Anne Boleyn’s Letters

Anne Boleyn’s letter to her father from La Veure whilst in service to Archduchess Margaret

Sir, – I understand by your letter that you desire that I shall be a worthy woman when I come to the Court and you inform me that the Queen will take the trouble to converse with me, which rejoices me much to think of talking with a person so wise and worthy. This will make me have greater desire to continue speaking French well and also spell, especially because you have enjoined it on me, and with my own hand I inform you that I will observe it the best I can. Sir, I beg you to excuse me if my letter is badly written, for I assure you that the orthography is from my own understanding alone, while the others were only written by my hand, and Semmonet tells me he letter but waits so that I may do it myself…Written at Veure by Your very humble and very obedient daughter, Anna de Boullan.

Anne Boleyn’s Letters to Cardinal Wolsey

Letter 1

Letter 2

Letter 3

Letter 4

Anne Boleyn’s to Stephen Gardiner, 4 April 1529

Read this letter here.

Anne Boleyn to King Henry VIII from the Tower of London, May 6th 1536.

Can I just begin by saying that most modern historians consider this letter to be a forgery. It is alleged that a copy of the letter was discovered amongst Cromwell’s belongings after his execution but questions have been raised as to its authenticity mainly because there is no record of Anne ever writing this letter and because it seems highly unlikely that Anne, being imprisoned for High Treason, would have been permitted to write to the king in such a familiar manner.

When considering its authenticity you should take into consideration the fact that Anne was not your average political prisoner, she was the queen of England and she was not a woman accustomed to keeping her opinions to herself. Anne was well known for being outspoken.

The other point to consider is if Anne is not the author, who is? I fear that this will remain a mystery.

Your grace’s displeasure and my imprisonment are things so strange to me, that what to write, or what to excuse, I am altogether ignorant. Whereas you send to me (willing me to confess a truth and so obtain your favor), by such a one, whom you know to be mine ancient professed enemy, I no sooner received this message by him, than I rightly conceived your meaning; and if, as you say, confessing a truth indeed may procure my safety, I shall with all willingness and duty, perform your duty. But let not your grace ever imagine that your poor wife will be brought to acknowledge a fault, where not so much as a thought ever proceeded. And to speak a truth, never a prince had wife more loyal in all duty, and in all true affection, than you have ever found in Anne Bulen – with which name and place I could willingly have contented myself, if God and your grace’s pleasure had been so pleased. Neither did I at any time so far forget myself in my exaltation or received queenship, but that I always looked for such alteration as I now find; for the ground of my preferment being on no surer foundation than your grace’s fancy, the least alteration was fit and sufficient (I knew) to draw that fancy to some other subject.

You have chosen me from low estate to be your queen and companion, far beyond my desert or desire; if, then, you found me worthy of such honor, good your grace, let not any light fancy or bad counsel of my enemies withdraw your princely favor from me; neither let that stain – that unworthy stain – of a disloyal heart towards your good grace ever cast so foul a blot on me, and on the infant princess your daughter.
Try me, good king, but let me have a lawful trial, and let not my sworn enemies sit as my accusers and as my judges; yea, let me receive an open trial, for my truth shall fear no open shame. Then you shall see either my innocency cleared, your suspicions and conscience satisfied, the ignominy and slander of the world stopped, or my guilt openly declared. So that, whatever God and you may determine of, your grace may be freed from an open censure; and my offense being so lawfully proved, your grace may be at liberty, both before God and man, not only to execute worthy punishment on me as an unfaithful wife but to follow your affection already settled on that party for whose sake I am now as I am, whose name I could some while since have pointed unto – your grace being not ignorant of my suspicions therein. But if you have already determined of me, and that not only my death, but an infamous slander must bring your the joying of your desired happiness, then I desire of God that he will pardon your great sin herein, and likewise my enemies, the instruments thereof; and that he will not call you to a strait account for your unprincely and cruel usage of me at his general judgment-seat, where both you and myself must shortly appear; and in whose just judgment, I doubt not (whatsoever the world may think of me), mine innocency shall be openly known and sufficiently cleared.
My last and only request shall be, that myself only bear the burden of your grace’s displeasure, and that it may not touch the innocent souls of those poor gentlemen, whom, as I understand, are likewise in strait imprisonment for my sake. If ever I have found favor in your sight – if ever the name of Anne Bulen have been pleasing in your ears – then let me obtain this request; and so I will leave to trouble your grace any further, with mine earnest prayer to the Trinity to have your grace in his good keeping, and to direct you in all your actions.
From my doleful prison in the Tower, the 6th May.

Penned by Anne Boleyn

This is the third of a series of letters that I will be publishing written by Anne Boleyn to Cardinal Wolsey between 1528-1529. Elizbeth Norton notes that in the past it was stated that this letter was addressed to Archbishop Cranmer and not Cardinal Wolsey although Norton believes this to be unlikely. Anne Boleyn to […]

In Anne Boleyn’s Own Words

This is the second of a series of letters that I will be publishing written by Anne Boleyn to Cardinal Wolsey between 1528-1529. If you missed the first letter in the series, read it here. Anne Boleyn to Cardinal Wolsey, c. July 1528 My Lord, In my most humble wise, that my poor heart can […]

Anne Boleyn’s Letter to Cardinal Wolsey

Very few of Anne Boleyn’s letters survive but out of those that we do have, a number are addressed to Thomas Wolsey. Read the letter Anne wrote to Wolsey thanking him for his efforts in trying to obtain Henry VIII a divorce from Catherine of Aragon.  The postscript was added by Henry VIII. Anne Boleyn […]

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Comments

  1. Phyllis Wolf says:

    If the letter that is said to have been found in Cromwell’s personal effects after his death is ever found to have been written by Anne, I will not be surprised. I would imagine if she wrote such a letter, whosoever delivereed it to Cromwell rather than the King was an astute person. Can you imagine the King’s anger if it had been delivered to him? I do not think it is impossible for Anne to have written the letter and then someone hide it from the King. It was a powerful statement and one that might have change the course of history if it’s contents were distributed to the people.

  2. Strong words, which could have been penned by Anne, a strong woman. It is a shame we will never know..
    I personally think if the letter had ever reached Henry, it wouldn’t have made the slightest of difference to Anne’s end. He was already on the path to his new venture…marrying Jane

  3. Tamra L. Monroe says:

    Can’t a handwriting expert tell? There are several examples of her handwriting. Many have said it was very elegant and distinct. They use experts in court cases.

  4. Chiara Vedente says:

    It was not her handwriting. Can it be that Cromwell delivered the original to Henry and made a copy, which is the letter we have?

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