Henry’s horrible history: You won’t find any left-handers or extras in specs. Accuracy is king in the most eagerly anticipated TV event of the year… but how does Wolf Hall stand up to the scrutiny of one historian?
This is Princess Elizabeth I's only surviving letter to King Henry VIII
“Matchless and most kind father.” ~ Young Elizabeth I’s address to King Henry VIII.
The studious and pious twelve year old Princess Elizabeth I of England dearly loved her father King Henry VIII. The most concrete proof of this was a trilingual epistle she wrote for her father as a New Years present in 1545. The book demonstrated how she was one of the best educated women for her generation.
Inside are Elizabeth I’s perfectly handwritten words: not an error, not even a single mistranslation.
(Scanned photos from Elizabeth I: Her Life in Letters By Elizabeth I (Queen of England))
The book also has her stepmother Katherine Parr’s Prayers and Meditation which she translated into French, Latin and Italian. Katherine Parr was the queen consort of England and was the one who educated and influenced Elizabeth I, showed her how a woman is capable of excellent independent thinking and ruling.
Katherine Parr was the eldest daughter of Sir Thomas Parr and his wife Maud Green, who lived at the English royal court in the early years of King Henry VIII’s reign. Maud was lady-in-waiting to the queen, Katherine of Aragon, and named her first child after her. Katherine Parr married King Henry VIII thirty-one years later.
Anne Boleyn was Queen of England from 1533 to 1536 and second wife to Henry VIII of the House of Tudor. The relationship between Henry and Anne tore apart England, as Lady Anne Boleyn refused to have a carnal relationship with the King unless she was his Queen which thus meant that Henry would have to set aside his first wife, Catherine of Aragon. Henry was infatuated with Anne, and sought an annulment from his first wife, who hadn’t secured the throne with the birth of a son - instead presenting him with a sickly daughter born in 1516 who would become Mary I. Henry argued that due to Catherine’s past marriage to Henry’s brother, and that the marriage had been consummated (a claim Catherine always denied), he sought an annulment from the Pope. However the Pope never granted the annulment, and thus England separated from papal authority and Henry VIII became the head of the Church of England.
Anne Boleyn was at the heart of the reformation, and held great influence over the King. She received diplomats and influenced favour, while also introducing the King to materials that had once been considered heresy, such as Tyndale’s work. She was also the Marquess of Pembroke in her own right, making her the most powerful woman in England before she was even Queen - it was the first hereditary title granted to a woman. When she became Queen of England in 1533 after a secret marriage ceremony, Anne was quick to produce Henry with an heir but it was a girl born in September of 1533. Not the son Henry risked everything for, Anne attempted to give the King a son twice afterwards but both pregnancies ended in miscarriage. However, her daughter would one day become Queen Elizabeth I.
In 1536, Thomas Cromwell began to plot the downfall of Anne after her interference with Church revenue - arguing that the revenue, which Cromwell was taking a percentage of, should be redistributed to education and charity. Anne would be soon be charged with adultery, incest and treason - charges that are now considered products of injustice - and she, along with four men (including her brother George) were sentenced to death. While waiting for her executioner to arrive, Anne had exclaimed: “I heard say the executioner was very good, and I have a little neck.”
On May 19th, 1536, Anne Boleyn was beheaded by a French swordsman.