Five Things You Don’t Know About Anne Boleyn

Five Things You Don’t Know About Anne Boleyn

She has captivated the world for almost 500 years. Anne Boleyn, the second wife of Henry VIII, the one Henry turned his kingdom upside down to possess, and then 3 short years later had her executed. Her only child, Elizabeth, went on to become one of England’s greatest monarchs. Countless books have been written about Anne. Many claim to know her, but did you know this?

1. Her childhood sweetheart and neighbor Thomas Wyatt, a well know poet, dedicated some of his best poems to her, including Whose List to Hunt, a poem of Henry’s courtship of Anne and In Mourning Since Daily I Increase, written around the time of Anne’s execution. Wyatt was arrested but never tried with those others accused of having affairs with Anne. His family bought his way out of the Tower of London. It’s thoughts that his “love” for Anne was unrequited. Thomas Wyatt was one of the poets who introduced the sonnet style of poetry to England.

2. Anne had a small white dog to whom she was devoted. Because he cocked his head when spoken to, she gave him the French name, “Pourquoi”, meaning why. Not being as fluent in French as Anne, her English ladies called him “Porky”.

3. Anne chose a falcon with English roses as her “Device”. A device was a personal symbol chosen by the royal family and nobility to identify their household servants and personal goods. It was emblazoned on their battle flags and pennants as well. In a time when so few could read, seeing the device quickly identified the owner. When Anne was crowned queen, her falcon was crowned as well.

the-British-LibraryCourtesy of the British Library

4. It was the custom of the time, to display the entwined initials of the monarch and his wife on virtually everything connected with them. When it registered with the people that the first letters of Henry and Anne spelled HA, they took great delight in chanting “HA! HA! HA!” as her coronation procession made its way through the streets of London. Anne was not amused.

5. Anne had a sardonic (some might say weird) sense of humor. On the evening before her execution, she laughingly told her ladies that on the morrow her new nickname would be “Anne sans tete” or “Anne Lack Head”!

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