What puzzled European contemporaries most was that Henry VIII went about divorce the hard way. Wanting Anne as a wife instead of a mistress was eccentric enough, but his determination to bludgeon the pope into guaranteeing in advance, not only the outcome, but also his own distinctive interpretation of canon law, was unprecedented. Pressure on the pope– that was expected; but ‘the urgency used’ by Henry was a principal cause of his humiliation at Blackfriars.
Part of the explanation is that Henry was passionately in love. This was anything but a secret. Chapuys, hardly arrived and yet to go to court, could still report: 'The king’s affection for La Bolaing increases daily. It is so great just now that it can hardly be greater; such is the intimacy and familiarty in which they live at present.’ On 8 December, seven weeks after Wolsey’s dismissal, Henry publicly demonstrated his favour by elevating Anne’s father not only to the coveted title 'earl of Ormonde’ but to a senior English earldom as well: Wiltshire. George thereby became Viscount Rochford and was soon made a nobleman of the privy chamber.
Elizabeth I’s diamond and ruby ring, bearing her initial and taken from her body after her death in 1603, reveals more than meets the eye. A secret compartment opens to display two miniatures of Elizabeth and her mother, Anne Boleyn. The second of Henry VIII’s wives, Anne was executed on May 19, 1536 on charges of incest, adultery, and high treason. The future queen was only two years old at the time of her mother’s death.