28 January 2011

Anne Boleyn's Wedding

The Big Event: Anne and Henry marry
Sadly for Anne Boleyn, the wedding that she had held out for those many years, in reality, was not what was expected.

Considering all that had been promised and intimated, to say that the actual event was anti-climactic is a bit of an understatement.  Anne's romance with Henry had been one lusty affair, and her constant prudence and strict vigilance of her virginity, whether she was truly virginal, or not, was a subject that had become a moot point. Of course, great interest in Anne's virtue would be revived once again, and not in a good way. 

Anne was already pregnant at her own wedding.  This is normally not exactly a shocking scenario, but for Tudor folk, and royalty no less, it was a less than optimal presentation.  It was a second marriage, and for every second marriage, there are bound to be a few people who are not pleased.  I know whereof I speak, as I was once a second wife. The stakes were as high as the sky for this particular newly wedded pair, because as far as many of the English people were concerned, Henry was, and would always be, married, to Queen Catherine, that is.  And Anne, in the mind of many, was a home wrecker.  To add even more discomfiting feelings to events, Anne and Henry were actually co-habiting prior to the marriage.  Whose decision it had been to live together prior to marriage, is unknown. What is known, is that it was a most unwise choice.

The actual wedding took place around 25, January.  Rather than the marriage be announced, and immediate celebrations to follow, the wedding was kept a secret for some number of weeks. Pains were taken to keep the marriage a secret from Chapuys, especially, and even Francis. Rumors were swirling, however, and certain actions, such as Henry transferring over three hundredweight of gilt in December to Anne, confirmed those rumors. Despite the secrecy, and oddly, Anne began to drop loud hints that she was expecting, such as when she famously said in the midst of a number of courtiers, that she had developed a sudden ravenous craving for apples. By Wednesday of Holy Week, Queen Catherine was informed that she was to consider herself a dowager princess of Wales, and to curtail her lifestyle accordingly. The following Saturday, the day before Easter 1533, Anne attended mass as queen, drenched in jewels, wearing cloth of gold.

Even so, cracks in the relationship between Henry and Anne were becoming apparent.  The English people were not accepting of Anne, and some subjects were rather bold in their protestations.  Some of the opposition came from an unpleasantly close source, Henry's sister and brother-in-law, Mary and Charles Brandon.  Henry's sister was making very insulting remarks about Anne, and tensions rose to the point where one of Brandon's principle gentlemen was left dead.  Chapuys claimed that Henry had made a special visit to the Brandons, presumably to ask them to accept Anne.  Whatever the King may have said, Mary, especially, continued to snub Anne in a very public fashion.

And of course, the struggle with Rome still had no end in sight.

No comments: