (a good thing) to reading these books that it has become my new hobby. I research all libraries now for this author and have taken on studying the history of King Henry VIII and all his wife’s, and I’ve never been interested in history at all! Keep writing these books and Thank You!

  8. Emiliano Carelo says:

    Really looking forward to reading the rest of this book. This period in history is endlessly fascinating and i never tire of hearing about it. It’s such a shame that so little information remains about Mary,I’d like to learn much more about her.
    Thanks for all this giveways!!!

  9. I have always been fascinated by the Tudors, all of them, but when I was growing up the focus always seemed to be on the men of the time with the women being little more than sidelines so I love this growing interest in them and can lose myself reading about them. Thanks for the chance to win a copy of what looks like will be a wonderfull read.

  10. Susana Rodriguez says:

    I absolutely LOVE this period in history, all the way from the War of the Roses to Elizabeth I! I first fell in love with the British monarchy with Henry VIII and his 6 wives so I can’t wait to read Amy’s book! thanks Natalie for this chance!

  11. Ludmila Gonzalez says:

    Hi!, I´m from Argentina and I would love to win a copy of this book. Nowadays it is really difficult to find this kind of good books to read here. I´m a Pharmacist. but since I was a child my Mother encourage me to read, She is a History teacher, and we both love the Tudor period. Thanks for giving us the chance!

  12. Ines Eusebi says:

    Always a pleasure to recieve recommendations of historical authors I have yet to discover. Amy Licence looks like a name to be adding to my list. Thank you “On The Tudor Trail” for continued updates and facts (and fab tweets!) – another new book I look forward to reading!

  13. Would love a copy if the book!

  14. I love reading anything about the Tudor period! The people are fascinating.

  15. I would like to read this book as I am sure that Henry’s life love could never of been boring… also I have not heard of a similar book before..

  16. Hi, I’m from Germany and I would love to win the book 🙂

  17. Would love to know more about Anne of Cleves Heard she had a very hard child hood and her brother dominated her Have read Amy’s Elizabeth of York and I’m sure wouldn’t be disappointed with this new one
    Even if I don’t win it will still be on my Christmas list

  18. Rachel Ellen says:

    I have always been fascinated with the Tudors and have read countless books on them. Henry VIII was truly a contrary man. He would constantly go back and what he first believed or felt and then would just as easily change his mind again, all without allowing anyone to question the King. Anne Boleyn, although a very cunning woman, I have always felt sorry for her for how her life ended.

    This book looks a really interesting read. I would love to see more in-depth information on the women who surround Henry and how they shaped his life. Look forward to reading this.

  19. Karen Caraway says:

    I would love to read this book. I’m a big Tudor period fan. I sure would love to know more about Henry’s life and wives/mistresses. It’s quite sad to know despite the many women in his life, he only managed to have 3 legitimate offspring and no future heirs.

  20. Oh please pick me!! I am the biggest US junkie of the Tudors!!

  21. I would love to win this book. Seems like an interesting topic!

  22. I would love to read this book!

  23. I love the Tudor era, if I could go back in time that is where I would go back to. The Tudor Trail website is perfect for learning all about the Tudors. I would love to win this book.

  24. Guille Espinola says:

    I have a passion for 15th and 16th English history! I am fascinated by the dynamics of Henry VIII’s court, mistresses and wives. So excited to read this book!
    Thanks! 🙂

  25. Andres Deniz says:

    Thank you for the chance you give us to win this book. I sometimes find it hard to get books from my library on the Tudors. This book would be a great new source to give my classes. I´m a High school teacher.
    A friend lend me your book “in the footsteps of anne boleyn” and here i´m, trapped in this wonderful blog! thank you so much Natalie, I will write you soon!
    A warm hug!

  26. Celia Guzman says:

    Holy Hell! It’s Tudor Time, all day, every day, and twice on Sunday! who WOULDN’T WANT TO WIN this novel??? Pick me! Pick me! Pick me! (I’ll be forever grateful) Please? Pretty Please? (I don’t know about you, but I can’t stand to see a grown woman beg…ok PLEASE~!!!!!)

  27. I cannot wait to see if i won!!!! I just cannot seem to get enough of reading about Tudor times and i love a new and fresh perspective!!!!
    Thank you sooooo much Natalie! 😉

  28. I am so excited about this book. I seem to get more and more entranced by Tudor history every time I read another book on them. Thank you so much, Natalie and Amy for the chance to win this book!

  29. Milagros Gonzalez says:

    Amy´s books are so interesting, you can`t put them down.
    Enjoyed the article, would love to read more!!
    Thx 4 the chance.
    A warm huf for both of you!!!!!!

  30. Tamise Hills says:

    I’ve enjoyed Amy’s other books, so want to read this as well.

  31. Drum roll please… Tamise Hills is the lucky winner on this occasion – congratulations! Please check your inbox. More wonderful giveaways to come!

  32. Last but not least there Tamise, lol. Well done, enjoy the book 🙂

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