Letter from Anne Boleyn to King Henry VIII

Background

Queen Anne Boleyn Seventeen of Henry VIII’s famous love letters to Anne Boleyn exist; they can be viewed at the Vatican Library. However, only one of Anne’s love letters to the king has survived. It is undated, but its contents place it in late summer/early autumn of 1526. How? She thanks the king for personally appointing her a maid of honor to his queen, Katharine of Aragon, but also – and more importantly – she acknowledges the king’s serious declaration of love for her. As students of Anne’s life know, this subtle but vital shift in their relationship occurred in summer 1526. We also know that she returned to court as a maid of honor to Katharine of Aragon at the same time. Interestingly, this letter reveals that Anne owed her position at court entirely to the king’s favor.

Queen Anne Boleyn

Queen Anne Boleyn

This is believed to be the first love letter Anne wrote to Henry, and is rarely included in any biography of the queen. However, its authenticity is not in serious doubt.

One should remember that Henry’s brief relationship with Anne’s sister, Mary Boleyn, had only ended a year before (in July 1525.) On 4 March 1526, Mary gave birth to a son called Henry, widely assumed to be the king’s son. Anne’s feelings about this awkward situation were never made clear, but she was not close to her sister.

Please note that Anne spelt her surname ‘Bulen’ in this letter. This is the third variation of the name I’ve found.