queen anne

January 23, 2009
Anne Boleyn is one of the most significant figures in English history. Born into a wealthy and influential family, she managed to climb her way to the top of the political ladder; becoming King Henry’s second wife, the Queen of England. Her happiness and triumph were short lived, however, because Henry threw her off her throne. Was Anne Boleyn’s downfall her own fault? In a way, it was because she manipulated her way to the throne when it was not her place to be there. Yet, she had no control over not being able to produce a son and was completely defenseless against Henry’s accusations of treason and his corrupt court. Her greed set her up for a situation in which Henry would bring her to her ultimate downfall - death.

Anne’s mother was the daughter of the Duke or Norfolk and her father was a courtier. When Anne was only fifteen years old, she left London to become maid of honor for the queen of France. Her time in France transformed her into the smart, stylish and clever woman Henry would soon after fall in love with. In addition to that, she was strikingly beautiful, and with her looks came an ego.
Anne was rushed back to England, due to a war threat; and after seeing the King at her return, he fell immediately in love. Anne was oblivious of the King’s feelings for her and had instead fallen in love with the Earl of Northumberland, Lord Percy. She became secretly troth-plighted with him because he was promised to another woman. Anne and Percy were very much in love, and it eventually became obvious which caused the court to gossip. When the King found out what they had done he was furious. Mad with jealousy, he frantically ended the arrangement. Anne was incredibly dissapointed but could not think of another reason as to why the king would have acted in such a way, unless he was in love with her himself.

That moment she discovered how the King felt about her, her life changed forever. Once she realized the power she could have over him, she began to think of how she could use it to her advantage. She decided she wanted to be queen, not just another flirtation as her sister Mary had been and she would not be won over easily. Henry did everything he could to please her. He granted her family members high positions in the court, showered her with gifts of beautiful jewels, and paid her much of his attention.

He eventually confessed that he loved her, and when he did she took the opportunity to make clear that she would not be his unless he made her queen. She thought that being queen would make her happy. Once the king knew her intentions, it became easier to manipulate her way to the throne. There was one problem however, which was that Henry already had a wife, Catherine of Aragon. In order for Anne to be queen she would have to push Catherine off her throne. She selfishly convinced Henry to divorce her. In addition to that, she suggested sending Wolsey, the cardinal to the Roman Catholic Church, to France because she feared he would have enough influence with Henry to make him change his mind about the divorce and Henry agreed with her as usual. Anne had therefore, successfully and without pity, managed to get rid of anyone that stood in her way.
The divorce process was taking too long for Anne’s liking, so out of impatience she resumed a former flirtation with Tom Wyatt causing the king to be once again mad with jealousy. She knew exactly what she was doing. Henry promised her he would make her queen as soon as the Pope agreed that his marriage to Catherine was not valid. The Pope, however, refused leaving Henry no other choice but to separate the Church of England from the Church of Rome. By doing this he was able to call himself head of the English Church, and finally, the crown belonged to Anne.

Anne had hit a peak, and life was going well for her. There were celebrations for the marriage and her family rose to even greater positions, in the court. Yet soon after came the time where she greatly disappointed her husband, the time in which her power began to slip from her fingers. Henry wanted a son more than anything else in the world because he had to produce an heir for the country before his life was over. So when Anne gave birth to a daughter, Henry was very displeased with her, even though she had no control over the situation. She failed to produce a male heir several times after her first because she suffered miscarriages.

Their relationship took another major blow after the death of Sir Thomas Moore, a scholar. Moore was sent to his death after refusing to acknowledge that Henry was head of the English Church; and in addition, he claimed that the king’s divorce was not valid. Henry’s love for Anne began to fade because she brought so much conflict to his life, but she was so egoistical she did not believe that it could happen.

Henry was the type of man who, unfortunately, could never be content with only one woman. His interest in the queen continued to fade as he focused on someone new, Jane Seymour. He paid more attention to Jane than to Anne, and offered her gifts just as he had for Anne when his love for her was still strong. Anne became nervous because knew that he could get rid of her just as he had rid himself of Catherine. Out of fright she attempted to dismiss Jane from the court, Henry however, would not allow it. Anne’s power was slipping through her fingers, and she desperately tried to think of a way to snatch it back. She attempted distancing herself from Henry, expecting him to come running after her, as he had done during their flirtation, but this time was very different.

Anne’s situation spiraled completely out of her control when Henry decided he wanted Jane to be his wife. He accused her of adultery because he couldn’t have said that their marriage was not valid, it would have been too similar to what he had done to Catherine. Accusing Anne of treason was the only was to get rid of her. He could do whatever he wanted, and she was defenseless against him because she was only a woman and he was her king; her status much lower than his. He arrested Anne and sent her to the tower where she would stay until her trial.

Anne was in despair. She tried everything she could to prove her innocence, but it was useless. She received no answer from her letter to Crammer asking for help, who had once been her friend. She seemed to have lost most of her friends once people realized that she was not in the Kings favor anymore. In addition, she received no answer from her husband when she wrote to him pleading her innocence and asking for a fair trial.

Henry had arrested several men and had them questioned prior to sending Anne to the tower. The men who would not confess to sleeping with her were sent to the block or to be hanged. Even if the judges believed that these men were innocent, they would anger the King if they had not charged them as guilty; and no one wanted to displease him. One man however, was tortured until he confessed. His name was Mark Smeaton. Of course he hadn’t done what he was accused of, but it was the only way he was allowed to live; he signed a paper affirming the queen’s guilt. When Anne walked into the court, she pleaded innocent, but it was useless. She must have known she was headed for her death after seeing so many innocent men get convicted before her.

Anne Boleyn craftily made her way to the throne of England using a man’s love to her advantage. She got him to throw power into her arms and she greedily accepted it. She should have known that Henry could have her come crashing down just at Catherine had. Once she lost Henry’s love, she eventually lost everything else, even her own life. She set herself up to have Henry pull her down.

The day of her death was May 19, 1536.

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