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Queen of England from 1533 to 1536 as the second wife of King Henry VIII and Marquess of Pembroke in her own right. Henry's marriage to Anne, and her subsequent execution, made her a key figure in the political and religious upheaval that was the start of the English Reformation.
Childhood in France
Anne was the daughter of Thomas Boleyn, 1st Earl of Wiltshire, and his wife, Lady Elizabeth Howard, and was educated in the Netherlands and France, largely as a maid of honour to Claude of France.
She returned to England in early 1522, to marry her Irish cousin James Butler, 9th Earl of Ormond; the marriage plans ended in failure and she secured a post at court as maid of honour to Henry VIII's wife, Catherine of Aragon.
Early in 1523 there was a secret betrothal between Anne and Henry Percy, son of the 5th Earl of Northumberland. In January 1524, Cardinal Thomas Wolsey broke the betrothal, Anne was sent back home to Hever Castle, and Percy was married to Lady Mary Talbot, to whom he had been betrothed since adolescence.
Marriage to King Henry VIII
In February/March 1526, Henry VIII of England (1491-1547) began his pursuit of Anne. She resisted his attempts to seduce her, refusing to become his mistress – which her sister Mary had been. It soon became the one absorbing object of Henry's desires to annul his marriage to Queen Catherine so he would be free to marry Anne. When it became clear that Pope Clement VII would not annul the marriage, the breaking of the power of the Catholic Church in England began. In 1532, Henry granted her the Marquessate of Pembroke.
Henry and Anne married on 25 January 1533. On 23 May 1533, Thomas Cranmer declared Henry and Catherine's marriage null and void; five days later, he declared Henry and Anne's marriage to be good and valid. Shortly afterwards, the Pope decreed sentences of excommunication against Henry and Cranmer. As a result of this marriage and these excommunications, the first break between the Church of England and Rome took place and the Church of England was brought under the King's control.
Queen of England
Anne was crowned Queen of England on 1 June 1533. On 7 September, she gave birth to the future Queen Elizabeth I of England (1533-1603) , whose gender disappointed Henry. He was not entirely discouraged, for he said that a son would surely follow and professed to love Elizabeth. Three miscarriages followed, and by March 1536, Henry was courting Jane Seymour (c1509-1537).
Execution by Henry VIII
George's sister, Anne Boleyn (c1501-1536) and George, were executed on charges of treason, adultery and incest by Anne's husband, Henry VIII of England (1491-1547). Anne's two chief biographers, Eric Ives and Retha Warnicke, both concluded that these charges were fabricated. They also agree that the King wanted to marry Jane Seymour. Beyond this obvious fact, the sequence of events is unclear and historians are divided about whether the key motivation for Anne's downfall was her husband's hatred of her or her political ambitions. Despite the claims of several recent novels, academic historians agree that Anne was innocent and faithful to her husband. Nonetheless, the judges obeyed the King, condemning Anne, George Boleyn and four others to death. Their father, Thomas Boleyn and uncle Thomas Howard, 3rd Duke of Norfolk provided no help to the condemned. The accused men were beheaded by the axe on 17 May 1536 and Anne was executed by a French swordsman two days later.
For her young daughter Elizabeth I of England (1533-1603), at age 3, her father, King Henry VIII of England divorced and executed her mother, Anne Boleyn (c1501-1536), because of his disappointment with her inability to produce a male heir. This event led to his splitting off the Church of England from the Catholic Church in Rome.
At this death (1547) the throne passed to first Edward VI of England (1537-1553) who died 5 years later. Then it passed to his step-sister, Mary I of England (1516-1558) (aka: Bloody Mary) (daughter of Henry's 1st wife) who died barely one year later during which time, Elizabeth was locked in prison. Upon Mary's death the throne passed to Elizabeth (the then oldest legitimate child of Henry VII) and she reigned gloriously over England for nearly 45 years. She never married and had no issue.
|Offspring of Lady Anne Boleyn and Henry VIII of England (1491-1547)|
|Elizabeth I of England (1533-1603)||7 September 1533 Palace of Placentia, Greenwich, England, United Kingdom||24 March 1603 Richmond Palace, Surrey, England, United Kingdom|
|Offspring of Sir Thomas Boleyn, 1st Earl of Wiltshire, KG and Elizabeth Howard (c1480-1538)|
|Mary Boleyn (1503-1543)||1503||19 July 1543|| Henry VIII of England (1491-1547)|
William Carey (c1500-1528)
William Stafford (c1500-1556)
|Anne Boleyn (c1505-1536)||1505||19 May 1536|| Henry VIII of England (1491-1547)|
|George Boleyn (c1504-1536)||April 1504 Blickling Hall, Blickling, Norfolk, England, United Kingdom||17 May 1536 Tower Hill, London, Greater London, England, United Kingdom|| Jane Parker (c1505-1541)|
|Thomas Boleyn (c1506-)|| |
|Henry Boleyn (c1507-)|