Primary Sources: Selections from King Henry VIII's love letters to Anne Boleyn

 

These famous love letters from King Henry VIII to Anne Boleyn are undated.  They were found in the Vatican Library, possibly stolen from Anne and sent to the papacy during Henry VIII's struggle for an annulment of his marriage to Katharine of Aragon.  Though Henry argued for an annulment on the basis of his conscience (he stated that the marriage was in direct contradiction to the Bible), most people believed he simply wanted to marry Anne Boleyn.

Anne's replies to these letters are lost.

The letters were written in French.

My mistress and friend:  I and my heart put ourselves in your hands, begging you to have them suitors for your good favour, and that your affection for them should not grow less through absence.  For it would be a great pity to increase their sorrow since absence does it sufficiently, and more than ever I could have thought possible reminding us of a point in astronomy, which is, that the longer the days are the farther off is the sun, and yet the more fierce.  So it is with our love, for by absence we are parted, yet nevertheless it keeps its fervour, at least on my side, and I hope on yours also:  assuring you that on my side the ennui of absence is already too much for me:  and when I think of the increase of what I must needs suffer it would be well nigh unbearable for me were it not for the firm hope I have and as I cannot be with you in person, I am sending you the nearest possible thing to that, namely, my picture set in a bracelet, with the whole device which you already know.  Wishing myself in their place when it shall please you.  This by the hand of

Your loyal servant and friend

H. Rex


No more to you at this present mine own darling for lack of time but that I would you were in my arms or I in yours for I think it long since I kissed you.  Written after the killing of an hart at a xj. of the clock minding with God's grace tomorrow mightily timely to kill another: by the hand of him which I trust shortly shall be yours.

Henry R.


Mine own sweetheart, these shall be to advertise you of the great loneliness that I find here since your departing, for I ensure you methinketh the time longer since your departing now last than I was wont to do a whole fortnight:  I think your kindness and my fervents of love causeth it, for otherwise I would not have thought it possible that for so little a while it should have grieved me, but now that I am coming toward you methinketh my pains been half released....  Wishing myself (specially an evening) in my sweetheart's arms, whose pretty dukkys I trust shortly to kiss.  Written with the hand of him that was, is, and shall be yours by his will.

H.R.

 

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